St Drostan’s Lodge opened in 1983, providing basic accommodation next to St Drostan’s Church in Tarfside, Glenesk. In 2003, it was re-opened after extensive modifications and addition of extra bedrooms, with the assistance of a lottery grant. A condition of this grant was that the Lodge had to be open to all, not just members of Brechin Diocese.
This has resulted in perhaps the greatest ongoing outreach programme in the Diocese.
Since 2003, 26 different churches from throughout the UK have visited, from the South Coast of England, through the borders, to the North of Scotland, every denomination has been involved and there have been 125 other groups, including retreats ,youth groups, walking, cycling, yoga, social work and charities. There have also been 77 different family groups. These numbers do not spell out the full attendance as many groups and families return regularly, the Lodge averaging over 900 “bed nights” each year.
Why do people keep coming back? Not least for the absence of mobile phones, TV and radio, but mainly for the peace, tranquillity and spirituality of beautiful Glenesk, and even for “non-church” people, the possibility to just sit and spend quiet time in our ever open church.
We are now seeing people returning who came to the Lodge as children and remember it as a very special place, which they want their children to experience. There is one instance of a man who came as a child, bringing his prospective wife up from London, for a week in the Lodge, followed by being married in our church. The troubled teenagers, who attend in social work groups, introduced to the concept of housekeeping as well as life in the countryside, who now return as youth leaders in similar groups. The little girl who acted as carer for her parents, on a respite visit with other such children, who was amazed to see so many books in our small library, and was absolutely overjoyed to be given one to take home. The young lady who asked her social worker to bring her back to the church again so that she could write her name in the visitors book as she thought that it was such a special place, these and all the other returnees have all been “Touched by Tarfside”, and it has been a joy for Jane and I to serve St Drostan’s by assisting others to enjoy this experience.
Looking ahead, it would be great to see a few more churches from the Diocese using the Lodge and experience being “Touched by Tarfside”.
Peter Nelson, Secretary, St Drostan’s Tarfside.
The spoon was found in the Cutlery drawer of the Lodge.
There was cutler called Thomas Sansom who operated between 1808-1830.
Imitation hallmarks were used on basic products
About 50 people from all corners of the Diocese, and our friend’s who live in Glenesk, enjoyed an afternoon of friendly conversation and an excellent BBQ.
As previously the free burgers were cooked by our local resident and Private Butler, Gamekeeper and Nation Park Warden, Anthony, to whom we give great thanks for cooking for us in between his other jobs. Thanks also to Ken and Lyn for helping to set up and clear away. (All members of our small regular congregation)
The weather was just right, not too hot, but warm enough to sit outside. Children enjoyed taking part in the Treasure Hunt around the village. The day closed with a Songs of Praise, and the congregation’s unaccompanied singing of the final hymn, “Thine be the Glory” really raised the roof. More than one Glen Resident commented on how great it was to hear the sound of joyful singing in St Drostan’s again.
We had quite a few visitors from our Churches in the Mid to Southern part of the Diocese who had not been to St Drostan’s before and were impressed by the tranquillity of Glenesk and the facilities available at the Lodge.
Most were also unaware of the help available to congregational groups from the Diocese Murray Scarlett Glenesk Fund which will pay the cost of the stay and also an additional contribution towards the cost of food.
(The purpose of this fund is to assist people from the Diocese to go to St Drostan’s Lodge. It will pay for young people up to the age of eighteen, Students in Further and Higher Education, and adults in special circumstances e.g.; receiving pension credit, Personal Independence Payment, Employment Support or Job Seekers Allowances.)
This fund is underused and there is lot’s of money in the fund, many tens of thousands of pounds, which should be used as part of our outreach, rather than sitting in the Bank!
We would ask Vestries to consider how their Church could utilise St Drostan’s and also promote their mission.