Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.92                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        DECEMBER 1968.

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. Donald Lamont, Rosevale 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 December. “Be always joyful; pray continually; give thanks Whatever happens.” 1 Thessalonians 5. 16/18 N.E.B.

Dr. James Denney, the famous Scottish theologian of the last century, has called these three verses in their joint form the standing orders of the Christian life. While Professor William Barclay in his commnentary on Thessalonians says that this text contains the marks of a genuine Church, that the atmosphetre of joy ought to prevade every congregation of the Church that members of the Church ought not to be strangers to prayer, and that Church people should be able to find something to be thankful for even in the darkest day.

The first of the three standing orders of the Christian life is “Be always joyful”.

Jesus was a man of joy. Dr. W. R. Matthews, a former Dean of St. Paul’s, once wrote “Jesus came into the world to make men glad, and men knew where He had been because of the track of gladness that He left behind.” In the Gospels we frequently find Jesus speakiing about joy and good cheer. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” I am sure Jesus was no stranger to laughter. He frequently went to supper parties with the publicans and sinners, and there is no suggestion in the Gospel that His presence at these parties made people feel ill at ease. Little children loved to gather around Jesus, and children give people of gloom a wide mark.

Yes and Paul was a man of joy. Though he suffered much at the hands of this former friends the Pharisees, was persecuted and imprisoned, he possessed a joy in living that few other men in the Bible knew so deeply. Writing to the Philippians from his prison cell in Rome, the highest note in the letter is joy. "Rejoice in the Lord at all times”, he writes. And then goes on, “And I will say it again, Rejoice”. So you see the joy he speaks about is not dependent upon outward circumstances. He is chained and under prison guard. The only thing apart from the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ that he was certain about was that at some early day he would be led on to the headsman’s block. The joy of Jesus, and the joy of Paul is a joy we would do well to get hold of.

Yes, and all the best Christians have been joyous people. Robert Louis Stevenson, whose anniversary is recalled on 3rd December, was one of the best examples of joy in living regardless of those things which people calculate provide joy. He never enjoyed a week’s good health throughout his life. He was forever threatened with the prospect of the sick bed and the rnedicine bottle, but this didn’t prevent him living a joyous life and radiating joy to all who knew him or read his books. In one of his Essays he cornmended joy and good cheer. “A cheerful man is better than a five pound note, he is a public benefactor, and his entrance into a room is as if another candle had been lighted. In his home in Samoa he used to conduct evening prayers, and there was one prayer he always prayed a prayer about joy in living, “Be with our friends, be with ourselves. Go with each of us to rest . . . . and when the day returns, return to us, our Sun and Comforter, and call us up with morning faces and with morning hearts, eager to be happy”.

And of course the most important thing about possessing joy in ourselves is that We cannot keep it to ourselves, other people catch it from us.

Now a few words about the second of the Christian’s Standing Orders, “Pray continually”.

Why should We pray continually? Because prayer is strength. A prayerless Christian is a powerless ineffective Christian. Jesus was a man of prayer. He prayed always before any of His great acts of healing. We read. about Him going up into a mountain for the purpose of prayer, and contiuing all the night in prayer to God. Even in the Garden of Gethsemene and on the Cross Jesus was guided and sustained by prayer. And if Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we? And Paul was a man of prayer. When that frightful illness befell him which he calls “a thorn in the flesh”, he prayed the Lord thrice that it might depart from him. And it was by prayer that he came to terms with his infirmity, and realised that in some wonderful way it was for his good, and that his prayer had not gone unaswered. It was in prayer that the answer came to Paul, “My grace is suffricient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in thy weakness". And here in this chapter from which our text comes, at verse 25, Paul says to the members of the Church in Philippi, “Brothers, pray for us”.

Paul is here thinking about prayer of intercession. Paul prayed for guidance in his work of carrying the Gospel into the pagan world, he prayed for his converts and newly founded Churches. Here he is asking the members of one of the Churches he had founded to pray for him, that he might have strength to face what lay before him. And this is the most wonderful kind of prayer in which we can all fulfil a ministry to others. Indeed I believe that one of the greatest things you can do for your dear ones when they have to face difficulty or sorrow or illness is to pray for them. I was interested to read in the Scottish Daily Express last Saturday of how prayers have been offered in Carlisle’s 12th century Cathedral for the Carlisle United football players. Carlisle United were planted firmly at the bottom of the second division without a win. Then the Cathedral choir was asked to pray for them. This was at a Service at the time Bob Stokoe took over as manager. Canon Alan Batty who conducted the Service said, “the prayers were meant for all professional footballers. But since we have some very keen United supporters in the choir, it’s obvious where their loyalties lay. The power of prayer is a very strong one, although we’d never think of claiming the credit of the recent successes”. Since that Service seven weeks ago the club has played seven matches and haven’t lost a game having played eleven and a half hours of League Soccer without coniceding a single goal. The Cathedral master of music Mr, Andrew Seivewright said this had made the members of the choir think. Choristers are apt to drift into a coma during a service, but they pricked up their ears when they heard football mentioned in the prayers.

