Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.118                       Price 1/8d - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        April1971.

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

Session Clerk: Mr. Archibald Findlay, Langholm Lodge. Tel. 453.

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

Treasurer: Mr. Donald Lamont, Royal Bank of Scotland, Langholm. Tel. 430.

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. John Scott, 54 William Street.

Text for April - "Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom - Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." St. Luke 23. 42/3.

In the coming week, devout Christian people throughout the world will have their thoughts centred upon the various personalities who played a part in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Our thoughts will first and foremost be upon our Lord Himself, and the great act of His life which we call the crucifixion - an act that has influenced every subsequent age and which will continue to shape the destiny of ages to come. And of course we give a thought to the lesser personalities in the crucifixion drama - Peter and the sad denial - Judas and the betrayal, our Lord's judges Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod; and the various other men and women who figure in the Calvary scene, among them our Lord's own mother, Mary. It would seem that by now she had no husband to support her, Joseph having died and from the Cross our Lord commits her to the care of his trusted disciple John.

But in this Good Friday sermon, I would like to concentrate upon the story of one man who was present at the crucifixion, present not as a spectator but as one of the three victims. He was a bandit and his name has come down to us from the Latin Acts of Pilate as Dismas. As far as we know Dismas was our Lord's last convert before his death. Tradition has woven a legend around Dismas, claiming that when Mary and Joseph and the Holy Child were fleeing to Egypt to escape from the wrath of Herod, they were attacked by a band of brigands. This man Dismas is said to have been one of them and that as a result of his intervention the Holy Family was allowed to go unmolested. Hence the words of our text, "Lord remember me". Of course this is nothing more than legend but none the less interesting. What crimes against the State this man Dismas had committed, we are not told. But they must have been of a serious nature to merit being condemned to crucifixion. Dismas was a prisoner of the Romans probably for insurrection. He had possibly seen off a few Roman soldiers and probably a few Jews in the pay of the Romans as quislings. St. Matthew says Dismas was a thief. He probably had a very bad record, but is now a prisoner in process of a cruel death.

Now while Dismas stands poles apart from any of us, on the other hand he was a man with the same needs and hopes and fears as other men. There is little about the life of Dismas that has relation to our way of living, for he was a brigand who openly flouted law and order. On the other hand at heart all men and women of all classes of society and of every age have needs and hopes and fears that vary very little from one person to another. And with this in mind I want to sum up the life of Dismas with three words, words which have meaning for every man and woman, the words penitence, pardon and paradise.

First the word penitence.

At the heart of Dismas there was sorrow for a mis-spent life. From the words he spoke on the Cross he openly acknowledges that he deserves the punishment he is enduring and the way he speaks to Jesus suggests he is sorry for his past life. Look at this Calvary scene for a moment. Jesus has been nailed to a cross as it lay on the ground and as the cross was upraised the dying thief caught a glimpse of the sublime figure Jesus, and calls out, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom".

Who had told this thief that Jesus had a kingdom and that he would come again to reign? lit is possible that in earlier days he had lingered with the crowds as they listened to Jesus preaching about the kingdom. And possibly he had read the scroll that was nailed to the top of cur Lord's Cross on which it was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, "This is Jesus. the King of the Jews". And he also had no doubt observed our Lord's kingly manner, how he had remained dumb before the insults hurled at Him and heard Him pray for His tormentors, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".

As the darkness began to fall over the land and he felt the earth shake, he knew the end was not far away, and that for his past life he needed forgiveness and divine help; and so he calls on Jesus for mercy. And the best of men and women have felt like this as thev have reflected upon their past lives and realised that they have done things which they ought not to have done, and left undone things which they ought to have done. And like Dismas we too often feel we have nothing to plead but ask for mercy. "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling".

The second word is pardon.

Dismas finds pardon as he looks to Jesus upon his cross. It is true that no word of pardon was spoken, but it was implied in what Jesus spoke to Dismas, and the dying thief knew he was pardoned.

