Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.115                       Price 1/8d - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        January 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 January, 1971 "Behold I have set before thee an open door." Revelation 3. 8.

I have chosen this text as a message for us all in the New Year upon which we have entered. In these words I find a message from God for young people, for men and women of all ages and occupations, and for the Church in our community and throughout our land.

"Behold I have set before thee an open door". Some of us can remember days when the familiar thing throughout our land was the closed door. In the late twenties just after the First World War when a terrible slump befell agriculture and industry in our land, the thousands of people who were earnestly seeking work were met everywhere with closed doors. During those years I served for three years as an assistant minister in St. Mark's Church in Dundee, a Church which maintained a mission over which I was in charge in the poorest district of the city. The jute trade had largely collapsed owing to finding cheaper labour in India for its manufacture, and I can well remember homes I frequently visited where there were young men growing up into manhood, even getting married, who had never been able to get a job of work of any kind. And it was no use going elsewhere as this was the problem throughout the whole country.

I can remember days when young people anxious to enter any of the professions found the door of opportunity to acquire University entrance standards almost impossible to attain. I am thinking particularly of young people who lived in remote country districts where country schools offered less than our Primary Departments do today. Everything is changed now, transport is provided by the State, and grants are readily available when and where necessary. Any lad or girl at school today can, if they have strong desire and are willing to work hard, train for almost any profession they choose. No longer is it necessary as it was for men like David Livingstone, Dr. Alexander Whyte, and Professor Sir Henry Jones, to largely educate themselves in seeking to reach University entrance standards by using odd scraps of time before and after their work in factories. After reaching entrance standard to Glasgow University Livingstone worked one half of the year to save enough to keep himself the other half while attending his classes in the University.

That door is now wide open to all who desire to enter into practically any profession. Entering the door still demands persistence and hard work, but can be entered by any youth who finds work a challenge rather than a discouragement. We read about St. Paul when he first set out on his missionary campaigns to carry the Gospel to the heathen world, how he found the door of entry into Europe open but beset by many difficulties and dangers. Writing to the Corinthians he says, "a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries". But the adversaries the difficulties and dangers seemed to fascinate Paul and made him all the more determined to go forward. I have read about David Livingstone when he first went out to Africa as a missionary, how he was asked by the London Missionary Society to labour in a coastal region among natives already won for the Gospel. But Livingstone refused and demanded being allowed to go into the dark interior where white men had never been before, and where he would be confronted by hostile tribes and jungle fever. "Send me anywhere" he said, "providing it is forward".

Our text reminds us how women have battered open what was once a closed door upon them.

As the result of long and splendid agitation women have forced open doors once closed to them, and in this country at any rate they now enjoy equal standing and opportunities with men in the various professions. In medicine, law and the executive branches of the civil service women are now able to take their place and do the work with the same skill and faithfulness as men. And at last the door of entering the ministry of the Church of Scotland has been thrown wide open to women.

It is inspiring to read accounts of so many men and women who seemed to be confronted with a closed door to any kind of success or happiness because of disability or handicap - how by their faith and courage they have made the promise of our text true for them, "Behold I have set before thee an open door.'

I referred in a recent sermon to that wonderful Irishman, Christy Brown and his book, My Left Foot. His story is well known of how Christy owing to an accident at birth became victim of cerebral palsy. This left him helpless, unable to sit or stand use his limbs or make an articulate sound. He was one of a family of 12, and his devoted and wonderful mother took him to doctors in Dublin who all pronounced his case hopeless. But his mother and brothers and sisters didn't believe that, they prayed and hoped for Christy, and then one dark winter day when he had reached the age of 5 something wonderful happened. He was lying on the stone kitchen floor while his brother Paddy and sister Mona were doing their homework sums on a large slate with a long piece of yellow chalk. Christy was watching, fascinated, not at the sums which he couldn't understand but by the long yellow stalk of chalk. Suddenly he put out his left foot and with his toes took the chalk from Mona's fingers and drew a mark on the floor. At this the whole family was spellbound, and his mother taking the chalk from him drew the letter A on the floor and said, copy it Christy, copy it. And this he did and this was the beginning of him finding means to communicate with words since speech was impossible. And he has gone on to hold in the toes of his left foot not only the stalk of yellow chalk but pencil and brush, and paint wonderful pictures, and he has also written a book "My Left Foot" - with lovely pictures in it which he has drawn. The door to success and happy living seemed to be closed upon Christy alright but by faith - his own faith and that of his wonderful mother he has opened a closed door and entered upon a life of real success.

