Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.125                       Price 1/8p - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        December 1971.

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, “Let us keep the feast”. 1 Corinthians 5. 8.

The origin of the word Christmas has to do with keeping a festival, coming from Christ Mass, the festival or feast in celebrating Christ's birth. The feast of Christmas has now been kept by Christians for over sixteen hundred years, since the year 325 when the Church fixed on 25th December as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The early Christians didn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus at all, they celebrated only the coming of the divine Christ at His baptism. On 6th January they observed what we call the Feast of Epiphany. And of course they celebrated His suffering and death upon the Cross and Resurrection in the weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper. But the time came after Constantine became Emperor and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire when the Church began to celebrate what we call the Incarnation, the coming of God to earth in human form, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

While the exact date of the birth of Jesus is unknown, 25th December was chosen for a special reason. Because on that date there was a pagan festival to celebrate the return of light to the world. When it was seen that the days ceased to become shorter and began to lengthen again, and light was returning to the world. And the Church wisely chose this pagan festival of the coming of the light as the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus as the coming of Him who claimed to be the light of the world. And of course there is in consequence much in our Christmas festivity that belongs to the old pagan festival, decorating our homes with greenery, holly and mistletoe, holidays and giving gifts, parties and rejoicing.

How wise was old Mother Church to make a festival of the birth of Jesus our Saviour, because we know that Jesus loved feasts and enjoyed attending them and adding to the joy of a feast as He did at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. And I am sure it gladdens His heart to know that the world, people of all nations and languages keep His birth in a happy joyous festival as we do.

“Let us keep the feast”, the feast that celebrates Christ's birthday on the 25th of December.

Some serious minded Christian people are complaining that Christmas is being spoiled by over, commercialisation.

Personally I have little sympathy with this attitude. True enough Christmas is being used by the commercial world for profit, and why shouldn’t it be so? For after all, all the shops are doing is trying to meet the demands of people who want to make Christmas a real time of rejoicing for their homes and friends. It is quite true that millions celebrate Christmas who make no profession of the Christian faith and religion. Even the Soviet delegate at the United Nations is glad to see the session end and get on his way home for Christmas, and in departing wishes his fellow delegates a happy Christmas. I remember when serving as a Chaplain in Cyrenaica, how the Grand Kadi, the head of the Moslem religious order, used to send me a card of greeting, wishing me well at this happy season. And I think it should be a matter of great rejoicing that there are millions of people in the world who are not professing Christians who take notice of the feast of Christmas and share in its festivity, because you cannot share in the festival of Christmas in however superficial a way without in some way being made to think about the wonderful life of Jesus, and you cannot think about Jesus without being better for it.

There was an interesting little sermonette in the Scotsman a few years ago, on the text ‘We have seen His star in the East and are come to worship him”. The writer was the Rev. Jack Masterton, and he pointed out how wonderful it is that people in every country in the world are seeing the star shining in their sky, but that the pity is that for so many it stops at seeing it in celebrations, and that it does not lead them as it did the Wise Men to the cradle in Bethlehem. Well, this is true enough and what we would like to see more and more people doing, finding the star leading them to Jesus. But it is surely something to be glad about and hopeful for, that people of all tongues and colours are seing the star every Christmastime.

Let me mention some of the chief characteristics of Christmas that need to be observed in order to keep Christ in this happy festival.
First is adoration of the Child born in the Manger.

In order to keep Christ in Christmas we need to do what the shepherds did, go in our minds and imagination to the manger and adore the Child born to be King. And you know, when we ponder over it it is something very wonderful, that Almighty God the Creator cf the vast universe should come to earth and take upon Himself the frail human form of a little child of a poor refugee mother. It has been pointed out that this story oif God coming to earth in the form of a little child is the best evidence we have of the truth of the Incarnation. That if some irnposter had wanted to invent a new religion and wished to tell how God came to earth, he would never have planned a story like this, rather he would have told us of a prince being born in a royal palace or in the home of some nobleman. But thig is just how God chose to make himself known, coming among us as a little baby in a poor family in an obscure village. And this is why the Jews would have none of it, for as George MacDonald sings, “They were all looking for a king, to slay their foes and lift them high. He came a little baby thing, that made a woman cry”.

