Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.103                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        DECEMBER 1969.

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 November:"When I was hungry, you gave me food." St. Matt. 25.35.

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

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

Many people who have leisure and means make an annual pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Every year at Christmas thousands of pilgrims visit the little town where Jesus was born. And many millions of others who cannot make the journey, gather in Church or Cathedral or perhaps in their homes and try and make a spiritual pilgrimage to Bethlehem so that they may come and behold and worship at the Manger.

How Far to Bethlehem?

I cannot tell you how far it would be to ‘travel from Langholm to the Little Town of Bethlehem, but it would be .a long and trying and in many ways a difficult journey nowadays. I once made the journey from Benghazi in North Africa, and it involved flying from Benina in the Western Desert to Cairo, and then a slow train journey via El Kantara to Lydda, and then on to Jerusalem. I don't know how difficult the journey is today since the formation of the Jewish State of Israel, but I imagine that if you went by air from say Heathrow to‘ Lydda, you would have a long journey by road at the Israel end, and need a visa and find the journey costly and perhaps dangerous.

It must have been a long and slow journey for Mary and Joseph down the western bank of the Jordan from Nazareth, a journey of some 80 miles and mostly on foot. But the journey for us as we will try to travel to Bethlehem this coming Christmas is not a kind of journey that can be measured in miles or passports or visas or reservations, it is rather a journey to be measured by qualities of heart and mind, qualities of simple faith and high expectations such as was displayed by the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. 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 first arrived at the Manger were Jews, men who were looking daily for the coming of G0d’s 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, whch is Christ the Lord”.

Length of the Road to Bethlehem measured by our Spirit of Expectation and Humble Faith.

If we, like the shepherds, are looking for God coming nearer to us, if we have their spirit of expectation, we will arrive alright. Little children ‘get there every year though they never leave their town or village or home, because the spirit of wonder and faith and trust is natural to a little child. And this is why in later years Jesus sat a child up as the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and said, “Except ye become converted and become as little children, ye will in no wise enter the kingdom of God”. Wordsworth reminds us, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy”. The trouble is that as we get older we lose our sense of wonder and expectancy and in consequence find ourselves further away from God and spiritual realities. As Thomas Hood reminds us in his well known lines:

"I remember, I remember The fir trees dark and high; I used to think their slenderbtops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance, But now ’tis little joy To know I'm farther ofi from Heaven Than when I was a boy"

This is something, Christmas can do for us all, help us to become children again, if only for one day, and in doing so brings us nearer to God and the world of spiritual realities.

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

In “A Christmas Carol”, Dickens tells us how Scrooge very nearly didn’t arrive at Bethlehem, for he had no time for anybody but himself. He refused to give a cent to a good Christmas cause for the poor, and replied, “Christmas, a humbug". He went on to say that 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 and he arrived at Bethlehem after all. He topped the subscription list for the good cause and turned up at his nephew’s Christmas party smiling and anxious for everyone to have a good time. And that is how everybody feels who really arrives at Bethlehem at Christmas, they cannot bide to think of anyone being hungry or forgotten on this special day, even though they may be thriftless and undeserving. Scrooge was changed when his nephew reminded him, “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come roundfiapart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good and will do me good and I say, God bless it”.

The jealous ‘people rarely arrive in Bethlehem. Herod di-n’t go because his heart was full of jealousy about the thought of a new born king and this led him to organise the slaughter of the Holy Innocents.

People with resentful thoughts rarely arrive at Bethlehem; If because someone once did you an iniury by word or deed and ever since you have been harbouring resentful thoughts, this may well prevent you arriving at the ‘Manger at Bethlehem. There is a prayer in the Church of England Prayer Book which rlzs. “O Lord, make clean our hearts within us!” That is a prayer we all need to pray at this season if we want to really arrive at Bethlehem. And I think this is one of -the good things Christmas does for us all as it comes round every year, it helps us to make clean our hearts of all bitterness and resentment and act in the spirit of the old song I used to hear people sing when I was a boy, “For old times sake, Don’t let your enmity live. For old times sake, say vou’ll forget and forgive. Life’s too short to quarrel, Heart's too precious to break. Now say you'll be brothers and friends for old times sake.

