Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.47                      Price 1/- with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       DECEMBER, 1964.

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

Session Clerk: Mr. JOHN TYMAN, Bar Bank, Langholm. Tel. 223

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

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

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

Church Officer: Mr. ARCHIE SMITH, 7 Holmwood Crescent.

Hall Caretaker: Mr Donaldson, 7 West Street.

Motto Text for December:'Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass.' - Luke 2,15.


Dear Fellow Member,

Once again in our imagination, we turn our thoughts towards the Little Town of Bethlehem. And in doing so we are keeping company with Christmas of many ages, men and women of different races and languages, rich and poor, who feel stirred at this season to go and worship at the Manger.

And it is not too soon to begin thinking about going to worship at the Manger on the first Sunday of December, because by beginning the journey earlier we will be better prepared to behold the mystery of the Holy Child when we arrive at Christmas Day. There is a strong feeling among many serious-minded Christians that this journey to Bethlehem is starting too soon in the year, and that it is infuriating to see Christmas decorations in the streets and shops before the end of October. This of course is partly due to Christmas becoming commercialised, and it is leaDouglasome to the desire to contract out of it altogether. But as Dr. Hugh Douglas has said, this would be simply handing over Christmas and Jesus, and all, to the commercial interests, But why, he asks, should the commercial interests have it all their own way? Have you ever thought you might be helping to keep Christmas better by avoiding this negative attitude of simply criticising commercialisation, and try and bring a lot more Christian love into the giving of presents and sending remembrance and greeting cards?

At any rate it is a fact that millions of people who have little connection with churches and professional Christianity will be led as the result of the commercialisation of Christmas to turn their thoughts towards Bethlehem, and they cannot turn their thoughts towards the Manger and the Christ Child in however slight a way without being the better for it.

Many people who have leisure and means make an annual pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Every year at Christmas time thousands of pilgrims actually visit Bethlehem; and many millions of others like ourselves who cannot make that journey, gather in Church or Cathedral or perhaps in the home and there try to make a spiritual pilgrimage so that they may come and behold and worship at the Manger.

How Far Is It To Bethlehem?

I could not tell you exactly how far it would be to travel from Langholm all the way to Bethlehem. I know at least of two families in our district who have in recent times made that journey. The actual journey is in these days beset by many difficulties owing to barriers imposed since Jewish occupation of the newly proclaimed State of Israel. I once did the journey from North Africa, and it involved me in an air journey from Benghazi to Cairo, and then a very slow train journey from Cairo via El Kantara to Lydda, and on to Jerusalem. On the outward journey I had all my luggage stolen off the train during the time I left my carriage for the dining car, but that is something that might have happened in this country, and I have long ago forgiven the unknown thief. It is today a journey with many difficulties. If you went by air say from London airport you would need passports and visas and reservations, and it would all be very costly. It must have been a long journey for Mary and Joseph down from Nazareth, a journey of some eighty miles, mostly on foot. But the journey for us as we seek to travel to Bethlehem this coming Christmas is not the kind of journey that can be measured in miles or visas or reservations, it is rather a journey to be measured by qualities of simple faith and the spirit of expectation such as was displayed by the Shepherds. If we really arrive at Bethlehem this coming Christmas it will be according to the measure of our faith and spirit of wonder and expectation. Those Shepherds who arrived first at the Manger were Jews, men who looked daily for the coming of the Messiah. They were men of simple faith in the promises of God. So no wonder they were filled with joy on hearing the angels sing "Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord."

So the length of the journey to Bethlehem is measured by our spirit of expectation and humble faith.

If, like the Shepherds in the Christmas story, we are looking for God coming nearer to us, and if we have their spirit of expectation, we will arrive there alright. Little children get to Bethlehem every year though they never leave their home or village or town, because the spirit of wonder and faith and trust is natural to a little child. And this is why when Jesus began his public ministry he took a little child and set him up in the midst of His disciples as the greatest in the kingdom, and said "Except ye become as a little child ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." Or as Wordsworth says, "Heaven lies about us in our infancy." The trouble is that as we get older our sense of wonder and expectancy and simple trust departs from us, and we are further off from God and heaven. As Thomas Hood has put it in those memorable lines:

"I remember, I remember

The fir-trees dark and high;

I used to think their slender tops

Were close against the sky;

It was a childish ignorance,

But now 'tis little joy

To know I'm further off from heaven

Than when I was a boy."

