Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.56                       Price 1/ - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       OCTOBER, 1965.

Minister: Revd. Tom Calvert, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Mr. John Tyman,M.A. LL.B., Barbank, Langholm. Tel. 223

Clerk to Board: Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Town Hall, Langholm , Tel. 255

Treasurer: Mr. Robert Black, 35 Eskdaill Street.

Organist: Mr. A. C. Mallinson, A.R.C.O., L.R.A.M., 72 Henry Street.

Church Officer: Mr. W. Elliot, 3 Buccleuch Terrace.

Hall Caretaker: Mr Donaldson, 7 West Street.

Motto Text for September: "Those things which cannot be shaken." Hebrews 12. 27.


Dear Fellow-Member,

The unknown writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews lived in Jerusalem in times very like our own, in times when great changes were taking place. The very things which he had held most dear were seen to be falling to ruin before his eyes. Wanton destruction was being wrought in Jerusalem by a ruthless invader, its historic buildings were being razed to the ground, and human blood was literally flowing in its streets. But this, man, whose name we do not know, evidently a Jewish Christian, was completely composed and unmoved by all that was happening. He saw change and disaster on every side of him, but whilst others were losing heart and hope for the future he kept his faith and hope and balance. This writer saw in a time of catastrophe some things which even the Roman invader could not destroy, things which by their very nature were indestructible. And so he takes up his, pen and writes about these things in order to fortify the hearts of his fellow Christians, it is as though he was saying something like this "Yes, the earth and heavens are being shaken, On every side we see change and disaster, but fix your eyes on those things which cannot be shaken or destroyed, those things which have a touch of eternity about them."

In these days when vast changes are taking place in the life of our own country and the world, changes in Britain's place and standing and hold over the Commonwealth, changes in the attitude of the younger generation to old established traditions, I would like to say something in my message this month about some of those things that know no change and that remain the same from age to age.

First let me say that we are not to regard change as entirely evil, for sometimes we can see in it the hand a God.

One of our dearly loved hymns says, "change and decay in all around I see", but surely this is all to the good in many things. Think of some of the great changes that have taken place in the history' of our own land how from days when the masses of the people were treated with contempt by the ruling classes there has gradually come the change of social security for all./p>

How once little children were regarded as a source of cheap labour and schools only existed for parents who had the desire to send their children and the means to pay the fees, to our modern educational system today when every child has an equal chance with another. People often don't like and fear change. The slave owners of America didn't like it and they rebelled against it, and I suppose that was one of the reasons for the assassin's bullet bringing to a close the life of Abraham Lincoln. What vast Changes have taken place as the result of two world wars in advance of invention and science, and it can and Should all 'turn out for the good of humanity. Think of the great changes taking place today in the under-developed nations of Africa and elsewhere and the cry for self-rule. This should alarm no one except those whose vested interests are going to suffer. For change will come with the passing of the years, and it is surely God's plan for His children in every part of the world that they should grow out of their primitive childhood, as signs today indicate they are doing, and come to enjoy a reasonable standard of living.

However, my message in this letter is about the things that know no change from age to age, and I will mention a few of them.

First, Truth can never change.

We know how in war days nations had to give place to lies and propaganda. On any flimsy pretext dictators invaded the territories of weaker nations and justified their actions by some bare-faced invented story of the weaker nation's evil intentions. And evil and falsehood seemed to prosper for a time, but truth always wins in the end of the day.

"Though the cause of evil prosper, Yet tis truth alone is. strong.

Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong,

Yet that scaffold sways the future."

The best example of what I mean is the story of the trial and death of Jesus on Calvary. Prejudice, falsehood and hate condemned and crucified Him. But history has shown that plotting and lies came to inglorious defeat and that truth alone was victorious. At the end of John Masefield's play, Good Friday, we hear the old man who had been selling lilies, look up at Christ hanging on His Cross and say, "Friend, it is over now, the passion, the tears and the pain, only the truth remains." Yes, truth is a thing which men can never finally defeat or devalue, and to assert it or defend it gives people a wonderful sense of satisfaction. The brave Scottish Reformers knew this satisfaction and it gave them their power to suffer and die knowing that truth would triumph in the end. Andrew Melville was called a "Greatheart of the Reformation". The Earl of Morton threatened him with violent death, but Andrew Melville laughed at his threats. "Tush tush my Lord," he replied, "make these threats to your courtiers. It is all one to me whether I rot in the air or in the earth. It is not in your power to hang or exile truth."

Secondly, beauty is indestructible.

