Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.136                       Price 1/8p - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        December 1972.

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. Robert C. Craig, 5 Rosevale Place, Langholm

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 - "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December". Sir James Barrie.

This message comes to you just as we enter upon cold, dark December, and it is about having roses blooming in December. Of course we all know that June is the month for blooming roses, but what Barrie means is that by living a good happy friendly life we are laying the foundation for the future. Yes, in December, the month of shortening days and frost and cold and fog, we can have memories that cheer us and lighten the darkest day.

Many years ago Dean Hole wrote a book entitled, "A Book About Roses", and in the first sentence this is what he says, "He that would have roses in his garden must have roses in his heart". So the roses we are going to think about in this December message are memories of lovely things we have done or said or thought or read in the earlier months of life.

Of course we all well know that life is not for anyone all sunshine and blooming roses, that it has its December storms and frosts.

It would not be good for us if life had blooming roses all the time. We wouldn't be able to appreciate them or see their real beauty. And of course if life was all June sunshine there would be no roses. "All sunshine makes Sahara" say the Arabs. All sunshine makes the land desert and robs it of growth and beauty. Before roses can bloom frost and snow, stormy wind and drenching rain is required.

And it would not be for our spiritual health and happiness to have constant June sunshine, it would make us thoughtless and careless for the needs of others. In California they have a valley of roses blooming in February. I have read that as you drive along the road through the valley of roses which are blooming on both sides miles deep, they send out such a weight of fragrance that the perfume prevades your very clothes as you pass along. But the people who live there in that grand climate are no healthier or happier for it. They seem to have little sense of appreciation or delight in something that comes to them with so little effort. A few years ago Lord McLeod, better known as Dr. George McLeod of the Iona Community, was visiting California and after having a look round he remarked to his host, "Well, this is life as it should be, roses blooming in February, and the average income of all workers not less than 2,000 a year". His host replied, "It may seem like that, but do you know that there are more people suffering from nervous disorders and more consulting psychiatrists in California than in any other country in the world".

The people who live in the South of France where acres of rose are grown so that perfume may be distilled from their petals, grow weary with the weight of the scented air.

Yes, life is enriched by its Decembers, its trials and cares. Life's harsh experiences help us to grow the blossoms of loving sympathy and kindly understanding and human helpfulness. It has been truly said that where no one ever suffers, no one ever cares. That if suffering and sorrow could be banished from a world like this, every form of sympathetic service would perish from among the sons of men, and in the lotus-laden atmosphere of selfish luxury love itself would die.

As one of our hymns puts it:

"We thank Thee too that all our joys are touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours, that thorns remain,
So that earth's bliss may be our guide and not our chain."

My second point is that roses whether in December or June need roots.

To have roses in December there needs to be planting and pruning months earlier on, because roses must have roots. Dr. James Stewart, a Perthshire farmer's son who became a medical missionary in South Africa, who was responsible for the founding of Lovedale, the finest Christian Institution and Hospital ever built in Africa, was once asked the secret of his success in life and this was his reply. "That with God's help he had always tried to do the root things first". Now what are the root things in this business of growing roses that are still blooming in December?

One is striving at all times to live a good honest life.
In Galsworthy's "On Forsyth Change" he tells this story. The nephew is talking to an aunt about his honest old grandfather and the struggles he had had. "Did grandfather ever get the better of anyone!" the boy asks. "No Jo, they got the better of him". "Oh, go on Auntie. How interesting. I do want to hear." "Well, one day your grandfather came home from Brighton in a dreadful taking. It was a long time before I could quieten him down to tell me what had happened. It seems that three of the houses he had built would not dry. The first houses were all right, so of course your grandfather never suspected anything. But the man who supplied the building material had taken advantage to mix some of it with sea-water instead of fresh. I could never make out what he gained by it, or whether he had done it out of ignorance, but your grandfather was convinced that he was a rascal: 'They won't dry, they won't dry', he kept on saying. I think if he had at that moment died, those words would have been printed on his heart. You see, it meant ruination as a builder, And then it seems someone showed him a way by which he could make the houses seem dry, although in wet weather they never really would be. That night I heard him, long after I went to bed, walking about in his room next door; but in the morning I heard him mutter: 'No, I'm jiggered if I will.' He had made up his mind, after a dreadful struggle, not to be party to any tricks." "And what happened Auntie?" "Well he just took those three houses down and built them afresh, it cost him thousands." "Didn't he make the man who used the sea-water pay?" "He tried to Jo; but the man went bankrupt. It aged your grandfather very much." "Grandfather didn't go bankrupt himself, did he, Auntie?" "No, Jo, but very nearly Perhaps it was all for the best. It made him very respected, and in after years he was always glad that he had been so above-board".

So you see Galsworthy's old builder had his roses in December out of striving always to do the right thing.

