First Scots Presbyterian – Charleston, South Carolina
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First Scots Presbyterian is the fifth oldest congregation in Charleston. It was formed in 1731 when 12 Scottish families withdrew from the Independent Meeting House (now the Circular Congregational Church), to worship and govern themselves according to the Church of Scotland. The current church was built in 1814. Its stucco covered brick walls are three feet thick. Twin towers rise above a columned portico and the stained glass window over the main entrance displays the Seal of Scotland. In the early days, the church had the unique custom of requiring a special token to gain admission to Communion.
The church was badly damaged during the 1886 earthquake as well as in a hurricane the following year. Generous assistance from Northern Presbyterian churches helped rebuild First Scots and other affected Presbyterian churches.
Scottish Heritage Sunday is observed each September with kilts, bagpipes, and the Kirkin’ o’ th’ Tartan – a ceremony where clan representatives carry lengths (or flags) of tartans forward to the altar and the pastor offers a blessing.
Visit First Scots Presbyterian Church’s official website to learn more about this active congregation.
Special thanks to Gary DuBose from Seneca for sharing this photo taken in April 2010.
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