One of nation's largest Kirkin of the Tartan services to be held in Montreat

Special to Black Mountain News
Ron Vinson
The 2019 processional of the Kirkin of the Tartans in Montreat.

One of the nation’s largest Kirkin of the Tartan worship services will be held in Montreat’s Anderson Auditorium at 11 a.m. on Sept. 5.

More than 1,000 worshippers are expected to attend. Facial masks will be required

The Kirkin is a time for recognizing veterans and honoring the past and family.

The guest preacher will be the Rev. Dr. J. Howard Edington, a world-renowned preacher, author and Montreat resident.

Sponsored by the Montreat Scottish Society (MSS), the Kirkin of the Tartan, “Is open to everyone from all denominations to attend the worship service – not just those with Scottish background," said MSS President Hugh Alexander.

With more than 350 individual members, the MSS is a nonprofit open for membership to any individual or family that enjoys Scottish people, customs, places, traditions and history. The society was formed in 1981. 

According to MSS Founder William McCaskill, the word 'Kirk' is a Scottish term for a church. McCaskill said Scottish tartans were banned during the 1700s and Scots would bring a piece of the banned tartan to the Kirk as a blessing. 

Worshippers gathered 80 years ago on Sunday evening, April 27, 1941, in Washington, D.C., at a special service led by the Rev. Peter Marshall, famed pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and Chaplain to the U.S. Senate.

This service sought to aid Scottish churches during the early days of World War II as well as the British war effort by providing a mobile kitchen, according to the church bulletin.

"Modern Kirkin services trace their origins to that 1941 service," McCaskill said.

This service later evolved into the Kirkin of the Tartan held in many locations across America today. Since 1952, an annual Kirkin has been held at the National Cathedral in the nation’s capital.

A remembrance of early Scottish Presbyterianism, Kirkin of the Tartan worship services have spread. In Montreat, the first Kirkin was held in April 1982.

A special luncheon will be served at the Assembly Inn. Reservations are preferred, as this luncheon sells out with 250 participants. Tickets are limited to first-come, first-serve. Reservations and payment can be made by calling the Assembly Inn at 828-669-2911, extension 0. Adult lunches are $22 and children ages 6-17 are $12.

In addition to the Kirkin, other MSS activities include Scottish Saturdays at the movies (January-March), St. Andrews Tea (October) and sponsorship, scholarships and uniforms for the Montreat Scottish Pipes & Drums.

For more information on the event contact Ron Vinson at