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St. Patrick’s to celebrate Kirking of the Tartans

On Sunday, Nov. 28, at the 10 a.m. service, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will celebrate St. Andrew’s Day with the Kirking (or blessing) of the Tartans.

This celebration is significant in the Episcopal tradition because the Scottish church played an important role in the formation of the Episcopal Church in America. After the American Revolution, in an attempt to retain control over the Anglican Church in the colonies, England refused to send an English bishop to the colonies or consecrate an American bishop. Without the blessing of the bishop, there could be no newly ordained American priests to form new parishes. For the many colonialists who were affiliated with the Church of England, this was a serious problem. Without a priest, they could not celebrate the Eucharist or establish a familiar church home in their own land.

After years of struggle, the American colonies determined that they could get around the obstinate Anglicans by going through the Church of England in Scotland. The first American bishop in the colonies, Samuel Seabury, was consecrated by three Scottish bishops, and thus began the formation of the Episcopal Church in the American colonies. With new priests in the colonies, the church was able to establish new parishes and ultimately loosen the tight bonds of the Church of England.

Each Scottish clan has its own tartan, and on St. Andrew’s Day, the tartans are blessed at the altar as a blessing upon Scotland and a thanksgiving for their significant role in the formation of the Episcopal Church in the United States. The celebration at St. Patrick’s will include the bagpipes, which will be played by our own piper, Jim Dorian. Those attending are invited to wear their tartans and bring a tartan to be blessed.

St. Patrick’s is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. For more information call 731-5801. All are welcome to attend.