December 1970

Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.114                       Price 1/4d - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        December 1970.

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 December - "Glory to God in the highest Heaven. Peace on earth among men of goodwill." St. Luke 2.14. J. B. Phillips.

Our text reminds us that our Saviour's birth was first announced to shepherds as they kept their flocks on the hills of Bethlehem.

Professor William Barclay of Trinity College, Glasgow, suggests that these shepherds were very likely special shepherds in the employment of the Temple authorities. In the Temple in Jerusalem, morning and evening, an unblemished lamb was offered as a sacrifice to God. And to maintain a perfect supply of unblemished lambs the Temple authorities had their own private flocks, and it is known that these flocks were pastured on the hills round about Bethlehem. So it is most likely that the Saviour's birth was first announced to these shepherds who were in charge of the flocks from which the Temple offerings were chosen. At any rate it is a lovely thought that the shepherds who looked after the Temple lambs were the first to hear of the birth of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

This hymn of praise which the angels sang after announcing the birth of the Christ Child in Bethlehem, suggests to us three lines of thought for the coming Christmas season.

First I would remind you that this hymn sung by the angels on the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem begins with doxology.

It begins with praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, and this is not only a grand way to approach Christmas, it is the secret of all grand and true and happy living. Begin every day as the angels began the Christmas Hymn after announcing the Saviour s birth, with praise and thanksgiving. It is a good way to begin our prayers - a method of prayer I always follow in our Church Services. When I have occasion to discuss with young people how to pray in communicant classes, or Bible classes, I always advise begin with thanks. I always advise to spend two minutes out of every twenty-four hours in prayer and thereby create the habit of prayer. Young people often reply they find it difficult to know what to say, and my answer is that we need have no difficulty in thinking of something we should be thankful for possessing, our life, our health, our homes and friends. Always begin prayer with doxology, praise and thanksgiving, and you will find prayer easy and meaningful and a source of happiness in daily living. And there is so much in our lives for which we should be thankful. Remember now and again the lines of the old Sankey hymn, "Count your many blessings, Name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done".

I have read about the late Professor Donald Baillie of St. Andrews, who never enjoyed robust health that in his last illness, "though clear and alert in mind to the last he did not suspect the extremity of his condition until the day before his death". His brother John, who was Principal of New College, Edinburgh, came to visit him. John on Donald's request told him of his imminent passing away, and Donald seemed in no way distressed. He asked only that John would read him the hundred and forty fifth psalm, and this he did in what, though neither of them knew it, was to be his last conscious hour. What a wonderful note on which to pass away from this life to the next, of praise and thanksgiving of which that psalm is brimful. And that was the note that greeted our Saviour's birth, and which should be dominant in our hearts and minds at the beginning of every new day, doxology, praise and thanksgiving.

Secondly, notice that the angel's song which we have in our text goes on to speak about peace on earth as the consequence of the Saviour's birth.

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, peace on earth". Now I think that this part of the angel's song has to be read as a prediction rather than as an affirmation that something is going to happen immediately. We have to read into this a portent of what things will be on earth when He who was born in Bethlehem is no longer rejected by men and nations, that there will be peace on earth when the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev. Dr. John Gray, writing in Life and Work a few years ago, reminded us that the peace about which the angels sang when they announced the birth of the baby in the manger is not a reference to the peace that exists in heaven, nor is it a reference to an inner peace of heart and mind such as the early Christians claimed to possess. John Gray makes the point that we have no right as Christians to rejoice that peace has come down to earth with the birth of the Saviour, so long as there are men and women being mutilated by the horrors of war, or so long as people of other races and languages and colours are being deprived of the rights and privileges we enjoy. There are two things to be said about the peace on earth predicted in the angel's song on the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

First that God's action in the world such as we see in the sending of His only begotten Son to earth as the Prince of Peace, takes time.