Prayer brings strength for those for whom it is made. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”. The weary ones had rest, the sick had joy that day, and wondered how. The plowman singing at his work had prayed, God help them now. Alone in foreign lands they wondered how their feeble words had power. At horne the Christians, two or three, had met and prayed an hour. So we are always wondering, wondering how, because we do not see. Someone unknown perhaps, and far away, on bended knee.”

The third requirement in the Christian’s Standing Orders is, “Give thanks whatever happens”.

There are a lot of things in life for which we should be thankful and for which most people are thankful. If you go into hospital with some dreaded illness and after an operation return home with life given back to you, how thankful you feel for the skill of the surgeon and all the nursing staff did for you. How thankful we all ought to feel in this country in these present days, with freedom and prosperity in the land, especially when we remember the terrible depression that must be filling the hearts of the people of Czechoslovakia. Now and again we hear of people not only feeling thankful but saying a simple thank you to someone they owe it to. I heard a story the other day about one of our R.A.F. Shackleton planes on patrol over the North Sea, sighting the crew of a Norwegian fishing boat that had been wrecked, all huddled together in an open dinghy. The plane signalled for help, and kept circling anound until the crew of the dinghy were rescued. Three weeks later the pilot of the plane and the members of the crew of the plane all had handed into their homes a box of frozen fish, with a scrap of paper you which was written, “just to say thank you”.

But in our text Paul is asking us not only to say thanks for obvious blessings, deliverances or recoveries but for everything that happens to us. “Give thanks whatever happens”. And it is a fact that when you come to think with thanksgiving about some of the things that happen to you which you have dreaded, a sort of divine alchemy seems to change it's to assets. this is how Paul felt about his imprisonment in Rome. He realised that but for the mistortune of his chains he would never have had the opportunity to preach to members of Caesar’s household, and win some of the friends of the Roman Emperor for the Gospel. And so writing to the Philippians from his prison in Rome he says, “I would have you understand, brethren that the things which happened to me have fallen out rather for the furtherance of the Gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places". We have got to learn to come to terms with the things that happen to us however distressing, and when we can bring ourselves to think of experiences we have dreaded with some degree of thanksgiving, then like Helen Keller we come to be able to say, “I thank God for my disabilities for through them I have found my happiness, my life work and my God".

I quoted in a recent Parish Magazine some words written over two hundred years ago by William Law in his Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. I quote the words again as they are to the point here. "If any one would tell you the surest and shortest Way to all happiness, he must tell you to make a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you will turn it into a blessing.

“Be always joyful, pray continually give thanks whatever happens" the Standing Orders of the Christian life.


Dear Fellow-Member.

It has been a matter of considerable interest to me on the occasion of taking the Morning Service in the Carlisle Church of Scotland last Sunday morning, to be presented with a copy of Sermons preached by the late Rev. William Barry Shaw, Minister of Langhom from 1812 to 1856. The sermons are as would be expected very heavy matter for reading, twenty five in all, on subjects that would interest few congregations today, but the Preface contains the Funeral Sermon to Mr. Shaw, preached in the Parish Church of Langholm on Sunday, 29th June, 1856, by his intimate friend and co-presbyter, the Rev. John. Strathern, minister of Eskdalemuir. Mr. Strathern tells how Rev. William Berry Shaw was licensed to preach the Gospel in the year 1798 and in 1801 ordained as assistant and successor to the minister of Roberton. Eleven years later was translated to the church and parish of Langholm where he continued his ministry for a further forty-four years. This means that Mr. Shaw began this Langholm ministry in the Old Kirk now in ruins at the top of Kirkwynd, and that it was during his ministry that our present lovely church was built, From an interesting booklet “The Centenary of the Church 1846 to 1946, compiled by Dr. R. H. Watt, it is recorded that Rev. W. Berry Shaw conducted the opening Services in our present church on 17th May, 1846. I have a number of copies of Dr. Watt’s book on the history and associations of our church and could make copies available to anyone interested.