It is told of Huber, the famous Swiss naturalist that as a boy he once stood with his mother beside an ant hill. The ants, tiny creatures, scurried away as they approached. “They are afraid of me” the boy remarked to his mother. “But” she replied, “you wouldn’t hurt them, you are so fond of them”. “Yes”, replied the boy, .“but how can I let them know I am fond of them and" wouldn't hurt them except by becoming one of them”? But Hubert couldn’t do that, he couldn’t become an ant for a little time to let them know he was fond of them. And yet that is just what, the Christmas story claims God did when he came to earth in the form of a little child cradled in rags, in order to let mankind know how much he he loves us. And this is something that should call for all our adoration not only of the majesty of God but of His lowliness in stooping to share our human lot in order to let, us know He loves us.

Second, Christmas ought to rouse in us a new spirit of giving.

When the Wise Men came to the manger they opened their treasures and presented their gifts of the most costly things their respective countries produced. And of course remembering that story, men and women have felt it right to make Christmas a time of giving, and this is why the shops at this season have such a vast display of Christmas gifts. But when we give a gift or a party at Christmastime, we need to learn from Jesus that how ever lovely may be the spirit of giving to each other, He would have us give in a wider and more wonderful way. In St. Luke 14, verses 12 and l3 we read our Lord’s guidance about giving. “When you give a dinner party, do not invite your friends, or brothers or relations, or your rich neighbours; they will only ask you back again and so you will be repaid. But when you give a party, ask the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind; and so you will find happiness.” This doesn’t mean Jesus is against us giving to our friends, but He wants to teach us a higher way, His way of giving.

And one other thing, Christmas ought to be a time of goodwill.

There is a prayer in the Church of England Prayer Book which asks, “O Lord make clean our hearts within us”. Christmas should be a time when we cast out of our hearts all ill will, for the angel’s song says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. In Lancashire they have a custom of Christmas cleaning, not unlike spring-cleaning, when windows and carpets and china and furniture are given a thorough dusting, and the house cleaned of all grime and soot for Christmas. The same kind of thing is needed in our hearts at this season, getting rid of all grievances, unfriendliness and hard and bitter feelings. Christmas is a time when we should put pride in our pockets and make up our differences with others. and forget and forgive for old times sake.

These then are the three qualities that lie at the very heart of Christmas, w-hich are indeed the essence of Christmas. And the more the millions of ' people who keep Christmas can be brought to include these three qualities in its celebration, the better the world will be, and the nearer the coming of the promised day of God. “Let us keep the feast”. And whatever else we do this coming Christmas, let us give a place for humble adoration of the Holy Child; a place for considering how we can give ourselves all anew to Him who claims our devotion and service, and a place for Christmas cleaning of our hearts and make sure good will dwells within us. Henry Van Dyke says this on keeping Christmas. “It is a good thing to observe Christmas but it is a better thing to keep Christmas; to be willing to forget what we have done for others and rem-ember what others have dcne for us; to own that probably the only good reason for our existence is not what we are going to get out of life but what we are going to give to it to close our book of complaints about the management of the universe and the country, and to look around for a place where we can sow a few seeds of happiness. Are we willing to do this, just for one day? If so then we are keeping Christmas".


Dear Fellow Memvber,

Annual Remembrance Day Service

The Service of Remembrance held on Sunday, 14th November, was well supported by the Langholm people. I was very pleased to see a very good response from members of the Langholm British Legion, especially from the younger members. We congratulate Mr. Alec Cowing on the orderly way he commanded the parade, and special thanks to the Langholm Pipe Band for leading the parade, and the Langholm Town Band for leading the praise in church in rousing singing. Thanks to the uniformed organisations turning out so smartly, the Boys’ Brigade, Guides and Brownies. We very much appreciate having the 1152 Squadron of the Air Training Corps coming over from Annan, the Royal Observer Corps, and the Red Cross. We owe a debt of gratitude to the British Legion for the generous part played in bearing the cost of printing Orders of Service, providing wreaths for the uniformed organisations, and for the hospitality given in providing lunch for the young people on parade from outside of our immediate district. The Earl Haig Collection this year amounted to £44.73 which was an increase of over £7 on last year. When we remember that it is now 26 years since the end of the Second World War, that a large number of the congregation present at the Rememberance Day Service have grown up since then, their attendance and reverent participation in the Two Minutes Silence is to me an indication of their reverence for the sacredness of human life.