The glory of a dawn, a star-lit evening, the singing of the birds, a lovely sculpture or painting, lovely music, these things know also change from age to age. A musician who by his singing had delighted Viscount Grey (then Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary) received a letter from him dated August 5, 1914, the day after the First Great War broke out, which included these sentences, "I love Handel's music, and it does me good. Europe is in the most terrible trouble it has ever known in civilised times, and no one can say what will be left at the end but Handel's music will survive."

Thirdly, God's Word can know no change, it is indestructible.

Take the Bible for example, one of the oldest books in the world, and yet it is the newest and freshest pieces of literature in the world today. Much of it was written many centuries ago, and yet it speaks to the needs of today, as it has spoken to the needs of each generation as if it was written for that very time. It has passed through many a furnace of criticism. Voltaire over 200 years ago declared that in his day the Bible would cease to have any appeal to the age in which he lived. Yet a hundred years later, the very roam in Paris in which he made that proud boast had become a Bible depository. There have been times in history when men have sought to discredit the Bible, but what has happened is that while its critics have died and been forgotten about, the Word of God has gone forward in wider appeal and demand.

"Last night I stood beside a blacksmith's door, I heard the anvil ring the vesper chime, And looking in I saw upon the floor Old hammers, worn with beating years of time. How many anvils have you had, said I,

To wear and batter all these hammers so? just one, he said, then with a twinkling eye, The anvil wears the hammers out, you know. And so thought I, the anvil of God's Word, For ages sceptic's blows have beat upon. Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard The anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone."

Fourthly, God's ancient sacrifice in the death of Jesus on Calvary remains unchanged.

On Calvary Jesus died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. He bore our sins in His own body of the tree, that we being dead unto sins should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes we are healed." And ever since Calvary men have gone on celebrating that sacrifice, as we will do in the Old Parish Church on the last Sunday of October, when we will take the bread and wine, symbols of His broken body and shed blood. And as we partake of these elements we will recall the truth of the words of the well known hymn, "He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good, That we might go at last to heaven, Saved by His precious blood". Yes, and with the passing of the years and the great changes that have come over the world, and the great advances men have made, we realise that we still need forgiveness as men did nineteen hundred years ago. And we realise that there is no one else to whom we can turn but to Him whom John the Baptist pointed out as the "Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world".

Fifthly, God's plan for our world becoming the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus remains unchanged.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." It is clear from this petition of our Lord's Prayer that Jesus is thinking of God's rule here on earth, and not what the Communists call "pie in the sky". Now the writer of our text says in the same sentence, wherefore receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved". Nothing can change God's plan and final pattern for the world, that with the onward march of the Gospel, the "kingdoms of this world will one day become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ".

Since Jesus began teaching about the coming Kingdom in Galilee nineteen hundred years ago, great advances have been made. From that tiny handful of followers of the early Church, constantly threatened with opposition and persecution, today we have a great Church with its roots in every land, and now counting its adherents in something like a thousand millions, well-nigh a third of the world's population.

Of course I know that there is another side to this picture of the growth and advance of Christ's rule in the world. Today we are confronted with the challenge of an atheistic communism spreading over great tracts of the world, while among professing Christians throughout the English speaking world there is an alarming amount of indifference and formality. Nevertheless God's good purpose for the world in Jesus Christ remains unchanged, and the good seed that has been sown will one day bring its harvest. As W. Y. Fullerton has put it in his great hymn:

"I cannot tell how He will win the nations, How He will claim His earthly heritage, How satisfy the needs and aspirations Of East and West, of sinner and of sage. But this I know, all flesh shall see His glory, And He shall reap the harvest He has sown; And some glad day His sun will shine in spendour, When He the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is known."

Furthermore, the power of God's sustaining grace in Jesus Christ remains unchanged from age to age.

St. Paul in the first Christian century claimed, "By the grace of God I am what I am." And when physical affliction laid him low he found himself upheld and sustained by some wonderful power. He prayed that his affliction might be taken away so that it might not hinder him in his adventurous missionary activities, and got the answer from his Lord, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness". And there are men and women living today who find the promise of grace sufficient for their needs as true as Paul did. In my ministry I have known trusting men and women to confess that they have been given special strength from some unseen hand in times of trial or weakness. "0 to grace how great a debtor, Daily I'm constrained to be. Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee".

And finally, God's love as made known in Jesus Christ can know no change from age to age.

