Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.116                       Price 1/8d - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        February 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 February: 'Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?' St. Luke 6. 46.

Our text for February is one of three letters, the word WHY, a word which Jesus used again and again in his teaching ministry while here on earth in the flesh. The first picture we have of Jesus in the Gospels, apart from the nativity scenes, is that of an eager boy in the Temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And we can be sure that all his questions to the learned teachers in the Temple began with the word Why. Like all children Jesus began life asking why, and when he began his public ministry we find him using this word why again and again in his teaching. "Why take ye thought for tomorrow?" "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye?" "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God". And in the parables he asks, "Why stand ye here all the day idle" and in the parable of the barren fig tree, "Why cumberest it the ground?" On the Cross he prays, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And after the resurrection, "Woman why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?" and in the Upper Room he asks the despairing disciples, "Why are ye troubled? and "why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself".

The first of the whys of Jesus I wish to discuss, I am calling the why of obedience, in St. Luke 6. 46, 'Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?'

Our Lord's followers could find no other name by which to call him than the name Lord, the name used in the Old Testament for God. And Jesus made no objection to them calling him by this name. What he was concerned about, and surely is still concerned about that we call him, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say. The danger of worshipping him as divine without obeying his teaching and commands. This is what Jesus most feared, what one writer has called, "adulation without emulation". No true leader seeks personal admiration but implementation of his teaching and ideals. In one of his books Dr. Fosdick has a chapter entitled, "What Christians have done to Jesus". And he points out that they have made him the object of their worship, have built magnificent churches and cathedrals for his worship, formulated mystical creeds to recite about his divine nature, but have been slow to obey his commands and embody his teaching in a different way of living and human relationships. Rather like the story I told the children at Christmas about the London lorry driver who at Christmas season had his lovely new lorry polished and shining, with the bonnet decorated with holly. In a traffic jam he began to curse and berate a cockney taxi driver who had his taxi wedged in front of him, and looking back at the holly decorating the bonnet of the lorry the taxi driver shouted, "what's the use of 'aving 'olly on ye'r bonnet if ye 'avn't got 'olly in yer 'art". In other words, what's the value of acclaiming him Lord, Lord, if we ignore his teaching and way of life?

At the end of the last war I spent a leave in Jerusalem, and stood one day in the precincts of the Holy Sepulchre. Here, there are three Christian Churches, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Syrian, each with its priests seeking to lead visitors into their respective church to worship Jesus as Lord on the actual spot where the crucified body of Jesus is believed to have been laid. Yet brawling with each other and sometimes threatening each other with physical violence, because they worship Jesus by different forms. They all call Jesus Lord, Lord, but do not the things which he says, forget that he said, "By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, that ye love one another". And we do not need to travel as far as Jerusalem to find this kind of thing happening, it is to be found in the churches of village, town and city in our own land, and I am sure this must disgust our Lord more than did the money changers in the temple whom he drove out with a whip.

Or think of John Newton the hymn writer, long after his conversion still carrying on his wretched business of running a slave ship between West Africa and the slave markets of that day. Battened below deck hordes of miserable Africans who had been dragged away from their homes like cattle to be sold as slaves. And yet on one of those journeys he writes in his diary that he had never known sweeter divine communion, and that on the voyage he had read the Church Service twice every Sunday with the crew. Yes, it is more than likely that it was at that time he wrote his well known hymn, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear". Of course the time was yet to come when John Newton repented of his blindness, and put living according to the teaching of Jesus before worshipping him as Lord.

It is interesting to note that nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ask us to worship him, but all the time he was asking men and women to follow him in his life of love and humility and self-forgetful service to others. Of course I do not mean that we should refrain at Christmas time from joining with the children singing "O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord", but that we should guard against allowing worship becoming a kind of drug that makes us feel satisfied that is all Jesus wants of us.

Secondly a word about the why of loneliness. It comes in the cry of dereliction from the Cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Some refuse to accept that Jesus ever knew the experience of feeling himself forsaken by God, that he was forsaken by his disciples and former friends but never by God. They claim that here he is just reciting the first verse of the 22nd Psalm which he had been taught to recite as a child. But this is not what the Gospel writers say. They set it down plainly that this cry of dereliction came from our Lord's lips as he hung upon the Cross for us. As the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, Jesus "tasted death for every man", which means that upon the Cross Jesus suffered this dreaded disease which we call loneliness, so that he might come near to us in the worst that can happen to us.