Boys’ Brigade Enrolment

On Sunday, 21st November, the 1st Langholm Company of the Boys’ Brigade attended church for their annual Enrolment Service. Thanks again to the Langholm Pipe Band for leading the parade to church. The number of officers and lads in the two sections of the lst Langholm Company must be near a record, 97 officers and lads. It is a source of great satisfaction that our Langholm Boys’ Brigade, an organisation which has as its object the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom among boys, the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that makes for true Christian manliness, is maintaining such a large hold over the boys of our town and district. In this Service the Officers and Warrant Officers, Ramsay Johnstone, Captain, with John Wallace, Gavin Graham, Linda Murphy, Mae Lockie, Betty Ernst, Muriel Johnstone, Lieutenants; Jim Cairns, Brian Porteous, Niall Weatherstone, Warrant Officers, all promised to continue to serve God in furthering the objects of the Boys’ Brigade. Then followed the declaration by the Non Commissioned Officers to discharge their duties faithfully and cheerfully, Staff-sergeants Graham Robertson and Roddy Innes; Colour Sgt. Ian Glendinning; Cpls. John Young and Ian Lamont; L/Cpls. Douglas Anderson and Billy Geddes.

The boys already enrolled renewed their promises to obey the rules of the Company and set a good example to their comrades. The Captain presented the recruits of both sections, who upon being enrolled promised to be regular at weekly parades, to be obedient to their leaders and set an example of goodconduct to other boys.

Lessons were read by Lieut. M. Mackie and Captain Ramsay Johnstone. The Service concluded by singing the hymn, “Just as I am, young, strong and free, To be the best that I can be. For truth and righteousness and Thee. Lord of my life, I come”.

Nomination of Additional Elders.

At a meeting of the Kirk Session on Wednesday, 24th November it was reported that with the amalgamation of the Congregational Church with the Old Parish, Mr. Stuart Paisley and Mr. William Welsh were added to the roll of our elders. The Kirk Session nominated as additional elders Mr. John Welsh, Mr. Tom Lockie, and Mr. Ian Roebuck. Mr. John Welsh was also nominated as Roll Keeper in succession to the late Mr. Robert Black. With the large addition of members at the October Communion, and the number of changes of address with the occu- pation of the new houses at Townfoot, it was decided to reorganise elders destricts and make additional districts.

Congregational Board Business.

At a meeting of the Congregational Board on 24th November, it was. reported that with the amalgamation of the Congregational Church with the Old Parish, Mrs. J. Mackie, Mr. Alec Carruthers, Mr. John Welsh, Mr. Iain Calder and Mr. Tom Lockie became members of the Board. A letter was read from Mr. Tom Lockie, Secretary of the Congregational Church, informing that a gift of £400 was being given from the Congregational Church to be used for the local needs of the Old Parish Church. Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Clerk to the Board, reported that on obtaining expert advice on essential repairs to the organ, it was desirable to obtain estimates from two or more organ building firms. It was decide to do this, and a committee consisting of Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Mr. Donald Lamont and Mr. Cecil Carmichael was appointed to obtain estimates and report back to the Board.

Woman’s Guild

The Guild meeting on Tuesday, 23rd November was well attended. The speaker was Mr. Angus W. Grossart from the National Bible Society of Scotland, who spoke and showed films telling of the work of translating and distributing the Bible in many languages and lands.

On Tuesday, 30th November the members of our Guild enjoyed being guests of the Erskine Guild, when the programme was appropriate to St. Andrew's Day.

THee next meeting of the Guild is the Christmas Social on Tuesday, 14th December, when we hope for a full attendance of members and their friends. Tickets are available from Mrs. Woolnough, secretary; Miss Ella Glendinning, president; or from any member of the Guild Committee. Tickets costing 15p.