We have to remember that man's history before the coming of Jesus goes back many thousands of years. The late Sir James Jeans, the brilliant mathematician and astronomer, put it like this. That Cleopatra's Needle, standing on the Thames Embankment a monument that goes back into the dim mists of history, stands 68 feet high, and he said that if you stuck a postage stamp on the top of that needle, the thickness of the stamp would indicate the length of time man has been upon this earth, and the 68 feet the time this earth existed before man appeared, that it took two thousand million years to prepare this world to be the home of man. And remember what an infinitely small part of the thickness of that stamp would speak of the time Christianity has been at work in the world. Two thousand years since the coming of Jesus is a mere two minutes in the life of the human race. If we could only see the picture as a whole instead of a small part, I think we would be impressed by the rapid progress that has been made - how from a mere handful of followers when Jesus was crucified there are today in the world a thousand million committed followers, with the greater part of the rest of the world's population of other or no religion admirers of Jesus. The long history of man before the coming of Jesus shows man becoming more and more entrenched in what the Bible calls "sin". And the fight the coming of Jesus began against man's sinful tendencies, evil designs, selfishness, lust for power and cruel instincts takes time. God's way in sending Jesus to change the human race and bring peace on earth is not like the communist way of destroying those in opposition but in seeking to win them by the power of love.

And again we have to remember that the peace spoken about in the angel's song is not the peace of the hermit's cell, shut off from the strife and clamour of the world.

"Peace is not the end of all our striving. Peace is not drying of our tears. Peace is the power that comes to souls arriving, Up to the light where God Himself appears."

In 1939 we might have had peace of a sort if we had allowed the Nazi invaders take over our country and treat our people as they did the people of Poland and France and Belgium and Norway, but that would not have been peace. The ill-conceived beastly war at present being waged in Vietnam is being fought - so the Americans and people of Australia and New Zealand believe - to prevent the communists of China and Russia from fulfilling their mission of world domination. They believe that unless communism is held there, that after Vietnam will come Indonesia, Malaysia, later India, Australia, South America, and finally U.S.A. and Britain.

So you see, the peacemakers whom Jesus called blessed, may sometimes be seen as militant warriors, seeking to win and maintain freedom and justice in one part of the world or another.

Finally note that the angel's song was for peace on earth among men of good will.

This angel song about peace on earth among men of good will, has inspired the composition of most of cur Christmas carols, and the grand tradition of making the Christmas season a time of good will. And this to my mind is one of the miracles of Christmas, because for everyone of us good will towards some people is very very difficult and not easily come by but at Christmas we just cannot help it for it is a time when we have to think and feel different. Even among Christian people of the various branches of the Church among whom there has for long been a lack of good will. But at Christmas we feel different - at Christmas there is comradeship - at Christmas we are united and sing each other's hymns and songs. Protestants sing the Roman Catholic carol, "O come all ye faithful" or "Silent Night", and make no apology. Roman Catholics sing Luther's supposed hymn "Away in a manger". High Church Anglicans sing Charles Wesley's "Hark the herald angels sing ". Presbyterians sing the American Episcopal hymn written by Bishop Phillip Brooks, "O little town of Bethlehem" - and all branches of the Church love to sing a hymn written by a Unitarian, "It came upon the midnight clear". Yes, at Christmas time there is a higher degree of good will than at any other time of the whole year. Even during the war soldiers facing each other with rifles have been known to stop shooting on Christmas Day, and exchange presents and greetings. This is actually to happen this coming Christmas in the war in Vietnam.

Jesus came to this earth to create good will among men, and when he has succeeded in this task through the efforts of his followers here on earth, the angel song will be heard at Christmas no longer as a prediction but as an affirmation, as something that has happened and now exists. This is how John Oxenham puts it in his "The King's Highway"

To men of good will - peace.
The advent promise, not yet fulfilled
Because man in his willfulness
Has not so willed.
But still the promise stands,
To men of good will, peace.


