Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.105                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        February 1970.

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

Session Clerk: Alexander Hutton, Savings Bank, Market Place, Langholm

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

Treasurer: Mr. Donald Lamont, Rosevale Street.

Organist: Mr. A. C. Mallinson, A.R.C.O., L.R.A.M., 72 Henry Street.

Church Officer: Mr. W Elliot, 3 Buccleuch Terrace.

Hall Caretaker: Mr Donaldson, 7 West Street.

Text for February: “You will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” St. 16. 32.

In February we enter upon the season of the Church Year called Lent, when we remember our Lord being despised and rejected of men, and of our Lord experiencing that most common of all diseases which we call loneliness. In a sense Jesus was always alone while he was in this world, not only during the brief years of his public ministry. He was lonely in his own home at Nazareth, where his brothers and sisters and even his own mother didn't understand him.

Many great men who have had to face disappointments and unjust criticism have had the consolation of a happy understanding home behind them, but Jesus was deprived this consolation. Recall how after beginning his teaching ministry he became involved in disputes with the religious leaders of the land, his family thought he was out of his mind and persuaded Mary to go after him and try and bring him home again. And we know how the crowds whom he fed with loaves and fishes, turned away from him at the last, and left him alone. And how his own disciples, after seeing him arrested, all forsook "him and fled; and how on the Cross for a brief moment he felt that even God had deserted him, and in the agony of terrible loneliness oried out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”.

Well, that was the price that Jesus had to pay in order to become our Saviour and Friend and Comforter, before those words of promise, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you”, could have any meaning for us, Jesus had to taste the bitterness of being rejected and despised, of loneliness and death. He could not have helped us or understood us otherwise. Just as Father Damien who went to minister to the lepers on the South Sea Island of Molokai felt his words had no meaning until he became a leper himself.

My message for February is about Loneliness, one of the growing diseases of our age, and about some of the ways in which loneliness can be dispelled.

First let us take note that loneliness is not condi- tioned by solitude.

In. my first parish of Braes of Rannoch, one of the most out of the way homes I visited was that of a gamekeeper living in a cottage about four miles beyond Rannoch Station, on the north bank of Loch Laidon. There was no proper road to the cottage, only a track, and you normally reached it by boat. Now a visitor to the place, say from Glasgow, would be sure to remark, what lonely people they must be who live here. But the fact was they were not lonely, much less lonely than thousands of people living in Glasgow who amid the vast population scarcely know each other. You can be lonely in a quiet place just as you can be lonely in a crowded town, for loneliness is not conditioned by solitude. Indeed it has been amid the loneliness of Nature that many great souls have dispelled their loneliness of mind and spirit. We read about Jesus after teaching in the Temple and meeting a lot of opposition from the Scribes and Pharisees, when evening came, “every man went to his own house. And Jesus went unto the mount of Olives”. Jesus withdrew to the solitude because there his loneliness found calm and healing. just as Wordsworth found amid the grounds of Tintern Abbey and the silence and beauty of Nature, he felt “a presence that disturbed him with the joy of elevated thoughts”.

Or by Shackleton and his two companions on their trek back from the Antartic, one of them retheir trek back from the Anitartic, one of them re- marks, “had a feeling all the journey that there was another person, not three but four”. Yes, you can feel just as lonely in a crowd as in solitude, because loneliness is a spiritual thing, not conditioned by Solitude.

And Loneliness is not conditioned by age.

So often when we speak about the lonely we are thinking about elderly people, and of course as the friends of youth grow fewer it is to be expected that the elderly must feel lonely. And anything the Church and social organisations like our Over 60 Club or Longtown’s Ever Green Club can do to gather older people together is work well worth doing. The aged can feel lonely when neglected by friends and relatives, but on the other hand many aged people could teach us quite a lot about how to overcome loneliness. The truth is loneliness is not confined to the aged, a small child is sometimes helplessly lonely even though surrounded by loving parents. William Canton’s book, “The Invisible Playmate", tells the true story of, the feelings of many a child, and we should never laugh at a child when he invents an invisible playmate. William Cowper, the hymn writer, tells how desperately lonely he was when sent to a boarding school and found he couldn’t mix with his new circle of friends. It is something acutely felt by young people going to University who were very bright when among the pupils of their home school, but now find themselves very ordinary in comparison with some of the bright people they are now mixing with. And when young people go away from home into work or training of any kind they soon realise a sense of loneliness of ideals and ways of living. Christian ideals can be thrown away within weeks if a young man or woman finds themselves in a situation where such ideals are scorned. Yes, and some people are lonely in marriage. One would expect marriage would end loneliness but sometimes and sad to say, two people grow apart and find there is so little in each others life they can share.