Special Services in November

The Annual Remembrance Day Service on Sunday, 10th Novembeir was well attended, better than any previous Rernembraence Day Service during my ministry in Langholm, and this speaks well for the loyalty and reverence in the hearts of the people of our community. The parade of British Legion, Air Training Corps, Observer Corps, Boys’ Brigade, Guides and Brownies was smartly turned out and conducted by Mr. Alec Cowing. The Langholm Town Band gave us an excellent lead to singing the lovely old hymns associated with this occasion.

The Boys’ Brigade Annual Enrolment on Sunday, 17th November was again well up to strength. James Kyle, the Company Captain, with his Lieutenants Ramsay Johnstone, John Wallace, Gavin Graham, Adrian Maxwell and Linda Murphy, are to be congratulated upon doing, a really worthwhile job, and doing it with such evident success. The lads of the Company and Junior Brigade are happy and responsive at their weekly parades, and it would do any member of our community good to look in on occa sions and Watch the boys taking part in prayers, marching and recreation with such delight.

During the past month our Evening Services have been well supported, the Evening Service on 3rd November was led and attended by a large representation of the Over 60 Club. On Sunday, 17th November the Evening Service was led and well attended by the Women's Guild. On Sunday, 24th the Evening Service, taking the form of a St. Andrew’s Service, was led and well attended by members of the Young Wives Fellowship.

December, Christmas and Old Year Services

On Sunday, 1st December the Evening Service is to be led and conducted entirely by the Boys‘ Brigade. This is to be a Service planned and prepared by the senior lads of the Company along the lines they think will get over to the youth of the present day.

On Sunday, 8th December the Langholm Pipe Band, and the Langholm Town Band will lead the Evening Service. Lessons will be read by members of the Bands, and Well known carols led by the Town Band.

On Sunday, 15th December, the Rev. Basil Deane, B.D., Teacher in Langholm Academy, will conduct the Services. The Evening Service on this Sunday will take the form of a Carol Service led by the Women’s Guild and Young Wives Fellowship. I am going south this weekend, weather permitting, to bring on Christmas holiday our two boys Robert and William after their close of first term Service in Bishop’s Stortford College on Sunday, 15th December.

On Sunday, 22nd, Pre-Christmas Service at 11 a.m. when the Sunday School children will bring their Christmas gifts. This year their gifts will be distributed among the aged and house-bound, hospitals, Eventide Homes in Langholrn, Lockerbie and Kirkpatrick-Fleming.

The Evening Service on Sunday, 22nd will be United Service in the Erskine Church, when Junior Choir under the leadership of Mrs. Margaret Smith will render special carols and share with the congregation in singing some of the best known Christmas hymns.

After the Evening Service on Sunday 22nd, a group of Boys’ Brigadie lads and other young people interested will sing carols at Meikleholm, in the Hospital and Eventide Horne, and at the homes of some of the house-bound.

On Christmas Eve, Tuesday, 24th December, we will hold the usual Midnight Carol Service in the Old Parish Church, commencing at 11.30 p.m.

On Christmas Day there will be a Christmas Day Service in the Old Parish Church at 11 a.m.

The arrangements for Sunday, 29th December, Old Year Services in our Church are as follows. The Morning Service will be conducted by the Rev Brydon Maben of Newcastletcn, on a pulpit exchange arrangement. The Evening Service on this Sunday will be of special interest to youth, when Miss Anne Cartner, now Youth Leader for Stranraer. will give a talk on the work of a Youth Leader.

In Memoriam

During the past month we lost one of our oldest members in the passing of Nellie Rutherford, 17 John Street, at the wonderful age of 94. Miss Rutherford was a fine lady and far travelled. In the year 1902 she sailed to the United States of America, where she lived for some years as companion and teacher to a French family. After the First World War she settled in France where she lived a happy life teaching and serving as companion to a well known family. Miss Rutherford became almost more familiar with the French language than with her own and she loved France, its language and people. During her years of retirement in Langholm she kept house for her late brother William who passed away four years ago, She was regular in her pew in the Old Parish Church until recent months. God blessed her life not only with years far beyond the three score years and ten, but with health and faculties to enjoy her years.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to Charles Constable in the passing away of his beloved wife Anne Milne Thomson. Our sympathy also to Nancy and Helen. Charles Constable was Chairman of the Vacancy Committee when I was elected minister of Langholm Old Parish and he and Mrs. Constable extended to me the warmest hospitality on arrival. We have missed them both since their desparture to Glasgow, and are saddened at the news of Mrs. Constable passing away. We all trust that our late and greatly loved Elder, Charles Constable, will soon make a good recovery of health. He is shortly going to live with Helen (Mrs. Christie) who lost her husband two years ago.

