Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.66                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       SEPTEMBER, 1966.

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.

Text for September: "Comfort me with apples". Song of Solomon 2. 5.


Dear Fellow Member,

On Sunday morning, 31st July, the first Sunday after the Common Riding, I preached a sermon on the novel text given above as our text for September. I chose the text not only because it was novel but because it reminds us what a wonderful Book the Bible is, speaking to us not only of the height and depth of Divine love but also of human love and romance. In the Book of Solomon we have, reading between the lines, the thrilling story of a romance between a prince and a country maiden. King Solomon falls in love with a girl who is one of a band of fruit gatherers in the Royal Orchards. Only a little while before uttering this cry "comfort me with apples", this country maiden had been living a simple wholesome life in her home in Solam. But the time came when her parents sent her to work for the summer in the King's vineyards, and it was here through the chance meeting with a stranger that her whole life underwent a complete change. For one day as she was busy plucking rosy apples this stranger came up to her and began to talk. She took him for a country fellow of her own class in her simplicity, and while he didn't divulge his identity he was in point of fact a Royal Prince, soon to become King. However the time soon came when he took her off to be his bride and it now became evident to her who he really was.

The words "comfort me with apples" belong to that stage of the story when the romance has reached its climax and the country maiden has become a Queen. For her bridal reception there had been all and more than you would expect from royalty; the royal banquet had lasted for days with song and dancing, music and laughter. Everything that mind could devise and wealth produce had been provided to make the young Queen happy. But our text hints that she was finding it all too roreign and superficial to her nature. She began to long for the lost simple joys of her quiet country life, and in half a memory and half an anguished sob she cries "Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love".

Such was the pathetic cry of this young maiden as she longed to recover old associations and youthful joys, the grand days of the past when life was simple and less artificial, when God and nature were near and real. She longed for the old homestead with the apple trees and flowers and singing birds" "Comfort me with apples". And I take this text today because I see this same longing to regain past simplicities being expressed in many walks and spheres of life today.

The Annual Celebration of the Langholm Common Riding

At this time we see people who were born and reared in this community returning for a brief stay, or if too far distant to return, turning their thoughts towards their old home town with a sense of nostalgia and deep emotion. We sometimes get the impression that our modern life has been divested of all sentiment and emotion, that words like home, and love and human loyalties have lost the meaning they once had; but at a time like this we realise we are mistaken. Hilaire Belloc has a story of a man who went out from our country and was roughing it in Colorado in the early gold digging days. And he tells how when the day's work was over he would take out of his kit bag an old battered mouth organ and play over the old songs and hymnes he had learnt when a boy at home. And as he did so the tears would begin to roll down his rugged cheeks, for the songs carried him back to former days and friends when life was unspoilt and true and expectant of grand days to come. And this deep seated instinct of love of home and past associations can have a tremendous steadying and guiding effect upon life for people when they remove to city life or far distant lands and are having to face up to new temptations and problems of living. And I think it behoves us all to make home life all it can be for our children. To see they are given every encouragement in religion and respect for the things that are good and true. For whatever their immediate response this is something that will never be lost.

And I find the same pathetic longing being expressed today in the artificial values of modern society.

The late Dr. William Temple, when Archbishop of Canterbury, was one day addressing undergraduates in Oxford on the subject, the changing values of modern life, He said that the position today was rather like a shop window where some mischievous person had got in overnight and changed all the price labels round, so that the cheap things were being made expensive and the really costly chings cheap. Today the old ways and old simplicities are being despised. We are living life on a grand scale compared with life in this country fiftv years ago. We are mostly better off than our fathers and mothers were, but I question if we are better men, better women. With all our material advance and increasing sense of social security, I doubt if this country ever possessed so many frustrated. disappointed people, longing for something they sense to be missing in life. I have read of a woman who left a humble country home and entered a new and most successful kind of life. She passed. through the university, graduated, later mairied into high society, and came to possess almost everything a woman could ask of life. Her life was full of excitement fashionable parties, world travel, a good husband in a well established and prosperous position in life. But like the young bride of King Solomon. she felt a nagging feeling that something was missing in life that mattered. And this is what she confessed, "life for me now is as du11 as dishwater. When I was young I was religious and now seem to have lost touch with the things I once believed in". She however came to thie point when she retraced her steps and along with her husband and young family made a place in life for the deep and abiding satisfactions of religion. She felt as William Cowper must have felt when he wrote his grand hymn and which I am sure a lot of peopie in middle life are feeling today.