Dear Fellow Member,

I wish to commence my letter for December with expressions of very best wishes to all our people for a Happy Christmas.

Services and Activities in November

The Remembrance Day United Service on Sunday 8th November was well attended by young and old, and I wish to say how much we appreciate the support given to this Service by the young people. While they cannot be expected to remember those who gave their lives in time of war, their attendance shows a high quality of reverence for the sacredness of human life. We are deeply grateful to the British Legion and their chairman Mr. Alec Cowing, for their organisation and attending the Service. Mr. Cowing gives a grand dignity to the parade under his command, and the generous provision of wreaths and hospitality for the Air Cadets makes this Service in keeping with the highest traditions in the land. The parade of members of the British Legion, with Women's Branch, 1152 Squadron Air Training Corps, 1st Langholm Company Boys' Brigade, led by the Langholm Pipe Band was conducted with a smartness and correctness that would match anything that might have been witnessed at the Cenotaph in London. At the church the parade was joined by members of the Red Cross, the Girl Guides and Brownies, and Provost Grieve and members of the Langholm Town Council. The singing of Psalm and hymns led by the Langholm Town Band under Mr. Alfred Chapman, and with Mr. Cecil Carmichael at the organ, was moving and very much enjoyed. The arrangement of having the two minutes silence in church at 11 a.m. along with the whole nation was well arranged so that everyone could share in it. A very happy feature of the Service this year was the presence of the Rev. Fr. Oliver Martin, taking the remembrance prayer. He is a really splendid fellow who is a friend to young and old in our community. We were glad to have Rev. G. V. Kendall of the Scottish Episcopal Church giving the address this year and were all impressed by the content and delivery of his message. Also to have Rev. J. J. Glover, now minister of the Erskine congregation, and Mr. Tom Lockie representing the Congregational Church taking part.

Boys' Brigade Enrolment

On Sunday, 15th November, the 1st Langholm Company of the Boys' Brigade attended the Old Parish Church for the Annual Enrolment. The company flag, the Union Jack, was carried into the church during the opening Psalm by the colour party consisting of warrant officer James Cairns, staff sergeant Graham Robertson, and colour sergeant Roddy Innes. The hymns were chosen by the lads of the Company, and Lessons were read by captain Ramsay Johnstone and lance-corporal Ian Lamont. The enrolment took place at the close of the Service when officers and lads made or renewed their promises. The Junior Section this year had a record number of recruits, and when they came forward to be enrolled they formed a row almost the width of the church. The Company is over 80 strong, and the officers and lads are to be congratulated upon their high standard of discipline and their good religious training in the weekly Sunday Bible Class.

Old Parish Elder Occupies Pulpit

On Sunday, 22nd November I required to be in Chapelhall, Lanarkshire, introducing Rev. Peter Dawes, my assistant in Portsmouth twenty years ago, to his new parish. My duties in Langholm at the Morning Service were carried through with great ability and acceptance by Mr. J. MacIntosh, one of our elders. This is the second time Mr. MacIntosh has conducted a regular Service in our church. I have heard from many how much his sermon, his talk to the children, and the conduct of the whole Service was appreciated. The Lessons were read by Mr. Donald Lamont and Mrs. Betty Elliot. My warmest thanks to them for this good help and service.

On Sunday, 27th, I exchanged pulpits for the morning service with my good friend Rev. J. C. Lough, B.D., of Hutton and Corrie and Eskdalemuir, and I have heard how much his message to the children, sermon and service was enjoyed and appreciated.

Woman's Guild

The Guild, which this year has a membership of over 100, had a good meeting on 10th November, when the speaker was Mrs. McConnell of Roberton Manse. Mrs. McConnell is this year president of the Hawick Presbyterial Council. The Guild greatly enjoyed a play enacted by Miss Janet Reid, Miss Jean McVittie, and Mrs. May Harkness, under the direction of Mrs. Margaret Brown.

On 24th November, the Guild members were the guests of the Erskine Guild and enjoyed the programme of music and warm hospitality.