Christmas Greetings
This magazine brings us to the close of another year, a year with many happy memories for Langholm. The Greenbank Eventide Home has been opened in the past year. ln our Old Parish Church we have witnessed fifteen marriages, thirty-two baptisms, twenty-two young people admitted as first communicants, and twenty-three additional members by certificate or by restoration. I send to all our people the warmest of all good Christmas greetings from all at the Old Manse.

Yours sincerely,




F. W . O.

Nov £61 3 9


£32 10 0


There was a good company of ladies present on Tuesday, 12th November, when our speaker was Rev. Wm. McRoberts of Loanhead Boys Reform School. Our guests from Erskine, Newcastleton and Canonbie enjoyed the address and the hospitality of our Guild. On Tuesday, 26th our Guild enjoyed attending the Erskine Guild as guests and the wonderful programme of music and song.

On Sunday, 17th November, our Guild ladies supported the Evening Service in good number, when lessons were read by Mrs. Wood and Mrs. Woolnough. Miss Jean Ferguson sang “Take my life and let it be", and the Guild choir sang “Crossing the Bar”.

The Guild Annual Jumble Sale takes place in the Church Hall on Friday, 6th December. The Hall will be open iduring the day to receive gifts of jumble. jumble can be collected by informing the minister. The Guild Christmas Social takes place on Tuesday, 10th December when we hope for a full attendance of members and friends.

On Sunday, 15th December the Guild is invited to attend the Evening Service and along with the Young Wives Fellowship lead in carols and lessons.


The Young Wives meeting on Tuesday, 19th November was a happy gathering for a sewing night. Sunday, 24th the Young Wives led the Evening Service when Mrs. Irene Irving and Mrs. Elma Aitken read the Lessons, and the Young Wives sang the St. Andrew hymn, “Jesus calls us O’er the tumult”. On Tuesday, 26th the Young Wives enjoyed being guests cf the Erskine Guild. The next meeting is Tuesday, 3rd December at 8 p.m. On Sunday, 15th December the Young Wives are to share with the Guild in leading a Carol and Lessons Service. The Young Wives Children’s Christmas Party is on Wednesday, 18th in the afternoon.


The Sunday Sohool Christmas Parties are arranged, the Primary Department on Saturday, 21st at 2.30 p.m. The Junior and Senior Sunday School Departments party on Monday, 23rd at 7 pm.


The Junior Brigade Christmas party is on Wednesday, 18th at 6 p.m. The Boys’ Brigade Christmas dance is on Christmas Eve, commencing at 7.30 p.m. Coffee Morning for Boys’ Brigade Funds in Church Hall on Saturday, 7th December at 10 a.m.


The Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee’s Christmas Service and Party takes place in the Buccleuch Hall on Wednesday, 18*th, commencing at 3 pm. Transport available on request.


The Over 60 Club Christmas Party in the Church Hall on Thursday, 12th December at 6.30 p.m.


December 8 - 11 a.rn. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Wood, Potholm. The Evening Service led by the Langholm Bands.

December 15 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.rn. Rev. Basil Deane, B.D. Flowers, Mrs. Mary Armstrong, Marlsyde. Evening Service of Carols and Lessons led by the Guild and Young Wives.

December 22 - 11 a.m. Children’s Gift and Carol and Lessons Service. Flowers, Mrs. Alexander, 82 High Street. 6 p.m. United Service in Erskine Church, led by the Langholm Junior Choir, under leadership of Mrs. Margaret Smith.

December 24 - 11.30 p.m. Midnight Carol and Lessons Service.

December 25 - Christmas Day Service at 11 a.m.


November 3 - Lesley Margaret, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Robertson, 10 Killmarnock Road, Crosshouse, Kilmarnock.

November 17 - James Norman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Glendinning, 20 Braehead.


November 8 - Arthur Miller, Kirkton, Ewes, to Janette Kay, 22 Caroline Street.

November 15 - Ronald Hudson, 5 Henry Street, to Margaret Hellen Barbour, The Burn, Westerkirk.


November 17 - Nellie Rutherford, 17 John Street. Age 94.

October 31 Anne Milne Thomson Constable, 4 Battlefield Gardens, Glasgow, S.2.

“Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” 2 Timothy 1. 10.