Another example in a story which appeared in the Sunday Post on 31st May, of this year, and later in Life and Work. The story of Marilyn Gillies, of 14 Lansdowne Place, Dundee. Marilyn is a young woman who was born without arms. Surely the door to success and happiness was closed upon her. Yet today she lives a busy, normal life, and even drives her own car in city traffic, with her feet. She is now 28 and employed as a typist with N.C.R. Dundee. Can type 45 words a minute with four toes. Passed her driving test first try and not only holds down a good job but lives a happy normal life - and says she owes all here success in opening a closed door to success and happiness, to her faith in God and faith in herself and her mother's faith and help.

One other example is the Rev. Scott Hutchinson, minister of Rubislaw Aberdeen, known as the minister in the wheelchair. He is a big man of six foot four inches with a broad, happy face. In 1947 while serving as an officer cadet in India he contracted polio, and as a young man who had an active interest in half a dozen sports was now crippled for life, paralysed from the waist downwards. The door for any further kind of success to happiness now seemed to be closed forever. But no, back in the Bridge of Erin Hospital he began to consider what he could do with life as it was, and his decision was to become a minister. Here is a man who has opened a closed door by sheer faith and courage. A journalist spoke to him about his disability and his reply was, "I do not consider myself disabled. Not half as disabled as people who go through life without any guiding star. Or half as disabled as the people who have no ambition beyond the next pay packet. These people are mentally disabled. They go through life with a constant feeling of guilt, an overall feeling of pointlessness."

But our text, "Behold have set before thee an open door", was originally addressed not to youth or to men and women confronted by the varied problems of life, but to the Church, the Church in Philadelphia.

And what was then true for the Church in Philadelphia is equally true for the Church today - for the Old Parish Church of Langholm, before us is an open door of opportunity to go forward to greater things. I am thinking here of what a difference it could make to attendance at Sunday worship if we could see the choir stalls filled and the weekly praise to our Lord and Master led in more triumphant notes. Our organist made a recent effort to form a Junior Choir but in consideration of the Sunday School restricted admission to those over Sunday School age. We are disappointed that the response was not what we hoped for, and I am hoping that by aiming to use the junior choir at Evening Services it may be possible to lower the age of admission. Like St. Paul seeking to enter an open door into Europe found there were many adversaries, so we find difficulties that have to be faced and overcome. For the Church choir I appeal to men and women of our congregation to come forward and help our organist at this time.

But I will close my message on the open door for January by reference to two other aspects of God's open door for us to enter.
The habit of prayer is an open door to God s presence and help.

Simple earnest prayer can be for us all a door into God's presence, not only in our Sunday Services but any day and any time. Such prayer does not even need to be spoken, for as the hymn says, "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed". I have read about the famous preacher of the last century Dr. Alexander Whyte of Free St. George's Edinburgh, that at one time he had A. B. Macaulay - later Professor Macaulay as his assistant. When Macaulay was leaving to take a charge of his own, Dr. Whyte said to him, "I want to give you a present, the best thing I have to give, and here I give you a key to my house. And I hope you will use it whenever you are in Edinburgh". What a privilege to give anyone a key to your home. And this is what God has given us in prayer. "We kneel how weak, we rise how full of power. Why therefore should we do ourselves this wrong, or others? That we are not always strong, anxious or troubled. When with us is prayer, and joy and strength and courage are with thee.

It is my earnest faith that God's open door will be still before us when we leave this present world.

I believe that beyond this world is God's eternal city with an ever open door. Before the coming of Jesus it was believed that the end of our earthly life was a cul-de-sac, a closed door. This is what Aristotle the Greek philosopher believed when he said, "death is of all things the most terrible, for it is the end". But the Gospel of God's Fatherhood, and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus with the promise "because I live ye shall live also" gives us sure grounds for believing that beyond this present life there is an open door through which we may enter the Father's house, in which there are many abiding places. Someone has put it like this, that "death is but a covered way that opens into light, in which no blinded child may stray beyond the Father's sight".