Yes, this is why Christmas can do us all so much good, it helps us to become little children again, if just for a day, and does us all so much good. For it brings us all the nearer to God and the world of the spirit from whence we came than any other event or experience throughout the whole year.

The road to Bethlehem is travelled by all kinds of people, but the proud and the selfish and the jealous rarely ever arrive.

For example, people like Dickens's Scrooge never arrive, for he had no time for anybody but himself. He refused to give a cent to an appeal for some good cause at Christmas. "Christmas" he said, "was humbug". And he said "he thought it would be a good thing if the poor could all die off and so reduce the surplus population". But something happened to Scrooge that changed him and he got to Bethlehem after all. Something happened to him that led him to top the subscription list for a good cause, and he turned up at his nephew's Christmas party smiling, and anxious for everyone to have a good time. And that is how everyone feels who really gets to Bethlehem at Christmas. They just cannot bide anyone known to them being hungry or forgotten on that day of all days, even though it may be some thriftless and undeserving body.

And jealous people rarely arrive at Bethlehem. Herod didn't go because his heart was full of jealous thoughts about this new born King, and this led his to organise the slaughter of the innocent little children. So if we want to arrive at Bethlehem let as search our hearts. "Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within me." For it is hard to come near Bethlehem if there is envy or jealousy in our lives.

And people with resentment in their thoughts and hearts rarely get to Behlehem. If someone once did you an injury and ever since you have been harbouring resentment in your heart against that person, this may very well prevent you arriving at Bethlehem. And this is to my mind one of the wonderful tonics about Christmas, because people know well that they cannot enter into its real spirit until they have made clean their hearts of all bitter and resentful feeling towards others. Preparing for coming Christmas might well include singing over again and again an old song I knew when I was a boy about forget and forgive. "For old times sake, dont let your enmity live. For old times sake say you'll forget and forgive. Life's too short to quarrel, heart is too precious to break". It's a bit sentimental I grant you, but it has a real point for some of us to take heed of at this season.

It is said the reason why the Shepherds were chosen to be the first to visit the Manger was that they were men living in harmony, more in spirit with the Christ Child, that they were men accustomed to living in good will among each other.

Marco Polo used to tell a story to his daughters about the Wise Men who came to Bethlehem from the Far East. He said their names were Gasper, Belthazar, and Melchior, and that they were three kings. And the story tells how on the way they had a quarrel which led to heated argument and contention. And this led them to each go on their way seperately, but as they did so they found the guiding star disappeared. And it was not until they had withdrawn their cruel words and joined company again and were showing signs of care for each other that the star reappeared and led them to Bethlehem.

The late Dr. Boreham tells in one of his Christmas books a story of the devastating effects of going on cultivating resentment can have for people. He tells how years ago he visited an old man on his deathbed. He was a man whom nobody liked, hard, sullen and dour. If you met him on the street and wished him "Good day", he would keep his eyes straight in front of him, and make a grunt of a reply. He lived all by himself and spoke to no one, and made it perfectly clear he didn't wish anyone to speak to him. Even little children kept away from him. Some said he was a woman-hater, some said he was a miser, some that he was a fugitive from justice, a man with a guilty secret. But said Dr. Boreham, they were all wrong. The simple truth was that, in his youth, a companion had done him a grevious injury. "I'll remember it", he had hissed in passionate resentment—"I'll remember it to my dying day". And he did. But when he was dying he realised that by living that way he had soured and darkened his whole life. "I've gone over it by myself every morning," he moaned as he lay on a comfortless bed in his last illness, "I've gone over it every morning and every night. I've cursed him a hundred times every day. I see now", he added "I see now that my curses have eaten out my soul, and that my hate has hurt nobody but myself".

This is something that going to Bethlehem can save people from, and there is a lot of need for Christmas in every home, in every community, and throughout our modern world with its hates and national rivalries and resentments. So this coming Christmas, let us all try making the journey to Bethlehem, try to regain the spirit of expectation and wonder of a little child, to regain a child's simple faith and trust. Let us banish any resentment and have concern for the lonely and the unfortunate, and the children and the old folk in some practical way, and we will find that Bethlehem is not very far away after all, that it is so near that it will be found in our own heart, in our own home, in our own town.

"It isn't far to Bethlehem's town

It's everywhere that Christ comes down, And finds in people's friendly face

A welcome and abiding place.

The road to Bethlehem runs right through

The homes of folk like me and you".

