Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.127                       Price 1/8p - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        January 1972.

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/February, 1972. “And they journeyed . . . in the wilderness toward the sunrising.” Numbers 21. 11.

In these words of our text the writer of the Book of Numbers records that the Israelites, journeyed in the wilderness toward the sunrising, and by that I suppose he intended to convey nothing more than the information that they travelled East, away from Egypt towards, the promised land. But this text has often been taken by Bible readers to tell us much more, to remind us that our life is a journey, a journey through the wilderness for many of us, and that to travel the journey of life toward the sunrising is a grand way to live.

First, our text suggests our life is a journey.

Those ancient Israelites set out from Egypt on a long journey, a journey I once accomplished in an overnight train journey from Cairo to Jerusalem via El Kantara. In ancient days this journey could be accomplished on foot in a fortnight, taking the direct route along the coast and through Gaza. But we read that Moses led the Israelites “not through the way of the Philistines, although that was near but God led them about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea”, a journey which took them forty years . And this journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land was a journey which once started had to be kept up, there could be no stopping or turning back. They were on a journey and that meant going on and on day after day. And our life is like that, we are on a journey and have to keep on the move as day succeeds day and as year succeeds year. We could not stop in l97l and stay there. The year 1971 is now behind us and we are rapidly moving forward into 1972. For some of our friends 1971 brought them to the end of the earthly journey, brought them to what one of our hymns calls “that sweet and blessed country, the home of God’s elect”.

Yes, our earthly life is a journey, and no one can tell how long the journey will be or when it will end. It may end when we are quite young as it did for Iohn Keats, for Robert Burns and many more who ended the journey all too early. On the other hand it may be a journey that keeps on to ripe years as it did for men like Winston Churchill or Albert Schweitzer, passing away in their nineties. The Bible says that the journey of life may be three score years and ten, and that by reason of strength it may be four score years. And many go on beyond the four score even in our own day and community. Now while none of us can tell how long the journey of life will be, we can like the Bible writer try and estimate the number of years we may expect to live. A famous Master of Balliol, Dr. Benjamin Iowett, used to say to his students before they went down from the last term, “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 roughly speaking at the age of 21 a man may reckon to have 15,000 days to live. That being so, he would indeed be a mean fellow who used any considerable proportion of those 15,000 days in slacking or whining or drift”. Yes, we are all on a journey, and each day of the journey has opportunities we cannot afford to miss or neglect as they will never come again. “I shall pass this way but once, there-fore any kind word that I can speak or any kind action I can do, let me do it now, as I shall not pass this way again”.

Our text tells us that the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness.

And that long journey for the Israelites through the wilderness had its good days and its bad days just as we find in the journey of life upon which we are engaged. Some stretches of the journey for the Israelites were through treeless and trackless country. They had their hardships and toilsome days On that wilderness journey. We read how they came on their journey to a place called Marah where the waters were so bitter that they could not drink them, and so they began to grumble and blame God. And I can think of quite a few people who have come in their life’s journey to a place like Marah, of people who have met with bitter disappointments, who have had sorrows laid upon them. But there is one aspect about Marah that has to be kept in mind, that it was only a stage in the long journey. For after leaving Marah we read that they came to Elim, a place of sweet springs and palm trees and many delights. At Elim they found the good things of life in abundance. And so it is with our 1ife’s journey, men and women have their bad days but remember life is not all Marahs, it has its Elims, its grand days lit up with lovely friendships, days of achievement when we feel it is very bliss to be alive.

And I would like you to notice how those ancient Israelites journeyed in the wilderness toward the sunrising, that is, they journeyed hopefully.

This is a grand way to live, to travel hopefully. For as Robert Louis Stevenson has said, “to travel hopefully is better than to arrive”.

Every night when the Israelites encamped they set their tents and caravans facing the sunrise, and that is a grand way to encamp on the journey of life. And true it is that the people who travel hopefully as those Hebrew pilgrims did are the people who are getting most out of life and putting most into it for the benefit of other people. The thing that matters most is not how long the journey but whether we are travelling in a cheerful, hopeful spirit. Dean lngne used to say “religion is not taught but caught” and that is true of the way we live each day on the journey of life. Live in a disgruntled gloomy mood and you will make the people all around you feel the same. Live in a cheerful hopeful spirit and those around you will catch it from you and come to feel that life is a great and grand t-hing. This is what Robert Louis Stevenson was thinking of when in one of his essays he wrote that “a cheerful man is a public benefactor, he is better than a five pound note, and his entrance into a room is as if another candle has been lighted”.

And I would like you to notice that those ancient Israelites had an object to their journey through the wilderness, and this made all the difference; they travelled through the wilderness toward the promised land.

