Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.73                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       APRIL1967.

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

Session Clerk: Alexander Hutton, Savings Bank, Market Place, Langholm

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.

Easter Text—Never wilt Thou let me sink to death, nor leave Thy loyal one to the grave”. Psalm I6. l0. Moffatt.

The message of Easter is victory over death and the grave, as the Psalmist hoped in these words of our text.

An old fable relates the story of a fox hard-pressed by the hounds coming to the mouth of a great cave. According to the cunning custom of his kind, he takes stock of the situation. He observed the tracks of many foxes leadinginto the cave, and inferred that others had sought refuge there; but he noted, too, that while the tracks were numerous, they were all leading one way, inwardl. None led out. Shrewdly judging that, while he might easily enter, the chances were that the cave held some devouring monster which would destroy him, he passed on in search of another refuge. Now that is an almost perfect account of howl death and the grave has been viewed by mankind down the ages. Only in one way is it imperfect because unlike the fox, when man comes to the cave he cannot pass on in search of other refuge. -Man, when he comes to it, has no option but to enter the cave whatever fears of annihilation it may hold for him. On the other hand, for centuries man has viewed death as a dark cave from which none who have entered have ever returned. Man has thought of death and what lies beyond it as Shakespeare puts it "That undiscovered country from whose bourne, No traveller returns”.

But while there are no tracks leading outward from their entrance to the cave, down the ages men have given esvidfince of belief in other exits.

While men may see no tracks leading outward, this is not conclusive evidence that there are no other exits. There is nothing about the cave to prove that the entrance is the only exit. There may be other exits leading out to grander country and lovelier prospects.

This is supported by man’s instinctive sense of a life beyond‘ the grave.

The ancient Psalmist had this instinctive longing as was common to the Hebrews. “Never wilt Thou let me sing to death, nor leave Thy loyal one to the grave”. And this instinctive sense of life beyond the grave is shared by other races than the Hebrews. As Sir James G. Fraser, the eminent anthropologist, says in his book, Belief in Immortality, “Among the savage races a life after death is not a matter of speculation and conjecture, of hope and fear: it is a practical certainty”. The Red Indian dreamed about his Happy Hunting Grounds. The Persians were hopeful in the thought of their Garden of Delight beyond the grave. The Egyptian buried his dead with little articles of food which he believed would be needed in the long journey beyond the deserts. And while few today may be impressed by the beliefs of primitive man, it has to be remembered that the same beliefs were held by the learned philosophers of Greece.

Socrates, one of the noblest men who ever lived in Greece, believed that for a good man, death will be nothing but gain. Facing his judges as they sentenced him to death, he says, “And you, too, judges, must face death with a good courage and believe this as a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life, or after death”

And then we have to take account of all that happening in Nature all the time, confirming the belief that there are other exits for us from the cave.

We see it at its best at this season, in the month of April. The brown, dead looking bulbs which a few weeks ago lay buried in the garden, are now coming to life in golden daffodils; and will continue coming as life from death as long as Spring returns with the year. There is the story of the larvae at the bottom of the pond. They were discussing the question as to why some of their members climbed the water-lily stem to the surface and never returned. So they agreed that the next one to go would return to tell his friends all about what happened. The chief spokesman in the discussion soon felt the urge to climb out, and was soon safe and sound on top of the water-lily pad, drying in the sun. Then a wonderful thing happened. He passed through a transformation of which he had never dreamed. He became a dragon-fly and was soon skimming over the surface of the pond, with graceful movement and delicate wings. And as he looked down into the dark surface of the pond he now realised that in his new form he could never penetrate the depths to tell his friends what had happened. Did they but know it the same transformation was awaiting them as soon as the upward urge laid hold upon them. And that is exactly what happens in nature, and need we doubt that something as grand, or grander, happens after we enter the dark cave of death. Perhaps it was something like this that St. Paul was thinking about when he wrote to the Corinthians and quoted from something he had once read, that Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.

Another reason for belief in other exits from the cave lies in the nature and character of God.

If we believe in God, and that the nature and character of God is as Jesus declared when he said, "When ye pray, say our Father" then it follows that nothing but gain can follow our entry into the cave. Tennyson puts it like this, "Thou wilt not leave us in the dust. Thou madest man, he knows not why; He thinks he was not made to die. And thou hast made him, Thou art just".

And then we have claims which cannot be swept aside lightly of apparitional appearances of those who have entered the cave.

