Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.110                       Price 1/4d - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        July/August 1970.

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 July/August: Pray for one another, and then you will be healed. A good man's prayer is powerful and effective." James 5. 16,

Wednesday, 15th July is called St. Swithin's Day, and we are all familiar with the superstition surrounding that day, that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day it will continue to rain for 40 days and if fine it will be fine for 40 days. It is interesting to know who St. Swithin was and how this legend came to be believed in connection with the name of this saintly man.

When King Alfred the Great was a young man, Swithin was a young priest, well known for his genuine goodness. He was so loved for his kindness and real worth of character and humility that he was made Bishop of Winchester. He was devoted to the Church and people, and so humble that whenever he went [on] a journey though as a bishop he was well provided with horses, he always walked on foot like the poorest of people. Whenever he gave a feast at the Bishop's Palace he invited not the rich to be his guests but the poorest of the poor. He died in July 862, more than a thousand years ago, and left instructions that he was to be buried not in the Cathedral where important people were granted tombs but in "a vile and unworthy place open to the feet of passers-by and the rain of the heavens". That was at the North end of the churchyard where only the poorest were buried. His instructions were faithfully carried out according to his wishes and we are told that crowds of people used to visit his grave, and it is said that some with diseases on touching his grave were healed.

About a hundred years later the Cathedral was rebuilt and it was thought right that the remains of the saint should now be brought into this lovely new church and laid in a lovely tomb. And it is said that as they carried his remains in procession into the church, there came a tremendous downpour of rain, and people thought that this was the saint showing his displeasure in his body being moved in disregard to his instructions. This ceremony took place on 15th July, 971, and it is said that the downpour of rain continued for 40 days, and this is how St Swithin came to be associated with rain, that it was the saint showing his anger. Of course it is all nonsense, the rain has nothing to do with a saint being angry. The meteorological people who study the weather tell us that for many years it has been found that round about the middle of July onwards you get a stable period of weather, wet or fine, and it just happens that St. Swithin's Day falls in that period.

There are three lessons that we can learn from Swithin's Day.

First, that God and godly men do not show displeasure by acts of retribution.

This was a common belief in Old Testament days. The story of the flood in Genesis is a story of God wreaking his displeasure upon mankind for their disobedience and sinfulness, that the time came when he drowned the lot except a few favourites like Noah. But this is not the teaching of Jesus. He declared that God is our Father in heaven, and we know well that no father worthy of the name would do anything to hurt his child. The New Testament teaching is that "God maketh his sun to shine and his rain to fall upon the evil and the good and is kind even to the unthankful and the evil".

Second, the story of St. Swithin reminds us of the undying influence of a good man's life.

The stories of people gathering round the grave of the saint and finding healing are stories not to be classed with the superstition of 40 days continuous rain. For it is a fact that the healing powers of God do continue to gather around a gracious name. Think of all who have found healing and new life in the name of Jesus. The story in Acts 3. of a lame man lying at the gate of the Temple who was made whole in the name of Jesus. And the same power flows through those who are close followers of Jesus. It is told of St. Peter that if the sick were brought within reach of his shadow they found healing, and I do not doubt it if there is faith in God's healing power in their hearts or in the hearts of those who brought them.

And thirdly, since St. Swithin's name is associated with rain, we are left with the question, is it any good praying about the weather?

In James 5. verses 17 and 18 we read that Elias [Elijah] prayed that it might not rain and the prayer was answered because it was "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man". And I have no doubt that God could answer our prayers for rain or fine weather, though I am not certain that he would be disposed to interfere with the laws of the universe he has created. Surely God can do what man can do, and in these modern days we find men of science doing much to control natural forces. I have read of how in America they are trying to cope with dangerous dust bowls by planting belts of trees a thousand miles long and hundreds of miles broad, changing the humidity and to some extent changing the weather. Julian Huxley said that atomic energy could blow the ice-cap from the North Polar region, blow the sand off the Sahara desert, and divert the Gulfstream. I am not competent to judge whether he is right or not, but I am certain that man with his increasing scientific knowledge is coming near to the time when he will be able to modify climate and weather with the resources in his reach and of course he is justified in praying for power to cope better with bad weather.

It leaves this question, does God hear and answer prayer? He may not be disposed to give us rain or dry weather as we ask because it might not suit everybody, but one thing we know, he can give us strength to cope with the weather whether we like it or not. And if we have a faith like that of Jesus in Gethsemane we can find that conditions far from our liking will be turned to good account. And remember always those words of Tennyson, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of, therefore let thy voice rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or goats that nourish blind life within the brain, if knowing God they lift not hands of prayer both for themselves and those who call them friend. For so the whole round earth is everyway bound by gold chains about the feet of God."