Special Services in December

We closed November with the happy St. Andrew Youth Service when about 45 young folk from Longtown joined with us. The Rector of Arthuret, Revd. G. Hill, gave a challenging address on the Message of St. Andrew, and after the Service we spent a profitable time in the Parish Hall when Ken Taylor thrilled us with his choice coloured views of bird life in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

On the Sunday this letter comes to hand, 6th December, we are holding the first of a series of monthly United Services between Erskine, the Congregational, and the Old Parish, this first Service being in the Congregational Church.

On Sunday, 13th December we have the Town Band leading the singing at the Evening Service, and playing some of the popular carols. Remembering how well the Band did on Remembrance Sunday, I hope we will have a full attendance on this occasion.

On Sunday, 20th December, the Morning Service will be conducted by Mr. John Tyman, our Session Clerk. The Evening Service that day will be a Children's Gift and Carol Service when the Sunday School will lead the singing, and read lessons. The children are asked to bring gifts of toys or sweets or fruit at the commencement of the Service at 6 p.m. and these will be given to children of Barnardo Homes.

We will hold the annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Thursday, 24th December, at 11.30 p.m., when Lessons will be read by young people representing our various organisations, and Christmas carols projected on the screen will be sung. We will select well known carols and the whole Service will conclude just after midnight has struck. The offering this year will be on behalf of Christian Aid for the world's hungry, and we hope it will be a generous one. We will all enjoy Christmas much better if we feel we have done our part to help to relieve the miseries of the millions of the world's victims of poverty, hunger and disease.

On Christmas Day there will be a United Service with Erskine in the Erskine Church at 11 a.m. The Service will be conducted by the Revd. Dr. Dinwoodie, and I will give a short address. And again at this Service the Offering will be for Christian Aid.

Comment on Annual British Legion Remembrance Day Service

The response this year was very gratifying and I would like to express thanks to all who took part. This year we had the four Churches, Scottish Episcopal, Congregational, Erskine and Old Parish all as one, and the ministers each taking a part. The Langholm Town Band delighted us all in leading the singing. The Collection for Earl Haig Fund amounted to £28 19s 8d which I think is higher than on any occasion when the Service was held in the afternoon. I would like here to thank Mr. Matthew Armstrong for one more of his many good services to his Church in fitting standard holders to each side of the pulpit, so that the Colours could be displayed as is done in Garrison Churches.

Boys' Brigade Enrolment

The Boys' Brigade made a very smart parade to Church for their annual enrolment, and it was encouraging to see so many recruits this year. A very high standard of training and discipline is being maintained and we warmly congratulate Mr. Robertson and his officers on their faithful work. From the Boys' Brigade with its regular Bible Class training we are getting some of our keenest first communicants.

Additional Elders

It was a special delight to me to have three young men to ordain and admit to the Kirk Session, David Calvert, Ramsay Johnstone and John Scott. Their youth and experience both of church and community life gives them a lot to contribute to the work of the Kirk Session and our Old Parish Church.

Pending Departure of the Revd. A. Lamont, M.A., Newcastleton

The Revd. Archibald Lamont, Minister of Castleton and Saughtree, had his Call to Letham Church, Perth, sustained at the Presbytery of Hawick on Wednesday. The Clerk intimated that Letham was a new charge in a new housing area of 10,000 population, and the charge already had a membership of over 1500. Mr. Lamont preaches his farewell sermon at Castleton on Sunday, 6th December. As I have undertaken to serve as Interim Moderator in the Vacancy I will be absent from my pulpit at the Morning Service on Sunday, 20th December, to preach the Castleton and Saughtree linked Churches vacant on that date. Though Mr. Lamont has not been long at Newcastleton, he is a young and able minister well suited for the task of Church Extension. Ten thousand parishioners seems a lot, but this is a moderate undertaking in comparison with the number of parishioners a minister is reponsible to in our industrial areas.

Some of the Christmas Parties

The Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee is holding a Christmas Service and Party in the Buccleuch Hall on Wednesday, 16th December for the older people of Langholm and district. The party will commence at 3 p.m. and after a short Christmas Service there will be a Christmas tea and entertainment. Transport can be provided if requested.

Sunday School Christmas Party

The Sunday School Christmas Party will be on Saturday, 19th December, the Primary at 2.30 p.m. and the Junior and Senior at 6 p.m. Santa Claus is to attend the Primary Party, and we hope he will be in very good form.

Old People's Club

The Old People's Club under the leadership of Mrs. Flint is holding a Christmas Supper in the Old Parish Hall on Tuesday, 22nd December, commencing at 6.30 p.m. After supper the Langholm Town Band will help in entertaining by playing popular carols.

