Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

LANGHOLM OLD PARISH CHURCHchurchFounded 1703, present Church built 1846

N0. 16. DECEMBER, 1961.

Minister: Revd. TOM CALVERT, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Mr. JOHN TYMAN, National Bank Buildings

Treasurer: Mr. R. A. BLACK, 35 Eskdaill Street.

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

Motto Text for December — "I have always thought of Christmas time when it has come round as a good time, a kind, forgiving, charitable time." Dickens' Christmas Carol.

Letter from the Minister

Dear Fellow-Member,

As I sit down to write this letter it seems quite possible that we will have a White Christmas this year. I sincerely wish for all our people young and old that you will have a Merry Christmas this year, and that whether the snow continues or not that there will be a warm fire in all your homes, with lots of nice things to eat, and the Spirit of Christmas in all your hearts. Keeping Christmas is a custom that is rapidly growing in Scotland. When I was a minister in Ayrshire before the war I can well remember how Christmas Day passed by as just an ordinary working day, but I am glad to hear that most of the people in Langholm will have a holiday on Christmas Day this year. It is a pity though that the growing desire to keep Christmas in the land is mostly in terms of festivity, as it has a very much deeper meaning. Keeping Christmas should also mean entering into the Spirit of Christmas, and that means many things.

First of all, it should be a time of giving. It is a day when we should remember God giving His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, to be born in the bare and rude stable of Bethlehem. And this is the best reason why we should celebrate the occasion by giving gifts, not only to our friends but to someone we know of who seems to have few friends. And of course it is by giving a gift to someone who is unlikely to give us one in return that we get the real thrill and fun out of Christmas. To give a gift with the hope of getting one in return generally results in disappointment, because we are not made glad in getting but in giving. We are made glad when we realise that we have given up something for the sake of someone else.

Secondly, Christmas is a time of remembrance. How busy the postman is at Christmas time, busier every year as the custom of keeping Christmas grows in the land, bringing cards of greeting and remembrance. And this is right and good, for this is the Day of the year when we celebrate God remembering a world that had in a large measure forgotten Him. It would be difficult to describe what kind of a world this would be today if God had forgotten to send Jesus 1900 years ago, but He didn't forget. He remembered his children and sent them His best greetings and love by the birth of the Christ-Child in the Manger. Let us make this Christmas a time of remembrance, a time when we remember the old folk, the lonely, those whose friends of youth get fewer every year. Let it also be a time when we remember little children, and not only those of our own family and friends but the orphans and un-wanted in Children's Homes; and also a time when we give a thought and perhaps a little gift for the thirty million refugees in the world.

Thirdly, Christmas ought as Dickens says to be "a kind, forgiving, charitable time". Christmas reminds us that God does not carry any grudges in His heart. Remember that the Christ-Child born in the Manger in Bethlehem is the same Christ who said to Peter, when he asked Jesus how often he should forgive his brother, "unto seven times". "I say unto thee, not unto seven times but unto seventy times seven". And it was the same Christ who as cruel men nailed Him to the Cross prayed "Father Forgive them for they know not what they do". And so I say we should celebrate His birth by imitating His wonderful spirit of forgiveness and charity. What a grand opportunity it is for us to look inside our hearts and cast out all feelings of resentment we have been secretly harbouring there. There is an old song which goes something like this: "For old times sake, don't let your enmity live. For old times sake, say you'll forget and forgive."

So while I say I think it is a good thing that the custom of celebrating. Christmas in Scotland is growing, I would just like to add this, that it doesn't do us any good to celebrate Christmas unless we bring the spirit of Christmas right into our hearts. Professor E. P. Dickie of St. Andrews tells a story about a fine sermon once preached by a taxi-driver in London. It was Christmas time and there was a great deal of traffic in the streets. Some of the drivers were losing their tempers. There was one in particular, the driver of a motor-lorry. He was very proud of himself. He had a lovely new lorry and he had it decorated that morning with a bunch of holly on the bonnet. He was the kind of man who thought every other driver should make way for him. So when the taxi-driver was held up by the traffic and couldn't get out of his way, the lorryman began to shout names at him and to call him nasty things. But the taxi-driver gave him a reply to remember. Looking at the bunch of holly he said, "What's the use of 'aving 'olly in yer bonnet, if you ain't got 'olly in yer 'eart?". Which of course is just another way of saying what's the use of Christmas parties and Christmas gifts if we don't have the spirit of the Christ-child in our hearts.