Loneliness is a common disease, and is caused by want of understanding friendship. Ian MacLaren tells of a Highland lassie, Flora, in London in the grip of terrible loneliness. She says, "It is weary to be in London will be looking at the crowd that is always passing and see not one kind face. When I look at the lighted windows the people are sitting round the table, and there is no place for me. And millions of people and not one sore heart if I died that night". I am told that the out-patient departments of the London hospitals are full of people suffering from this disease which we call loneliness, which doctors call neurosis, and there is only one cure, understanding friendship. And on the Cross Jesus passed through this experience himself, and is in consequence able to offer us understanding friendship because has tasted this disease himself. This is what he has done for thousands, and this is why that lovely hymn means so much to us - "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry - Everything to God In prayer". Yes, and because Jesus has known loneliness himself, it means that now we are able to pass from the 22nd psalm to the 23rd Psalm, and thinking of Jesus say, "“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art With me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me".

Finally, our Lord’s why to troubled despairing men after the resurrection - "Why are ye troubled, and why do questions arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself."

Why do questions arise in your hearts? We don't need to wonder for these men had seen Jesus done to death and buried three days earlier, and had never known anyone to come back from the grave.

Why are you troubled? Who could be otherwise when your best friend has been taken away from you forever? When everything in life seems to have gone wrong and you can make no sense of things that are happening all around you. But here Jesus comes back to them and shows them his hands and his feet that it is the same Lord, the same Lord as we have believed in who draws near to us as he did to men of old and makes himself known to us in ways we can understand.

In Crusade in Europe, the late General Eisenhower relates an unforgettable experience during the chapter of his book, "Assault and Encirclement". After the final survey of plans for the crossing of the Rhine, he left General Simpson and started walking up the road towards the river. He was pleased at the signs of high morale apparent in the expression and manner of the soldiers. One G.I. however, looked depressed, his face pale. "Son, how do you feel?" the General asked him. "Sir, I feel nervous. I was wounded two months ago, and this is my first day back". "That makes two of us", the Commander replied, "I feel nervous too. But I know that we have the reinforcements we need, men, guns, planes, to bring this off successfully. Let's walk up together". "Sir", said the soldier, "I should have said I felt nervous. I don't feel nervous any more".

"Why are you troubled? Why do questions arise in your hearts?" Could it be that we have forgotten that his resources are sufficient? Have we forgotten our Divine Commander says, "Lo, I am with you alway. Let us walk along together".


Dear Fellow-Member,

January Events

The special events in January have been a number of Burns Suppers in the town and district which have brought a lot of pleasure to many people. The Guild Supper on 26th January was a very happy occasion and was largely attended. The supper was excellent and the whole setting of tables and the service of the ladies was praiseworthy.

We enjoyed the good humoured speeches by John Murray, John Bruce, Jim Maxwell, Ramsay Johnstone and Betty Elliot, and the parts played by Piper R. Laidlaw, Sheila Johnstone, Marion Rodger and Miss Jeannie Graham. On the previous evening, 25th January, I was guest speaker at the Nottingham Scottish Association Burns Anniversary Dinner, and being my first visit to Nottingham I was greatly impressed by the great city, and enjoyed the warm reception given to me by some of the Scots resident there. I was given hospitality for the Monday evening by Captain David Shore, a friend of Mr. William Ferguson of Charles Street New in Langholm. Among the many interesting people I met at the dinner was a Church of Scotland minister, the Rev. Dr. William Neill, who for the past twenty years has lived there as Warden of Hugh Stewart Hall of Nottingham University. My wife and I were also guests at the Canonbie Burns Supper which was laid on by the minister and elders of Canonbie Parish Church, partly as a fund raising effort, and was well attended and enjoyed.

Coffee and Sponsored Walk in aid of the Fabric Fund

During the year 1970 our Fabric Fund was heavily drawn upon for essential Manse renovations. First it became necessary to go over to the County Water Supply, as the private supply was failing for weeks on end during the summer. Next the electric wiring had to be renewed, as the original wiring some 37-years-old was causing alarm by frequent cut-outs and power running to earth in the switch boxes. This work was followed by the redecoration of the Manse hall and stairway, work which had become necessary owing to ceiling damage and water leakage from the roof valley gutter. This work has used up the balance of some £500 in the Fabric Fund, and the Congregational Board has now the responsibility of making some special efforts to replenish the Fabric Fund balance.

Miss Barbara Paterson of Hopsrigg, a Member of the Board, has very kindly offered the premises of her farm at Hopsrigg for a Coffee Morning on Saturday, 19th June in aid of the Fabric Fund, and the Woman's Guild has kindly undertaken along with Miss Paterson to organise this event. At the same time and date the leaders of the Sunday School Boys' Brigade, and other youth organisations have undertaken to organise a Sponsored Walk, in the Hopsrigg area during the morning, and probably a barbecue in the evening. We will be glad for others able to organise small special efforts to come to our aid.

