Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

LANGHOLM OLD PARISH CHURCHchurchFounded 1703, present Church built 1846

N0.28. Price 1/- with LIFE AND HOME - 6D LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY - JANUARY, 1963.

Minister: Revd. TOM CALVERT, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Mr. JOHN TYMAN, National Bank Buildings

Clerk to Conregational Board: Mr. E. C. ARMSTRONG, Town Clerk's Office, Langholm , Tel. 255

Treasurer: Mr. R. A. BLACK, 35 Eskdaill Street.

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

Motto Text for January—"The Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearguard". Isaiah 52,12.

Message and Letter from the Minister

Dear Fellow Member,

I am taking my text for Old Year Sunday as the Motto Text as we enter upon the New Year 1963. In these words we are given God's promise that He goes before us and with us into the New Year whatever surprises or changes it may bring for us; and also that He will stand between us and whatever in the Old Year we find frightening and something we would prefer to forget.

Life has often been likened to a battlefield, a daily light with opposing forces, with adverse circumstances or ill health. And that is certainly what life is for many people. As a former Prime Minister; of this country once said in his rectorial address to the students of St. Andrews University.—"I was born a Scotsman and a bare one, therefore I was born to fight my way through the world, with my left arm if my right failed me, with my teeth if both were cut off". I can I think of many people for whom life has been a battle. It was a battle for Robert Louis Stephenson, who had to fight all the way against a weak chest and threat of the sick-bed. It was a battle for Franklin D. Roosevelt against paralysed legs, but he fought the battle bravely and victoriously, and was able to lead the American people through the dark days of the last war.

Life has also been likened to a voyage on the great ocean, which one day may be as calm as a pond, and the next the scene of storm and mounting waves. The ancient mariners of Brittany had a prayer which they used before putting out to sea. "Help me O God, for my boat is so small, and thy ocean is so wide". And they might have added in that prayer, "Thy ocean is often so tempestuous", for that is often how we find life. BUT here in our Motto Text life is likened to a march like the march of an army, and as we go forward we pass the milestones of the years. This is how one of our favourite hymns puts it. "Through the night of doubt and sorrow; Onward goes the pilgrim band; Singing songs of expectation; Marching to the promised land". Yes, and here the Prophet Isaiah tells us two things about the march through life which are good for us to know and ponder over as we pass once again the milestone of another year.

The Lord God, is our Vanguard, He goes before us and with us.

Actually these words of our Motto Text are a reference to the return of the Hebrew exiles from captivity in Babylon, as Isaiah was a prophet of the exile. He is thinking about their return journey across the desert wastes towards Jerusalem. They would at that season have to cross quick flowing swollen rivers, and pass though districts where the local population was unfriendly. But the exiles are given assurance that the way is being prepared for them, that the Lord is going before them and will be with them all the way back. "The Lord will go before you."

Now what does this promise mean for us as we enter upon this New Year 1963 with all its unknown opportunities and trials and dangers? Well, the premise that God goes before us and with us certainly does not mean that there will be no dangers or difficulties. It does not mean as many suppose that if God is with us we will be delivered from things like accident or ill health or misfortune. It means rather that men and women who trust God will not be overcome or dismayed by the things that will happen to them. In St. Matthew Ch. 7 in one of our Lords parables we read about those who build their lives upon the foundation of faith and those who don't. To both alike come the storms beating upon the house of life. The house built on sand falls before the storms, but the life built on o rock foundation of faith stands firm and smiles at the storm, Here is an illustration of what Imean. Dr. Martin Niemoller who in the first world war was commander of a German submarine employed in sinking allied shipping after the war became a devoted Christian disciple. He entered the German Evangelical Church as a minister, or pastor, as the Germans call ministers. In the years before the war he was minister of one of the most fashionable Churches in a suburb of Berlin, faithfully declaring the word of God, and condemning the Nazi persecution of the Jews. At the end of June l937 his ten year old son had a strange and terrifying dream. He ran out of his bedroom into his father's study. "Daddy", he cried, "I've had a dreadful dream about you. I dreamed that the Secret Police came to take you away". In order to comfort the lad his father replied. "Never fear, I trust God and He will take care of me". "But Daddy, the lad cried, "how can God take care of you in a concentration camp?" Well. a few days later, on 1st July 1937, the Secret Police did come and take Dr. Niemoller away. and eight months later, by a special order of Hitler. he was placed in one of the worst of Germany's concentration camps. and deprived of any privileges, not even allowed use of pen and paper. He passed through some terrible years along with many others, many of the others being reduced to something less than humans by the suffering they had to take. But God was with Martin Niemoller even in the concentration camp, and his grand and simple faith sustained him through those terrible days and kept him from bitterness and despair. Today he is one of the leading Christians in Europe and travels the world speaking to people of how God goes with us into the future however dark, and keeps us and helps us to be victorious over anything that may happen to us. He has been over in this country several times speaking in London, Manchester and Glasgow bearing this witness.