Before the last war I was minister of a mining parish in Ayrshire. I well remember a miner's wife telling me of her son who was with the R.A.S.C. in the Middle East in the First World War. He was killed in a traffic accident. It was two weeks later when she was informed by the War Office of his death, but on the very day he was killed, on a Sunday Morning, she said she was wakened up and saw him standing by her bedside, and he spoke to her something about not worrying, that all was well. In my ministry I have heard from many of similar experiences, and Ivhave no reason to doubt their validity. Major Tudor Pole in his book, The Silent Road, quotes many such examples from the two world wars. Here I quote his own words, "During the last war a company commander well known to me was killed at the beginning of an engagement. He was so loved by his men that it was decided not to disclose his death until the battle was over. This officer was killed at seven in the morning and yet throughout the day he was seen leading his men into the attack, and on several occasions his speech saved those under his command from ambush. At the end of the day when the objective had been reached, this officer went among his men and thanked them for their bravery. He spoke, and was spoken to in a perfectly natural way. It was only later the same night when the men were told he had been killed that morning that he ceased to be visible to them”. This says Major Tudor Pole is an experience I can vouch for personally, as I was there, and I know of other similar experiences that level-headed, reliable people have had.

But the Message of Easter is not dependent upon the cave having other exits, for it speaks of tracks leading out from the entrance.

Easter says Shakespeare was wrong when he spoke of “that undiscovered country from whose bourne, No traveller returns”. For on the Third Day Jesus came back from the cave, and greeted His friends “All hail”, which means rejoice, all is well. Yes, today we celebrate Jesus coming back from the grave, leaving it empty. On Friday they killed Him on the Cross, and His crucified body was laid in the tomb. There it lay all Saturday, and this is why we call it black Saturday, the only day throughout the year when the Roman Catholics do not celebrate Mass. But on Sunday morning the tomb was found to be empty, and Jesus the Risen Living Lord appeared unto His friends, and continued so appearing for the space of some forty days.

I am not here concerned with giving proof of the Resurrection, that is the subject for another sermon. All I want to say here is that Jesus came back from that undiscovered country, and to use the words of St. Paul. He “became the first fruits of them that sleep”. He came back as none other has ever done or will ever do, the real and same Iesus with hands and feet, no apparition, and declared Himself as the writer of Revelation says “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore”.

In St. Luke, chapter 9, we read the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus, of how on the mount Moses and Elias appeared unto Him “and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem”. The Greek word translated “decease” is the word Exodus, the word used as the title for the second book in the Old Testament which tells of the Children of Israel passing out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. And that was what death and the tomb meant for Jesus, passing out of the limitations of mortality into the life and liberty of the world beyond. The electric railway from the Piraeus to Athens terminates in the Greek capital underground. A lighted stairway conducts the passengers to the brilliant sun-lit city above. The exit board has the Greek notice “Exodus”, which in English would read “way out”. Easter writes Exodus over the cave of the grave; for Jesus and for all God’s children, it is the way out, or the way up into the sunlit city of God. For on the first Easter morning Jesus came back and confirmed the hope of the anclent Palmist, “Never wilt Thou let me sink to death, or leave Thy loyal one to the grave.


Dear Fellow-Member,

March has been a very busy month in our various Church activities, and in this letter I wish to comment upon all that has been achieved.

Guild Meetings and Sale of Work.

The Guild meeting on 7th March was greatly enjoyed, when Rev. Andrew Farms, B.D, minister of Canonbie, rendered a delightful programme of Burns songs. The closing meeting for the session was on 21st March, when films were shown on “Report from Malawi”, and “She Blazed her Trail”. The latter told the story of the life and work of Mary Slessor”. We were indebted to Messrs Reid and Taylor for the use of the projector, and Mr. Tom Lockie for operating same. At this meeting I took the opportunity of expressing thanks to Mrs. Carter, our splendid president, Mrs. Wood, secretary, and Mrs. Goodfellow, treasurer, for their good work throughout the year. At the close of this meeting the Guild discussed the date and place of the Summer Outing, and agreed to hold same on Saturday, 20th May, to the Lake District.

The Sale of Work on Saturday, 18th March was a good success, realising £221. I was sorry that a wedding prevented my attendance but I have heard from many that it was an altogether happy occasion. The Sale was opened by Mrs. Scott of Over Wrae, who spoke in a charming way of the good work done by the Guild. Mrs. Scott was introduced by Mrs. Carter, Guild President, and a vote of thanks was proposed by Miss Ella Glendinning. Spring flowers were presented to Mrs. Scott by Karen Hutton. Many thanks to stall holders and all who contributed to the stalls and all who supported the effort.

I would like to express thanks to the Guild members for their generoussupport of the Bring and Buy Buy Stall at each meeting. It is conducted so unobtrusively and realises over £1 at each meeting.

Annual Congregational Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the congregation was held on Thursday, 23rd and was preceded by a programme of singing provided by the Langholm Junior Choir under Mrs. Margaret Smith, and a solo sung by Miss Jean Ferguson. The Junior Choir is now well established and doing good work for the Langholm Churches. We very much enjoyed the United Service in the Congregational Church on Palm Sunday evening when the Junior Choir rendered seasonable and choice items of praise. At the Congregational Meeting the items were again well chosen for the night before Good Friday. To show how much the members of the Junior Choir appreciate all Mrs. Smith is doing for them, a presentation was made to her at the close of the programme, spring flowers presented by Polly Little, and a box of chocolates presented by Billy Young, in both cases representing all the members of the choir.