Special Services in December

On Sunday, December 10th, the day this letter comes out, we have Mr. James Hodge, Scottish Travelling Secretary to the British Council of Churches Refugee Service, as a visitor to Langholm. He will address the Langholm Congregational Church congregation at the Morning Service, and will be with us at the Old Parish Church for the Evening Service. There is a meeting arranged at 7.30 p.m. in the Old Parish Hall when the Youth Fellowship invite people of all the Langholm Churches and of the public to attend as their guests. The Youth Fellowship will serve refreshments. Mr. Hodge will address the meeting on the plight of refugees in the world today, and show a film entitled Rennies Mill, which shows something of the problems of refugees in Hong Kong. There are about thirty million refugees in the world, people who are growing hopeless in face of unfulfilled promises, whose spirits are being broken by long-continued confinement, lack of privacy, squalid conditions, and suffering which seems to have no meaning and no end. This Christmas season we are asked to spare a thought and perhaps a gift for them. The Offering at the Christmas Eve Candle-Light Service, and at the Christmas Day Service will be sent to the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service this year, and this gives us all an opportunity of playing a small part to help. Any individual or organisation willing to share in this effort should send any contribution either to Miss Grace Brown, Treasurer of the Youth Fellowship, Station House Langholm, or to myself.

On Sunday, December 17th, the Evening Service will be led by the children of the Sunday School and the Junior Club choir. The children are asked to bring a gift of a toy or something in the nature of confection or fruit. The gifts will be received at the commencement of the Service, and will later be taken to the Hawick Branch of Dr. Barnardo's Homes to help some orphan child to better enjoy Christmas.

On Sunday, 24th December the Services will be appropriate to Christmas. The Annual Christmas Eve Candle-Light Service will take place at 11-30 p.m. and will be led by members of the Youth Fellowship in Nine Lessons and Carols. There will be an Offering taken at the Candle-Light Service on behalf of the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service.

On Christmas Day, Monday, 25th December there will be a short Service at 11 a.m. when the children of the congregation are invited to attend, and when they will receive a gift from the Christmas Tree at the close of the Service. On Sunday, 3lst December the Service at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. will be appropriate to Old Year's Sunday.

News of Christmas Parties

The Primary Sunday School party will be at 2-30 p.m. on Saturday, 16th December, when we will be favoured by a visit from Santa Claus. The Senior Sunday School party will be fixed for another date which will be duly intimated.

The Women's Guild Christmas Party is on Tuesday, 12th December at 7-30 p.m. fuller details of this in Women's Guild report given below.

Under the auspices of the Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee a Christmas Party for older people has been arranged to take place in the Old Parish Hall on Wednesday, 20th December at 3 p.m. Special invitations are being issued by the Committee.

Under the 1st Langholm Company of the Boys' Brigade a special party and Dance is being organised by the N.C.Os. of the Company to take place on the Evening of Friday, 22nd December.

Under the Old Parish Church Youth Club, a party for the children of homes from which members of the Youth Club come, is being arranged to take place on Saturday, 23rd December at 3 p.m. We would be glad if members of the Youth Club would send in names of children wishing to attend to John Scott, 14 Henry Street.

The Youth Fellowship will be going out Carol Singing after the Evening Service on Sunday, 24th, visiting the Hope Hospital and the homes of any elderly people who may care to invite them. They will later meet in the Hall at 9 p.m. for a special Christmas supper.

Hall Improvements Fund

I would like to report on the result of the special effort made by the Women's Guild in organising the auction sale held on Saturday, 4th November. The sale realised the grand result of £236. I wish to thank all who contributed to the sale in any way, those who supported the effort, and those who helped in carrying through what was an altogether entertaining afternoon. Special thanks to Mr. Jacob Thomlinson, auctioneer, and Mrs. June Wilson who graciously opened the event. I can now report that the Hall Users Committee has a recommendation to go before the next meeting of the Kirk Session that we place the installation of a new Oil-fired Boiler-burner Unit with full automatic controls as the first priority in the improvements scheme.

Sympathy with the Bereaved.

The sudden passing from us of Mrs. Annie Black, 35 Eskdaill Street, wife of our beloved elder and Church Treasurer, Mr. Robert Black. came to us as a very great shock. The whole congregation has shared with Mr. Black and his family in their sorrow. Mrs. Black was a regular worshipper who always had a kind word for the minister. She was also a valued and leading member of the Women's Guild Committee, and took a leading part in organising entertainment items. She was a very happy personality, and a woman with a wonderful sense of peace in her heart and life. We would all have liked to have seen her spared to carry on her good work with us in the Old Parish Church and Guild. To her husband and family we express our tender and very deeply felt sympathy with them in their loss and bereavement.

We also express our sympathy in bereavement with Mrs. Waldie, 69 Caroline Street, in the sudden passing of her husband Donald Waldie. He was a man of quiet industry, and never felt happy being idle. He loved his garden and had many friends, and is going to be missed very much by all who knew him.