The pardon Jesus offers is a wonderful thing. St. Paul uses the word propitiation to describe what our Lord's pardon means, a word which means to cover up something from sight forever, to blot out the handwriting that is against us. This is the deepest meaning of the sacrifice on Calvary, that "He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good". That in the sacrifice of Calvary, Jesus "bore our sins in His own body on the tree". Yes, the dying thief was the first to find pardon through the sacrifice of the cross as he looked to Jesus hanging there. As Cowper says in his hymn, "The dying thief rejoiced to that fountain in his day, and there may I though vile as he wash all my sins away.

Why does God pardon us through the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross? We cannot understand how or why, but it must be that he sees something good in us, or it may be just that by His very nature He cannot stop loving us. There is a story about the famous Duke of Wellington once visiting Queen Victoria at Windsor and asking her as reigning monarch to sign the death warrant of a soldier who had been court-martialled for desertion. But the young Queen with her gentle sympathetic heart kept asking the Duke, "Have you nothing to say for this poor fellow?" "No madam, nothing." "But what has he done wrong," the Queen asks. "I have explained madam, that he has deserted the army not once but three times." "I implore you, think again your grace,""

It was something like that that Jesus did for Dismas. He who saw something good in every man and woman saw something good in poor Dismas and from the cross spoke a word of pardon over his past life. And Jesus is waiting and willing to do that for anyone who looks to him in penitence but without penitence pardon cannot be made effective, even by Jesus. And this is the deepest meaning of our Lord's sacrifice on Calvary. It means pardon, not because we deserve it or have earned it in any way, but because God, for Christ's sake offers it freely to all who throw themselves upon his mercy as Dismas did.

In his monthly circular letter, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand of the Mission to the Communist World, gives a report on an anti-religious play staged in Moscow recently. On the stage was an altar with a cross made of bottles of beer and priests and nuns were shown participating in an orgy. The play, "Christ in Frock" was full of mockery directed at the Son of God. The actor Rostovzev had to appear with a New Testament to read two verses from the Sermon on the Mount and then to make dirty jokes about religion. Instead of this he read the whole of St. Matthew, chapter five. A solemn silence reigned in the theatre. When he had finished reading he signed himself with a sign of the cross, according to the Orthodox habit, and then said, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom". It is evident that the actor for taking part in a play that was a mockery of Christ felt as guilty as Dismas did and in the words of Dismas he flung himself upon the mercy of God. We are told that as Rostovzev left the theatre he disappeared from the public eye, probably laid hold upon by the secret police who were sure to be present at the play. Whatever has happened to him -whether banishment to a labour camp in Siberia for cruel indoctrination, or death, he shares in the pardon and paradise that was granted to Dismas.

And the final word is the word paradise spoken to Dismas.

"Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." No greater and grander words could have been spoken by Jesus to Dismas. The dying thief asks Jesus to think of him when the pains of Calvary are over and the throne of the Kingdom has been won and the answer he was given was that that very day they would be together in paradise. What a wonderful answer to the dying thief's prayer, an answer that none other than the eternal Son of God could have given, "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise".

What is paradise? Where is paradise? There has been much dispute about the whereabouts of paradise and I would say the answer is made abundantly clear from these words of Jesus to Dismas, that after the dying thief had ended the horrible torture that society had awarded him, after his dead body had been taken down from the cross and buried in a common grave, his living spirit would continue to exist and that he would be with Jesus. That is what paradise means, that wherever we are after death we are with Jesus, and that is enough for us to know. We do not doubt the continuity of the life of Jesus after the death on the cross and being laid in the tomb. And his companion in death had this sure word of promise that he would share the same life. And this same promise holds good for all who love and trust the Lord Jesus-who also promised his followers "Because I live, ye shall live also".

"Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." The word paradise comes from the Persian language and means a king's garden, a walled garden. A garden, a place of delight, of activity and growth and beauty and fulfilment. The word garden is eloquent of all these things.

In the spirit of penitence Dismas looked to Jesus and obtained pardon and the promise of paradise. And then fell on sleep and wakened up exhausted but peaceful and trustful as a little child, and we can believe that when he awakened he was in the presence of Jesus. And this same Jesus whom men nineteen hundred years ago hounded to Calvary, can and will do for us what he did for Dismas, give us pardon and the assurance of paradise.


