What is my Origin Story?
My paternal grandparents were Irish immigrants to London in the late 1940s. They ran pubs all across west London, including their very first pub being at the end of the driveway to Holy Trinity Brompton, the church where Alpha originated.
My grandmother returned to Ireland 30 years ago, and lives on a farm in the Co Wicklow mountains that has been in our family for hundreds of years. Fascinatingly, on that farm is a one-acre lot, determined to be the site of largest iron-age hillfort in Europe.
We all love to know where we come from: our origin story. I overheard someone say the other day, “They bumped me up to 20% Norwegian; I’m now 50% Scandinavian!” in reference to one of those DNA tests.
As Presbyterians, we have an origin story too. We trace a lot of it back to a Frenchman named John Calvin, who lived in Geneva, Switzerland in the 16th century. But the real birthplace of Presbyterianism is in Scotland, with much of the action taking place in the city of St Andrews. It is for that reason, that every October, we celebrate St Andrews Sunday at Chapel Hill—to return to our origins.
But why is this important? Well, as many superhero movies in the last decade have shown us, our origins help define who we are today. If we can understand where we come from, we can much better understand who we are, and be much better equipped to know where we might be able to go.
This St Andrews Sunday, we will spend time understanding more of the story of what and who has made Chapel Hill who we are today, and honor the legacy of those saints upon whose shoulders we now stand. We will hear stories of Chapel Hill members present, and past, and then join together in a moment of remembrance for all those who have passed before us.
It promises to be a moving service, with some elements of our Scottish heritage thrown in, such as bagpipes, and some very special pieces of music, no matter if you attend our Classic or Modern services.
And, if you want to join in the festivities, you are welcome to wear tartan (or plaid, or check) clothing. I’ll be wearing my only tartan, which ironically is a tartan made to honor Scotland’s pride in itself, and I have no Scottish in me whatsoever! And don’t worry, it won’t be a kilt; just a tie!
See you this Sunday at 8:30, 10:00, or 11:30.
Pastor Ellis White