Yes, it was the object of their journey the promised land which Moses has spoken to them about, that gave them inspiration to endure through hard trial and difficult days. They believed that at the end of their journey they would oome to a land flowing with milk and honey, and this lured them on through difficult days, and gave spring to their step when the way was steep and toilsome.

And we too have an object to the journey of life, for beyond life’s journey in this present world there is God’s promise of the life of the world to come. Aristotle once said that “death is of all things the most terrible for it is the end”. But the confident message of the New Testament is that death is not the end but a new beginning. The Old Testament says, “the dust returneth unto the dust and the spirit unto God who gave it’. Tennyson is saying much the same when he writes, “Thou wilt not leave us in the dust, Thou madest man, he knows not why. He thinks he was not made to die, and thou hast made him, Thou art just”. And Longfellow expresses the same faith in his Psalm of Life, Life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal. Dust thou art, to dust returneth, was not spoken of the Soul”.

I know of course that many people today ridicule this grand hope and like the communists call it “pie in the sky”, and say that what matters is not heaven hereafter but we should be concerned with building heaven here and now upon this present earth. Well, it needs hardly to be said that it was Jesus and not Karl Marx who first gave men the idea of heaven upon earth, who first gave men the idea of social order here upon earth in which each would care for the other, and in which one man’s gain would not mean another man’s loss. Yes, and it was also Jesus who has given mankind the best grounds for hope in a heaven hereafter, of a life hereafter which will be more real than anything we have known in this present world. He who himself claimed to be the Resurrection and the Life has promised “because I live, ye shall live also”. His promise to His followers is “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”. And St. Paul thinking of what lies beyond this present life says “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things God hath prepared for them that love Him”. And in another place he writes, “What though the earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands”.

And I don’t believe anyone can live a truly happy and healthy life without this faith and hope that life h-as a larger meaning than anything we have seen and known in this present world. Yes, there is a grand object and goal to the journey of life, be that journey long or short. And millions of people of every age, and millions of people living today hold this faith, that we come from God and return to God and in his service find our peace. And this is the hope Jesus Christ has given us, a hope God will not disappoint, a hope that endureth unto eternal life.

Sir William Mullock was a Chief Justice of Canada and at the time he retired he was the oldest judge in the British Commonwealth. Speaking at a banquet given in his honour upon his 90th birthday, he spoke some words which thrilled the whole Christian world. He said, “I am still at work with my hand to the plough, and my face to the future. The shadows of evening lengthen about me but morning is in my heart. I have lived from the forties of one century to the thirties of the next, and the testimony I bear is this: that the castle of enchantment is not yet behind me, it is still before me, and daily I catch glimpses of its battlements and towers. The best of life is further on, hidden from our eyes beyond the hills of time”.

“And they journeyed in the wilderness toward the sunrising”. Our life is a journey, a journey through the wilderness. A journey upon which we can travel hopefully as did the ancient Israelites. And it is a journey, whether it be long or short, upon which God has sent us, and it will end only when it brings us home again to His heart. This was the faith of Robert Browning

“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.

The last of life for which the first was made.

Our time is in His hand who said, a whole I planned.

Youth shows but half. trust God, see all, nor be afraid."


Dear Fellow Member,

I would like to express my deep regret for being a month late with my Parish Magazine owing to my illness in the first three weeks of January. I am now able to get out for essential duties and hope soon to be back in fully recovered health. I would like here to express warm thanks to many of our people including the Sunday School who sent “get well soon” greetings and gifts.

December Services and Parties

On the second Sunday of December we greatly enjoyed having the Langholm Town Band leading the Evening Service in carols and Christmas music. Many thanks to Mr. Chapman, the Bandmaster, and the membersof the Town Band for giving us of their best.

On Sunday, 19th December, the Morning Service was led by the Sunday School children and staff, and took the form of a Christmas Gift Service. The children’s gifts were sent to Dumfries Hospitals and Dr. Barnardo’s Balcary Home at Hawick, and I have letters of warm thanks. The Matron of the Dr. Barnardo Home writes “grateful thanks to all the children of our Sunday School who provided such marvellous gifts. Without these, our children would not have been so fortunate on Christmas morning”. In this Service the children enacted a. nativity play which was a great success, and we thank the teachers and parents for helping in costume dress.

The Evening Service on the 19th December was led by our Junior Choir under the leadership of our organist Mr. Cecil Carmichael, and the Junior Choir is to be congratulated on leading a lovely Christmas Service. Thanks to Ross Elliot, Ian Lamont and Douglas Anderson for their part in reading the lessons. The Junior Choir had the same day visited the Thomas Hope Hospital singing carols and on the following Thursday visited Greenbank and St. Francis Erkinholme, singing carols. We look for further help from the Junior Choir in leading a Palm Sunday Service.