Few people can claim never to have known loneliness, even the most companionable and popular.

Famous people who seem to be living favoured lives and to have plenty of friends are often terribly lonely. Florence Nightingale lived a very busy life and was constantly surrounded by people, but Sir Edward Cook wrote of her, “She was very lonely. She felt that everything she said or did was a subject of vexation to her sister, a disappontment to her mother, and a worry to her father”. From the Crimea she wrote to her mother, “I should be as happy as the day is long, if I only had your smile and blessing and sympathy, without which I cannot be quite happy". Her ideals and ideas made her lonely, as they have for so many grand people.

I have read about our present Queen, years ago when she was a young princess, she was with her parents on a visit to South Africa. They were out walking with her father and General Smuts, when looking at Princess Elizabeth walking ahead, the King remarked to General Smuts, “Poor Elizabeth, I expect she will be Queen one day, she will be terribly lonely”. Yes, kings and queens and presidents and national leaders are on the whole very lonely people, so far apart from others because of their duties and responsibilities.

We can learn from Jesus at least two ways in which loneliness can be overcome. First by achieving a sense of companionship with God.

Professor Whitehead once put it like this, “religion is what a man does with his, solitariness", in other words what a man does with his loneliness. Our Lord’s secret of victory over loneliness as given in our text is, “I am not alone, because the Father is with me". Whatever else this may mean, it means that men and women of faith know a sense of divine companionship in every experience and whatever happens to them. This sense of divine companionship has been keenly felt by many of our missionaries. John G. Paton, born at Torthorwald, near Dumfries went to the South Sea Islands» as a missionary to cannibals. When his young wife and baby died, he had to dig their grave with his own hands while the natives stood around. And on that day he records in his diary, “Had it not been for the sense of Christ’s presence, I think I would have gone mad and died beside her lonely grave.” Christina Forsyth lived for thirty years as a missionary in China, in a native village cut off from anyone speaking the English language. When asked if she ever felt the oppresiveness and loneliness of life in a Chinese community, she replied, “Lonely, I am never alone". She knew a keen sense of the divine presence. Like David Livingstone, trusting the promise of Jesus, “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world", while struggling through the fever ridden jungles of Arica.

Secondly, friendship plays a big part in overcoming loneliness.

This is why Jesus chose twelve men to be his intimate friends, because friendship helps to relieve a sense of loneliness. And what a wonderful understanding friend Jesus was to those twelve men. And people who help most in dispelling loneliness are people with something of our Lord's gift of friendship. The secret of his friendship was his love for people, and his grace. The New Testament speaks about the grace of Jesus, a word which means charm. Jesus always made people of whatever class feel at ease, never made they feel inferior because they were uneducated or untravelled or even lepers or sinners. And because people felt at ease with him he helped them to rise to higher levels. Canon Dick Shepherd was one of the few London clergymen whom the man in the street knew and loved. And Dick Shepherd once said, “I’m not much of a preacher, but there is only one thing I would claim to be, I’m a good mixer”. And this is what all Church people, should be, not people who are shocked at people critical of people condemnatory, but people who love people and like to help them.

Another very important thing in dispelling loneliness is to be ready to listen to other people rather than to be listened to.

One of the biggest needs of lonely people is not material help but for someone to whom they can talk and get things off their minds. I have read of a woman in America who in early life was left a widow with a young family. She had to earn a living somehow and had no particular training for any particular job. She put an advertisement into one of the daily newspapers, saying she would be willing to listen to anyone talking about anything at all for two dollars every half hour. Her scheme was such a success that within two years she had a staff of nearly fifty people doing nothing but listen to people talking to them about anything for two dollars for half an hour.

This is how we can help and be helped, through understanding friends and through being understanding friends.

For as Emerson says, “To have a friend we must be a friend", and a friend is someone we like to be with and talk to because of the person’s charm, a quality of character we can all possess if we learn to love people and make them feel at ease in our company. I have heard a delightful story about the late King George VI that once at Balmoral he was out calling on one of the old estate workers, and accepted an invitation to drink a cup of tea in the little cottage. The worker had the habit; of pouring out his tea into the saucer and blowing it to cool before drinking. And when he did this the charming, gracious monarch did the same just to save the poor man feeling embarrassed for having forgotten that this was not done in best society. The grace of the Lord Jesus, the charm of Jesus can be possessed by everyone of us and make us into men and women of grace and charm who will be instrumental in banishing loneliness in the people we meet wherever we go.


