Primary schools from the Inverness area will be taking part for the first time in the Kirking of the council which takes place in Inverness on Sunday 9 September 2012.
The ceremony will be marked with colour and pageantry as the combined pipes and drums of the Royal British Legion and City of Inverness Youth Pipe Band lead uniformed youth groups from the Town House along the riverside and down Church Street to the Old High Kirk – the oldest church in the city.
Pupils and head teachers from the city’s primary and secondary schools, together with Highland councillors in traditional red robes and officials will join the procession from the Town House to be greeted at the Old High Kirk by the Reverend Peter Nimmo, Minister of Old High St Stephen’s Church and by the Reverend Bill Slack, Minister of Culduthel Christian Centre.
Mr Nimmo, who is a key partner in planning for this event, said: “On behalf of our congregation, I'm delighted once again to be inviting not just councillors, but many other representatives of our city community to join us for the historic Kirking ceremony.
“Over the last few years there has been a great increase in the interest in and development of the Kirking of the Council, which is once again firmly established as a major annual event in the life of the city. It is a fine occasion and a fitting end to the Inverness summer festivals season. This year we will have additional participation from local primary school pupils for the first time, which will bring something special to it.”
He added: “In these difficult economic times, the Kirking is a recognition and celebration of public service. I would encourage anyone who is employed by The Highland Council or other public bodies to come and join us as we pray God's blessing on their work. And I'd like to remind everyone that the service is free and open to anyone who would like to take part.”
Provost Alex Graham said: “The Kirking is an outstanding traditional event involving a wide range of organisations in the city. It is inter-generational and ecumenical, bringing together people from many backgrounds. We are proud to continue such a long standing tradition as part of our heritage.”
As in previous years the route for the 200-strong procession will go from the Town House, along High Street; Bridge Street; Bank Street; Fraser Street and Church Street making its way to the Old High Kirk. After the Kirking Service the procession will return via Church Street; Queensgate; Academy Street; Inglis Street; and High Street to the Town House.
There is added colour and spectacle this year with the inclusion for the first time of primary school pupils in the procession, with children from Lochardil; Bishop Eden’s; Cannich Bridge; Central; Farr; Raigmore; and Smithton all waving their school flags.
The Kirking of the Council is a significant annual event in the life of the city of Inverness, rooted in a tradition dating back some 400 years. During the ecumenical service God’s blessing is sought on the work of elected members and officials and on the life of the city. It is also an opportunity for the council to recognise the contributions of all faith groups and voluntary organisations within the city of Inverness and give thanks for these.
The Kirking of the Council is held on the second Sunday in September each year and is an important date in the calendar of events for the city of Inverness. It is an occasion that is highly valued by the council, the Kirk, and the local community.
The parade begins from the High Street at 10am. The service in the Old High Church, which is open to all, begins at 10.30am.