On the same Sunday and after the Evening Service the Boys’ Brigade formed a carol choir and visited Meikleholm with people gathering in the home of Mrs. Jackson, later the Thomas Hope Hospital, Greenbank and St. Francis Erkinholme, were visited and the visits were tremendously appreciated by the inhabitants.

On Christmas Eve the Young Wives Fellowship as a carol choir visited the Thomas Hope Hospital and were much appreciated for their visit.

The Candlelight Christmas Eve Service was well attended, and the collection for Christian Aid amounted to over £33. Many thanks to Danny Murray, David Calvert and Billy Elliot for their work in providing candle boards and erecting same, and to the help given by many of our elders on door duty.

On Thursday, 30th December the Eskdale Young Farmers Club accompanied me on visits to Thomas Hope Hospital, Greenbank and St. Francis Erkinholme, singing carols and presenting gifts and their visit to the sick and elderly were a source of much joy. The choir was over 20 strong and I express best thanks to the young farmers.

The Woman’s Guild Christmas Social on 14th December was a very happy evening, and was well attended.

On Saturday, 18th December the Sunday School held the annual Christmas parties, the Primary party at 2.30 p.m. and the Seniors at 7 p.m. Robert Hart played the part of Father Christmas at the Primary party and was in exceptionally good form. Thanks to Miss Mary Dalgliesh, John Scott, John Welsh and others of the staff for their part in making these parties so happy.

On Tuesday, 21st The Young Wives Fellowship held their Christmas party which was very much enjoyed, with Mrs. Helen Wylie and her dancing class from Newcastleton and Mrs. Mary Barker as accompanist.

On Wednesday, 22nd the Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee Christmas Service and Dinner took place in the Buccleuch Hall with over 200 senior citizens present.

On Thursday, 23rd the Boys’ Brigade held their annual dance and party when lads of the Company with lady guests were very smartly turned out and enjoyed a grand evening.

The Over 60 Club held the annual Christmas Dinner on Tuesday, 28th which was well attended and much enjoyed. The Langholm Town Band paid a visit to this party and delighted everyone present with a programme of Christmas music and song.

On Wednesday, 29th the Junior Brigade held their Christmas party with a large attendance and a happy well conducted programme.

Services in January

On Sunday, 2nd January the Morning Service was conducted by the Rev. Andrew Farms, B.D., taking the Service on short notice owing to my illness. The Evening Service was conducted in a very impressive way by Mr. Robert Hart.

On Sunday, 9th January both Services were conducted by our elder, Mr. I. MacIntosh. I hear from many how much his part in the prayers and addresses was appreciated. Mr. MacIntosh is shortly to be appointed a Reader under the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, as was our late elder Mr. John Tyman. This means that he will be recognised by the Church of Scotland as one who can be called upon to conduct Divine Services.

On Sunday, 16th January my friend Rev. Andrew Farms came to our help conducting the Morning and Evening Services. And on Sunday, 23rd January the Morning Service was conducted by Mr. I. MacIntosh, and the Evening Service by Rev. Andrew Farms. Mr. Farms has also taken over all pastoral dutIes incl-u-ding a marriage Service and funerals. My very best thanks to Mr. MacIntosh, Rev. Andrew Farms and to Robert Hart for the help they have given during my absence from duty owing to illness.

Services in February

On Sunday, 20th February we will be ordaining additional elders at the 11 a.m. Morning Service. On Sunday, 27th February I have promised to conduct the Anniversary Services in Warwick Road Presbyterian Church, Carlisle, and when the minister of Warwick Road Church, the Rev. Howard Byers, M.A., will conduct the Services in our Langholm Old Parish Church. And on Sunday, 5th March I will be at Hawick Old Parish at the 11 a.m. Service reporting on the five yearly visitation which I have been asked to conduct. The minister of Hawick Old, Rev. David Wright, B.D., will take our Morning Service in the Old Parish Church.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

Mrs. Rita Paterson passed suddenly away at Terrona on 3rd December, in her 82nd year. Her passing came as a shock to us all as she had been so active right up to the last. I consider Mrs. Rita Paterson the most wonderful lady it has been my privilege to know well. She was known throughout the county as a sportswoman, a skilled artist, and a social worker of the widest sympathies. She was also a devoted follower of our Lord Jesus Christ whose prayer life guided and sustained her through times of sorrow and bereavement. Often after a Sunday’s duties I have visited her at Terrona Cottage, and always came away encouraged and gladdened by the sympathetic interest she had in the work I was trying to do in Langholm. It would be difficult to give a full list of all the social and charitable causes she sponsored, but I think the one that gave her most satisfaction and real pleasure in latter years, was the conversion of her former home, Greenbank, to be a Home for the elderly people of the district. We all join in deepest sympathy with her family, Barbara and John, John’s wife Barbara and children, Francis, Gillian and Jennifer who brought so much fun and delight to her in these last months, and to Tony, Peggy’s surviving husband and their family Anne and Harry, who were always in their grandmothers thoughts and prayers.