Floral Art Week in Old Parish Church

At a meeting of the Kirk Session on 20th January, approval was given to repeating our effort of last year of a Floral Display in the Old Parish Church for the week previous to the Common Riding week, that is from Sunday, 18th July to Sunday, 25th July. I am inviting the Langholm Floral Art Club to undertake the floral display and hope they will be able to give us the expert service of last year. The effort will be in aid of the Organ Fund. We have been informed by the organ tuners, Henry Willis and Sons Ltd., who installed the organ in 1893, that they are writing shortly a report of essential repairs. I cannot say anything of what this amounts to until the report is received, but we must be in a position to maintain what Messrs Henry Willis regard as the finest of their instruments in the country, when overhaul becomes necessary.

Repair of Hymn Books and Removal from Pews of Out of Date and Torn Books and Bibles

To help the Church Caretaker in keeping the pews tidy, I would be glad if owners of hymn books and Bibles left in the pews would agree to take them home for the first two weeks in March so that we could examine remaining books if they are usable, and those torn, repaired. It would greatly help in keeping the pews tidy, and at the same time we will organise an effort to repair books with loose covers, especially the books used by visitors at the church door,

Cancellation of proposed exchange of pulpit and Manse with Rev. James Beverley of Houston, Texas.

When Rev. Jim Beverley with his wife and family visited in the early summer of 1969 we were all greatly delighted in having Jim in the Old Parish Pulpit, especially on the Common Riding Sunday. It was proposed then and in general agreed to, that we should exchange Manses and Pulpits in the summer of 1971. Jim and his wife and family have been looking forward to this, as my wife and I have. However, after going fully into the cost of taking my family with me by the lowest chartered flights, and with very unfavourable rates of exchange in the U.S.A., I have found it necessary to cancel the proposed exchange. There is just hope that Jim Beverley may manage to come over this summer, and if he does I will take the opportunity of taking a holiday and leave the pulpit in his hands, which I know would bring a lot of pleasure to many who know and admire Jim.

Appeal for more support in Choir

Over Christmas and the New Year and during January we have had a considerable improvement in choir attendances, and many thanks to Mrs. Mina Carter for her help in this. It has made a tremendous difference to singing and is a great encouragement to our organist, Mr. Cecil Carmichael. May I appeal not only to previous choir members but to those who can join with them to come forward to the choir and help to fill the choir stalls. It will be a very great service to our Church and to the enjoyment of praise in our worship. We will shortly be making another effort to recruit a Junior Choir to help in special Services.

Special Services being considered

I have a promise of a visit of the Carlisle Male Voice Choir on a Sunday evening sometime in March and I am awaiting the date which will be intimated later. We also look forward to a visit of the Carlisle Cathedral organist, Mr. Seivewright to give an organ recital and probably be accompanied by the Abbey Singers. I am also trying to arrange for a visit of the Carlisle Cathedral organist, Mr. Seivewright to give an organ recital, and probably be accompanied with the Abbey Singers. I am also trying to arrange for a visit at Easter time of the West of Scotland Crusade Team, when we hope they will conduct a Youth Rally on the Saturday evening and conduct Services on the Sunday morning. I am not up to date in information on this visit owing to the hold up of letters at the present time. And I know that the Langholm Town Band are working on a Service of special Easter time praise, which I hope will be led jointly with our organist.

Woman's Guild Programme

The Guild had a very inspiring meeting on 12th January when the Rev. John W. Moule of Canonbie Parish spoke about his life story and the decision to leave a highly successful business career to enter the ministry of the Church of Scotland. We were all impressed, especially to hear how the newly appointed Chief Constable of Glasgow, an elder in the Tron Church in Glasgow, sang two evangelical songs on the occasion of Mr. Moule being licensed as a minister of the Church of Scotland.

The next meeting of the Guild is on 9th February with a Panel on Any Questions, with Mrs. Jean Armitage, Mrs. W. Armstrong, Mr. W. Carruthers and Mr. Stroud on the Panel. On 23rd February we are to have a joint meeting with the Young Wives, with Police Woman Eileen Irving talking about her work. In March - looking a month ahead - we have Mr. John Brotherstone from the Social Services Committee in Annan, and Nurses Reid and Waldie speaking on the new Social Services Group. The Guild Sale of Work takes place on Saturday, 13th March. The closing meeting of the session on 23rd March is when I will give a devotional talk on The Last Words Spoken From The Cross.

