John Ray in Highland Dress

Below is a photo of me taken around the turn of the century which shows me wearing the kilt. I wear it only on special occasions of course. It's a lot less boring than a dinner jacket but takes a heck of a lot longer to get into. The tartan of the kilt is in fact the McRae tartan (appropriate to my surname) and the kilt was made for me in Scotland. The name "Ray" is found throughout the British Isles (generally spelt Rae in Scotland, Rea or Reay in Ireland and Ray or Wray in England) so would seem to be an old Celtic name and is probably derived from the Gaelic "rath", meaning red. "roth" in German also means red. So the Rays were originally the redheads! And guess what? My own father was a redhead (so was generally called "Bluey" in the jocular Australian way).

I in fact have only a small amount of Scottish ancestry but Scottish traditions are strong and they certainly were in my family. So I was baptised into the Presbyterian Church of Australia and was sent off to Presbyterian Sunday School. I still have a treasured letter of recommendation written for me by the (Scottish) minister of the last Presbyterian Church of which I was a communicant member (many years ago). I reproduce the text of that letter below.

Presbyterianism is the most democratic form of Christianity so when a congregation needs a new minister, it "calls" (employs) one rather than having one imposed on it. I remember attending a church meeting at which the calling of a new minister was being discussed and someone asked: "Have enquiries been made in Scotland?" The reply was: "Yes. Mr Ralph is over there now looking into it". So the Scottish connection was still alive and well then.

The church (Brisbane's Ann St. Presbyterian Church) was founded in 1849. It is an inner-city church and membership faded away a bit for a while but the present Minister is of the old school and fosters a good outreach so the pews are usually pretty full again. Most of the younger members are Koreans, however. Korea has more Presbyterians than Scotland and many have managed to migrate to Australia. I am sure that the Scotsmen who originally built the church would be rather surprised by the present congregation.

I attended an anniversary service there in December, 2005 and was completely delighted to note that the Minister (Rev. MacNicol) had a strong Scottish accent. It seemed very fitting. After the service I expressed my pleasure at hearing his accent and he told me he was from Edinburgh.

I have written a bit about Scotland. See here or here

Ann Street Presbyterian Church

To whom it may concern:-

Re. Mr John Joseph Ray

This is to certify that I have known the bearer John Joseph Ray for a period of two years and I have pleasure in certifying to the good name and character he bears.

In association with Young People and in study he has revealed outstanding interest in the deeper things and always in my opinion with intense earnestness and spiritual discernment.

He is trusted and popular and I anticipate that he will do well in any position of trust and in that work that calls for sincerity and courage.

Signed: REV. P.W. Pearson, B.A.

"Ann Street"
13th December 1964

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John Ray's "Tongue Tied" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Dissecting Leftism" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Obama Watch" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Dissecting Leftism" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Australian Politics" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Gun Watch" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Education Watch International" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Socialized Medicine" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Political Correctness Watch" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Greenie Watch" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Food & Health Skeptic" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Eye on Britain" blog (Backup here)
John Ray's "Immigration Watch International" blog. (Backup here).
John Ray's "Leftists as Elitists" blog (Not now regularly updated -- Backup here or here)
John Ray's "Marx & Engels in their own words" blog (Not now regularly updated -- Backup here or here)
John Ray's "A scripture blog" (Not now regularly updated -- Backup here or here)
John Ray's recipe blog (Not now regularly updated -- Backup here)
John Ray's "Some memoirs" (Occasionally updated -- Backup here)
John Ray's "Paralipmoena" (Irregularly updated. Not backed up)

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