William Irving, 12 Holmwood Drive, passed away very suddenly on 10th December at the age of 63. He is remembered by the whole of our Langholm community as the Langholm/Carlisle coach driver of 32 years devoted service. He is remembered for his consideration and kindness to passengers, and his readiness to help and oblige people in doing messages for them in Carlisle, or in helping them in driving lessons or obligements in Langholm. Our deepest sympathy in bereavement with his widow, Jane Plaskett, and their family of Keith, Audrey and Neil in their sad and sudden loss.

Isabella Pochec, North Lodge, passed away on 31st December in the Dumfries Hospital, age 68. Better known as Isa and formerley Isa Dickson, she was well known in Langholm, and very highly thought of by all who knew her. She possessed remarkable skill with her hands in arts and crafts, and was a woman with a very generous heart. Our sympathy in bereavement with all relatives and with Vladimir Pochec her bereaved husband at North Lodge.

Christina Jane Duncan, Station Buildings, Langholm, passed away in the Cumberland Infirmary on l3th Ianuary at the age of 87. She lived a good and happy life with many friends including Nellie Hislop calling on her regularly to see to her well being. Her elder William Elliot and I visited he-r after Commnion in Church to share with her in private Communion in her home. Our sincere sympathy with her family.

John W. Calvert, Waverley Cottage, passed away in the Thomas Hope Hospital on 23rd January, at the age of 78. After service in World War 1 in Egypt and later in France, he spent his long working life in the tweed industry with Messrs James Scott and Sons, Waverley Mills, where he was held in high esteem by employers and fellow workers. He was a well known and highly respected member of the Langholm community, and of the Old Parish Church. Our sincere sympathy with his widow Janet L. Lyon.

Greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.

The Guild meetings in January have been well supported and enjoyed. On Tuesday, 11th Ianuary a programme of excellent slides was provided by Dr. George Watt. Mrs. Eileen Neill proposed a warm vote of thanks to Dr. Watt. A display of favourite possessions followed and was a source of great interest.

On Tuesday, 25th the programme was a Scottish Night, when after a splendid haggis supper, a talk on Scottish character was given by Mr. Gavin Graham, songs by Irving Stuart, Jim Little and Robert Craig, with Mrs. Craig as accompanist. Mrs. Elaine Anderson gave selected readings, and Miss Violet Laidlaw a Scottish dancing display. On the call of Mrs. Elaine Anderson all who took part were warmly thanked.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, 8th February, when Bamix Food Mixing demonstration will be part of the programme. Members and friends are asked to bring any “favourite possession” for a further display.


December 5, Linda Marie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Oliphant, Police Station, Langholm.

December 31, Sarah, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair Heughan, c/o Mrs. Young, 10 Braehead


December 31, David Archibaid Beattie, 58 William Street, to Margaret Gibson, 6 John Street


January 6, Brian Jardine, Greenburn, Applegirth, to Mhaire Margaret Kathryn Lethem-White, Watcarrick.

January 14, William Knox Graham, South Lodge, to Dawn Mackie Smith, 25 Moat Road, Annan.


December 3, Mrs. Rita Paterson, Terrona Cottage. Age 81.

December 10, William Irving, 12 Holmwood Drive. Age 63.

December 31, Isabella Pochec, North Lodge, Langholm.

January 13, Christina Jane Duncan, Station Buildings. Age 87.

January 23, John W. Calvert, Waverley Cottage. Age 78.

“I am the resurrection and the life,” saith the Lord. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die”. St. John 11.


January 30, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert Flowers, Mrs. W. Hosie, 60 Holmwood Drive.February 6,11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss Mary Graham, Whita Cottage.

Febuary 13, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Kenneth Neill, Varna, Hillside Crescent.

February 20, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Robert Graham, 2 Eskdale Place.

February 27, Rev. Howard Byres, M.A. Warwick Road Presbyterian Church, Carlisle. Flowers, Miss E. Rowe, 30 Henry Street

March 5, 11 a.m. Rev. David L. Wright, B.D., Hawick Old. 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. W. Kay, 22 Caroline Street.