The historic Kirking of the Council at the Old High Church in Inverness has been cancelled for September this year due to social distancing requirements and to avoid any risk to public health.
This will be the first time in more than 400 years that the Kirking of the Council will not take place in Inverness.
Councillor Helen Carmichael, Provost of the City of Inverness, said:
“In consultation with the Old High Church It is with considerable sadness that we have agreed to not proceed with the Kirking of the Council this year.
“However, given the popularity of this historic event it may have proven very challenging to maintain appropriate social distancing during the procession and within the church.”
Session Clerk, at Old High St Stephen’s Church, Christine Mackenzie, commented:
“The congregation of the Old High Church is particularly disappointed at not being able to host the Kirking of the Council this year.
“The governments social distancing guidelines make it impractical and we recognise the importance of adhering to them.”
Recent years have seen the Kirking of the Council growing into a large and inclusive event in the city that has included increasing participation by children from Primary and Secondary schools that have added additional colour and vibrancy.
The parade numbering up to 200 people is led by local pipe bands starting at Eastgate and marching past Inverness Town House where Local Councillors dressed in traditional red robes join at the rear of the procession followed by the Provost of the City of Inverness.
Previous years have witnessed the inclusion of Mayors and dignitaries from the City’s twin towns in France and Germany joining in the event.
As well as school children the Kirking has always been very well supported by the many youth and uniformed groups across the city and regularly includes participants from the various faith groups.
David Haas, City and Area Manager with Highland Council, stated:
“The Council remains fully committed to the Kirking of the Council and recognises it as a valued and significant cultural event for the city.
“We have worked with the Old High Church over the years to develop it into the inclusive and colourful public civic event it has become and are grateful to them for their continued support.
“However, taking account of the risk to public health it is right to cancel it this year.
“We will, though, start planning in spring next year to ensure the Kirking of the Council goes ahead in September 2021 and resume its rightful place as the largest autumn event in the city.”
A Prayer from OHSS by Deacon Dot Getliffe:
We continue to pray for our leaders and Councillors in local government who have worked hard to maintain some form of equilibrium in these turbulent and uncertain times economically.
We give thanks for loving evidence of partnership working with voluntary organisations, charities, and the Third Sector.
We ask for Your wisdom to be given in all Policy making, in particular that more young people’s ideas may be taken on board in light of our becoming ‘greener’ and fairer to those who don’t find life easy.
Your church in Inverness speaks love over the city and the Highlands and Islands- God’s love which conquers fears and comforts grief.
May faith be proclaimed over our current crisis- to bring new hope and recovery to all.
In the Name of Jesus, Who loved us and gave Himself for us.