We cannot say this about human love always, for human love is a fickle thing subject to change. It can be destroyed by infidelity, by jealousy and by changing circumstances. But the love of God remains unchanged no matter how it is spurned or despised. You see it in Jesus on the Cross, praying for those who drove the nails into His hands and feet, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". His attitude and love to Peter remained the same after the terrible denial, and would have been the same to Judas after the betrayal, had poor Judas only come back. I have read about Romney, the English portrait painter, how he left Kendal and went south to London. There he met with fame and success and wealth, and for forty years forgot all about his wife whom he had left behind in Kendal. And then suddenly fortune and success took wings and fled from him, followed by the loss of health of body and mind. In his distress he returned to his old home in Kendal and to the woman whom he had treated so heartlessly.

How did she receive him? If she had greeted him with reproach and locked the door in his face, no one could have blamed her. But she did no such thing, rather she took him back to her heart, comforted him as a mother comforts her child, and nursed him with gentleness until his eyes closed in death. And if a human, a man or a woman, is capable of love like that, how much can we expect that of Divine love. Jesus says, God is Father. And that means that if God is, and if His nature and character can be described by the word "father", then it means that He must be better than the best father or mother that ever lived in His creation, and we all know very well that the love of a good human father could never change for his child. And this means that we can be certain that God's love for the world and for us as individuals cannot change, and that in the end of the day His love will not be defeated in gaining response from us, somewhere if not here, sometime if not yet.

Harvest Thanksgiving and Cradle Roll Services

On Sunday, 10th October we will observe our annual Harvest Thanksgiving. We will do so with deep concern and sympathy for the farmers of Britain this year. The seed has been faithfully sown, and the earth has yielded its abundant increase, but it seems likely that the unfavourable weather will cause the ruin of a large percentage of the corn harvest. It is a common circumstance in the East for harvest to fail for want of the earlier and the latter rains. This happened frequently in ancient Israel and yet we never find the people losing heart and hope or the sense of gratitude to the God of Nature. In the Book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament we read in chapter 3. verses 17/18: "Though the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat ... Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength." If the farmers find it impossible this year to sing "all is safely gathered in", they will still join in thanking God for His endless mercies, and most of all in acknowledging that whatever our fortune, "the Lord God is my strength".

The 11 a.m. Morning Service will be led by young people from the Sunday School, and the children are invited to bring a harvest gift of fruit or flowers or confectionery. Gifts will be received from the children during the singing of the first hymn, and later will be distributed to the sick, aged, hospitals, and possibly some portion to the Dr. Barnardo Home at Hawick.

At 11.45 am. parent's with their babies' names on the Cradle Roll are invited to join the Service, entering by the minister's vestry, when a short Cradle Roll ceremony will follow, and the babies presented with fruit by the Cradle Roll Keepers. This gives us an opportunity of expressing our thanks to Misses jean and Lila McVittie for their faithful work as Keepers of the Cradle Roll.

The Evening Service will be a harvest thanksgiving with sermon and harvest singing.

Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper

On Sunday, 31st October we will celebrate Holy Communion at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. with a Communion Thanksgiving Service at 6 p.m. First Communicants will be received at the Morning Service. Would any wishing to join the Church by certificate of transfer, or restoration, let the minister have their names as soon as possible.

Remembrance Sunday

The British Legion will be attending the Old Parish Church on Sunday, 14th November for the annual Remembrance Day Service. This will be a United Service as last year of Erskine, Congregational and All Saints Episcopal Churches with all the ministers taking part. We also hope to have the Provost and members of the Town Council present. There will be the Service at the War Memorial at at 10.15 a.m. and the congregation is asked to be seated in Church by 10.45 a.m. so that we can observe the two minutes silence in church at 11 a.m. with the whole nation. Uniformed organisations including the Guides and Brownies, Boys' Brigade and Life Boys, Air Cadets and Red Cross are invited to attend in uniform.

Women's Guild

The Women's Guild Dedication Service on Sunday, 26th September was well attended, when the Lessons were read by Mrs. Mina Carter, President, and Mrs. E. Wood, Secretary. The Guild commences the new session on Tuesday, 12th October with the annual business meeting, followed by holiday slides. The new syllabus of the session is now available and can be obtained from Mrs. Wood, which includes a very attractive programme of meetings. The meeting on 26th October will be open to the public, when Messrs John Laing and Son, builders of Coventry Cathedral, will show a film in colour giving us the story of this beautiful modern Cathedral which has attracted world attention.

United Services

There will be a monthly United Service of the Erskine, Congregational and Old Parish congregations throughout the coming winter. On 17th October at 6 p.m. in the Erskine Church, on 14th November at 10.45 a.m. in the Old Parish, and on 12th December at 6 p.m. in the Congregational Church.

