Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.70                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       JANUARY 1967.

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.

"My times are in Thy hands". Psalm 3l. 15.

At this season few of us can fail to be impressed and perhaps not a little disturbed at the fleeting nature of time. The year 1966 has passed away and we have entered upon 1967, and there is nothing whatever that we can do to stop time fleeting by. There is a story in the Book of Joshua about a military leader commanding time to stand still. "And Joshua said in the sight of all Israel, Sun, stand thou till . . . and thou Moon in the valley". Nobody knows exactly what actually did happen, some kind of miracle that enabled Joshua to slaughter his enemies. But the fact is that no one living can command time to stand still, it is constantly fleeting, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.

The Bible has some interesting things to say about time. The Book of Ecclesiastes says "there is a time to every purpose under heaven . . . a time to weep aud a time to laugh . . . a time to keep silence and a time to speak". While St. Paul in his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians speaks about "redeeming the time because the days are evil". While here in our text we are given the glad news that "our times are in His hand".

No one can tell how much time he has laid up in store.

The Bible predicts the amount of time we can ex- pect to live. “The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four score years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away". But that is only a prediction, you cannot be sure of three score years. Some people live far beyond the predicted time. John Wesley, did, carried on writing and preaching and riding about England on horseback until near the age of ninty. Dr. Albert Schweitzer who passed away just over a year ago was over 90. When a few years previously he was being presented with the award of the Nobel prize, he was asked what prize he would like most to receive? His reply was, “A beautiful vase, filled with time”. Well, his vase did contain a lot of time and he used every moment of it to good account. On the other hand some people have never reached the three score years, have had only a small amount of time in life’s vase, and yet have done as much. Iesus for example had only 33 years, and only three ofpthose years in active ministry, and yet has left all eternity in His debt.

lt is not the amount of time we live that finally matters but what we do with it.

We read in the Book of Genesis about Methuselah who lived for 969 years but that is all that is said about him except that he was the father of sons and daughters. No record of any good work he did. It is possible to live many years and yet be of little account./p

The importanit thing in life is to realise that the time we have in store is limited, and to do something with it to help and bless others while it is with us. Benjamin Jowett, a famous Master of Balliol College, used to address his students when they were going down for the last term in words something like these: “I find it laid down in tables that the average expectation of life at the age of 21 is 40 years, say 15,000 days. It may be a little more, it may be a little less, but generally speaking a man at 21 may expect to live 15,000 days. This being so he would indeed be a mean fellow who spent any considerable proportion of those 15,000 days in slacking or whining or drift.”

It is good for some of us to remember now and again that we are living on borrowed time.

People who have been ill and have gone into hos= pital and by the skill of some surgeon, and the good ministry of doctor and nurse have their lives given back to them, should remember that they have a debt to repay to life. The Rev. Dr. D. P. Thomson, just retired as Church of Scotland Evangelist, was mortally ill in the Middle East in the first world war. His life was despaired of by everyone. He tells us how he prayed that if his life was spared he would devote his days to spreading the Gospel. He was spared and ever after remembered his vow. I have read of an American Marine Captain of the last war who was leading his men in an attack. A shell burst right overhead. They threw themselves to the ground. Later lifting his head he found that-seven of his men had been killed while he himself was without a scratch. “Since then” he says, “I have been living on borrowed time and have tried to make my life count for something”.

What a sad spectacle to see a man or a woman who has been rescued or brought back from the gates of death spending their days in flippant living, or sulking or living with resentful thoughts.

Our text, “My times are in Thy hand”, means that God has a plan and purpose for our lives Whatever our age, whatever happens to us.

In times of sorrow or illness it may be far from easy to believe that our times are in God's hands, but this is the faith that redeems every experience we can have from despair. One of the German pastors thrown into a concentration camp by the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, made this his answer to a prison cell. Over the door of the cell into which he was thrust, one of his predecessors had scribbled “In a hundred years it will all be over”. That was the poor helpless man's way of trying to overcome the feeling that the time spent in prison was a complete blank. But, says Bonhoeffer, “My time is in Thy hand", the the answer of the Bible. And he sought to use that time to witness for his laith and glorify God.