Dear Fellow-Member,

I wish to commence my letter by congratulating the people of Langholm upon another most successful production by the Langholm Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society in presenting "The Vagabond King". I attended on the Wednesday evening with my wife and family and we greatly enjoyed the acting and singing and were impressed by the full house. The people of Langholm can produce not only a rugby team but an operatic and dramatic society that draws support and wins admiration from the whole of the Border countryside and this contributes a lot to the happiness and health of our community.

Church Activities in March.
Guild Annual Sale of Work.

The Guild Sale of Work on Saturday, 13th March, was a very successful and happy occasion, well attended and well supported in donations and gifts for the stalls. Mrs. Moule of Canonbie Parish Manse was a charming person to perform the opening ceremony. Janice Morrison was also charming in the way she presented Mrs. Moule with a bouquet of spring flowers. The well stocked stalls were soon cleared and a special mention of the Sunday School stall should be noted in the raising of over £20. It is grand to find the children playing a part and gathering gifts for a stall. The total income from the Sale of Work stands at £281 which represents a lot of work and giving by many people. I was impressed by seeing people supporting the effort from all the other Church denominations in the town and district, which I think speaks well of the people of Langholm. I would like here to express best thanks to our Guild members for their hard work in organising the Sale and serving at stalls and teas, and doing it all with such evident pleasure.

Visit of Carlisle Male Voice Choir

On Sunday, 14th March, our Evening Service was well attended when the Carlisle Male Voice Choir under the leadership of Mr. Harold Forsyth, and with Mr. Cecil Carmichael at the organ led a wonderful Service of Praise. With our own choir well attended and the Male Voice Choir the congregational singing was a real joy and inspiration, and in particular in the singing of that great and triumphant hymn, "Crown Him with many crowns". The Carlisle Male Voice Choir has played a leading part in musical and Church circles in Carlisle and district for many years and I was impressed to hear their leader comment that of the many churches they had visited over the years the only church they would consider impressed them more than the Langholm Old Parish Church for space and beauty would be Carlisle Cathedral. After the Service the members of the visiting Choir were served with excellent refreshments in the church hall, provided by our Woman's Guild.

Annual Congregational Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Congregation was held after the Morning Service on Sunday, 28th March, when the Church Treasurer, Mr. Donald Lamont, presented the Annual Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31st December, 1970. In receiving and approving the statement Mr. Lamont was warmly thanked for his good services as Church Treasurer. There was discussion on the amount of our assessment to the Church of Scotland. The Statement showed our contribution of £460 to the Maintenance of the Ministry Fund and £70 to the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund, and £250 to the Mission and Service Fund. It was pointed out that we had fallen short by approximately £300 in our obligation to the latter Fund - formerly called the Schemes of the Church which includes Social Services, Home Missions and Church Extension and Overseas work. The Treasurer commented that with our membership of 850 if every member contributed 7 new pence weekly we would be able to meet all our commitments without special efforts. It was also pointed out that the maintenance of th£e church hall was a big drain on Church income. The Statement showed that against the cost of maintaining the hall in the past year of 205, onlv some £55 had been contributed by hall users. It was agreed that income derived from church offerings could not be justified in maintaining the hall and a special committee will meet hall users to discuss this problem.

Reports were given by the Session Clerk, Mr. Archie Findlay, by the Secretary of the Woman's Guild, Mrs. Woolnough, and the Sunday School Superintendent, Mr. John Scott. In his report Mr. John Scott appealed for additional Sunday School teachers to enable the classes to be kept reasonably small.

In the appointment of members of the congregation to work with the Kirk Session in administrating the financial and material affairs of the Church, three members due to retire were re-appointed, and the following were nominated as additional members: Mrs. Katherine Douglas, Arresgill; Mrs. Ethel Murray, Tarrasfoot; Mrs. Ethel MacLennan, Francis Street; Mr. Ian Roebuck and Mr. Robert Hart.

