Sunday, February 06, 2005


Today was the weirdest church service of the year. Also my favorite.

Today was the day our church celebrates its Scottish Heritage. This is not a universal Presbyterian thing, as far as I can tell. Aside from maybe a bagpipe player for Pentecost, we never did anything like this at my old church in Pittsburgh.

Today was the Kirkin' o' the Tartans.

Where we kidnap William Shatner and make him wear a kilt.

HAHAHAHA! Just kidding, of course!

No, seriously, today we celebrate the Presbyterian church's Scottish heritage.

But ESC...Wasn't the Presbyterian church founded on the teachings of John Calvin, who was in Switzerland?

Why, yes it was! You are so knowledgeable in your Presby history! But of course, Presbyterianism was brought to America by Scottish immigrants, so many Presbyterians in America have a Scottish ancestry.

Are YOU Scottish, ESC?

Well, my grandmother swears our last name is Welsh, but admits that she remembers an uncle with a Scottish accent. But insists that my pappap's side of the family is most definitely Welsh. Which is a definite possibility, since my pappap's (and my father's, who's a Jr.) name seems to be missing some vowels, and has an extra "y" thrown in the middle, for good measure. However, according to the "the history of your name" kiosks at the mall, our last name is Scottish. And you have to believe that, because kiosks never lie.

So it's probable I've got a few Scottish blood cells swirling around in my veins, picking fights with the Italian, and making fun of the Polish...which is fine, because they don't understand what the Scottish are saying anyway.

Where was I...

OH YEAH....Kirkin'.

So "Kirkin" means "blessing." So today we had the local Scottish hertitage group come, who consist mostly of fat old men in kilts, and they carry the Tartans, which are big plaid banners on poles. They process with a guy carrying a big Bible, and a guy holding a sword (awesome!) and there's a husband and wife there that play the bagpipes and drum during the service. It's all very cool and Braveheart-y. Would have been better if the old guy with the sword would have gone running down the aisle screaming "Freedom!" Not to be, though.

I swear we have more people come to this service than any other at my church, even Christmas eve. They LOVE it. And it's not just the old fat guys from the Scottish group wearing their kilts. Oh no...there are members of my church that wear kilts, too. They dust them off once a year and squeeze into them. And full on costume, too. The knee socks with the tassels on them. One guy in our choir, who was doing a reading, even had a little carved knife tucked into his tassel knee socks. "for any kids that misbehave during the service!" Haha...we're a fun group! He's gay, too, which just goes to show that Kirkin crosses all cultural, economic, and lifestyle borders. Weeeeee!

And the women don't let the men show them up...oh no. The wear their plaid sashes and skirts. And hats with pins on them. One woman brought an intricately carved staff/walking stick. What did I wear? A white blouse and black dress pants. I'm in the choir...we wear red robes over our clothes!

So yeah, it all sounds a bit silly and over the top. But the music is always fantastic. I DARE you to listen to some of those bagpipe marches and NOT start tapping your foot and contemplating going to war against England. And at the end we all stand up and sing Amazing Grace with the bagpipes, and the Tartan guys and the sword and Bible bears all process out, and the bagpipes are rocking...

...oh yeah....awesome.

So that was my Sunday.