The Carberry Tower Chapel Cover Up

I find it strange how sometimes people want to cover up good memories. let me tell you a story about the Carberry Chapel Cover up. Bear with me as this story unfolds. Its so important to make memories. yet while we're living our lives we seldom think of the legacy of memory, until we've lost something  or someone dear to us. Often we as humans erect memorial stomes write songs or even if we are wealthy enough erect a building in memory of a loved one. I think one of the most thoughful songs the Beatles ever wrote was  entitled " In my life" The words reflect the way  many of us feel as we look back across the years. Its a beautiful little love song and to think it was written by someone in their early twenties.Carberry 

There are places I remember

All my life, though some have changed

Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

There's a place that has been in my memory this week. Its called Carberry Tower. It was once the home of the Elphinstone's, the late Queen Mother's family. In 1964 it was gifted to the Church of Scotland by the family for Christian Education and as a Retreat Centre. It served the church well for over 40 years.

During the late 80s and into the mid ninties our family used to attend the Carberry Festival. This was the brainchild of Jock and Margaret Stein who were the resident wardens in charge at that time. During the years of the festival some amazing friendships were nurtured as artists and poets, musicians and philosophers, thinkers and teachers, preachers and prophets, entrueprenuers and academics visited the festival and made their contributions. It was truly an amazing place. What made the festival unique was the interaction that occured between the festival goers and the performers. One year a person might be a perormer the next year they returned as a festival attendee. Sadly the festival came to an end a few years ago.  Yet, like a stone being thrown in a pool so the ripples of the festival continue to this day. Creating lasting memories that in turn bring into life new opportunities that one day will be memories in their own right.

Last Saturday my son chose to be married in this amazing place, not becaiuse of its present graduer but because of its past influence on his life. It was here as a young child he found freedom to play football climb trees, make new friends. Here as a teenager he engaged with the arts and discovered more about his faith. So it was here that he returned to make a lasting memory not only for our family but for his bride and their many friends.

The wedding took place in the little chapel on the estate built in 1964 by a loving husband in memeory of his dear wife. Today the present owners have decided that the chapel will no longer be used as a dedicated sacred space. It has been renamed the Ceilidh Hall. What I found quite distressing about the renaming of the chapel was that they have placed a permenant cemented plaque over the dedication stone, which had been chiselled out in letters  in memory of Mr Ross's wife.

It all had a touch of irony attached to it. Here was a corporate company, wanting their venue to be full of lasting memories  -  looking for wedding business, covering up the one aspect of their asset that would speak volumes to couples being married in a chapel dedicated to a loving wife.

The question I  have to ask is why would a company want to cover up the dedication stone ? Its almost in the same league as trying to wipe a name off a  grave stone.  On Saturday a temporary sign was erected covering the Ceilidh Hal sign, reinstating the building as the Carberry Chapel. At least for an hour last week memories were reclaimed.

7 Comments
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Posted By: Latesha   On: 18 Oct 2017   At: 8:56pm

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Posted By: greta    On: 9 Jan 2013   At: 9:32am

At least no-one can remove the memories of the thousands who can, in their minds eye, walk the paths of Carberry and sit in that Chapel looking out on the floodlit cross and recall their encounters there with the Lord the Corner stone who is precious!

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Posted By: Ian Faulds   On: 6 Jan 2013   At: 7:22pm

I have so many great memories of the times we visited and especially when we stayed there while I was receiving treatment at the Western
Jock was an inspiration

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Posted By: John Stuart   On: 6 Jan 2013   At: 7:14pm

Beautiful place. Sad end. Maybe a prophetic parable abt the fate of the CofS?

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Posted By: italker   On: 6 Jan 2013   At: 6:14pm

No strangely enough the cross is still there but it can scarcely be seen because of the fir tree that have grown out over the space

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Posted By: Marion Murray   On: 6 Jan 2013   At: 5:26pm

Memories of Carberry : I first got involved with family fun days’ for the church and Carberry was the venue the sun shown most of the time forget the rain and lack of electricity..then sharing communion at the end of the day marvelous God is great
Also days away during Alpha one one occasion I found myself arriving from the back of the cross looking into the chapel and being asked to pray with another member of the group at the foot of the cross. It is sad that the new company cannot see the potential of providing a venue already for couples to share their vows of commitment

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Posted By: Mary McLauchlan   On: 5 Jan 2013   At: 8:26pm

Thank you for telling us about Carberry Chapel. I too have really strong memories of being in the Chapel, looking out at the cross. (presumably it has gone now as well?) I was staying at Carberry during the General Assembly, and it was there in the Chapel one evening that God truly revealed to me my call to full time parish ministry. The cross, the chapel, Margaret and Jock - the wardens at the time - are so much part of my story. Even if these things are no longer there for me to visit, I can visit them in my memories, but it is disappointing that they are not there for others to be touched by God’s presence in a very real way.
I’m glad your family wedding went well. Every blessing.

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