Dear Fellow-Member,

Air Training Corps Camp

As I write this letter I am preparing to leave for the annual Air Training Corps Camp, at Wattisham, near Ipswich. As Chaplain to the 1152 (1st Dumfriesshlre) Squadron I have now attended the annual camp for eight successive years, each year at a different R.A.F. Station. This year the camp includes 1138 (Ardrossan) Squadron, and will consist of some eighty or more lads. On the Sunday morning the lads parade to the Station Garrison Church, when I share the Service with the Rev. R. L. W. Pratt, Rector of Bildeston. This year we will be disappointed in not having Mr. John Mackie from Langholm present with us and hope he will make good progress in recovery of health. I will be returning to Langholm on Sunday, 12th July, and while absent from the parish the Rev. John Moule, B.Sc. of Canonbie will stand in should the services of a minister be required.

Old Parish Church Elder attends Community Development Border's Conference at Carberry Tower.

Our elder Mr. J. Macintosh attended the three day Conference at Carberry Tower, Musselburgh, from 5th to 7th June and found it very much worthwhile. Among the speakers were Mr. W. B. Swan, a farmer and Lord Lieutenant of the County of Berwickshire. Mr. E. Y. Johnstone, managing director of Hunter and Co., Galashiels. Mr. R. Birch, director of education, Berwickshire. Mr. W. S. Robertson, executive director of the Scottish Council. Rev. Professor J. A. Whyte of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews. Mr. Macintosh took a leading part in organising this conference which was attended by elders from Duns, Jedburgh and Kelso, Hawick and Melrose. The elders were joined by members of Youth Fellowships from many parts of Scotland and they did much to enliven the discussions and left the elders with the deep impression that the Church of Scotland is not lacking in young men and women who have a great concern for the cause of Christ's Kingdom in the land and throughout the world. As Mr. Macintosh said when addressing the Presbytery of Hawick meeting last week in the Langholm Erskine Church Hall, "One sometimes gets the impression from attendance at Sunday worship that the Church is dead or dying but the impression given to the elders meeting with youth at Carberry Tower was that the Church is very much alive". Mr. Macintosh has kindly undertaken to conduct the 11 a.m. Service on Sunday, 12th July, and will no doubt have something to say about this lively and worthwhile conference.

Pulpit Supply during my absence at Camp

On Sunday, 5th July the 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service and the 11 a.m. Service will be conducted by Miss Anne Cartner, now serving as Youth Organiser for lower Annandale and Eskdale. During my time in Langholm Anne has taken an active interest in the youth work of our church and community. When Secretary of the Eskdale Young Farmers' Club she was instrumental in getting the young farmers to attend the Old Parish each year for the "Harvest Service". For some years back Anne has attended conferences and courses concerned with winning the young for the Christian faith. After training at Jordanhill College of Education as a youth leader Anne has held appointments as youth leader of Kilmarnock, Stranraer, and now employed by the Dumfriesshire County Council. She has behind her good training and experience, and now that women are eligible to enter the ministry of the Church Of Scotland, I am encouraging Anne to become a Lay Reader.

The evening Service on 5th July will be led by Mr. John Scott, our youngest elder, assisted by Mr. Robert Hart. Both are devoted young Christians who give much of their time to the service of our congregation and to the youth service.

On Sunday, 12th July the 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service will be conducted by Mr. Niall Weatherstone. Niall has taken a big part in the establishment of this early morning Service, and his gifts and earnestness always draws a good congregation. As I have already said, the 11 a.m. Service an 12th July will be conducted by our elder, Mr. J. Macintosh. There will be no evening Service on 12th July.