Dear Fellow-Member,

January has been an occasion for celebrating the birth of Robert Burns on 25th January, 1759. I have noted that in Langholm at least eight different Burns Suppers have been held, three of which I attended and took some part. I also travelled south to Blackburn in Lancashire last week to propose the Immortal Memory at the Blackburn Scottish Society annual Burns Dinner. It was a very happy visit when I met many old friends of St. George’s Presbyterian Church. I have just accepted an invitation to travel to Nottingham next year to propose the Immortal Memory at the Nottingham Scottish Society Burns Dinner on 25th January, 1971.

Apart from providing a happy social evening I consider there is national and religious value in annually remembering Scotland’s most famous son. First because he reminds the young people of today that success and achievement is not decided by favourable circumstances in youth. A very poor home and very poor educational opportunities didn’t prevent him from rising to fame. Had he lived in our day with the opportunities of school and University now enjoyed, he would no doubt have become a distinguished scholar. But I doubt that if he had escaped the hardships and struggles of the age in which he lived he would ever have had the insights that enabled him to write songs that have glorified common life and simple things. Burns recognised that all that is best in life and character of the people of Scotland had its inspiration in religious training, in family worship and in a knowledge of the Bible. In “Holy Wullie’s Prayer” he gives the most withering criticism of religious hypocracy, buti-n the “Cotter’s Saturday Night” he gives credit to religion for all that made Scottish people loved and trusted wherever they settled in the world. After describing the scene of the father in a cottage home gathering the family together after supper, taking the family Bible in his hand, and after singing a psalm or paraphrase, reading a chapter from the revered Book, and then following with a prayer asking for God’s blessing on those present and absent of their kith and kin, Burns says,

“From scenes like these, old Scotia’s grandeur springs, That makes her loved at home, rever’d abroad".

Departure from Langholm of Former Session Clerk

During January Mr. and Mrs. Hutton removed from Langholm to Jedburgh, and our best wishes go with them. Mr. Hutton served us well as Session Clerk, taking over from the late Mr.John Tyman. I give him the credit for the institution of the early 9.30 a.m. halfhour Service which we have discontinued for the winter months. He showed a keen interest in the Youth Club and gave a lot of his time and skill in decorating the Club. The Youth Club Committee resolved at a meeting this week to make a presentation to Mr. Hutton as a token of gratitude for his help and interest. Mrs. Hutton has taken a leading place in the Young Wives Fellowship and served as president in the present session. I understand that the Young Wives took the opportunity at a recent meeting to make a presentation to Mrs. Dorothy Hutton in gratitude for the part she played in the leadership of the Young Wives Fellowship.

Hall Heating Breakdown

Since the installation of the gas boiler in the Old Parish Hall about four years ago, we have enjoyed almost perfect conditions of warmth throughout the winter months. Unfortunately at the beginning of January a section of the boiler gave way, not I am told due to frost but a faulty section. We are told the delay in delivery of a new section will take some five weeks, and we are all hoping to see the hall in full use at an early date. In the meantime the Sunday School is meeting in the church at 10.15 a.m. and the Boys’ Brigade Bible Class is to use my Vestry at 10 a.m. The Guild and Young Wives Fellowship meetings will continue in the smaller hall with electric heaters. The Over 60 Club have been given accommodation in the British Legion Club premises in the meantime.

Organist Recovering

The recent illness of Mr. Andrew Mallinson, our distinguished organist, has caused us all concern. I am glad to say he is making a remakable and quick recovery, and we hope to see him back on his organ seat within another week or so. In the meantime we have been greatly indebted to Mrs. Barker who has led the praise on the piano, and Mrs. Burnett who has also come to our aid.

Woman’s Guild

The Guild enjoyed two very happy meetings in January. On the 13th, a programme entitled “A Matter of Public Opinion”, when there was a very good attendance. The panel consisted of Mrs. Jane Pool, Miss Agnes Steele, and Mr. W. G. Mackenzie, and they proved an excellent panel with interesting answers and good humour. Mrs. Calvert, the Guild president, presented a number of good questions, perhaps the most provoking being, “What does Langholm most need?”.