Following the singing, sumptious refreshments were provided by the Guild. Many .thanks to the ladies who provided and served same. The Business Meeting followed, and I am reporting fully on the proceedings below.

Boys’ Brigade

The Boys’ Brigade Parents Night, held on Wednesday, 8th March, was well attended and very much enjoyed. We all enjoyed the singing, music and the play. The coloured slides shown by Mr. R. Robertson, brought back happy memories to many of the lads of the visit to Holland and camp scenes. Both the Junior and Senior sections of the B.B. Company are well up to strength and we congratulate Mr. Jim Kyle, the Captain, and his officers on maintaining such a high standard and so much enthusiasm among the boys. The Parents Committee provided refreshments for visitors and boys, and I hardly need to say that this part of the programme was particularly enjoyed.

On Friday, 14th April, the lst Langholm Company of the Boys’ Brigade holds the Ninth Annual inspection and Display in the Buccleuch Hall, commencing at 7.30 p.m. This year the Inspecting Officer is Mr. F. E, Williamson, Chief Constable of Cumberland, Westmorland and Carlisle. Chief Constable Williamson has a very fine record behind him of work in the Manchester C.I.D. Since coming to Carlisle he has become well known through TV. appearances and through his appearance in pulpits and on platforms in bearing witness for his Christian faith. We are fortunate in having him coming to the Boys’ Brigade Annual Inspection and Display and look forward to his visit.

Daffodil Coffee Morning at the Old Manse

My wife has organised a Daffodil Coffee Morning for Saturday, 8th April, from 10.30 a.m. There will be a Bring and Buy Stall. Admission 2/6d. Transport is being arranged for the older people from the town. We hope there will be a large number attending. Proceeds in aid of Church funds.

Special Services in April

On Sunday, 23rd April, St. George’s Day, the Evening Service will be attended by the members of the Star of Eskdale No. 550 Order of the Eastern Star. The Worthy Matron, Mrs. Brenda Irving, will Lead the members in procession into church, and members will read lessons. We welcome the yearly visit of the members of the Eastern Star to the Old Parish.

On Sunday, 30th April we celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper at ll a.m. and 3 p.m. with Communion Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. First Communicants will be received into membership at the commencement of the Morning Service. I trust We will have a record attendance at Communion on this occasion. I would like to add here that the Easter Morning Service was one of the best attended I have known, and I would like to say how much it gladdened my heart. Also that on the same Sunday the Over 60 Club members led by their hostess Mrs. Flint, attended the Evening Easter Service.

Sympathy With The Bereaved

On 2nd March, Mrs. Agnes Wilhelmina Watson Irving, 12 Buccleuch Terrace, passed away suddenly. We all felt she was making a good recovery from a recent illness, and she certainly was making a brave effort to regain full health again. Our very sincere sympathy with her bereaved husband Tom Irving, and other relatives.

On behalf of the Langholm Congregational Church, presently without a minister, I conducted the funeral of Charles Edward Carruthers, Lucellum, Rosevale Gardens, on Friday, 17th March. Better known as Teddy Carruthers, he was one of the best known and loved figures in the Langholm community. He was a wonderful character and had the gift, as someone said, of making life more pleasant for everyone. Our deepest sympathy with his widow, sister and other relatives.

In closing my letter may I remind the young people that there is a class after the Sunday Evening Services for first communicants. Also that I will be glad to have transfer certificates of membership from any new residents, or arrange for restoration of membership for any who have lost their certificates. Also that I will be celebrating private Communion in the homes of those no longer able to attend Church, and wili be glad to hear of any wishing me to do this for them.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,




Collections for March, 1967

F. W. O. £92 9 9

Ordinary £30 3 6

By Collecting boxes £4 1 0

By Donations £51 4 6

By Deed of Covenant £50 0 0


Mr. Robert Black, Treasurer, submitted the Audited Statement of Accounts for previous year, which was duly approved. Mr. Black drew attention to the disappointing fact that we had not been able to meet our committments to the General Treasurer of the Church of Scotland in the past year to the extent of £228. Because of the generous bequest by the late Mr. George McVittie we have been able to re-wire the church, renew the lighting, and install an Electric Blower to the organ. The cost of re-wiring and renewing the lighting was approximately £860, and this amount had been set aside, together with £100 as part payment of Church Hall painting and re-decoration, The remaining part of the bequest had been invested to give an annual return of between £70 to £80 to the Fabric Fund. He said the Guild had donated £200 to help meet our dues to the General Treasurer and £40 to Church Funds. He reported that the-requirements for 1967 would be: Stipend and travelling expenses £870. Salariese-£260. Church of Scotland dues, £923. Presbytery dues. £65. County Rates £30. Heat and light £350, making a total of £2489. Mr. Black ended his report by pointing out that it requires only l/6d per week, per member, to meet our dues, if each member did his or her part. Mr. Black was thanked for his good services as Church Treasurer.