The Guild Coffee Morning and Bring and Buy Stall on Saturday, 21st November, realised the sum of 32 11s 0d. Many thanks to all who supported this effort.

The next meeting of the Guild is 8th December, being the annual Guild Social. On the following Friday, 11th November, the Guild annual Jumble Sale takes place at 6 p.m. Gifts of jumble for the sale will be gratefully received and could be left at the hall anytime during the day.

Boys' Brigade Parents Night

On Friday, 20th November, the Parents Night in the hall had a full attendance of parents and friends. In the absence of the Captain, Mr. Ramsay Johnstone, the chair was taken by Mr. Gavin Graham, Lieut. and Secretary of the Company. Slides on the various camps and activities of the Company were shown and proved of very great interest. The Junior Brigade rendered musical items, and the programme for the evening concluded with a delightful display of conjuring given by Mr. W. Geddes of Upper Mumbie.

Church Choir

A Youth Choir has been instituted by our organist Mr. Cecil Carmichael, meeting in the church on Friday evenings at 7.15 p.m. for practices. We're anxious for all young people over Sunday School age to come forward and help to make this effort the success it can be with favourable response. I say over Sunday School age because this choir will support the 11 a.m. Morning Service, and we do not want to take away from the Sunday School strength - which meets at the same time as the Morning Service. We also now make a strong appeal for previous members of the senior choir to come to the aid of our organist in the choir, and for new members to be recruited. I am asking all our people to help in this appeal, as I am sure it would set our church Services in a new light if the singing was given a lead that enabled the congregation to enjoy singing.

Services and Parties in December

Sunday, 13th December - the Evening Service led in carol singing by the Boys' Brigade with the Junior Brigade enacting the carol Good King Wenceslas.

Sunday, 20th December, 11 a.m. - Christmas Gift Service with Nativity Play, and concluding with Cradle Roll Service. Parents with babies baptised in our church during the past two years are asked to attend with their babies at 11.40 a.m. entering by the minister's vestry.

6 p.m. on Sunday, 20th December - the Evening Service led by the Langholm Town Band under Mr. Alfred Chapman, and with Mr. Cecil Carmichael at the organ leading a service of carols and Christmas music.

At 7.15 p.m. on Sunday, 20th December - Boys' Brigade to meet in the hall as a carol choir, and proceed to Thomas Hope Hospital, Greenbank Eventide Home, and Meikleholm with gifts and to sing carols.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, 20th December - The Young Wives Carol Choir to lead a short Christmas Service in Greenbank Eventide Home, and at 2.30 p.m. in the Thomas Hope Hospital.

Thursday, 24th December at 11 a.m. - Candle Light Service of Lessons and Carols, concluding at midnight. Mr. Gerald Moule, B.Sc., to give short Christmas Message.

Christmas Day at 11 a.m. - Christmas Day Service with Youth Choir leading singing and rendering a carol.

The Offering at the Candle Light Christmas Eve Service and at the Christmas Day Service will as last year be given to Shelter, the National Campaign for the Homeless.

Sunday, 27th December at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. - Old Year Services conducted by the Rev. John Moule, B.Sc., minister of Canonbie Parish and Longtown Church of Scotland, in a pulpit exchange arrangement.

Christmas Parties

Thursday, 10th December - over 60 Club Christmas Dinner in hall.

Tuesday, 15th December - Young Wives Christmas Party in hall.

Wednesday, 16th December - Coffee Evening with Bring and Buy Stall in Thomas Hope Hospital, to be opened by Mrs. Carol Packer at 7 p.m. Proceeds in aid of purchase of an electric organ for hospital Services.

Sunday School Christmas Parties

Primary Department - Saturday, 19th December, at 2.30 p.m. Junior and Senior Departments on Monday, 21st December at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, 23rd December at 7.30 p.m. - Boys' Brigade Christmas Party and Dance.