On Tuesday, 27th the Guild held their annual Burns Supper in the lesser Buccleuch Hall, and when there was again a very good attendance. We owe a debt to Mrs. Woolnough and the Guild Committee and to Mrs. Morrison, for the excellent supper, well served on tables decorated with flowers. The haggis was piped in by Gilbert Gillanders and carried by Mrs. Woolnough, and suitably addressed by Miss Jeannie Graham. Our guest speaker was Miss Evelyn Smart, M.A., who kept our interest in the vivid picture she gave us in words of Robert Burns. Other speakers were Mr. W. G. Mackenzie of Kilncroft who spoke of Langholm Town and Trade, and told us how much he and Mrs. Mackenzie had come to like Langholm and its people. Mr. John Murray made a reply in good humoured terms. Mr. Gavin Graham gave the toast to the ladies in a very good speech, and the reply was in the capable hands of Mrs. Elaine Anderson. We were fortunate in having Irving Stuart, and Misses Jean Geddes and Margery Statham to sing appropriate songs, with Mrs. Burnett accompanist. A recitation, “To a Mouse”, was given by Miss Jeannie Graham, and a comprehensive vote of thanks was given by Miss Ella Glendinning. Our Guild members are to be the guests of the Eskdalemuir Guild on Wednesday, 4th February, and we appreciate this friendly invitation.

The next meeting of the Guild is on Tuesday, 10th February in the small hall. The hall will be well heated with electric heaters if the boiler is not in commission by then. The programme is a Bible Supper, when each member is asked to bring some article of food or confection with its name in the Bible. The gifts will later be sold for Guild funds.

The second meeting in February is on Tuesday, 24th when the Rev. Dr. Harry Escott of the Lang- holm Congregational Church, will speak on Humour and Hymns.

Guide Thinking Day

Each year the Girl Guides and Brownies celebrate ‘Thinking Day" on 22nd February, the birthday of Lady Baden Powell, the founder of the Guide movement, in 1889, and also the birthday of her husband, Lord Baden-Powell, Founder of the Scout movement in 1857. The Langholm Company of Girl Guides, and Brownie Pack, are attending the Evening Service that day to observe the occasion of “Thinking Day”. I am very much in admiration of the work of the Guide and Brownie leaders, and feel honoured to have them each year at the Old Parish Church for “Thinking Day".

Canonbie/Longtown Vacancy

The call to the Rev. John William Moule, B.Sc., was sustained by the Hawick Presbytery on Wednesday evening. The date of the Ordination and Induction is fixed for Wednesday, 18th March, the Presbytery meeting in Canonbie Parish Church at 6.30 p.m. There will be plenty of room for visitors and I hope many Langholm people will manage to attend. There will be a welcome social in Canonbie Public Hall the same evening, commencing at 8 p.m. The new minister has had a long business experience, having served for some years as Commercial Manager of South of Scotland Electricity Board. Before entering the ministry of the Church of Scotland he served as an elder in St. George's Tron Church, Glasgow, where the Rev. George B. Duncan, M.A. is minister. I am sure that the congregations of Canonbie Parish and Longtown will flourish and have happy days in the ministry soon to begin. This will mark the close of a very fruitful ministry as locum tenens of our Rev. Dr, John Kennedy. The people at Canonbie and Longtown have greatly enjoyed having Dr. Kennedy for the long vacancy, and are full of gratitude for his pulpit and kindly pastoral ministry.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

Miss Mary Grahame Burnet, Holm Cottage, passed away in the Dumfries Hospital on 24th January, at the age of 82. She was well known in Langholm for her gracious personality. Mary served as an infant teacher first in Clarencefield, later in Moffat, and for many years as Infant Mistress at Langholm Academy. She was greatly loved by the children who passed through the infant school and by their parents and members of staff. Mary was also a devoted member and supporter of our Old Parish Church throughout her long and good life. Our deepest sympathy in bereavement with her sister Lizzie and her brother George.

Our sincere sympathy with Mrs. Mary Armstrong, Marlsyde, in the passing away of her sister, Elizabeth Margaret Cuthbertson, in Hospital in Geelong, Australia, on 10th January.

Also our sincere sympathy with Mrs. Margaret Robertson of Springfield, in the loss of her father, John Baillie.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.

February 8-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss J. Graham, Whita Cottage.

February 15—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. K. Neill, Varria, Ha’Path.

February 22—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Robert Graham, Eskdaill Street. Guides and Brownies will attend evening Service in observance of “Guide Thinking Day".

March 1—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss E. Rowe, 30 Henry Street.


January 18, Jason James, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Little, 45 Drove Road.

January 25, Jennifer Anne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James J. Paterson, Ternona.


January 24, Mary Graham Burnet, Holm Cottége. Age 82.

January 10, Elizabeth Margaret Cuthbertson, in Geelong Hospital, Australia.

January 10, J0hn Baillie, at Springfield, Langholm. Age 85.

“O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? God be praised, he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". 1 Corinthians 15. 55. N.E.B.


The Congregational Board is called to meet in the vestry on Wednesday, 11th February at 7.30 p.m.

The Kirk Session is called ‘to meet in the vestry on Wednesday, 18th February, at 7.30 p.m.