"What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,

How sweet their memories still

But they have left an aching void

The world can never fill."

I aiso believe that this same longing as expressed in words of Solomon's young bride is to be found in the hearts and minds of many of our modern scientists and inventors as they look out upon our dangerous present day world.

Today there is a world wide dread among thinking people of the disaster modern discovery oould bring if misused. That if nations should embark upon a nuclear war there may very well come an end to our modern civilisation, as has come to many great civilisations in past history. Some of us are old enough to remember the experiments of the Wright Brothers in the invention of the aeroplane. How the newspapers gave pictures of the Wright Brothers draging their clumsy looking machine to the top of a hill near the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, and how onlookers laughed at them. But it was not long until the Wright Brothers were in the air, and the dream of flying became true. Later one of the brothers wrote these words: "I would have no pleasure in inventing tle aeroplane unless I thought it would help to abolish war" The Wright Brothers hoped that the aeroplane would help by bridging distance to bring nations together, help to carry medical supplies to people in isolated and lonely Australian sheep farms, that it would be used to bring food and relief to people in need and distress. But think of how it has been exploited by the evil in man, to carry devastating bombs and disaster to innocent women and children. I am not decrying progress of scientific advancement, it has to come and will come, and if modern scientific advance could be controlled by men as morally advanced as they are scientifically advanced, it could bring in an age of splendour and plenty for all humanity throughout the length and breadth of the world. But as serious people fear the misuse of the scientific advance they feel a sense of longing for the days when wars were restricted to conveniional weapons. A few years ago the British Association met in Leeds, and the Bishop of Ripon (then Dr. E. L. Burroughs) preached the official sermon. He was greatly ridiculed because he pleaded with the scientists tb pause for ten years to let morality catch up with scientific advance. The Press tried .to make the Bishop look foolish and ridiculous to suggest holding up scientific progress, but the greater part of those who listened to him knew what he meant, that unless scientific advance is controlled by men who are concerned only with the service and amelioration of the human race, it may well destroy our modern civilisation.

Finally, in this longing of the young Queen for things missed, I find a note of witness to man,s immortal nature.

We are creatures created with a sense of restlessness and longing that nothing on earth can ever satisfy. This is what Augustine meant when he prayed, "O God, Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee". Man at his best is not a creature like the beast in the field which can be satisfied with food and drink; he has longings that the things of earth can never satisfy. When Cleopatra was about to die she said, "Give me my robe, put on my crown, I have immrortal longings in me". And this is true of us all, while for the greater part of life we may be insensible of these immortal longings they are there all the time. There is a lovely old Hebiidean legend which Fiona Macleod has included in one of her stories, about a god who lived at the bortom of the sea. He could only live in the water. If he rose to the surface it could only be for a little time. This god greatly desired to possess a human baby. So any baby carried by boat from one island to another was in real danger, for the god would try and snatch him. One day a child was being carried by boat and the god almost caught up, but the keel grated on the sand just in time. As the baby was lifted out the god managed to throw a wavelet into the child's heart, and then sank to his place beneath the waves. But as he did so he exclaimed, "the boy will come back to me, for the sea is in his heart". The story goes on to tell how years after the people on one of the islands saw a young man rowing a boat in the direction in which there was no land. "Why ever is he rowing in that direction?" they asked." Then they saw him stand up in the boat, throw up his arms and dive into the sea. He could resist no longer the lure for the sea was in his heart. That story illustrates the true nature of man, eternity is in his heart, he comes from God, returns to God, and in God's service alone will he find peace. Wordsworth in his Intimations of Immortality, puts this theme in lovely lines.