Dear Fellow-Member,

I wish all our good people a very happy New Year and pray you may all enjoy health and good success in 1971.

Comment on Christmas Services and Parties

We commenced carol singing on 13th December when the evening service was led by the Boys' Brigade in Carols and Lessons. The Service was led by Niall Weatherstone who after giving the intimations opened the Service with prayer, and later gave an appropriate and moving address on how best to keep Christmas. At this Service the Junior Brigade gave a dramatic rendering of the carol Good King Wenceslas.

On Sunday, 20th December, the 11 a.m. Service was our annual Christmas Gift Service and Cradle Roll ceremony. At this Service the children of the Sunday School brought valuable gifts which were later distributed among the sick, aged, in hospitals and homes in Langholm, Notwen House and Lockerbie and Dumfries, and I have many letters of appreciation from those receiving them. Lessons in this service were well read by Brian Wilson, Anne Borthwick, George Steele, John Scott and Jaqueline Coxan. In the Cradle Roll ceremony attended by parents with babies baptised in our church and having their names on the Cradle Roll, I found opportunity to give the best thanks of our congregation to Miss Jean McVittie, keeper of the Cradle Roll, for her arduous work throughout the year in sending birthday greetings to the 88 babies enrolled.

At the 6 p.m. Service we all greatly appreciated the part played by the Langholm Town Band in leading us in carols and lessons. The lessons were read by Richard Hill, jnr., Ross Elliot, David Calvert, and Richard Hill, snr. Special selections were given by the Band, including "Lead kindly light" to Sandon, and a Band quartet sang the First Nowell. The whole Service was greatly enjoyed and I express warm thanks to Mr. Alfred Chapman, Bandmaster, and members of the band for giving us of their best.

On the same Sunday short Services of Carols and Lessons were held in Greenbank Eventide Home, and Thomas Hope Hospital, when a choir formed by the Young Wives Group, with Bandsmen and Bandboys, and members of our Youth Choir led in carols, with Robert Hart reading the Lesson. This was really a source of great delight to the old people.

After the Evening Service I accompanied a large choir formed out of lads from the Boys' Brigade on a carol singing round, visiting first the Thomas Hope Hospital, next Greenbank, then in the home of Mrs. Jackson at Meikleholm, where neighbours were gathered, later in the home of Mrs. Johnstone, 5 Caroline Street; and finally to the home of Colonel Phillips at Kilncleuch. The boys enjoyed the evening realising they were contributing some happiness to others, and I know their visits were much appreciated.

On Tuesday, 22nd the Langholm Academy Christmas Service to mark the closing of the term, was held in our church at 11.30 a.m. It was a very happy Service with good singing, and a Nativity Play which made plain to all the story of Christmas.

On Thursday, 24th we held the annual Christmas Eve Candle Light Service commencing at 11 p.m. The attendance was the largest I have seen, and carols were sung with delight, and lessons well and clearly read. The readers included Mr. Tom Lockie, Mr. Robert Hart, Mr. Walter Bell, Mrs. Betty Elliot, Mr. John Packer, for the Boys' Brigade Ian Lamont and Douglas Anderson and my own son William Calvert. The Band made a very happy contribution in rendering the music of By Cool Siloam's Shady Rill, and Lead Kindly Light.

Mrs. Violet Bell again helped us by coming from Carlisle and singing Silent Night. Rev. J. J. Glover led in the opening prayer, and Mr. Gerald Moule, son of Rev. and Mrs. J. Moule of Canonbie, gave a short message of Christmas greetings. The collection was as last year on behalf of Shelter the National campaign for the homeless of Britain, and amounted to £23 16s 7d. I wish to thank Buccleuch Estates for loaning boards for candles, David Calvert for transporting same, and special thanks to our Elder and Church Officer for setting up and removing the candle lighting, and contending single-handed with a group of intoxicated and ill mannered youths outside the vestibule during the latter part of the Service. Here I refer to Mr. William Elliot, who is a great friend to the minister.

On Christmas Day we held the short Service at 11 a.m. when Rev. J. J. Glover led the Service and I extended Christmas greetings. The collection amounting to £5 17s 10d was again on behalf of Shelter, making the total to £29 14s 5d.

On Sunday, 27th - the Old Year Services were conducted by the Rev. John W. Moule of Canonbie Parish in a pulpit exchange arrangement. I took the Services at Canonbie in the morning and at Longtown in the evening.