Sunday School

With the amalagation of the Congregational Church with the Old Parish the Congregational Church Sunday School superintendent, Mr. John Welsh is now sharing with Mr. John Scott as joint superintendent of the Old Parish Sunday School. On Sunday, 28th November the Sunday School enjoyed having a visit from Rev. Iain M. Douglas, B.D., Dip.Ed., Sunday School Adviser for Hawick Presbytery, and the teachers found his visit a great encouragement.

The Sunday School children and teachers will lead the Pre Christmas Morning Service on Sunday, 19th December, and this Service will conclude with the Annual Cradle Roll Service. Parents with babies baptised in our church during the past two years are asked to attend, bringing their babies with them and entering the church by the minister’s Vestry at 10.40 a.m.

The Sunday School Christmas parties take place on Saturday, 18th December in the Hall, the Primary Department at 2.30 p.m. and the Junior and Senior children at 7 p.m.
Junior Choir

Junior Choir under our organist Mr. Cecil Carmichael is to take part in several special activities in December. The Junior Choir will render a Service of Carols on Sunday, 19th at the Evening Service. The choir is also to Sing carols and lead the Christmas carol singing at the Eskdale Old People’s Welfare annual Service and Christmas Dinner for our senior citizens in the Buccleuch Hall On Wednesday, 22nd December, at 3 p.m. The Junior Choir will also lead a short Service of Carols in the Thomas Hope Hospital on Sunday, l9th December at 2.30 p.m. and on Thursday, 23rd December they will visit St. Francis Home at 7 p.m. and Greenbank Eventide Home at 8 p.m.

Young Wives Fellowship

The Young Wives Fellowship Committee for the present session consists oi the following: President, Mrs. W. Beattie; Vice-President, Mrs. W. Armstrong; Secretary, Mrs. A. Stewart; Treasurer, Mrs. E. Ait- keri; Committee members are Mrs. E. Martin, Mrs. E. Beattie, and Mrs. M. Harkness.

The Young Wives Fellowship Christmas Party takes place in the hall on Tuesday, 21st December at 8 p.m. when St. Mary's Church Young Wives Club from Hawick will be guests for the evening.

Boys’ Brigade

The 1st Langholm Company of the Boys’ Brigade invite parents and friends to an Evening of Slides and Films taken during this year's Camp in Switzerland, in the Old Parish Hall on Wednesday, 8th December at 7.30 p.m.

The Boys’ Brigade will sing carols on Sunday evening of 19th December, meeting first in the Hall at 7.15 p.m. and later visiting the Thomas Hope Hospital, Meikleholm, St Francis Home and Greenbank.

Presbytery Superintendent Visitation

As reported in the November magazine, each charge of the Church of Scotland is visited every five years by the Presbytery Superintendence Committee, and Langhohn Old Parish visitation takes place on Friday, 10th December, the Visitation Committee consisting of the Rev. Robert McConnell and an elder will meet the Kirk Session at 7 p.m. The Congregational Board at 8 p.m. And at the Morning Service on Sunday, 12th December, Rev. Robert McConnell will conduct the Service and report on the visitation. It is important that all elders should be present at 7 p.m. On Friday, l0th December, and all members of the Congregational Board at 8 p.m.

Special Services and Parties in December

Sunday, l2th December: The 11 a.m. Morning Service conducted by the Rev. Robert McConnell, minister of Roberton and Teviothead.

The Evening Service on 12th December will be a special Service of Carols and Christmas music led by the Langholm Town Band.

Tuesday, 14th December, the Woman’s Guild Christmas Social, meeting at 7.30 p.m. Tickets which include refreshments 15p.

Thursday, 16th December: Young Wives Fellowship Children’s Christmas Party in the hall during the afternoon.

Saturday, l8th December: Primary Sunday School Christmas Party at 2.30 p.m. with the Junior and Senior children at 7 p.m.

Sunday, l9th, 11 a.m.: Children’5 Christmas Gift Service, when children are asked to bring a gift of confection or produce, the gifts later will be distributed among the sick and aged. This Service will be led by the Sunday School children and teachers, and will conclude with the Annual Cradle Roll ceremony, when parents with babies baptised in our church during the past two years are asked to attend at 10.40 a.m. entering the church by the minister’s vestry.