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar;"

"Heaven lies about us in our infancy....."

"Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the eternal silence....

"Hence in a season of fair weather

Though inland far we be, Our Souls catch sight of that immortal sea which brought us hither,

Can in a moment travel thither,

And see the Chiidren sport upon the shore,

and hear the mighiy waters rolling evermore."

Yes, now and again, though we may be far inland perhaps in a moment when we are looking at a little child recently come into the world, or standing by the grave of some dear one, or perhaps waiting before God in worship in His house, we catch a glimpse of "that immortal sea that brought us hither, can in a moment travel thither". As the legend puts it, so God might well say, "he will come back to Me, for eternity, restlessness, a deep unaccountable longing is in his heart". God has made us for Himself and our hearts will ever be restless, until we find our rest in Him.

Retirement oI the Rev. Beatrice D. Bonnar, M.A., B.D.

With I large number of people in Langholm I personally share a sense of real sadness in the news that Rev. Beatrice Bonnar is this month retiring from her charge as minister of Langholm Congregational Church.. She has given some 25 years of splendid service in her ministry in Langholm and has vindicated beyond a shadow of doubt that women can stand shoulder to shoulder witl1 men in the Christian ministry. Her academic qualifications are of the highest, Master of Arts and Batchelor of Divinity. Her ability as a telling preacher and as pastor with a heart of understanding for all kinds of people has made her a minister who will be very difficult to replace. She has been a most valuable member of the local Earl Haig Fund Committee in representing the claims of ex-servicemen and their dependents. As a colleague I have found her always ready to share in any united effort, and we have happy memories of the part she has played in United Services in the Old Parish Church. I am glad to learn she will continue to live in Langholm and that she will be availabJe to help in taking occasional Services in any of our local congregations. We trust that the Langholm Congregational Church will soon find a worthy successor to Rev. Miss Bonnar who will work along with the local ministers in the friendly way she has always done.

Special Services During the Summer

During July we had the Young Wives Fellowship leading the evening Service on Sunday, 10th when lessons were read by Mrs. Barbara McGinley, and Mrs. Rena Liggins. The Felowship sang the lovely hymn "Now the day is over" with Mrs. Kathleen Chalmers singing alternative verses. The young wives decorated the church with flowers which gave a sense of festival and thanksgiving. The flowers were later taken to sick and aged. On Sunday, 17th duliqg my absence at the Air Training Corps Camp at West Raynham, the Services were most ably conducted by Mr. John Tyman, and for this help I express warm thanks. On Sunday, 24th July we had a well attended and happy Common Riding Service, attended by Cornet Ronald Hudson, with his Right and Left Hand Men, the Common Riding Committee, the Provost and members of Langholm Town Council, and with Mr. Hector Monro, M.P. present and presenting a copy of the New English Bible to the Cornet. We were glad to have this as a United Service with Rev. Dr. Dinwoodie and Rev. Miss Bonnar sharing with me in conducting the Service. The evening Service on 24tb July was attended by members of the Lodge Eskdale Kilwinning when the Rev. George Watson, B.D. conducted the service. The United Services in August were well supported, and on Sunday, 21st we were thrilled to have the Over 60 Club attending the evening Service and taking an active part. Lessons were read by Mrs. Woolnough ,and Mr. John Mackie, a solo was sung by Mrs. Oliver, and members of the Club as a choir sang the hymn "Summer suns are glowing". In September we see the commencement of the Sunday School for the new session on Sunday, llth. On Sunday, 18th we are asked by the Moderator of the General Assembiy to observe thanksgiving for the victory of the Battle of Britain, and an appeal is made for all congregations of the Church of Scotland to have opportunites to contribute to the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund. On the same Sunday we are asked by Hawick Presbytery to observe Missionary Sunday, and it is possible that there will be a visiting Missionary in Langholm that day who will take part in the Evening Service., Also on Sunday, 18th September I commence a class after the evening Service for young people wishing to join the Church. The Harvest Festival Services will be on Sunday, I6th October, when we hope with favourable weather the harvest will have been safely gathered in.