Also our sympathy with Mrs. Storey of l0 John Street, and with all members of the family of Mrs. Annie Gilbertson. Mrs. Gilbertson was a devoted member of the Salvation Army in earlier years, and had a wonderful faith and lived a happy life. Her family cared for her with real love.

Also our sympathy with the relatives and close friends of Miss Mary Nichol who for the past year has been in the Hope Hospital. Miss Nichol maintained a close interest in the work of the Old Parish Church right up to the last. She was very happy in the Hope Hospital where she was cared for by the Matron and staff with real devotion. Her many friends who visited her regularly did much to cheer her last days with her.

With best Christmas greetings.

Yours sincerely,


Kirk Session Report

At a meeting of the Kirk Session held on Thursday, 9th November, it was agreed to re-institute the Cradle Roll, and Misses Jean and Lila McVittie were appointed to take charge of it. The Minister also discussed with the Kirk Session the possibility of running a postal Sunday School for a small number of children living at too great a distance from the Church and unable to attend on Sundays. The intention is to provide the parents with special lessons prepared by the Sunday School Union which can be read over and discussed in the home. Any families living too far out of town for their children to attend Sunday School are invited to get in touch with the minister, and he will be pleased to provide weekly lessons.

Women's Guild Report

The Auction Sale held on November 4th was opened by Mrs. Calvert, and the first lot to come under the hammer was a turkey, ably auctioned by Mrs. June Wilson, Tundergarth Mains. There was an excellent attendance of members and friends who thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Thomlinson's brisk selling. At the end of the day, the sum of £236/4/6 was realised, which will go towards the Hall Improvements Scheme, and has already been ear-marked to help towards the installation of Oil Fired Heating.

On November 14th. the Rev. A. Lamont. from Newcastleton, gave a talk on folk lore and superstition in the Highlands and lslands; he also delighted the company with a Gaelic song. Misses Bennett, Brown and Herbcrtson put over an amusing sketch "Spring Cleaning," produced by Mrs J. Little.

At the outset of the meeting on November 28th. Mrs. Calvert made fitting reference to the passing of Mrs. Black, who had been a faithful and hard-working member of the Guild for a number of years. The South of Scotland Electricity Board showed a film, followed by talks on the various items of equipment to help the house-wife. After tea, there was a Bring and Buy Sale which was augmented by gifts of eatables from the demonstrators.

The ladies of the Guild are giving a Christmas Party on December 12th, at which it is hoped everyone will bring along a guest who does not normally get out and about to such functions. The first half of the Guild session has been a very happy one, and has passed all too quickly. After the party on the 12th, there will be no more I meetings until January 9th, 1962.

Youth Fellowship and Youth Club

With the departure of Jackie Nixon to Edinburgh to commence training as a Youth Leader, Arthur Willis has been appointed Secretary of the Youth Fellowship, and John Scott as Secretary of the Youth Club.

The Youth Fellowship is having an excepttionally good attendance of lads, and appeals to the young ladies of the Church to come to our support. The meetings are organised to meet different interests, and there is a very good syllabus arranged for the second part of the session.

Boys' Brigade

We congratulate L/Cpl. George Graham on taking 2nd place out of 14 in the Hawick and Border Area Solo Bagpipe Playing Contest.

Church Calendar


10th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. J. W. Wood, Bank House. Elders, M. Douglas, C. Constable, J. Tyman, A. Smith, J. W. Wood, and J. Pattie. Evening, M .Armstrong and J. Maxwell.

17th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Wood, Potholm. Elders, Morning, W. Smith, R. K. Neill, L, Ewart. R. T. Robertson, H. Hosie, and R. Douglas. Evening, W. Smith and M. Armstrong.

24th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Women's Guild. Elders, Morning, D. Hendrie, J. Maclntosh, R. N. B. Noble, D. Anderson, J. Maxwell and A. Smith. Evening, H. Hosie and R. Black.

25th—11 a.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Elders, A. Smith, R. Black, J. W. Wood, J. Maxwell.

31st—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Women's Guild. Elders, Morning. C. Constable, A. Smith, R. Douglas. J. W. Wood, J. Tyman, and L. Ewart. Evening, D. Anderson and R. K. Neill.

January, 1962.

7th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Maclntosh, 36 Holmwood Dr. Elders, Morning, D. Hendrie, J. MacIntosh, R. T. Robertson, H. Hosie, R. Black and W. Smith. Evening, A. Smith and J. Maxwell.

In Memoriam

At 35a Eskdaill Street on 22nd November—Annie Laidlaw Black, aged 62.

At 69 Caroline Street on 24th November, Donald M. M. Waldie, aged 74.

At 16 John Street, on 26th November, Annie Gilbertson, aged 68.

At Thomas Hope Hospital on 28th November, Mary Nichol, aged 78.

"O blest communion. fellowship divine. We feebly struggle, they in glory shine. Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine. William Walsham How.