And after all, that is just what God did for Jesus when He had to pass through Gethsemane and the Judgement Hall and the Cross. God didn't deliver Jesus from the cup of sorrow as he prayed he might, but He did bring him through to the victory of the resurrection.

Lady Rhondda, one of the survivors of the Lusitania disaster, tells how when she found herself in an open boat upon the high seas, what the terrible experience did for her. She had previously lacked self-confidence and was afraid of many things, but whyen she came through that terrible experience without disgracing herself, she gained confidence, and lost all fear of the raging seas. "Death was not frightening" she says, "rather somehow one had a protected feeling as though it were a kindly thing". And ever after she has known the meaning of the Bible promise, "underneath are the everlasting arms".

Our Text is not only a promise that God is our Vanguard—also that He is our Rearguard—that He comes behind us and between us and the Old Year.

Our Motto Text could equally be taken as a reference to the march of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised Land—that long wilderness journey taking some forty years. And you recall how they soon found themselves being pursued by Pharaoh's armies, found the destroyer at their heels and they cried unto the Lord and then a strange thing happened. A cloud came down between them and the Egyptian destroyer. God set up a defence to keep the enemy from pressing upon them and hurting them. And in like manner this is what God offers to do for us as we leave behind us l962—to come between us and the sorrows or hurts or failures of the past year. For us as for ancient Israel "the God of Israel is our rearguard"

He comes between its and the sorrows of the past year.

Many people came to the end of 1962 with the sad memory of bereavement that had darkened their way in he Old Y ear. It can be a harsh time for people, especially if the bereavement was of someone young with high prospects. Dr. William Barclay of Glasgow University had this experience in 1956 His daughter, a student in the University, was on holiday in Northern Ireland, and went out in a boat off the northern coast of Ulster and was never seen again. What a terrible blow for parents. Dr. Barclay writes a weekly article in the British Weekly, and a few weeks after this terrible tragedy had come to him I noticed the title of his article with special interest. "When Everything Else is Gone Duty Remains". That is one way in which God comes between us and the sorrows of the past. He has blessed our lives with duty, work that must be done every day, and this helps us to carry on when otherwise we would brood and despair. Thank God for our daily work, the daily demand to be at our place and task, it is part of God's rearguard to keep us when sorrows like sea billows roll over us. So also is the knowledge given us by God's word that "neither death nor life . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus out Lord".

He also comes between us and the hurts and resentments of 1962

It is amazing what a lot of people come to the end of the year with hearts filled with thoughts of getting their own back on someone for wrong done or spoken against them. But as I said in my Christmas Day sermon, at the end of the Old Year God gives us Christmas with its grand spirit of forget and forgive, and this helps us to carry on in the New Year a more sensible way of living. For after all planning revenge and going on hating in the end harms no one but ourselves.

God also offers to be rearguard between us and the sins and failures of 1962

He comes between us and the sins and failures of the past year not only with forgiveness, also with the offer of a clear sheet, a new start and a second chance in the new year. Think of Simon Peter after he cursed and swore in the porch of the High Priest's palace that he knew not who Jesus was. What a terrible ending that year would have held for poor Peter if it had been only the memory of betraying his best friend. But he was saved that bitter experience because Jesus blotted out the handwriting against him. and commissioned him for His service again. Whatever sins or failures may be behind us that tend to depress and deter us as we go forward upon another year, this you can know, that God in the sufferings of His Son Jesus Christ. has provided a rearguard for us —and like Saul of Tarsus we can plead the name of Christ as God's pledge of our forgiveness, and we can forget the things behind and set ourselves to make a batter of the days that are yet to come.

Every Sunday we gather in our Church here in Langholm to worship a God who goes before us and with us into the unknown future, and who also comes behind us and between us and all the sorrows and hurts and failures of the past—and this God we worship has nail prints in His hands and feet &mdash He is our blessed suffering gallant God whose name is Jesus&mdash and he is our Vanguard and our Rearguard. I know it is hard for us not to worry about the future and about the past &mdash but remember the future as well as the past is Gods, and the power of His love made known on Calvary is a love from which we can never go free, a love that will never lose its grip upon us unless we refuse to be kept in its grip &mdash and it is a love that can keep us on past the mile stones of all the years until the road leads to the sunset and the evening star, when. we will at last see the turrets of God's eternal city with its gates wide open to bid us welcome.

