Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.60                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       FEBRUARY, 1966.

Minister: Revd. Tom Calvert, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Mr. John Tyman,M.A. LL.B., Barbank, Langholm. Tel. 223

Clerk to Board: Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Town Hall, Langholm , Tel. 255

Treasurer: Mr. Robert Black, 35 Eskdaill 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.

Motto Text for February: "I am the Lord your God, ... leading you by the right road." Isaiah 48.17 Amended Translation.


Dear Fellow-Member,

I wish to base my message for February on the subject of one of my recent Sunday morning sermons, the Roads of the New Testament. There could be no more fascinating subject of study than Roads. I do not mean our modern motorways but the roads of ancient days. Some of the earliest roads of our country were buiit by the Romans. The Romans were architects of grand straight roads and bridges, the remains of many being still to be seen in England and in the border country. After the Romans the building of roads developed very slowly, and were often deep in mire in wet weather. In Lord Macaulay's famous Third Chapter of his History of the state of England in 1685, he says that "in some parts of Kent and Sussex, none but the strongest horses could, in winter, get through the bog, in which at every step they sank deep". He tells that when Prince George of Denmark visited the stately mansion of Petworth in wet weather, "he was six hours in going nine miles, and that it was necessary that a body of sturdy hinds should be on each side of his coach in order to prop it. Of the carriages which conveyed his servants several were upset". A letter from one of his party which has been preserved, complains that he had during fourteen hours never once alighted from his coach except when it was over turned in the mud. The Church had a big hand in early road building in the land. Just as it was the Church that began schools, colleges and hospitals in the land, the Church took an equal interest in the building of better and safer roads. Before any national or municipal authority thought of such work, we read of the Bishop of Durham, well over 600 years ago, offering all kinds of indulgences and spiritual enrichments to those who would help to build better roads in England.

In the early days of our civilisation roads stood for progress, adventure, trade and knowledge of the outside world, so we need not be surprised to find the Bible using the word "road" as the symbol of salvation and progress in the life of the spirit. In my message in this letter I want to refer to some of the New Testament roads which have much to teach us in finding the road that leads to life and life more abundant.

The Road to Demascus

To travel the road to Demascus would indeed be a thrill for any one of us, for Demascus is reputed to be the oldest city in the world; a beautiful ancient city around which so much legend has gathered. Jewish legend declares that Adam and Eve after being turned out of the Garden of Eden made their home here. We know that the city of Demascus flourished in the days of Abraham and it still survives after existing over 4,000 years.

In the ninth chapter of Acts we read of Saul of Tarsus travelling along the road to Demascus on a memorable day in the summer of 33 A.D. Saul or Paul as he was soon to be known, had found the journey from Jerusalem to Demascus a very painful one. For long he had been used by the Jewish Council as an instrument for the extermination of the Christian community. The Book of Acts describes how he was "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord". He was not satisfied with laying hands on the Christians in Jerusalem, but hearing that many had fled to the city of Demascus he set out with commission to bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Such was Paul's intention as he set out, but on the journey doubts began to torment his mind. He recalled some words that had lately been spoken by his wise teacher Gamaliel in an address to the Jewish Council when he urged them to refrain from severe measures against the Christians, lest, he said, "in opposing the Christians they found themselves opposing God". Paul couldn't get these words out of his mind, could this relentless persecution he was conducting, including the stoning of Stephen in which he had part, be after all fighting against God? And he remembered Stephen's dying prayer, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge!"

We know what happened as Paul drew near to Demascus. In that region the hot air of the plain rises and meets the cold air of the mountain range, causing violent electric storms. Something of this kind happened, and a great blinding flash of fire threw Paul to the ground, and in his delirium he heard a voice calling, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"

This was nothing less than the intervention of God upon his life. God uses all kinds of events, sometimes storms, sometimes sorrows or disasters to break his way into our lives. In this event of a lightening flash the divine hand laid hold upon the persecutor and claimed him for the very service he had been opposing. And all the world knows the sequel for the whole world shared in its benefits. Nothing more momentous has happened in all Christian history with the exception of the Resurrection of Christ than this. For the man who was broken on the road to Demascus was to rise and carry the Gospel to the far corners of the pagan world. What happened on the road to Demascus was the Conversion of St. Paul, an event which the Christian Church celebrates on the 25th of January, on the same date Scottish people celebrate the birth of Robert Burns.

