Saturday, 16 February 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 4

Today we are visiting the church of St Margaret of Scotland in Aberlour.

St Margaret's Church, Aberlour, was designed and built in 1875 by the Scots architect Alexander Ross as part of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It became the chapel for the children and staff of the Aberlour Orphanage.

The Orphanage was closed in 1967 and its buildings demolished. Only the clock tower and the church are left to remind thousands of 'mitherless bairns' of their childhood on Speyside.

The church is now in the Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and its congregation belongs to the Episcopal Church of Scotland.

Time and hard winters have taken their toll on the fabric of the building, and repairs, estimated to cost around £200,000, are urgently needed. Water is seeping through the granite causing damage to the stone and lime mortar. High level work is required on the roof and guttering. The heating system is archaic and the electricity supply inadequate to meet modern demands.

Well-worn encaustic tiles on the floor and initials carved in the original red-pine pews still bear witness to the children who came for daily services in the chapel. Reunions of the Old Boys and Old Girls of the Orphanage are held in the church, and we as a congregation feel a great obligation to maintain the church, authoritatively described as 'probably Alexander Ross's finest building', in the best possible condition.

Jesus, good above all other,
gentle Child of gentle Mother,
in a stable born our Redeemer,
give us grace to persevere.

Jesus, cradled in a manger,
for us facing every danger,
living as a homeless stranger,
make we thee our King most dear.

Jesus, for thy people dying,
risen Master, death defying,
Lord in heaven, thy grace supplying,
keep us to thy presence near.

Jesus, who our sorrows bearest,
all our thoughts and hopes thou sharest,
thou to man the truth declarest;
help us all thy truth to hear.

Lord, in all our doings guide us;
pride and hate shall never divide us;
we'll go on with thee beside us,
and with joy we'll persevere!

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