Bagpipes bless First Presbyterian families

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 1999

Vehicles slowed as they passed First Presbyterian Church downtown Sunday morning. The celebration of Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans was in full swing on the front lawn with the Father of the Waters Pipes and Drums from Jackson playing religious and Scottish songs.

&uot;I was holding my breath for good weather,&uot; said Roy F. King Jr., president of the Natchez Scottish Heritage Society.

The celebration of Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans, or Churching of the Tartans, came after a long period in which the Scottish were forbidden by the English to wear their clan insignia and tartans, King said. Once this period was over, he said, the Scottish went back to their tartans with a vengeance. Today the ceremony is observed all over the world where there is a population with Scottish ancestry.

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&uot;We have people coming in from all over – pilgrims to gaze upon the ceremony,&uot; he said.

Pat and Charles Rea of Baton Rouge were in Natchez for the weekend when they heard about the Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans.

&uot;We drove past the Presbyterian Church last night and knew we wanted to come see this,&uot; Pat Rea said. &uot;To hear them play ‘Just As I Am’ on the bagpipe just got to me.&uot;

The Reas sat across State Street from the church with dozens of others enjoying the procession before the service.

Following the program of bagpipe music, the Father of Waters Pipes and Drums lead the way into the flag-draped sanctuary, followed by the procession which included the beadle, Roy King Jr.; the minister, the Rev. Dave de Vries; the sword, Calvin Young; and the flags carried by Bobby Scott, Sidney McCaleb, Joe Perault and Polly Scott.

Approximately 108 families of the church are blessed during the following ceremony.