Since then, every year on the Sunday closest to St. Andrews’ Day, St. Michael’s has hosted a Kirkin’ of the Tartans service. The service incorporates pipes, drums and organ music.
Jon Roberts, who was recently named organist and choirmaster, said this will be his first time to play at a Kirkin’ of the Tartans service.
“I think it will be lovely,” Roberts said. “I’ve got lots of Scots in my bloodline. I love the bagpipes. I think it will be fun.”
In his sermon last Sunday, Sutherland, originally from Middlesborough, England, said the people of St. Michael’s are “people of mission to share with others.”
In keeping with that sentiment in inviting the public to the Kirkin’, he mixed the old and new together when he grinned and said, “Y’all come,” in his English accent.
Although there are several accounts of the origin of the Kirkin’ of the Tartans, or the churching or blessing of the tartans, it is known that in the 18th century, the wearing of tartans was banned in Scotland.
It is said that Scottish highlanders would hide pieces of tartan and take them to church to have them blessed during a secret service. Later, during World War II, the Rev. Peter Marshall of the New York Avenue Presbyterian church in Washington, D.C., had a Kirkin’ of the Tartans ceremony.
Some say Marshall was drawing attention to the problems war would bring to the British people, others say it was a fundraising venture, while others claim it was simply a way to promote Scottish-American pride.
For more information, call the church at 321-8951 or visit stmichaelsnorman.org. More information about the Oklahoma Scottish Pipes and Drums can be found at okscots.com.
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