Another root to roses in December is making friends and keeping our friendship in good repair.

Dr. Samuel Johnson once said to Sir Joshua Reynolds, "If a man does not make new friendships as he goes through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendships in constant repair". Yes, our friendships, if they are the real thing, are roses for December. This was the opinion of Robert Louis Stevenson. He maintained "A true friend is better than the wealth of the world, for your wealth you leave behind you, but your friend goes with you beyond the sunset". Think of what friendship meant to Jesus. We read of how He called twelve men that they might be with Him, because He needed human friends. And they stood by Him right loyally, so that before going the road to the Cross, they were like roses in His December, and He thanked them in those memorable words, "Ye are they who stood by Me in My trials". Yes, if we cultivate friends they will be roses in our December, but remember the words of Emerson, the American Essayist, that "To have a friend we must be a friend". Or as the Book of Proverbs says, "He that has friends must show himself friendly".

Another root to roses in December is in seeking grace to forget and forgive as we pass along the journey of life.

It is a pity that so many people as they get older, instead of remembering roses remember only thorns that once prickled their fingers. Of course we all know times in life when we feel hurt by things said about us or done to us, but the wisest people are the people who have schooled themselves to forget and forgive as they go along in life, and people who are humble enough sometimes to recognise that they may have been partly to blame and need forgiving. I have known too many people who have allowed the whole of their days to become clouded by going on day after day, week after week, year after year, remembering some wrong once done to them. We should let Christmas as it comes to us every December, Christmas with its grand spirit of forget and forgive for old times sake, helps us to stop harbouring old resentments and hurts. For if we don't, then in the end we hurt no one but ourselves. The late Dr. Boreham, the famous Australian preacher and writer, tells in one of his books of such a man, whom he visited as he was dying. He was a man whom no one liked for his unsocial way of living, and it was assumed he was a man who had fled to Australia as a fugitive from justice. But that was not the case. As he lay dying he said to Dr. Boreham, that in his youth a companion had done him a grievous wrong, "and I have remembered it every day since. I've cursed him a hundred times every day for years, and now I see that my curses have hurt nobody but myself."

The people who learn to forget and forgive, and who for their own past sins have sought and accepted God's as well as man's pardon, have the best chances of finding roses blooming in December.

Another root of roses in December is in trying to do something to cheer and help other people, and giving some of our time to help the cause of our Lord's Kingdom in the world.

Some of the loveliest roses of December have had their roots in simple deeds of human helpfulness and sympathy and kindness and sacrifice. When we make some sacrifice that brings help and joy to another person, that is a true rose in December. I have read a story of a soldier on the Western Front in the First World War, who was living for the day when he would get his leave and a visit to his wife and family in south of England. But making his way down the line he heard of a friend who had word his mother was dangerously ill and who couldn't get leave as there wasn't another vacant place on the leave boat. So the soldier gave up his treasured leave and chance to get back to see his kids and wife.

He had come down the line from the trenches full of cheer, wishing every man was as lucky as he was and now he is trudging back to the line of death, but not with heavy step but with a thrill and delight that he alone knew, and which he well knew his wife and kids would share once they knew the real reason why he had not come home.

I have known many people as they have grown older to have a wonderful sense of inner joy because of the memory of things they had given up to help someone else, or because of the memory of things they had done, which, however costly or inconvenient, had brought relief or joy to others.

And of course the same thing is true in respect of all we do in the service of the Lord Jesus as members of His Church. You will never have any regrets for influencing someone to go along with you to worship on a Sunday, especially if that person in time becomes a person of sincere faith and a worker for Christ's Kingdom. Or if you helped someone who had fallen into disgrace to win their way back into the grace of society, helped someone by your friendship to make good after having taken a wrong turning in life, the memory of such a deed will certainly be a rose in your December.

December comes to everyone of us, and it behoves us to see that we have a lot of happy memories of things we have said and done - of songs sung that gladdened others - of happy laughter and friendships. Of course our heavenly Father has been too wise to make our life a bed of roses. But we can all echo the testimony of the old English country preacher, Billy Bray, that while we have had the vinegar with a spoon we have had the honey with a ladle. And in our memory, while we will not altogether be able to forget the thorns that prickled us, we will all delight in remembering the roses that cheer and gladden us, and when December comes we will look forward, knowing that the year will come round again to another June, when some of us at any rate, will have another chance of planning and growing more lovely roses.