And if the Lord could break in upon a life like that of Saul of Tarsus, set upon the destruction of the followers of Jesus, and change him into one who was henceforth to carry the name of Christ into the heathen world, can He not do the same today? change any man or woman from the error of their ways into a life of enrichment and blessing to others? The Conversion of St. Paul reminds us of what can happen to any man or woman, they can be changed by what Jesus called "The New Birth". "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I say unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goest, so is every one that is born of the Spirit".

A few years ago Princess Margaret performed a ceremony of launching a missionary ship called the John Williams. This ship sails about the South Sea Islands carrying on a wonderful missionary work which began many years ago in 1816 by a man called John Williams. In those days the natives of the Isles of the Pacific were cannibals. John Williams as well as preaching the Gospel and winning many for the Christian way of living, introduced a code of laws, and encouraged cultivation of crops, printing and buildings. After 23 years service he was clubbed to death and possibly eaten by the cannibals. But who was John Williams? He was born in Tottenham and as an apprentrce to a firm of printers was caught up in a gang of youths set on destruction of property, and heading for very serious trouble. One Sunday night while waiting for the members of the gang to meet him at a street corner and feeling very angry they hadn't turned up, he was asked by his employer's wife on her way to church to come with her to the service. In order to spite the other members of the gang he went, intending only to jeer and scoff. But somehow in that simple Gospel service the Spirit of God laid hold of him, and like Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Demascus, John Williams became a follower and brave missionary of the Lord, whose name he had only previously used in oaths and curses.

The Road to Jericho

I have a happy memory of once travelling this road while on leave in Jerusalem at the end of the last war. It is only about twenty miles yet in that short distance the road drops 3,600 feet. It is a road that twists and winds through a wilderness of parched rocks and towering cliffs. Its heat and airlessness is very oppressive, but this road has been enshrined in the heart of Christan story by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Along this road a man had foolishly travelled alone, was set upon by thieves, robbed and beaten and left half dead. Along came a convoy of travellers. In the van was a priest and a Levite, religious men. But they found the formalities of their religion did not allow them to touch a man who was dead or dying lest they be contaminated, and so they passed him by. But the Samaritan who wasn't regarded by the Jews as possessing a soul let alone religion, went to the wounded man's help. And Jesus praises him as an example of religion at its best And this is what the religion of Jesus means, being ready to help a man in trouble, even though he has brought on the trouble by his own recklessness. That this is far more important than saying prayers and. performing religious ceremonies.

The Road through Samaria

This road was avoided by the Jews because they hated the Samaritans and called them dogs, and in return were hated and despised by the Samaritans. No few travelling from Judaea to Galilee would pass through Samaria and suffer insults and perhaps. violence. Instead they went a round about way by going East, crossing the Jordan and then travelling north.

But we read that Jesus must go through Samaria on an urgent journey north to Galilee. Jesus didn't enioy sneers and insults any more than any other Jew, but for some reason he had to endure the painful journey. And yet this journey turned out to be one of the happiest and most fruitful of all our Lord's travels. At Jacob's well, just outside the city of Sychar, he met a woman who was thirsting for the water of life. She told the townspeople about Jesus and they came out and gave Him a wonderful reception and pleaded with Him to stay with them.

The Road through Samaria, the painful road of life, times when we have to face sorrow or illness or disappointment such as are symbolised by the road through Samaria, often turn out as this road did for Jesus to be an experience of enrichment and blessing. We all have Samaria experiences, and how. ever much we dread them they do help us to understand what life is like for other people, they beget in us sympathy and those grand qualities of human understanding without which life would be a dreary iourney. "For if there were no pain, there would be no pity. 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 athosphere of selfish luxury love itself would die."

There were many other roads spoken about in the New Testament that I do not have time to refer to in the space of this Magazine. There is the Road to Bethlehem along which we travelled in our imagination a few weeks ago in celebrating Christmas. There is also the Road from the Judgement Hall to Calvary; and after the Resurrection, the Road to Emmaus. While I have no space here to refer to these roads mentioned in the Gospels which have so much meaning for us, there is one other road I would like to say a few words about, because it is a road which Christian men and women are asked to travel at this season, with the commencement of the season of Lent on 23rd February when we travel with our Lord on His last journey up to Jerusalem.