Even in war days the Germans and the British found it diflicult to keep on the battle on Christmas D-av. I knew a Dumfriesshire officer of the lst K.0.S.B'. who got into very serious trouble with the Divisional Commander because in the Caen battle in Normandy, on Christmas Day he arranged a cease fire with the, enemy. I have read somewhere that this also happened in the first world war, in some parts of the Western Front our troops and the Germans fraternized and exchanged gifts on Christmas Day.

It has been Suggested that the reason why the shepherds were chosen to be the first to visit the Manger was that they were men who lived in harmony and in the spirit of the Christ Child of the Manger. In a story said to have been told by Marco Polo of the wise men coming from the East to Jerusalem, led by the light of a bright star, there were three kings, each mounted on a camel. One was called Gaspar, King of Tarsish, young and tall. The second was Balthazar, King of ancient Chaldea, middle aged and bearded. The third was Melchior, King of Nubia, very old and pale. And the story tells how after they had gone far on the way, they had a bitter quarrel and separated company and that suddenly the star which had been leading them disappeared. And that it was only after they had been reconciliated and withdrawn their cruel words and were showing signs of interest and care for each other, that the bright star reappeared and led them to Bethlehem.

Well at any rate I believe that not one of us will know the real joy of Christmas, or truly sing the songs of Bethlehem, if in our hearts there is at this season, spirit of contention, a harbouring of grudges, or want of concern for another’s good. Yes, and Christmas Day may be a day of days for each one of us, if it helps us to regain something of the childlike spirit of wonder and expectation and simple faith and trust. If in our hearts we banish all resentments and have thoughts of concern for others, then Bethlehem will be found not to be far away, but in our own town, in our own home, in our own heart; for as Madeleine Miller sings:

"It isn’[ far to Bethlehem’s town It’s everywhere that Christ comes down And finds in peoples friendly face A welcome and abiding place. The road to Bethlehem runs right through The homes of folk like me and you."


Dear Fellow-Member,

I wish to begin this monthly letter by expressing appreciation to the response to, my appeal, A Gift To My Church. Our Church Treasurer will shortly report on the number of members responding and the total amount received. This I can say from the report of our Church Treasurer at a recent meeting of the Congregational Board, that we will end the present year with a balance and not a deficit as last year. I am also amazed and gratified at the number who have responded to the “Give A Day’s Pay" Appeal of the Overseas Department of the Church of Scotland. The amount will be reported next month. as envelopes are still coming in to date. I am sure that all who have given to help the world’s hungry help themselves, while making a real sacrifice in these days of increasing cost of livings, will know a special sense of inner joy this coming Christmas, remembering the words of Him whose birthday we will soon celebrate. "In as much as ye did it to the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto Me."

Remembrance Day United Service

I was pleased tQ see a well filled church for the Annual Remembrance Day Service, and wish to thank the Chairman, Committee and members of the Langholm Branch of the British Legion for the generous support they give to this Service. As well as providing wreaths for the organisations attending, and one for the Lantgholm Churches, paying for the printing of the hymn sheets, they provide a lunch for the lads of the Service Units attending from Langholm and other parts of the County, and pay the coach bringing the 1152 Sqd. of the Air Training Corps to Langholm. It was a great delight to have Rev. Dr. DinWoodie, Rev. Dr. Harry Escott, and Rev. G. V. Kendall sharing with me in the Service. I wish to congratulate Mr. Alec Cowing on the quiet and efficient way he commanded the parade, and our own lst Langholm Company of the Boys’ Brigade and the Guides and Brownies on the smartness of turn out and parade. The retiring collection for the Earl Haig Fund amounted to £32 11s 9d.

Boys’ Brigade Enrolment Service.