Langholm Academy Christmas Carol Service closing school term on Tuesday, 22nd December at 11.30 a.m. Primary six will enact a Nativity Play. We invite parents and friends to this Service in the Old Parish Church.

Wednesday, 23rd December at 2.30 p.m. - Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee Christmas Service and Party in the Buccleuch Hall for the senior citizens of Langholm and Eskdale.

Life and Work and Parish Magazines

I am informed by the Church of Scotland Department of Publications that from January, 1971, the cost of Life and Work goes up in cost from 8d to 1/-. This means that we will be compelled to increase our charge for Life and Work with parish magazine from 1/4d to 1/8d. The cost of local parish magazine at 8d remaining the same. Magazine distributors are asked to collect magazine subscriptions for the year and hand same to Mr. Donald Lamont, our Church Treasurer.

Sympathy With The Bereaved

Mrs. Agnes Isabella Moffat Grieve passed away at Glenmaye on 30th October at the age of 78. I have perhaps known Mrs. Grieve better than anyone in Langholm, as her late husband Thomas Grieve passed away a day or two after my arrival in Langholm, in June, 1960 and was my first funeral Service actually before my induction here. She was a woman of rare and splendid character. Her faith and courage carried her through the sad bereavement of her daughter Jennie. She was blessed with the loving care of a devoted daughter Jean, grand-daughter Julie and son-in-law Mr. Kulik. Our deepest sympathy with them and relatives in their bereavement.

Also on 30th October a great friend of Langholm and Eskdale passed suddenly away in the person of George Wilfred Masheter. During his days at Georgefield he often helped me in running youth barbecues at Glendinning, Westerkirk and Eskdalemuir and he didn't spare himself to make the evenings happy for the youths attending. He founded the Border Multiple Sclerosis Branch, which has contributed large sums of money to research. He was a man with a great, generous heart, good humour and kindly disposition. Our deepest sympathy with Mrs. Masheter and the family.

With seasonable greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.


November 10 - Andrew Douglas, daughter of Kathleen Mary Beattie, 124 High Street.

December 6 - Pamela Agnes Reid, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Denis Glendinning, 116 Pennine Way, Carlisle.

December 6 - Robert Rae, son of Mr. and Mrs. Denis Glendinning, 116 Pennine Way, Carlisle.


November 27 - Michael George Saville, Police Station, to Diane Elizabeth Morrison Haldane, 35 Drove Road.


October 30 Mrs. Agnes Isabella Moffat Grieve, Glenmaye, Rosevale Street. Age 78.

Jesus said, "Because I live, ye shall live also". St. John 14.19.


December 13 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. M. D. Armstrong, Marlsyde.

December 20 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Zaino, Thomas Hope Hospital.

December 27 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. John Moule, B.Sc. Flowers, Miss E. Glendinning, 54 Caroline Street.

January 3 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. l. MacIntosh, Orchardbank, Hillside Crescent.


O God, you have let me live a long time in this world of yours.

Thank you for all the lovely things in life, for my home and for my family, for my friends, and for the work that I have been able to do.

Thank you for both the joys and the sorrows of all the years of my life. I know that in both of them you have been with me, and you have been helping me, and I can remember times when you gave me strength to come through things that I could never have faced by myself.

And now I am old. My body is not as fit as it used to be, and everything is more of an effort. My mind is not as alert as it used to be, and sometimes I forget things. So many things have changed that I sometimes wonder if I am living in a different world. So many of my friends and dear ones have passed on that life is lonelier now.

Make me able to go on. Don't let me become a grumbling, complaining, discontented old man/woman whom no one could like. Don't let me get out of sympathy with young people. Help me to try to understand them rather than to find fault with them.

Keep me cheerful to the end. Help me always fo remember that I have hopes as well as memories, that after the end there will be the new beginning and that always the best is yet to be.

All this I ask for Jesus' sake. Amen.

William Barclay, D.D.