"He steadfastly set His face to go up to Jerusalem"

Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem many times previously. The first time on record was when He was 12 years of age, taken by Mary and Joseph to the annual Passover. And every year after we can believe He never missed that thrilling occasion for a Jew. And many other visits to Jerusalem are recorded during His public ministry, but now it was different, He was going up for the last time going up as He well knew to be laid hands upon, taken to the judgement Hall, to mocking and to listening to fals evidence against Him, and to the cruel death by crucifixion.

Human as Jesus was, how He must have been tempted to turn away from it all, to stay on in friendly Galilee. But believing as He did, that the prophet's words would be fulfilled in Him, "He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities", believing that His death was to have special meaning for us,we read "He steadfastly set His face to go up to Jerusalem". The phrase "steadfastly set His face" means He had to brace Himself, or as Tyndale's 1526 translation has it, "He determined Himself", to keep on the sorrowful way and not to consider any alternative. That is how our redemption was achieved, and this is how brave men and women have continued to live in order to achieve redemption for the human race. For example, when John Knox began the reformation in Scotland, he was offered a comfortable place as a Bishop in England and might for the rest of his life have enjoyed the friendship of the monarch. But he saw clearly his duty was to lead his own country out of the stranglehold of corruption of the Roman Church. It demanded a stern face having those unhappy interviews with the charming young"Mary Queen of Scots, and he didn't enjoy it, but it was clearly the answer to liberation of the land. Much the same might be said of Keir Hardie, when he began representation for the down trodden starving miners. It meant him being reduced to dire poverty himself, insulted by his employers. It took a steadfastly set face to go up to Jerusalem, before he got into Parliament and 'was able to champion the cause of the distressed families in Lanarkshire and the Clydeside. Florence Nightingale did much the same, in order to lift the nursing profession out of the coarseness of her day,'she had to set her face with determination against the pleading of her parents who wanted her to live as a country lady. And what,a lot we owe to the men and women who at great, sacrifice to themselves have like Jesus set their face steadfastly to travel the road up to Jerusalem. And there come times for most of us when we need the steadfastly set face if we would rise above our failures. and sorrows and disappointments, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick has a chapter in one of his books entitled, "Nobody need stay the way he is". Quite true, but to change from what you are to what you would like to be may mean determination of fhe steadfastly set face, a grim battle within ourselves such as Jesus had to turn His steps on the road up to Jerusalem, Recall the story Jesus told about the Prodigal Son. When by a false choice he found himself in ruin, feeding pigs and living on pigs food, he didn't stay the way he was. He returned to his father's house. But this needed a steadfastly set face because he knew the elder brother would sneer, and the farm hands would be amused, but he steadfastly set his face to return home, and it turned out not to be as bad as he feared, for the dear old father was waiting with longing searching eyes for his return, and he was greeted with the fatted calf and a feast of welcome. And so Jesus found the last journey up to Jerusalem had its compensations, for as the Epistle to the Hebrews says,"for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the Cross, despising the shame". And this is true for all of us who set ourselves with determined face towards our painful roads of duty. Men and women find a strange sense of joy and wonderful satisfaction that nothing else can give them when they brace themselves, as Jesus did, to travel a road that will bring good to others, or a new beginning for themselves.

Church Unity in Scotland

Throughout the month of January there has been a lot of activity in many parts of Scotland designed to bring the different donominations closer together. This includes Church of Scotland, Scottish Congregational, Scottish Baptist, Scottish Episcopal, and the Church of Christ. One such meeting held in Musselburgh was attended by 500 people from all the local churches, when the principal speaker was Lord Birsay, Q.C., Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In his address he spoke of the need of a sense of humour amid all the serious discussions, and of keeping Christ at the centre. "Otherwise" he said,"it all becomes a pathetic whirling of activity about our own affairs. With Christ at the centre we could together tackle the devastating urgent problems of society". In Langholm we have been working more closely together as is seen in the United Monthly Sunday Evening Services, the United Common Riding Service, and the United Remembrance Day Service.

Annual Congregational Meeting.

The date of the Annual Congregational Meeting is fixed for Thursday, 24th March, In the Old parish Hall, meeting at 7.30 p.m. More information about this next month but meantime will all members try and keep this day clear and give the meeting your support.

Annual Congregational Meeting.

The date of the Annual Congregational Meeting is fixed for Thursday, 24th March, In the Old parish Hall, meeting at 7.30 p.m. More information about this next month but meantime will all members try and keep this day clear and give the meeting your support.