Church Flowers

I am more and more impressed with the care and generosity given by our members in providing flowers for the Communion Table. This does much to enrich the atmosphere of the church for worship. I would like here,to take the opportunity of thanking Mrs. Mary Armstrong for her splendid work in arranging the list of flower donors, and seeing the flowers distributed after the Sunday Services. Also to thank those who have provided flowers for the vestibule during the summer, which has made a big impression upon the many visitors who enter the church during the week.

Church and Hall Repair and Decoration

We expect the work of rewiring the church and renewing the lighting system to commence soon. It is not expected the work will hinder continued use of the church for Sunday Services, and we have prospects of seeing the work done before winter months commence. The Guild has undertaken to finance the redecoration of the Hall and this work is due to commence this month. I would like to express appreciation to the Guild for this support, and Mr. Tom Coulson, convener of the Fabiic Committee, for his part in getting the work priced and underway.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

In July we lost Miss Nellie Veitch, 41 Caroline Street, who passed away after a long illness in the Thomas Hope Hospital. Nellie was a devoted member of our Church and regular in attendance when she was fit and well. She lived through her prolonged illness with a brave spirit, and was tremendously helped and cheered by the daily visits of her friend Miss Hannah Buddles with whom she lived for many years. Our sympathy in bereavement with Miss Buddles and with James Veitch .

On the day I write this letter I have heard of the passing of Miss Lilian Wilson McGeorge, Greenbank. For several months Miss Lilian McGeorge had known that her time with us was short, and through days of weakness she displayed such wonderful courage that it was difficuli sometimes to believe she did. She has lived a grand and happy life with memories of service as a V.A.D. nurse in the First World War, serving as a nurse in the Langhom Old Parish Hall when used as a Military Hospital, and also in Alnwick. After the war she did good work in the help of the blind. During my many visits to her home I have always found her very interested in all that was happenlng in our church. She had a Christian faith thaf did much to sustain her. Her sister, Mrs. Paterson of Terrona Cottage, has been a really wonderful sister to her, and was with her day and night during these past weeks. She was also greatly cheered by the regular visits of her neice Barbara, and her nephew John and his wife. To them we extend deepest and sincere sympathy in their bereavement"

With greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely.




Collections for July and August 1966

F.W.O £139 11 0

Ordinary £47 2 11

Refund Tax on Covenant £6 16 11

Collecting Boxes £3 18 0


September 11 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Dalziel, 16 Braehead. Sunday School meets with Morning Service and children leave for classes after hymn.

September 18 11 a.m. Battle of Britain Thanksgiving. Rev. Tom Calvert. 6 p.m. Missionary Sunday Message. Flowers, Mrs. E. Armitage, Glowrie, Hillside.

September 25 Services 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. David Milligan, 5 Buccleuch Square.

October 2-Services 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. A. Erskine, 35 Eskdaill Street.


Juty 25, Miss Nellie Veitch, 41 Caroline Street. Age 71.

August 30, Miss Lilian Wilson McGeorge, Greenbank. Age 72.

"I have run the great race, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. And now the prize awaits me." 2 Timothy, 4. 7 and 8. New English Bible.


The Sunday School will commence the new session on Sunday, llth September, meeting with the Morning Service, and children leaving for classes after the children's hymn.

The Kirk Session will meet on Wednesday, 14th September. at 1.10 p.m., followod by'a meeting of the Congregational Board at 8.30 p.m.

A class for young people wishing to join the Church will commence on Sundav. 18th September, the class meeting immediately after thd Evening Service, and classes continuing each Sunday until the Communion Sunday on 30th October. Attending ,the class does.not carry obligation to be received into the Church membership at this time, and I invite all interested to attend.