Women's Guild

The Women's Guild Christmas Social will be on Tuesday, 15th December at 7.30 p.m. when there will be a warm welcome to members and friends.

Boys' Brigade Christmas Party and Dance

The Boys' Brigade annual Christmas party and dance will be on Christmas Eve, 24th December in the Parish Hall. The party will have an interval at 11.20 p.m. in order to attend and share in the Midnight Candlelight Service.

Youth Fellowship

The Youth Fellowship meets at 7.30 p.m. on Sunday, 13th December for Christmas Carol practice.

On Sunday, 20th December the Youth Fellowship meets at 7.30 p.m. in the hall, and then proceeds carol singing, first to Thomas Hope Hospital, then to the Town Hall Christmas Tree, to the Meikleholm and to any other location or homes as invited. We hope for a strong choir as in former years. All young people invited to attend.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

During November we lost two well known and much loved members of the Old Parish Church. On 3rd November, William Ewart, 20 Caroline Street, passed suddenly away. On the previous day he did his usual walk up the Wauchope road and seemed in many ways his usual self. He was a man of rare delight and disposition who always greeted you with a smile. One of the most faithful members of our Church. Though he spent a good part of his life in business in Edinburgh, Langholm was never far from his thoughts, and he took a special delight in the Rugby Team and the Common Riding. Our very sincere sympathy with his widow and daughter.

On 20th November, at Warwick Bridge, Arthur B. Calvert passed away after a period of illness. He was at one time a keen member of the Old Parish Church Choir, and of the Langholm Town Band. Living at Warwick Bridge he and his wife Wilhelmina (Plenderleith) regularly attended the local Parish Church and shared in all the church activities. Our deepest sympathy with his widow and brothers.

Christmas Greetings

Owing to having served in a few different congregations of the Church in my ministry, I find the number of people I have got to know as friends are too numerous to remember individually by greeting cards at Christmas, and I have given up attempting to send cards. But I take this opportunity of expressing warmest good wishes for a very happy Christmas, and health and happiness in the New Year to all our members and friends of the Old Parish Church on behalf of my wife and family, and myself.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.

Collections for November, 1964

F.W.O.: £89 18 3

Ordinary: £30 15 7

By Deed of Covenant £31 10 0

Collecting Boxes £16 1 10

Annual Envelopes £7 0 0

By Donaticns £45 0 0

Will any members wishing to make use of the Free Will Offering Envelopes please ask for same from District Elder or direct from Mr. Black the Church Treasurer.

Life and Work distributors are asked to collect subscriptions for same up to end of year, and hand in to the Church Treasurer as soon as convenient.


The last meeting, which took the form of a Biblical Tea Night, was most successful and happy. We thank the ladies for so readily taking part and bringing select Bible quotations and appropriate gifts. Also Mrs. Graham of Holmwood for acting as judge. Prizes were: 1st, Miss Berkley; 2nd, Mrs. Anderson; 3rd, Miss Jenny Graham. The proceeds from sale of gifts amounted to £8.

Next meeting will be on 8th December when Mr. J. L. Hardie, M.A., Ewes Schoolhouse, will be our speaker.

The Guild Christmas Social will be held on Tuesday, 15th December.


November 15—Craig Seaton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Derek Bell, 4 Buccleuch Square.

November 15—Wilma Mary, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Currie, Holmhead.

November 22—Suzanne Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Currie, 120 High Street.


On 3rd November, William Ewart, 20 Caroline Street, beloved husband of Catherine Douglas.

On 20th November, Arthur B. Calvert, Warwick Bridge, beloved husband of Wilhelmina (Minnie) W. Plenderleith.

"0 death, where is thy string? 0 grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."— 1 Cor. 15, 55 and 57.


December 13—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. Wood, Potholm. Langholm Town Band leads singing at Evening Service.

December 20—11 a.m. Mr. John Tyman, M.A.,LL.B. 6 p.m. Christmas Gift Service and Carols. Revd. Tom Calvert. The Evening Service will be led by the Sunday School. Flowers: Mrs. Calvert, The Manse.

December 24—11.30 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.

December 25—11 a.m. Christmas Day United Service in Erskine Church.

December 27—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Old Year Services Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. Calvert, The Manse.

January 3—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. New Year Services. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. Macintosh, Crchard Hill, Ha'Path.


The Kirk Session meets on Wednesday, 9th December, at 7.30 p.m.

There will be no meeting of the Congregational Board this month unless urgent business requires a special meeting.

Printed at Advertiser Office, Langholm.