Generous Bequest to Old Parish Church.

The late Mr. George McVittie, 27 Charles Street New, knew his Bible from beginning to end, and he dearly loved his Church. In his will he leaves the residue of his estate, after bequests, to the Langholm Old Parish Church and part to Church of Scotland Eventide Homes. And here I may now say that it was Mr. George McVittie who asked me to purchase carpets for the church. At the time I intimated this in a previous magazine, I was asked not to reveal his name.

Women's Guild

The Guild had two very happy meetings in January. On llth January the Guild met in the Hall for tea and were thereafter taken by coach to Langholm Academy when, with the kind approval of Mr. James Pattie, Rector, the films on missionary work in Kenya and Nigeria were shown on the school projector. On Tuesday, 25th ]anuary, the Guild met for the annual Burns Supper. The Revd. J. C. Lough, of Hutton, Corrie and Eskdalemuir, gave the address on the Immortal Memory, Mr. John Bruce, Deputy Rector of Langholm Academy, gave the toast to Town and Trade, replied to by Mr. Walter Bell. The songs were sung by Miss Jean Ferguson, Mrs. V. Borthwick, Tom Irving and Jim Little, with Mrs. Wood at the piano. Miss Jeannie Graham delighted everyone with her expert way of giving the Address to the Haggis, and Tam o' Shanter. Mrs. Mina Carter thanked all who had taken part and the ladies who had served the excellent supper.

Next meeting of the Guild on Tuesday, 8th February, when a large Methodist Church choir from Carlisle will give us a programme of evangelical songs and music. This will be an open meeting.

On 22nd February the Guild will enjoy a programme of holiday films and also have a discussion on the annual Guild Sale.

Special Services.

On Sunday, 20th February, the nearest Sunday to Guide Thinking Day (Tuesday,22nd) the Guides and Brownies will attend the Evening Service to renew their promises and observe Thinking Day. At this Service the Lessons will be read by members of the organisations attending.

On Sunday, 27th February, the monthly United Service will be in the Old Parish Church, when the Langholm Town Band will lead the singing.

Coal Distribution from Mrs. Flora Cochrane.

As I have received several letters thanking for gifts of coal from the Church, I must make correction that the gift of coal as far as it would go was from Mrs. Cochrane. Mrs. Cochrane gave me a cheque for £50 asking me to spend it on Christmas cheer for elderly people in Langholm. I made the distribution in consultation with the lady visitors of the Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee. So the coal actually came from a generous gift by Mrs. Cochrane.

I am glad that for this month, as far as I know, there is no occasion for Sympathy with Bereaved. With warm regards to all our people.

Yours sincerely




January 16, Douglas Brian, son of Mr. Brian Reive, 10F Eden Place, Annan.

January 16, Jaqueline, daughter of Mr. George Ellwood, Stubholm.


Collections for January 1966

F.W.O £83 4 9

Ordinary £34 4 11

Annual Envelopes £15 10 0

By Collecting Boxes £7 7 6

By Deed of Covenant £22 0 0


February 13; 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. K. Neill, Ha'path.

February 20; 11 a.m. Revd. Brydon Mabon, Newcastleton (an exchange of pulpits). Flowers: Mrs. Robert Graham, Eskdaill Street. 6 p.m. Guide and Brownie Thinking Day Service. Revd. Tom Calvert.

February 27; 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Miss Eliz. Rowe, 30 Henry Street. Evening Service being the Monthly United Langholm Churches Service, with the Langholm Town Band leading the singing.

March 6; 11 a.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs, W. Kay, 22 Caroline Street. 6 p.m. Monthly United Langholm Churches Evening Service in the Langholm Congregational Church.

New Churches

Two new churches were opened in February, one in Edinburgh and the other in Cambuslang. The Edinburgh church, costing £47,000, was erected by the National Church Extension Committee for the congregation of Craigsbank, which started as a Church Extension Charge in 1937. The covenanting conventicles provided the inspiration for the basic design of the church. The pews are stepped on three sides, rising from the sanctuary in the centre of the church to the outer walls.

In Cambuslang the new church of St. Andrew's has been built as a result of redevelopment in the Centre of the town. Formerly the united Charge of Rosebank and West Church, the new church was financed from the compensation paid by Lanark County Council when they acquired the site of the former church. Similar changes can be expected in other parts of the country as modern development proceeds.