Yes, and when we come to the end of the way of this life it should gladden our hearts and give us cause for praise and thanks to God that our times are in His hand. It did this for that most delightful and most scholarly of all professors who ever occupied a chair in my old College, St. Mary’s St. Andrews. I refer to Professor Donald M. Bailie. When told that his position was critical and the end very near, he turned to his brother John and asked him to read to him the hundred and forty fifth psalm “I will extol Thee, my God, O King, and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever.” It was his last conscious hour ‘upon earth, and still alert his mind was dwelling on the psalmist's words, “Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever”.

This was the faith of Robert Browning when he wrote:

Grow old along with me,

The best is yet to be.

The last of life for which the first was made.

Our times are in His hand

Who saith, as whole I planned.

Youth shows but half; trust god; see all nor be afraid.


Dear Fellow Member,

wish to thank many of the congregation for Christmas and New Year greetings to myself and family.

My letter this month requires to take the form of a review of the life of our Church and congregation, and I am asked bythe Congregational Board to make special comment upon some of the problems we are at present seeking to cope with.

Review of 1966

With the passing of the late Mr. George McVitrtie our Church received the generous bequest of £3,195 15s 10d, and a similar amount was bequested to Church of Scotland Eventide Homes. This bequest was in addition to the gift of the lovely red carpeting for the church aisles. This bequest has, apart from a generous donation of £100 from one family, been used to meet the expense of rewiring and lighting the church; the balance having been invested to benefit the Church Fabric Fund. At a meeting of the Kirk Session on 14th December it was resolved to place on record in the Kirk Session Minutes our warm appreciation of the generosity of the late Mr. George McVittie to his Church which he so dearly loved and regularly attended.

Record Membership of Old Parish Church

At the meeting of the Kirk Session on 14th December the Session Clerk reported that the present membership of the Old Parish Church now stood at 921. This, as far as I am able to ascertain, is the highest the membership has ever been recorded in the long history of the Old Parish Church in Langhohn.

Disturbing Factor of Decreased Giving in 1966

At a meeting of the Congregational Board on 14th December we were given cause for grave concern by the Treasurers Report. The Report showed a decrease in giving in 1966 of £63 19s Id over the previous year. This was all the more disturbing when we were reminded by the Church Treasurer that at the Annual Congregational Meeting in March he had drawn attention to the fact that our increased commitments for I966 would require an increased income over the year of £200. This means that we ended 1966 with a deficit balance of £263.

At this meeting it was resolved to call a special meeting of the Congregational Board in Ianuary, 1967 to confer on the causefor deterioration in congrega- tional giving and what might be done to recover the situation, In the mean-time the Minister was asked to comment fully on the financial position in the Ianuary Magazine, and that a copy of the Magazine should be put in the hands of each member.

There are several factors that might be said to contribute to this decline in Church givings. I think the biggest of all is Church attendance. When the Church is well attended there is rarely cause for financial stringency, as people contribute regularly and are at the same time encouraged by the atmos- phere of worship to give of their best. The attendance during the past year, apart from a few special United Services, has not been as good as previous years. So one way of recovery would be to appeal to our members to be more regular in attendance at Sunday worship. I often look over the lists of new communicants Who have been received into membership during my ministry and am saddened to realise that many of them have never been in church since the day of their admission to full membership, except perhaps at one or two Communion Services. Yet on being received into the membership of the Church, people whether young or older are required by the Church of Scotland to affirm “I promise to make dilligent use of the means of grace, to share dutifully inithe worship and service of the Church and to give of my substance as the Lord shall prosper me.” On the other hand I am greatly encouraged by a large percentage of the young people who have been received into membership treating that promise with the respect and sense of honour we would expect.

Can it be that the financial freeze is having some effect upon Church giving? I don’t think so because most of the members most seriously effected by the financial freeze are contributing to the Church under Deed. of Covenant, and therefore the amount they give remains unchanged.

With the vast majority who are not playing their due part in giving in support of their Church it is more often just thoughtlessness. They are in the main well disposed towards the Church but need from time to time to be reminded of their duty in giving and of the means whereby they may do so in a regular way. And herel would like to draw attention to the different methods by which Wecan contribute to support our Church according to our ability.

Giving by Deed of Covenant

For all who are paying income tax on the higher rates this is the most effective Way to support your Church. It means that for every £1 you give to your Church in the year, the Church benefitsybyan additional 8/3d,by recovery of tax paid. If you gave say an average of £10 a year to the Church in whatever way, giving by Deed of Covenant would enable the Church Treasurer to recover an additional £7 Os 5d, without costing you a penny more. Mr. Wood, Manager of the National and Com- mercial Bank, has kindly undertaken the responsibility of administering Deeds of Covenant for the Old Parish Church, and I here appeal to all in a position to give in this way to discuss the matter with Mr. Wood. Already some 28 members are giving in this way, and we are grateful for the additional in- come they are enabling us to recover from the In- come Tax Authorities.