On Sunday, 16th November, the 1st Langholm Company of the Boys’ Brigade paraded to church, when the Queen’s Colours were carried by W.O. Brian Porteous. During the Service the boys sang their special hymn, “Will Your Anchor Hold?" and at the close of the Service Capt. James Kyle, Lieutenants Ramsay Iohnstone, John Wallace, Gavin Graham, Linda Murphy, Elizabeth Ernst, and May Lockie, and Warrant Officers James Cairns and Brian Porteous made or renewed their promise to serve God in. advancing the objects of the Boys’ Brigade. Then followed the declaration of the N.C.O’s, Colour Sgt. Graham Robertson, Sgt. Roddy Innes, L/Cpls. Andy Ritchie and Ian Glendinning, that they would continue to discharge their duties cheerfully and faithfully. The senior section of the Company of boys renewed their promise, and junior section, following which Iames Kyle, Captain, presented the recruits who, after makin-g their promise to be regular at weekly parades and show respect and obedience to their leaders, were duly enrolled. Langholm people have good cause to be proud of the work done among boys by the Boys’ Brigade. and we owe deep gratitude to the Captain and "Officers for the time and example they give, and the Parents, Committee for the unfailing support they give the Captain and Officers.

Visit to Berwick Upon Tweed

On the same day as the Boys’ Brigade enrolment, I travelled to Berwick upon Tweed, to conduct the evening service in Wallace Green Church, as guest preacher at the Annual Communion of the Presbytery of Berwick. It was an inspiring experience to see the church filled, and a united choir drawn from nine congregations of the Presbytery. Wallace Green, standing next to the K.O.S.B. Barracks, is a charge of the Presbyterian Church of England, and is at present seeking admission to become a charge of the Church of Scotland. The minister, Rev. Basil Barkham, is an old friend. He was minister of the Aldershot Presbyterian Church in days when I served as Senior Church of Scotland Chaplain in Aldershot.

Election of Minister to Canonbie/Longtown.

The Canonbie/Longtown vacancy has existed since the retirement of the Rev. Andrew Farms last June, and of which I serve as Interim Moderator. Fortunately the work of ministering to these two congregations has for the vacancy been undertaken by Rev. Dr. John Kennedy, and. he is greatly loved by the poeple for his ministry both pulpit and pastoral. On Sunday, 30th November, the Rev. John William Moule, B.Sc., conducted the Services in Canonbie and Longtown as sole nominee, and was elected by a vote of 74. The Call will come before the Presbytery of Hawick in February, 1970. In the meantime a vast amount of renovation work has to be carried through on the Canonbie Manse. Rev. John W. Moule is a probationer, and a late entrant into the ministry. He is a B.Sc. of London University, and for some years served as Chief Commercial Officer of the South East, and later South of Scotland Electricity Board. Feeling a definite call to the ministry of the Church of Scotland he obtained an early retirement and entered Trinity College, Glasgow, for his Divinity course, and was licenced as a probationer in June of this year. His wife is very devoted to Guild and Church work, and they have a son of 23 who is to commence his Divinity training for the ministry in New College, Edinburgh in 1970. I can foresee happy days for Canonbie and Longtown, knowing that Mr. ‘Moule has so much to give both as a preacher and pastor.

Early Morning Half Hour Services

The 9.30 a.m. Half Hour Services commenced on Sunday, lst June, have proved most successful and from the sustained attendance it is evident they have met a real need. I am very grateful to all who have helped, and particularly Mrs. Barker who has served as pianist. Others have helped in various ways. Last Sunday, 30th November, we held the last 9.30 a.m. Service for the present year, and plan to begin in March or April, when the light is earlier in the mornings. Many thanks to all who have supported the effort and helped in any way.

Special Services in December

On Sunday, 14th December, l am to be south attending the ‘Bishop’s Stortford College Carol Service that day, in which our boys Robert and William take part, and later bring them back for the Christmas holidays. The Morning Service on the 14th will be conducted by the Rev. Andrew Farms, late of Canonbie, and now living in Longtown. The evening Service that day will be a United Service with the Congregational Church, in our Old Parish Church and led by the Langholm Town Band in Carols and Lessons. The Rev. Dr. Harry Escott will conduct the devotional part of the Service.

On Sunday, 21st December, the Pre Christmas Sunday, the Morning Service will be led by the Sunday School in Carols and Lessons, concluding with the Cradle Roll Service, parents with babies having names on the Cradle Roll entering the church by the minister's vestry at 11.45 a.m. The Evening Service will be conducted by the Boys‘ Brigade, being of a special Christmas character.

The Candle Light Christmas Eve Service on 24th December will commence at 11.15 p.m.