Boys' Brigade Plans to visit Continent

The 1st Langholm Company of the Boys' Brigade has plans to visit Switzerland from 1st to 13th August this year, taking a party of six officers, five seniors and twenty-one boys. They will be accommodated in the Youth Hostel at Montreux for ten nights and spend four days in organised excursions. The cost per boy for travel and accommodation is £40 and each boy is being charged £28 and the Company has raised £350 towards helping to pay the balance and augment the charge to the lads. The Company are making further efforts to augment the payments of boys and give them an opportunity of a memorable trip abroad. The Captain, Mr. Ramsay Johnstone, will be in charge of the party on the visit to the Continent.

Congratulations to New Justices

It is with great pleasure that we note that Miss Barbara M. Paterson, of Hopsrigg Farm, Langholm, and Mr. Edward Willis, of Sorbie Farm, Ewes, have been inserted in the Commission of the Peace for the County of Dumfries. We offer them our warmest congratulations in this honour of becoming Justices of Peace, both being very highly loved members of the Langholm district and community.

Sympathy With The Bereaved

On 13th January, George Scott Ritchie passed away at Craigilea, Rosevale Street, at the age of 77, after a long illness. George served with the K.O.S.B. from September 1914 to January 1919 and attained the rank of Sergeant. Most of his service was on the Western Front. He was severely wounded which left him without the use of his left arm. After the war he spent many years at Erskine Hospital, Renfrewshire, first as a patient and later in charge of one of the workshops. In his latter years in Langholm he found life a constant battle for breath, an illness caused by his war service. He faced life with magnificent courage and was always in a spirit of good cheer and hope and was blessed with a devoted partner, his wife, Beatrice Mary Harrison, in a marriage lasting some 43 years. We extend to her our deepest sympathy in bereavement. No one could have given her partner in marriage more love and devoted care.

On 16th January, Walter Park Mitchell passed away in the Cumberland Infirmary at the age of 63. He was well known in Langholm where he was employed in pre-war years in the Office of Major McGeorge and later in management of the Eskdale Cinema. During the last war he served in H.M. Forces in the Royal Army Pay Corps of which service he held many happy memories. In latter years his health was declining but he maintained a brave spirit. Our deepest sympathy with his widow Agnes Ewing and his two sons William and Douglas.

On 2nd February, James Wilson of 46 William Street, passed very suddenly away while at work, at the age of 69. He has lived in Langholm for the past 12 years and was formerly living in Duns. Our sincere sympathy in bereavement with his widow Marie Gavin, and daughter Mary and her family in their sudden loss and bereavement.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.


February 14 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Kenneth Neill, Varna, Hillside Crescent.

February 21 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Robert Graham, 2 Eskdale Place.

February 28 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mr. James Maxwell, Treetops.

March 7 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. W. Kay, 22 Caroline Street.


January 31 - Gillian Francis, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Richard Steele, Holmwood Crescent.

January 31 - Fiona Margaret, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David McVittie, Henry Street.


January 13 - George Scott Ritchie, Craigielea, Rosevale Street. Age 77.

January 16 - Walter Park Mitchell, 20 Caroline Street. Age 63.

February 2 - James Wilson, 46 William Street. Age 69.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth shall never die". St. John 11. 25/26.

News Of Hawick Presbytery—New Minister For Hawick Old and St. Mary's Parish

On Thursday, 14th January, the Presbytery of Hawick inducted the Rev. David L. Wright, B.D., as minister of Hawick Old. Mr. Wright was ordained in 1957 and was for seven years minister of Lowson Memorial Church, Forfar. The charges in his induction to Hawick Old were given by the Rev. Robert Lockhart of St. Margaret's and Wilton South.

On Wednesday, 27th January, the Rev. Duncan Clark, minister for the past seven years of Ballingry, Fife, was inducted to St. Mary's Parish Church, Hawick. The induction Service was conducted by the Rev. Robert McConnell, Moderator of the Presbytery, and the charges were given by the Rev. Thomas N. Hood of St. George’s West, Hawick.

An Editorial to cheer those who feel depressed by the National and International outlook of the present time

This Editorial appeared in an American magazine. "It is a gloomy moment in history. Not for many years, not in the lifetime of most men who read this, has there been so much grave and deep apprehension. Never has the future seemed so incalculable as at this time. In our own country, there is universal unrest and millions of our fellow-citizens are fearful of the future.

"In Europe and Asia the political cauldron seethes and bubbles with uncertainty. Russia hangs like a cloud, dark and silent, upon the horizon, while the energies of the British are sorely tried, and are yet to be tried more sorely, in coping with the vast and deadly disturbed relations in India and China.

Of our own troubles no man can see the end. They are, as yet, fortunately, mainly political and industrial. We must resist and subdue the forces which are the occasion of this widespread evil and harmful distress".

That is an Editorial which might almost have been written of today. But it appeared in Harper's Weekly in October, 1857.