The Evening Service on Sunday, 19th will be led by the Junior Choir in carols and songs. On Wednesday, 22d December the Eskdale Old People's Welfare Christmas Service and Dinner for the senior citizens of the district takes place in the Buccleuch Hall, commencing at 3 p.m. Names of those wishing t0 attend should be given to one of the Lady Visitors. Transport will be provided when requested.

Also On Wednesday, 22nd the Children’s League of Pity party will be held in the Old Parish Hall, details of time, etc., will appear in the local press. On Friday, 24th December at 11 p.m. the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols concluding at midnight.

On Saturday, 25th December a Christmas Day Service -in the Old Parish Church gt 11 a.m. Sunday, 26th December: Services at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Evening Service will be a special Old Year Service with a selection of the old Mission hymns led by our choir.

29th December: The Over 60 Club Christmas Party.

2nd January; New Year Services at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Sympathy With The Bereaved

On 17th November, Thomas Graham passed away at Hillside at the age of 84. He Was well known and highly esteemed in Langholm for his workmanship in the building industry, for his kindly dispositoin and good humour. He loved and supported Langholm Cattle Show, the Common Riding, and had a special interest in stock and farm. He was blessed with the devoted care of his wife Nancy, his family Joan and Tom, and Tom’s wife Jessie who was a great source of strength in the last days of his growing weakness. Our sincere sympathy with them in their bereavement.

On Sunday, 21st November, Gilbert Moffat passed away in the Thomas HOpe Hospital at the age of 89. Gilbert was one of the first to be admitted to Greenbank Eventide Home, where he spent three and a half very happy years in the gracious care of Matron Blackwell. In the Home he also enjoyed a wonderful friendship with Pat Friell, William Annett, Adam Brown and Kit Steele and the ladies Miss Hume, Mrs Ross and MiSs Nelson. Gilbert served in the R.A. in the First World War, and spent his business life in Birmingham retiring to Hightae and later to Langholm where he enjoyed the friendship of his relatives, Jeannie Moffat, Norah Smith and George Jesson. Our sympathy with them in their bereavement.

On 23rd November, Mary Ireland of Evertown, Canonbie, passed away in the Cumberland Infirmary at the age of 80. She was a member of Canonbie Parish Church and a devoted worker in the Canonbie Guild. Our sympathy in bereavement with her sons George and John, her brother James, and her sisters Janet and Christina.

On 29th November, Miss Isabella Stuart Herbertson, of 20 Waverley Road, passed suddenly away at 3 Buccleuch Crescent at the age of 67. She spent her working life in the Waverley Mills where she was highly thought of. In her recent illness she was cheered and helped by the constant visits of her sister-in-law Mrs. Janet Herbertson, her niece Jean and nephew Tom and other relatives, including constant rememberance of her uncle William Stuart in Benray, Lockerbie. Our sincere sympathy with them in their bereavement.

With best Christmas greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely, TOM CALVERT, Minister.

November 20, Anthony John Wylie, 7 Langholm Street, Newcastleton, to Helen Janet Murray, Greenhead.


November 17, Thomas Graham, Hillside. Age 84.

November 21, Gilbert Moffat, Greenbank Eventide Home. Age 89.

November 23, Mary Ireland, Evertown Canonbie. Age 80.

November 29, Isabella Stuart Herbertson, 20 Waverley Road. Age 67.

"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”. St. Iohn 10. 28.


December 12, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. M. D. Armstrong, Marlsyde. Evening Service, Carols and Christmas Music led by Langholm Town Band.

December 19, 11 a.m. Christmas Gift Service led by Sunday School with Cradle Roll ceremony. 6 p.m. Carol Service led by Iunior Choir. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Zaino, Hope Hospital.

December 24, 11 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.

December 25, 11 a.m. Christmas Day Service.


December 26, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss E. Glendinning, 54 Caroline Street.

January 2, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. New Year Services. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. I. MacIntosh.