LIVERMORE FALLS – A special worship service will be held Sunday, March 26, at Eaton Memorial United Methodist Church. Once a year, the St. Andrew’s Society of Maine holds a “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans,” or blessing of the Tartans. Such services take place in various hosting churches around the state. This year, Eaton Memorial will host the event.

In many ways, it will be a regular Sunday worship service led by Pastor Joseph Chamberland, but it will also be unusual as many members of the St. Andrew’s Society will be present in Scottish regalia.

The service will begin with a parade of flags, the pastor, the choir, the children of the church and others being piped in by bagpipers. Part of the service will be the presentation of the Tartans of the clans or regiments of the region, a constant symbol of the rededication of Scottish to the service of God.

Following the service, the church will host a reception with scones and other Scottish and American goodies.

The St. Andrew’s Society is a worldwide organization of people of Scottish origin or descent who maintain and honor the culture and customs of that nationality. The society has chapters in virtually all parts of the world, including one in Maine. The society presents the Scottish Highland Games each year at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick.

The “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans” is basically a North American tradition, although it has its origins far back in Scottish history. Most historians of the Kirkin’ agree that it was Dr. Peter Marshall who started and presided over the first event in 1941 in Washington, D.C. At that time, Marshall, himself a native Scotsman, was chaplain of the St. Andrew’s Society of that city.

Later Marshall was named the first chaplain of the United States Senate and was well known to people through the biography written by his widow, “A Man Called Peter.”

Kirkins now occur all over the United States and Canada and may be held at any time of the year.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.