It was reported that while the Fabric Fund showed a balance of over £500 this was now expended in meeting the cost of rewiring the Manse, and hall decoration. It was reported that arrangements were in hand to hold a Coffee Morning or similar function at Hoosrigg Farm at the kind invitation of Miss Barbara Paterson, on 19th June, and the same day a Sponsored Walk to be organised by the officers of the Boys' Brigade and the Sunday School teachers, the walk ending at Hopsrigg. This effort is to aim at raising enough to bring up the Fabric Fund to the figure as shown in the annual statement.

Woman's Guild

The Guild meeting held on 9th March was of very special interest, when Mr. John Brotherston, Area Social Service Officer, spoke of the structure of the new Social Service Group. He was assisted by Nurse Waldie, who spoke of the origin and development of the District Nursing Service and Nurse Reid who spoke of child welfare in the Langholm Health Centre, each illustrating the subject with slides.

On Tuesday, 30th March, the closing meeting for the session took the form of a talent finding competition. Those taking part included: Kathryn Elliot, giving piano selections; David Irving, giving accordion selections; Janice Anderson, and Richard Hill, giving piano selections; and all were given Easter eggs. Mrs. Zaino rendered songs, Mrs. Burnett at the piano as accompanist. An original poem written in 1930 by Miss Jeannie Graham was read. Jewellery made by Brenda Morrison, recipes, embroidery and knitting, baskets and rugs, crochet work and painted china were also exhibited. Prizes were won by Mrs. Hotson, Mrs. Woolnough and Miss Brenda Morrison. Miss Jean McLeod judged the various talents.

In the annual business meeting that followed additional members were appointed to the Committee. On the resignation of Mrs. Lawrence as Treasurer, Miss Jean Hyslop was appointed. Miss Ella Glendinning undertook to serve as President for the ensuing year, with Mrs. Calvert serving as Vice-President and Mrs. Elizabeth Findlay as Junior Vice-President. The Guild agreed to increase the contribution to the Church Treasurer for the Mission and Service Fund from £200 to £300 with the sum of £40 towards hall maintenance.

An afternoon outing was discussed and it is proposed to hold one on Saturday, 29th May, to Lanercost Abbey, Naworth Castle, Greenhead, and return via Bewcastle Church and Penton, a meal to be laid on at Greenhead Hotel.


Both minister and organist are very much encouraged by the increased attendance and interest in the building up of our church choir, also the good start made to the formation of a junior choir. The church choir will be leading the Evening Service on Sunday, 4th April, and we hope this will be followed by many other special Evening Services of praise.

Visit to Langholm of Rev. James Beverley

I have heard from Mrs. Beverley that her son Jim, minister of St. Luke's Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas, will be visiting Langholm from 13th April for three weeks. I have invited Jim to conduct the Services in the Old Parish Church on Sunday, 18th April, when I propose to have a few days holiday and also to preach at our Communion Service on Sunday, 25th April. We will all look forward to having Jim Beverley with us for a second visit since his entering the ministry of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America.


The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper will be celebrated on Sunday, 25th April at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. with Communion Thanksgiving Service at 6 p.m. We hope to have the Rev. James Beverley, B.D. giving the Communion Sermon at the 11 a.m. Service. We are anxious for a full attendance of all members at Communion on this occasion. The Kirk Session will meet on Friday, 23rd at 7 p.m., when Elders will be allocated their duties for Communion. First communicants will be received at the commencement of the Morning Service.

Boys' Brigade Annual Display and Inspection

The 1st Langholm Company of the Boys' Brigade will hold their Annual Display and Inspection in the Buccleuch Hall on Friday, 23rd April, at 7 p.m., when we hope for a large attendance of parents and friends. The Inspecting Officer will be Colonel F. S. Goodwin, C.B.E., officer commanding C.A.D., Longtown. The Company strength including junior and senior sections stands at over 80 and is perhaps a record in the history of the Company.

Summer Outings for Senior Citizens

The Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee have organised an outing to Silloth for the senior citizens of Langholm and Eskdale, to take place on Tuesday, 15th June. People wishing to attend should hand in their names to one of the lady visitors or to myself by the end of May.