Christmas Parties

The Guild Christmas Social was held on Tuesday, 8th December and was a very much enjoyed occasion. The Young Wives held their delightful party on Tuesday, 15th December. The Over 60 Club held a Christmas dinner and entertainment in the hall on Thursday, 10th and in all the occasions the hall was warm and beautifully decorated by the Boys' Brigade.

The Sunday School parties were happy occasions the Primary children on Saturday, 19th in the afternoon when Miss Mary Dalgliesh and her staff carried through a much enjoyed programme. Mr Tom Beattie was present at this party as Father Christmas. The Junior and Senior departments of the Sunday School held their party on Monday evening, 21st and under Mr. John Scott and his staff a very enjoyable programme was carried through.

The Boys' Brigade held their annual party and dance in the hall on Wednesday, 23rd, and we were all impressed by the splendid order, smartness of decorated tables and excellent supper.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

Jane Beattie Irving, 2 Princes Avenue, Annan, passed away on 15th December at the age of 54. Jane was baptised in the Old Parish Church of Langholm by the late Rev. James Buchanan, and later became a member. She is remembered by many people in Langholm for her kindly and cheerful disposition. In recent years she has not enjoyed good health but faced it all with good courage and faith. Our deepest sympathy with her bereaved husband Stanley Irving and her father and mother William and Francis Irving at 6 Douglas Terrace.

George Webb, 60 Henry Street, passed suddenly away in the Cumberland Infirmary on 21st December at the age of 65. He was well known for his service with British Railways and at Langholm Station in former years and highly esteemed by all who knew him. One of the most unselfish of men I have known. Our deepest sympathy with his widow Mabel, and his sons George and Kenneth and his daughter Pamela.

John Smith, formerly of 1 Alma Place, passed away in the Thomas Hope Hospital on 22nd December at the wonderful age of 90. His long and happy life in the Border district is remembered by many and his gift of cheerful interesting conversation. His last two years were spent with his son James and his wife Jean at Canonbie where he enjoyed constant care and every comfort. Our sympathy in bereavement with his son James and his daughter Elizabeth Jane Collier.

With warm regards to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.



1969 £83 0 4

1970 £89 7 3


1969 £30 14 9

1970 £46 15 1


The next meeting will be on Tuesday, 12th January and will be addressed by the Rev. John W. Moule, B.Sc., minister of Canonbie Parish Church. On this occasion we will have ladies from the Guilds of Carlisle Church of Scotland, Longtown, Canonbie and Langholm as our guests. Gifts of cakes or sandwiches will be welcomed from members of our Guild to help to give our adequate refreshments.

The Burns Supper will be on Tuesday, 26th January, when Mr. John Murray will be our chief guest.


The Young Wives meet in the Hall on the third Tuesday of each month, the next meeting being on Tuesday, 19th January at 8 p.m.


December 6 - John James, son of Kathleen Campbell. 8 Lambhill Terrace, Lockerbie.

December 20 - Stephanie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Johnstone, 71 Henry Street.


December 15 - Jane Beattie Irving, 2 Princes Avenue, Annan. Age 54.

December 21 - George Webb, 60 Henry Street. Age 65.

December 22 - John Smith, formerly of 1 Alma Place. Age 90.

"I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." St. John 10. 28.

"I am persuaded that neither death, nor life nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8. 38/9.


January 10 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Campbell Glendinning, 70 High Street.

January 17 - 11 a.m. Rev. Brydon Maben and 6 p.m. Rev Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss Mary Hounan, 54 Caroline Street.

January 24 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Helen Tyman, Barbank.

January 31 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. W. Hosie, 60 Holmwood Drive.

February 7 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss Jeannie Graham, Whita Cottage.

Thanks from Minister and Kirk Session to all who gave flowers throughout the year - to Mrs. Mary Armstrong for arranging list and with her husband Matt taking them to sick and aged after Sunday Services. To Buccleuch Estates Ltd. for gift of Christmas trees. Guild ladies for decorating church for Christmas. Mrs. Mina Carter for looking after crib, and magazine distribution, and to all who distribute Parish Magazines with life and work throughout the year.

The Sunday School commences new term on Sunday, 10th January, meeting in church and leaving after hymn for classes.