Elders Wives Effort for Fabric Fund

Many will remember the happy evening of the Car Treasure Hunt on 7th July when £43 was raised for the Church Fabric Fund. On Wednesday, 29th September a Coffee Evening with Bring and Buy Stall was held in the hall, and had a large attendance. A delightful programme of personally produced coloured slides was given by Mr. Matthew Armstrong, slides projected by Mr. W. Allan. In this second effort the sum of £50 was raised for the Fabric Fund, and I wish to express best thanks to the Elders Wives under the leadership of Mrs. Kenneth Neill, and all who gave in gifts and donations for this splendid effort.

British Sailors' Society

Warm thanks to members of the Langholm Company of the Girl Guides for conducting the door to door collection for the British Sailors' Society. The sum realised by the Collection was £6 10s, plus a donation of 10/- to the British Sailors' Society Children's Welfare Home at Rhu from the Old Parish Sunday School.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

On Wednesday, 22nd September, John Calvert, 1 David Street, passed away at the age of 75. I was visiting him on the previous evening and he seemed in excellent health. His late wife Helen Ross is remembered for her grand service in the Old Parish Women's Guild over many years, and they were both regular and devoted church members. Our deepest sympathy with the family and relatives.

With greetings to all our people. My visitation is continuing but with weeknight meetings and other engagements it is slowed down from time to time.

Yours sincerely,




Collections for September, 1965

F.W.O. £116 5 0 Ordinary £24 15 6

By Collecting Boxes £1 11 10

By Annual Envelope £4 0 0


At the meeting of the Kirk Session on Wednesday, 8th September, Mr. John Tyman, Session Clerk, intimated his intention of resigning from this office after next Communion. He pointed out that he had held the office for. ten years and felt that opportunity should be given to younger elders to serve in that office.. Regret was expressed by the elders at Mr. Tyman's decision, and it was pointed out by Mr. Calvert that Mr. Tyman was now doing a very important work in Hawick Presbytery as a Reader, which involves almost weekly duties conducting Services in vacant charges or taking the place of ministers for various reasons. Mr. Tyman is doing this work with great acceptance and his services are in growing demand.

The Kirk Session,heard a report on the dangerous condition of the church electric cables, and it was decided to recommend to the next meeting of the Congregational Board that the re-wiring and overhaul of the church lighting be undertaken without delay.


The Boys' Brigade meets in the Old Parish Hall on Friday evenings at 7.15 p.m. when boys of 11 years and over are welcomed. The Life Boys meet on Friday evenings in the Congregational Church Hall at 7 p.m. when boys of 8 years and over are welcomed.


The Youth Club meeting in the Youth Centre in Charles Street Old has had a good start. Over sixty lads and girls between the ages of 14 and 21 have become members, meeting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 7 and 10 p.m. On Tuesday, 12th October a junior section Will commence meeting, ages 10 to 14 years. On Thursday, 14th October there will be classes for the senior section, ages 14 to 21 years in model aircraft building and other arts and crafts. On Sunday, 10th October the Club will commence a Sunday Evening Fellowship, open from 7.15 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a session from 8 to 9 p.m. for religious interest. The first meeting will have a panel of any questions, with Mr Pattie as chairman and a panel of four which will include the local ministers available.


October 10-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Harvest Services. Morning Service led by Sunday School, when children bring gifts which will be received during singing of opening hymn. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. ha Irving, 20 Henry Street.

October 17-11 a.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. W. Smith, 28 Caroline Street. 6 p.m. United Service in Erskine Church.

October 24-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. A. Smith, 44 High Street.

October 31-11 a.m. Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

Supper. 3 p.m. Second .Table of Communion.

6 p.m. Communion. Thanksgiving. Revd, Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. M. Morrison, 16 Henry Street.

November 7-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. A. Smith, 7 Holmwood Crescent.


September 10, Pamela Ethel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hall, Whitlawside, Canonbie.

September 19, Michelle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Armstrong, 1 Braehead.


September 22, John Calvert, 1 David Street. Age 75.

"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall ahy man pluck them out of my hand". Tohn 10. 28.


October 6, Congregational Board in Vestry, 7.30 p.m. October 13, Kirk Session meets at 7.30 p.m.

October 27, Congregational Board meets in Vestry at 7.30 p.m.

October 29, Friday. Kirk. Session meets in preparation for Communion at 7.30 p.m. and on Sunday,. 31st, in Vestry at 10.30 a.m.