Mr. A. M. Hutton, Session Clerk, being unavoidably absent, submitted the following report which was read by the Moderator. The Roll of the Congre- gation as at 3lst December, 1966 is as follows: At 31st December, 1965 the number of Communicants was 868. During 1966 there were removed from the Roll by death, 11; by Certificate, 9; total 20. Number added to Roll in 1966 by Profession of Faith, 12; by Certificate, 60; by Restoration, l; total added 73. Making a total membership at 3lst December, 1966, of 921. During the past year one new Elder was ordained, making a total of 27 Elders. There were 21 baptisms during the year of which one was an adult. The number of members who communicated at least once was 572. Thanks were expressed to Mr. Hutton for his services as Session Clerk.


As Clerk to the Board was unavoidably absent, Mr. MacIntosh read his report as follows: “There have been eight Meetings of the Board since the last Annual Meeting, and a number of subjects of varying importance discussed. During the course of the year, a scheme for re-wiring and re-lighting the church was approved, and the work duly carried out. The Board also agreed to install an electric blower for the organ. It was worth noting that this work could not have been carried out but for the generosity of the late Mr. George McVittie, whose thought for his Church should be remembered with gratitude. Undoubtedly the most important meeting was the last when ways and means of improving the Church’s financial position were discussed with Mr. Mackay, the recently appointed Stewardship Campaign Organiser of the Church of Scotland. As the Treasurer will confirm, givings average out at slightly under lld per member per week, and in an attempt to remedy this lamentable state of affairs, the Board sought the advice of Mr. Mackay. After dealing with the Christian Stewardship Movement in general terms, Mr. Mackay strongly advocated the organisation of a local campaign, and it is this proposal which must be considered urgently by the Board during the present year.” Thanks were ex- pressed to the Clerk to the Board, Mr. E. C. Armstrong for his good services to his Church.

The Moderator went on to stress the value a Stewardship Campaign could have for the congregation, and pointed out that its aim is not primarily finance but renewal of membership vows, of taking a due share in the worship and service of the Church, and giving of our means as the Lord shall prosper us.

Mrs. Carter, Guild President, reported on the successful Guild session and Sale of Work. She said many of the Guild members had remarked that the decline in attendance of men at the Sale of Work was a regrettable feature. Mr. Iim Kyle, Captain of the Boys’ Brigade, reported on the strength of the Senior and Junior Sections, and on the coming Inspection and Display.

The Moderator thanked Mrs. Carter and Mr. Kyle for their reports and the excellent work they were doing for their Church.


Of those due to retire the following were re-elected, Mrs. Little, Miss Mary Graham, Miss Jean Ferguson. Mrs. Coulson was nominated in her absence and it was hoped she would be willing to accept nomination. It was further agreed that the Moderator be given authority to co-opt three other members. After thanking Mr. Maclntosh for standing in as Clerk for the Meeting, the meeting was closed with prayer.


April 9-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss Burnett, Holm Cottage.

April 16—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Torn Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Iames Maxwell, Treetops.

April 23-11a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Storey, John Street. Evening Service attended by Order of the Eastern Star.

April 30-11 a.m. Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. and Admission of First Communicants. 3 p.m. Second Table of Communion. 6 p.m. Communion Thanksgiving. Flowers, Mrs. T. M’Kail, Merrick.

May 7-11 a.m.' and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. I. Armstrong, 29 Drove Road.


March 26—Janice Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. and Robert Morrison, 2 Buccleuch Square.


March 18—In Langholm Congregational Church Douglas Scott, 2 Braehead to Carolyn Carver. Market Place.

.April 1-Ian Richard Anderson, Todhillwood Cottage Canonbie to Dinah Joan Smith, 75 Caroline Street.


March 2-—Mrs. Agnes Wilhelmina Watson Irving, 12 Buccleuch Terrace. Age 66.

March 14—Charles Edward Carruthers, Lucellum, Rosevale Gardens. Age 64.

“I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". Romans 81; 38,539.


The Kirk Session is called to meet in the vestry on Wednesday, 12th April at 7.30 pm. The Board is called to meet the same evening in the church at 8 p.m. As these meetingsare called to discuss action in regard to a Christian Stewardship campaign, we ask all members of the Kirk Session and Board to make a special effort to be present. The Kirk Session is called to meet on Friday, 28th April at 7.30 p.m. to receive duties for the Communion Services.