Weekly Free Will Envelopes

The greatest amount of our Church income comes in this way. On joining the Church you receive a card from the Church Treasurer in which you are asked how much you feel you could afford to give each week, and envelopes are delivered to you by the Elder of the district. There is perfect secrecy in this as you are recorded only as a number. In 1965, £1136 of our annual income was received in this way from our members, while for 1966 the amount was £1129.

Annual Envelopes

Some prefer to give by annual envelopes and these can be obtained from the Church Treasurer. In 1965, £156 was received in this way, and in 1966 £130.

Church Collection Boxes

A number of people living on the pension and unable to contribute by any of the methods outlined above, do so by taking a Church Collection Box. This enables them to put. in what they feel they can afford from time to time, and the Elder of the district is glad to call and empty the box when required. In 1965 £55 6s lld was received in this way, while in 1966 the amount was £38 2s 3d.


This represents money raised for the Church by special efforts like a Coffee Morning, Bring and Buy Sale, etc., and the money is given to the Church Treasurer as a donation. In former years some of our members have done exceptionally well in special efforts. The Women’s Guild gives in this way every year, very generously, and their contribution enables the Church Treasurer to meet his payments to the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh as these become due. Under what is called the Unified Appeal we are required to contribute several hundred pounds each year for the wider work of the Church. We are also levied increasing sums that have to be paid to the Maintenance of the Ministry Fund, the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund, and Presbytery dues, all levied ac-cording to the number of members on the Communion Roll was shown in the Annual Returns. Already each Church organisation is required to give a donation against the cost of lighting, heating and cleaning the Old Parish Hall. This is calculated as a donation to the Church, as the high cost of maintaining the hall is met from our annual Church income.

Our Criteria in Giving

The question is sometimes asked by young people joining the Church, how much should we give each week? I think the answer always is that we will want to give according to how much the Church means to us. if the Church means something on a big scale in our lives, we’ll want to give on a big scale. One of the most flourishing of the younger Churches in the world is the United Church of Canada (Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational). I have a niece living in Canada whose father was at one time minister of Mouswald Parish Church, near Dumfries. When my niece married and went out to Canada with her Canadian husband, she joined the United Church of Canada because she was impressed at the vigour, friendliness and full attendance of the congregations. And she has told me that she soon discovered the reason why the members feel so keen about their Church because the criteria of giving is “Giving Untii it hurts”. So much of our giving means little or nothing to us. Many don't give to their Church the cost of one cigarette, so don't wonder that their Church means so little to them. After a few years my niece found herself a widow with three boys and had to cut expenditure rigidly, but one thing she refused to cut was her giving to her Church because it had become the biggest thing in her life. Yes, when we begin to give to our Church until it hurts, we begin to feel that the Church is ours and we can never do enough to support it.

Special Christmas Services

During December several special services were held in preparation for Christmas and in celebrating Christmas. On Sunday, 4th December the Evening Service was led by the Over 60 Club when members read lessons and carols were sung. On Sunday, llth December the Boys’ Brigade and junior Brigade attended the Morning Service, led by the Langholm Pipe Band, and members read lessons and carols were sung. The Evening Service was attended by the Young Wives Fellowship, who had decorated the church beautifully. Members read lessons and sang a well known carol. On Sunday, 18th December the Morning Service was conducted entirely by the Sunday School children and staff, with Mr. Douglas Anderson leading the Service from the pulpit. ThisService was extremely well done and I must congratulate the Sunday School teachers on their skill in drawing up the form of Service and training and dressing the children for the occasion. The children brought well selected Christmas gifts, 109 in all, and these were distributed among the children in Dr. Barnardo’s Home, Hawick, children in the Astley Ainslie Hospital, Edinburgh, and the childrens ward of the Cumberland infirmary. The Evening Service was 3 United Service in the Erskine Church when we were all delighted with the singing of the Junior Choir under Mrs. Iames Smith. After the Evening Service a Carol Choir visited the Thomas Hope Hospital and after singing carols, distributed gifts to the patients, and later did the same at the Meikleholm. The Midnight Christmas Eve Service was well attended, and the Collection on behalf of the Dr. Barnardo Centenary Fund amounted to over £17. This year we dispensed with candles in the interest of better singing, as many had complained that candle light was insufficient to read the words in the hymn books. I have heard some expression of disappointment at the departure from a candlelight service, and we will keep this in mind next Christmas. Many thanks to all who read lessons, to Mrs. Violet Borthwick and Miss Jean Ferguson who sang so beautifully, and to ‘Matthew Armstrong, David Calvert and others for work in erecting the platform, erecting and lighting the Christmas Tree, and Mrs. Carter for furnishing the Stable. Thangs to Mrs. Mary Armstrong for collecting holly and the Guild for decorating the church and to Messrs Buccleuch Estates for gift of trees for church and hall.

