First Presbyterian celebrates Protestant Reformation with tartans, music

Thursday , October 12, 2017 - 9:45 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — First Presbyterian Church plans to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

The community is invited as bagpipers, drummers and church members wearing tartans representing all Scottish clans fill the sanctuary for “Kirkin O’ the Tartans,” a traditional blessing of the clans.

Services begin at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. The church is at 880 28th Street.

“It’s very stirring when the pipes and drums are in worship,” said the church’s interim pastor, Steve Aeschbacher. “It is exciting to hear them. When they play ‘Amazing Grace,’ it’s very moving. ... It’s both a great change from normal and a great sort of wonderful connection to our heritage in Scotland as Presbyterians.”

Church member Margaret Rostkowski said many Scottish clans will be represented as a blessing of the tartans takes place during the ceremony.

“The tradition goes back to where tartans were not allowed,” Rostkowski said. “People had to wear them under their clothes.”

The congregation will also celebrate new changes at the church as they observe old traditions.

Aeschbacher arrived at the church at the end of July after the retirement of Rick Minnich.

• RELATED: Ogden's First Presbyterian Church minister Rick Minnich gives his final sermon

“He’s not only a great addition to our church but to the presbytery of Utah,” said Candice Sweet. “He has a gentle sense of humor. He has a lot of knowledge of the Presbyterian church USA.”

Aeschbacher creates a worship service that is comfortable, Sweet said. “His sermons are very thought-provoking. ... He does bring a lot of knowledge. He has a deep faith.”

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The Oct. 22 celebration, Aeschbacher said, is just one in a series of sermons about beliefs that make a difference.

“It’s the key to the way we live our lives,” Aeschbacher said.

As in interim pastor, Aeschbacher said he’s excited to lead members through growth and gaining new perspectives on who they are and where they are going.

“Since God is in charge through all of it, we can feel confident through our smiles and tears,” he said in an introduction letter to the congregation.

His background includes 30 years as an attorney. His wife, Alice, also is starting a new career as a marriage and family therapist.

The two grew up in the Salt Lake Valley. They met in the state, and their two daughters were born here.

Aeschbacher graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2015 and completed clinical pastoral education work last year in a major trauma hospital in Seattle, Washington. He was called as a temporary associate pastor late last year to the Overlake Park Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Washington.

First Presbyterian also has a new director of music, Kevin Golub, who leads the church’s choirs. Another newcomer, Adam Tobey, leads the Thursday night youth ministry.

Golub also is a member of the Utah Opera Chorus and choir director at Ogden High School, Aeschbacher said.

Tobey is a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and also is youth pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ogden, according to Aeschbacher.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at 

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