And may I say in conclusion, that the best of all roots for roses in December have to do with cultivating a simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Master and Leader and Saviour. That faith will not fail us. even when we come to the December of all earth's days, it will gladden us and keep our hearts in peace. And it will enable us to still look forward to another June, perhaps a grander, fairer June, when we will truly rejoice in the blooms of the roses we once planted while here on earth. This is how Sir William Mullock felt in the December of his earthly life. He had served as Lord Chief Justice of Canada, a great man with a great and simple faith, and at the age of 90 when they gave a banquet in his honour this is what he said when he stood up to speak. "I am still at work with my hand to the plough, and my face to the future. The shadows of evening lengthen about me but morning is in my heart. I have lived from the 40s of one century to the 30s of the next, and the testimony I bear is this, that the best of life is yet to be".

That is what a simple sincere faith in the Lord Jesus meant for Sir William Mullock, that in the December of life's short earthly year, the best of life was yet to come.

"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December", the memory of a good true life, of lovely friendships, of things done and said that brought help and hope and joy to others, and no thorn remembered because God by His grace has enabled us to forget and forgive as we go on our way through the years.


Dear Fellow-Member,

Annual Remembrance Service

Once again the attendance at the annual Remembrance Day Service was up to record, with an increasing number of young people present. We are indebted to the Langholm Branch of the British Legion for sponsoring this Service and meeting the cost of printing and of hospitality to the cadets attending. We are also indebted to the Langholm Town Band and the Langholm Pipe Band for the part they take, and to our elder, Alec Cowing who commands the parade. The Boys' Brigade of both senior and junior sections turned out smartly; as did the Guides and Brownies, and this year the recently formed Scout Troop and Cubs. We very much appreciate having the Air Training Corps, and the Royal Observer Corp attending this Service.

Boys' Brigade Enrolment

We are very fortunate in having a strong company of the Boys' Brigade and the credit for this lies with the quality of the leaders. The Captain Mr. Ramsay Johnstone, and his officers are gifted and devoted leaders of youth, deserving our fullest support. In the Enrolment Service the Captain presented a large number of recruits of both senior and junior sections for enrolment who made their promise to obey the rules of the company, and set an example of good conduct to their comrades and other boys.

Carol Services in December

On Sunday, 17th December the Langholm Town Band will lead our 6 p.m. Evening Service in Carols and Christmas music.

On Sunday, 24th December, the Morning Service will be led by the children and staff of the Sunday School in Carols and Lessons. The Evening Service will be led by members of Youth organisations in Carols and Lessons. At 11 p.m. the Candle-light Service of Carols and Lessons for Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day a short Christmas Service at 11 a.m.

The Langholm Academy will close the term with Service of Carols and a Nativity Play on Thursday, 21st December, at 11.15 a.m.

Christmas Parties

The Woman's Guild Christmas Social on Tuesday, 12th December.

The Young Wives Fellowship will hold their Christmas Party on Tuesday, 19th December, when the members of St. Mary's Church Young Wives from Hawick will be their guests.

The Sunday School Christmas Parties will be on Saturday, 23rd December, Primary at 2.30 p.m. and Junior and Senior at 7 p.m.

The Boys' Brigade Christmas Party, Junior Section, on Wednesday 20th, and the Senior Section of the Company will hold their annual Dance and Party on Friday, 21st December.

The Over 60 Club Christmas Dinner in the Eskdale Hotel on Thursday, 21st December. The Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee Christmas Service and Party in the Buccleuch Hall on Wednesday, 20th December at 3 p.m.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

On 21st November, Mrs. Isabella Bell Irvine of 66 Henry Street, passed away in the Thomas Hope Hospital at the age of 81. Bella, as she was known to her many friends, was one of the founder members of the Over 60 Club and a regular supporter. She is greatly missed by the Hostess, Mrs. Flint, and members of the Club. Our deepest sympathy with her bereaved husband Archie, and her family, Mary, Elizabeth, Archie, Jennie and Elma.

On 26th November, Mrs. Margaret Leishman, Canonbie Moor, passed away at age of 75, and we extend our sincere sympathy with her family, David, Malcolm and Mrs. Mary Murray.

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." 1 Cor. 15. 19/20.

Appreciation of Services

As we come to the end of another year I would like to express my personal thanks and the thanks of the congregation to all who serve with me in my work of our Old Parish Church. To Mrs. Kitty Douglas and teachers in the Sunday School who deserve high praise, and especially Miss Mary Dalgliesh who for more years than I can tell has been Leader of the Primary Department, as well as Captain of the Guides. We hope soon to see her fully recovered and back in the work she loves and has done so well. Thanks to all who throughout the year give flowers for the Communion Table, and Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Armstrong who with great care arrange the list of flower donors and after the Sunday Services distribute them to homes where they will bring cheer. Thanks to Ramsay Johnstone, Captain of the Boys' Brigade and the officers for giving their time and splendid leadership to the boys. Thanks to Mrs. Ewart, President of the Guild, Mrs. Anne MacLachlan, Secretary, and the Guild Committee for doing a good job in running a large and very happy Guild. Thanks to Mrs Sheila Henry, the President of the Young Wives Fellowship and her Committee, who are doing a very important work. Thanks to Mr. Carmichael, our Organist and members of the Choir. Thanks to Mr. Findlay, our Session Clerk and the elders. Thanks to Mr. Eddie Armstrong, Clerk to the Board and the members for their good services, and our enthusiastic Church Treasurer Mr. Robert Craig. And to Billy Elliot, our Church officer. I wish to all a sincere thanks.