Christmas Parties

There were many parties held in the Old Parish Hall and with the recent re-decoration and painting and the Christmas decoration the hall looked most attractive. It was kept warm and clean by our caretaker for all occasions. The Guild Christmas Social was greatly enjoyed. The Over 60 Club held an excellent Christmas supper and entertainment. The Young Wives held 3 much enjoyed party for very young children. The Primary, junior and Senior Sunday School parties were all very well run and muc-h enjoyed. The Boys’ Brigade and Junior Brigade held well organised and very happy parties, and the Brigade Dance Band composed of Douglas Cameron, Niall Weatherstone and Ian Glendinning was a star success. The Eskdale Old People's Welfare committee added another party for older people in the Buccleuch Hall, commencing with a short Christmas Service, one of the best the Committee has organised.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

Mrs. Sarah Welsh passed away in hospital in Dumfries on Saturday, 3rd December. Our sincere sympathy to her sister Mrs. Hunter, 73 Henry Street. Miss Jane Little, 2 Henry Street, passed away in the Cumberland Infirmary. She became a second mother to John, her nephew, when he lost his parents in childhood. Deepest sympathy with John Little, and other relatives. As I write this magazine I have just learned of the passing of Miss Nellie Little, 7 Albert Place. Nellie has suffered deafness for some years but was brave and made a great effort to always show the best side of life. Deepest sympathy with her sister and brothers.

To some of our congregation who are laid aside with prolonged illness I express good New Year greetings and the prayer that they may enjoy a good recovery early in the year.

Warmest good wishes for the New Year to all our people and friends of the Old Par-ish Church.

Yours sincerely,




Collections for December, 1966

F.W.O. £70 19 8

Ordinary £33 5 6

Annual Envelopes £16 0 0

Donations £22 0 0

Deeds of Covenant £50 0 0

Dr. Barnardo’s Homes Collection £17 5 8


January l0 - Films on Feed the Minds of Millions, with Mr. Ian Morrison as speaker. Bring and Buy Stall.

January 24—Burns Supper. Rev. Brydon Maben, Newcastleton, as guest speaker.

February 7—Social Service Films: Citizens in the Making


The next meeting is on Thursday evening, 19th January. At a recent business meeting the following new office-bearers were appointed: President, Mrs. Rena Liggins; Secretary, Mrs. Sheila Calvert; Treasurer, Mrs. Mary Scott; Committee: Mrs. Sheila Jeffrey, Mrs. Joan Benson and Mrs. Janet Walton. The plan of this new organisation is to elect a new Committee and Office bearers every year.


January 8-11 am. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs C. Glendinning, 70 High Street. 6 p.m. United Service in Congregational Church.

January 15--11 am and 6 pm Rev Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs M Hounam, 54 Caroline Street..

January 22— ll a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert Fowers, Mrs. John Tyman, Barbank.

January 29--ll a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert Flowers, Mrs. W. Hosie, 60 Holmwood Drive.

Feb 5 11am and 6pm. Rev Tom Calvert Flowers, Miss I. Graham, Whita Cottage.


December 25-—Anne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Richardson, 4 Charlotte Street.


December l0——Ian Scott Elliot, 71 Henry Street, to Sandra Ann Armstrong, 10 Eskdaill Street.


December 3-Mrs. Sarah Welsh, 73 Henry Street. Aged 88.

December l3—Miss Iane Little, 2 Henry Street. Aged 76.

January 3—Miss Nellie Little, 7 Albert Place. Aged 76.

“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Rev. 14. 13.


The Congregational Board is called to meet for a special meeting on Church finance, in the Old Parish Smaller Hall, on Wednesday, 18th January at 7.30 p.m.