On Monday, 7th June the Fisher Street Presbyterian Church, Carlisle, Men's Club, is holding an outing to Langholm of elderly men and women from various homes in the city, and they will be the guests for an evening meal of our Over 60 Club in the Old Parish Hall at 7.30 p.m.

Mr. Malcolm Carmichael has again given a substantial cheque for an additional outing for the senior citizens of Langholm, and this will take place at a date yet to be fixed in July, and most probably to Moffat. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Carmichael for his generosity.


I wish to apologise very sincerely to Mr. Gordon Cartner and his wife Johan for having omitted recording the baptism of their lovely little daughter ELOUISE JANE in the Old Parish Magazine for June, 1970. Elouise was baptised at the Morning Service on Sunday, 17th May, 1970. I only wish this had come to my notice earlier. I just cannot understand how I came to miss making this recording.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

On 14th March, Mrs. Margaret McVittie Young passed away in the Thomas Hope Hospital at the age of 89. Her late husband William Young was for many years in business in Bishop Aukland, and Margaret had very happy memories of friendship with the Church people there where she gave so much in Christian witness and service. She had been in our Thomas Hope Hospital for some years and was a great inspiration to us all in her happy disposition and in her love of prayer and the old well-known hymns. Her son Donald passed away at the age of 40 and her grandson Peter was a great joy to her. During her last years she was regularly visited by her three nieces in Langholm, Mrs. Netta Richardson, Mrs. Sarah Cuthbertson, and Mrs. Agnes Edgar. To Peter and her nieces we express our sympathy in bereavement.

On 28th March, Mrs. Jane Byers Steele of 18 Charles Street (New), passed suddenly away in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at the age of 65. We were all shocked and saddened with the news. Mrs. Steele was one of the most loved and active members of the Langholm community, especially in our Old Parish Church where she was a regular worshipper, active worker in the Woman's Guild and in all other church activities. She also was a popular member of the Over 60 Club, the British Legion Club, and the Ladies Bowling Club. She had ever a deep sense of concern for other people in their cares and sorrows. Was very gifted in mind and hand and used her gifts in the service of any worthy cause. As we can understand she was especially proud of her son William in his popular and successful place on the rugby field and was present at the Centenary International at Murrayfield last Saturday to watch his part along with his team-mates when she became seriously ill and later passed away in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. We express our deepest and most sincere sympathy with her bereaved husband Douglas Steele, and with her daughters Joyce and Violet and with William.

With warm regards to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.




February £66.30

March £73.94


February £16.70

March £81.12



February £75.98

March £16.97


February £25.37

March £31.83


May 17, 1970 - Elouise Jane, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Gordon Cartner, 1 David Street.

February 14 - Robert Ross, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Barbour, 31 Drove Road.

February 27 at Cresswell by Rev. Ian MacDonald - Stuart John, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Shannon, Drove Road.

March 7 - Gordon John, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stewart, 19 Maxwell Place.

March 7 - Colin Thomas, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jackson, Newby, Canonbie.

March 14 - Christopher Charles, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Earsman, Chapel of Logan, Chapelknowe, Canonbie.

March 21 - Angela Katrina, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Scott, 9 Eskdaill Street.


Marclh 27 - Edward Armstrong, 40 Hillview Street. Lockerbie, to Julia Kulik, Glenmaye, Rosevale Street.


March 14 - Margaret McVittie Young, in Thomas Hope Hospital, age 89.

March 28 - Jane Byers Steele, 18 Charles Street (New), passed away in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, age 65. Our Lord's promise, "I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." St. John 10. 28.


April 11 - Easter Day. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. R. Robertson, Springfield.

April 18 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. James Beverley. B.D. Flowers, Mrs. Storey, John Street.

April 25 - Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Communion Thanksgiving 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert and Rev. James Beverley, B.D. Flowers, Mrs. Thomas McKail, Merrick, Walter Street,

May 2 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. J. Armstrong, 29 Drove Road.


Please note that the Early Half-hour Services commence in May.