My wife joins me in wishing all our people a very happy Christmas and health and happiness in the New Year.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.

As at 30th November

1972, 1971

F.W.O. £1048.30, £962.04
Ordinary £504.02, £496.14
Annual £176.90, £164.20
Donations* £720.45, £399.67
Collecting Boxes £24.08, £17.15
Total £2473.75, £2039.20

* Note: This includes two non-recurrent donations totalling £320 received in 1972.
Actual Offerings increase is £106.84.
Actual increase in Ordinary Donations is 78p.


At a meeting of the Kirk Session on Wednesday, 29th November it was reported that the Church of Scotland Advisory Committee on Artistic Questions had in the persons of Mr. Walter Duncan, F.S.A., and Mr. George Keith, D.A., visited our Old Parish Church, and gave approval for the design of the Memorial Corner containing the following memorials. A Plaque commemorating the Visit of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon. A Framed Parchment inscribed with the Names of former Ministers since the Union of Wauchope and Staplegordon parishes in 1702, and the Chalmers and Congregational Churches since their erection in the 19th Century. Rolls of Honour and plaques, and the Old Kirk Bell. The Kirk Session appointed a Committee to make final arrangements, consisting of James Maxwell, Matthew Armstrong, David Calvert, Archibald Findlay, J. MacIntosh, and Edward C. Armstrong. The Kirk Session also expressed warm thanks to Mr. Stuart Paisley for a generous donation to meet the cost of. installing plaques from the former Congregational Church.


At a meeting of the Board also held on Wednesday, 29th December, the Clerk, Mr. E. C. Armstrong, reported that the work on the organ would probably commence in the first week of January, 1973, and that during the period of overhaul the piano would be used to lead the praise at Sunday Services. The Board also approved the purchase of Fire Extinguishers for church and hall, to meet the requirements of insurance cover against fire.


The Jumble Sale at the beginning of November realised 25, and we would like to thank everyone who sent along their jumble, and also the ladies who spent the afternoon preparing for the Sale, and those who helped behind the tables.

There have been two Guild meetings this month, the first at Canonbie, where we heard Mrs. Dalgliesh, wife of the Rector of Annan Academy, speaking about the social and moral welfare of the Church, and the second in our own Hall when we enjoyed a very fine evening of music from Mr. Bowman and the Orpheus Singers with varied songs beautifully sung.

Our Christmas Social is on Tuesday, 12th December at 7.30 p.m. Tickets costing 15p may be obtained from Miss Jean Hyslop and Mrs. Anne MacLauchlan, and we hope all will feel welcome to come, and to enjoy the supper and entertainment.


Meetings - on 5th December. Programme, Hand work and a Chat; on 19th December - Christmas Party, with St. Mary's Hawick Young Wives as guests; on 2nd January - Handiwork and a Chat; on 16th January - Burns Supper.


December 10 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Margaret Woolnough.

December 17 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. The Evening Service led by the Langholm Town Band in Carols and Christmas Music. Flowers, Miss M. Dalgliesh, 13 David Street.

December 24 - 11 a.m. Service led by Sunday School in Carols and Lessons. Children asked to bring a Christmas Gift for Dr. Barnardo's Home, Hawick and Children's Wards in the Carlisle Hospital. Flowers, The Woman's Guild. 6 p.m. Service of Carols and Lessons led by members of Youth Organisations. 11 p.m. Candle-light Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols. Offering for Shelter, to Help the Homeless.

December 31 - 11 a.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, The Woman's Guild. 6 p.m. Service in Chapel of St. Francis Home, Erkinholme.


January 7 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. J. MacIntosh, Orchard Hill, Hillside.


November 5 - Kevin James, son of Mr. and Mrs. James McDowall, Canonbie.

November 19 - Jonathan Stuart, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Irving, 57 Townfoot.

December 3 - Allan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Miller, Langholm Lodge Bungalow.


November 3 - Neil Davidson, 3 Douglas Terrace, Langholm, to Gillian Morrison, 23 High Street. Langholm.

November 25 - Brian William Birkett Welsh, 26/28 Charnley Road, Blackpool, to Elizabeth Helen Crawford, 8 Academy Place, Langholm.


November 21 - 1sabella Bell Irvine, 66 Henry Street. Age 81.

November 26 - Margaret Leishman, Canonbie Moor. Age 75.