Christmas Services and Parties

Despite the severe winter weather the Christmas Services have all been well attended On Sunday, 23rd December, the Sunday School again led the Evening Service, bringing with them a large collection of lovely gifts. These were taken the next day by Mr. Hill to the Hawick Branch of Dr. Barnardo's Homes, in time for Christmas Eve gifts to the children of the home. The Service led by the children was exceptionally well done this year, and I know that the film-strip, "The Littlest Camel Knelt", was understood and enjoyed by the youngest child present. Many thanks to the Sunday School staff for their work in training the children, and to the children for doing their part so well.

After the Evening Service on 23rd&mdash the Youth Fellowship formed a Carol Singing Choir of between forty and fifty, and after visiting the Thomas Hope Hospital, the Town Hall Christmas Tree, the New Houses at Meikleholm, and two homes, rendering a selection of carols, they returned to the hall for refreshments, and thereafter to the Church for a rehearsal of the Christmas Eve Service. Thanks to all the members of the Fellowship who took part for this very line work of witness. They enjoyed the part they played and it brought much delight to those who listened.

The Midnight Service on Christmas Eve was well supported, and was led by members of the Youth Fellowship. The Leader of the Service, the Readers, and the Choir all did their parts well. It helped the singing to have the carols projected on the screen. The Offering on behalf of the Inter Church Refugee Fund amounted to £17/0/3.

For the Christmas Day Service we joined with the Erskine congregation in the Erskine Church, and the short happy Service was well attended.

I was pleased to see so many present at the Old Year Services when travel conditions were so bad. We were all very thrilled in the Evening Service in seeing and hearing Jackie Nixon conduct his first full Service. His moving address on faith went right to our hearts, and we all look forward with prayerful interest to seeing Jackie one day enter the full ministry of the Church of Scotland. Meantime Jackie is holding an important appointment under the Church of Scotland Youth Committee as Youth Leader and Counsellor under three Churches in the Niddrie district of Edinburgh.

The Christmas Parties for the Sunday School were on the Friday evening, 2lst, for the Seniors&mdash a very happy, well organised party. On Saturday, 22nd, in the afternoon for the Primary, again a delightful party with a visit from Father Christmas, personified by Arthur Willis. Many thanks to the Sunday School staff for their work in organising the parties.

The Boys' Brigade Christmas Party was on Wednesday, 26th, and was a most successful party and greatly enjoyed. The Junior Youth Club held their party on Saturday evening of 29th December, and were joined by the Erskine Junior Youth Club.

We have greatly benefitted during the Christmas parties from the new heating installation in the Parish Hall, and also from the services of our good caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson.

Langholm Youth Club

With the securing of the hall in Charles Street Old from Messrs. Reid and Taylor, the Youth Club has taken new life. Now regular weekly meetings are being organised and are meeting with very big response. The programme of activities is mostly competitive games. We are very grateful to Miss McGeorge for loaning us the billiard table and to the Erskine Church for loaning seating. We hope in the near future to commence a junior country dancing class.


The district visitation, minister and elder, continues. On week commencing 6th January will complete Mr. Hendrie's district and commence with Mr. Hosie in Holmwood. On week commencing 20th January hope to be with Mr. Maclntosh, and week commencing 27th with Mr. McKail.

Choir Practice

We hope to commence a Choir Practice immediately after the Evening Service on Sundays. The Youth Fellowship has kindly undertaken to attend and I appeal for people of all ages to come forward and help to make this effort a success. We will commence on Sunday, 20th January, at 7-15 p.m. for about forty minutes.

Sympathy with Bereaved

During the past month we have lost two members&mdash Miss Jean Scott at the age of 89. She was for the last years of her life nursed with care and kindness at the Thomas Hope Hospital. And William D. Millar of Townhead, who passed away suddenly at the age of 69. He was well known and much loved by many for his good cheer and happy personality despite his illness. We extend our sympathy in bereavement to our elder Mr. Archie Smith in the recent loss of his mother and to Mrs. C. Paisley, Struan, in the recent loss of her father.

With many thanks to so many members of the Church for Christmas greetings to myself and family, and with the wish and prayer that this New Year may bring to you all health and prosperity and a lot of happiness.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.