The Christmas Day Service will be a United Service of the Old Parish, Erskine and Congregational Churches. held in the Erskine Church at 11 a.m.

Sunday, 28th December, "Old Year Services at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Guild Christmas Social

The Guild Christmas Social is on Tuesday, 9th when tickets costing 2/6d will be available at the door.

During the past month the Guild enjoyed two exceptionally good evenings, on 11th November, when the Rev. Dr. John Kennedy, D.D. spoke on a visit to America, illustrating his talk with slides. And on 25th November the Rev. Geoffrey Hill, B.A., Rector of the Parish of Arthuret spoke on a visit to Iona, illustrating his talk with slides.

Young Wives Fellowship

The Young Wives Fellowship hold their Christmas social On Tuesday, l6th December in the Old Parish Hall.

Langholm Youth Club

The Club organised a most successful Bonfire Night on 5th November, and the Youth Club Committee is to be congratulated upon a really splendid effort, much enjoyed by all the crowd attending. Members of the Club are planning a visit to the Thomas Hope Hospital on Sunday afternoon, 21st December, with gifts for each of the patients.

Christmas Parties

The Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee Annual Christmas Service and dinner is to be held in the Buccleuch Hall on Wednesday, 17th December commencing at 3 p.m.

The Over 60 Club Christmas dinner will be held in the Old Parish Hall on Tuesday, 23rd December, commencing at 5.30 p.m.

The date and time of the Sunday School parties, Primary and Senior will be intimated at the Sunday School.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

On 7th November, Mrs. Ann Birkett passed away in Hawick at the age of 76. As a former resident of Langholm at Ivy Cottage, she is remembered by many. Our sympathy with relatives.

On 10th November, Alexander Telford of Balgownie, Rosevale Gardens, passed away at the age of 66. Alec was well known for his business and a man greatly loved for his good cheer and kindly outlook. He was a devoted supporter of our Church and took a close interest in the rewiring and new electric lighting a few years ago. We will all miss him, and express deepest sympathy with his widow Janet Bell and with Herbert and Anna.

On 28th November, James Robert Burgess of 20 Henry Street, passed away in the Thomas Hope Hospital at the age of 69. A former worker with British Railways at Langholm Station, he was well known and loved ‘in our community. Our deepest sympathy with his widow Annie Borthwick, and other relatives. With best Christmas wishes to all our people from all at the Old Manse.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.
Treasurers Report

F. W. O.

1968 £61 3 9

1969 £79 8 5


1968 £23 13 3

1969 £30 3 10

In the Minister’s Appeal, “A Gift to My Church”, to enable us to end 1969 with a balanced account, the total number of replies to date is 444, contributing in all the sum of £402. We wish to express appreciation for this response.


December 14, 11 a.m. Rev. Andrew Farms, B.D. 6 p.m. United Servioe with Congregational Church, Rev. Dr. Harry Escott and the Langholm Town Band leading in Christmas Carols, and members of the Guild attending. Flowers, Mrs. Mary Armstrong, Merlsyde.

December 21, 11 a.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Service led by Sunday School in Carols and Lessons with parents with children having names on Cradle Roll attending at 11.45 a.m.

6 p.m. Service conducted by the 1st Langholm Company of the Boys’ Brigade. Flowers, Mrs. Zaino, 6 Holmwood Gardens.

December 24 11.15 p.m. Candle Light Christmas Eve Service.

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

December 28 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Old Year Services. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Hutton, Eskdaill Street.


January 4 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. New Year Services. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. I. Maclntosh, Orchard Hill, Hallpath.


November 16, Charles Alexander, son of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Borthwick, Hillview, Buccleuch Square.

November 16, Alan John, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Aitken, 20 Charlotte Street.

November l6, Jacqueline, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hogg, Holmwood Drive.


December 6, Stephen Donald Albury, 61 Eskdaill Street, to Maureen Ross Borthwick, 17 Henry Street.


November 7, Mrs. Ann Birkett, age 76

November 10, Alexander Telford, Balgownie, Rosevale Gardens. Age 66.

November 28, James Robert Burgess, 20 Henry Street. Age 69.

Jesus promised, "Because I live, ye shall live also." St. John l4, 19,