Treasurer's Report

Annual Envelopes £l3 7 0

Roof Repair Fund £103 13 11

Total Donations to Roof Repair Fund to 30/12/62 £203 16 0

By Deed of Covenant £l5 0 0

Refugee Fund (Candle-light Service) £17 0 3

Roof Fund

it will be seen from the Treasurer's Report that the Roof Fund is making some progress. and for this we thank all who have so readily responded to the appeal. Many thanks to Miss Scott for raising £20 and Mrs. Steele for raising £l0 by special efforts. We still have a long way to go to reach our target of expenditure, and here appeal to everyone including our various organisations to give their best help to this effort. We have Old Parish Church Roof Fund collection boxes available for those who find it difficult to make a direct contribution, and also available to those who have already contributed who would care to have a box in their homes, and in this way further help in this big effort. The boxes are available from any of the elders or members of the Congregational Board. The Roof Fund is part of our Church Fabric Fund, and when we have reached the £l200 required for the roof, we then have to turn to the urgent need to replace the Church boiler.

The Woman's Guild

A good company of members enjoyed an excellent Christmas Party on the 11th December, with a full programme of games, charades, songs and carols, and a Xmas supper. The Guild would like to thank Mrs. Little of Skipperscleugh, and Mrs. Elaine Anderson for arranging the evenings programme which was so much enjoyed. We would like to thank Mrs. Jean Young, Mrs. Pool and the Misses Anne Robertson. Maureen Borthwick and Margaret Boyd whose songs added so much to the evening, and Mrs. Jenny Telford for her accompaniment not only at the Xmas party, but all through the year at Guild meetings.

The Guild holds two meetings in January, the first on the 8th January, when we look forward to welcoming Mr. Pattie, who is to talk about and show films of his visit this past summer to Africa.

On the 22nd January, we celebrate Burns Night, and this year we welcome as our speaker, Mr. John Fenton, English master at Langholm Academy.

The Guild has been very pleased to make a very practical gift to its Kirk in the shape of 3 dozen hymn books to be added to those in the vestibule.

We look ahead too just now to our Annual Sale of Work, this year planned for 23rd March, when we hope to raise a substantial sum to help our Church to meet its many current expenses, and we hope that members and friends of the Guild will keep this date in mind and start to work for the stalls that have to be filled.

As we come to the beginning of 1963, we wish all members and friends of the Guild a Guid New Year, and trust that health and prosperity will bless them and theirs in the coming months.

Parish Magazines

The Church of Scotland Life and Work, the magazine inset of our Monthly Parish Magazine, is from January, 1963 onwards being enlarged and greatly improved both in print, paper, illustration and reading matter. This is involving an increase of price from 4d. to 6d. The Parish Magazine cover of four pages with minister's letter and local news costs us just under 5d. per copy to produce. The cost of the magazines has for some time needed to be subsidized from Church Funds, and to avoid this necessity we are asking for an increase in the cost to 1/- for the Parish Magazine with Life and Work inset, or 6d. for the Parish Magazine without inset. The magazines are being distributed in January in the ordinary way, but in February the distributor is asked to find out from you if you wish to continue taking the magazine at the increased cost, and whether you wish the Parish Magazine with Life and Work at 1/- per month, or only the Parish Magazine without Life and Work at 6d. We hope you will all see your way to continue taking the Parish Magazine with Life and Work in its improved setting, as this is one of the few ways we have of learning something of the wider work of our Church at home and abroad.

Church Calendar


6th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers Mrs. Macintosh, Orchard Hill

l0th—7-30 p.m. The Kirk Session meets in the Vestry.

13th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers. Mrs. C. Glendinning, 70 High Street. Evening Service United in Erskine Church.

20th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert, Flowers, Miss Mary Hounam, 54 Caroline Street.

27th—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert, Flowers. Mrs. John Tyman, Barbank.

31st—7-30 p.m. Congregational Board in Vestry.


3rd—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers Mrs. W. Hosie, 60 Holmwood Dr.


"Suffer the little children to come unto Me". Mark 10. 14


2nd—Elliot Matthew, son of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Borthwick, Buccleuch Sq.

7th—Arthur Neil, son of Mr. & Mrs. John B. Graham, Wattaman, Half Morton.

9th—Alexandra Margaret, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander K. Graham, 52 Henry Street.

23rd—Katherine Ann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs, James A. Wilson, Tundergarth Mains.

In Memoriam

"I give unto them eternal life." John 10, 28.

Miss Jean Scott, aged 89, passed away in Hope Hospital Funeral to Stapelgortoun, on 10th December.

William Davidson Millar, Townhead. Age 69. Passed away suddenly. Funeral to Langholm Cemetery on 24th December.