Floral Art Display and Common Riding Service

The Langholm Floral Art Club has kindly undertaken to decorate our church for a Floral Art Week for the Sunday commencing, 19th July to Sunday, 26th July. The church will be open on the previous Friday and Saturday to receive gifts of flowers, and loans of flowers or plants in pots. I appeal for help from all the congregation so that we may have a mass of flowers for this occasion. The church will be open throughout the week when visitors will be welcomed. On Sunday, 19th July the Evening Service will be attended by the Over 60 Club accompanied by members of the Longtown Evergreen Club and Stanwix Senior Citizens. On Tuesday afternoon of 21st July the Senior Citizens of Maryport will visit the church during the afternoon and will be later entertained to refreshments by our Over 60 Club in the Hall. On Friday, 24th there will be a Service of music and song at 7 p.m. led by the Langholm Town Band and with Mr. Mallinson at the organ. On Sunday, 26th July the Service at Il a.m. will be attended by Cornet Neil Davidson and his Right and Left Hand Men, the Common Riding Committee, and the Provost, members and officers of the Langholm Town Council. There will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial at 10.30 a.m. This will be a united Service of the Old Parish, Erskine Parish Church and the Langholm Congregational Church, when the Rev. J. A. Glover, M .A., will share with me in conducting the Service. The Evening Service on 26th July will be attended by the members of the Lodge Eskdale Kilwinning No. 107, when the Service will be conducted by the Rev. James Cameron Grant, M.A., Dip. Theol., H.C.F.

Flower Service and Sunday School Outings

The annual Sunday School Flower Service took place on Sunday, 21st June when the children paraded into church during the singing of the hymn "For the beauty of the earth", carrying gifts of flowers and produce. The gifts were received by Robert Hart and Ian Roebuck. The Lessons were clearly read by Helen Stroud, Stewart Fletcher, Kenneth Hart and Jacqueline Fletcher. The children sang the hymns, "All things bright and beautiful", and "Jesus bids us shine". A choir of senior girls under the leadership of Niall Weatherstone sang, "Where have all the flowers gone?" and "There is a time for everything under the sun". At the close of the Service on the call of Mr. John Scott, Sunday School superintendent, scholars came forward to be presented with prizes for perfect and good attendance. This Service marked the close of the present Sunday School session, classes to commence again in September.

The Senior Sunday School outing took place on Saturday, 20th June to Dunbar, when the children enjoyed a very happy day. The Primary Sunday School outing took place on Saturday, 27th June to Silloth when again all enjoyed a very happy day. I express best thanks to Mr. John Scott, Miss Mary Dalgliesh and all the Sunday School staff for the part they have played in the past Sunday School session, and congratulate them on the successful outings.

Early Half-Hour Service and Youth Choir

The 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service continues to be well supported and is without doubt meeting a real need, in particular for the elderly. I am grateful for all the help given me by singers, by Mrs. Barker and Mr. Jim Hunter, and by the Youth Choir. The Youth Choir has on two occasions accompanied me to the Thomas Hope Hospital, and on one occasion to Greenbank Eventide Home, and led hymn singing very much to the delight of the elderly people.

Outing to Galloway

The outing to take place on Tuesday, 14th July to Galloway and Kirkcudbright is being financed by the generosity of a Langholm "exile" in Canada, Mr. Malcolm Carmichael, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Carmichael, 5 West Street. Up to date I have 183 names of people intending to go on the outing. There will be five coaches, leaving Langholm at 12.30 p.m. Of those attending 120 will be served with meals in the Mayfield Hotel, with a choice of menu of ham and salad or salmon mayonnaise. The remaining 63 will be served with similar meals in the Castle Restaurant, Kirkcudbright. We hope for favourable weather. I understand that Malcolm Carmichael of Downsview, Ontario, will be here for the Common Riding when we will have an opportunity of expressing our appreciation for his thoughtful generosity to him in person.

Angling Course for Langholm and Eskdale Youth

This course is being financed by the Hon. Simon MacKay and Buccleuch Estates Limited, and I have been asked to organise the attendance. So far I have 39 names of lads and girls wishing to benefit by the course, and a number of older youths now in employment anxious to benefit if an evening session can be arranged. This will be possible on the Monday and Tuesday evenings. The course starts with those attending assembling in the Old Parish Hall at 10 a.m. on Monday, 13th July when an introductory talk will be given by Mr. McEntee who is conducting the course. Pupils are asked to bring any fishing tackle they possess. Basic equipment required will be fishing rod, reel and line, and some nylon for making casts. Any wishing to join the course who have not given in their names, please get in touch with me.

Erkinholme Conversion to Home for Elderly

I wish to say how pleased I was to hear that the Langholm people gave such a big response to the recent Sisters' At Home, and that this effort together with the concert organised by Mr. Gavin Fleming in the Crown Hotel has resulted in a contribution of over 240. Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Town Clerk, is serving as Treasurer, and any further efforts or contributions can be forwarded to him. A big effort in the form of a garden fete is fixed for Saturday, 19th September when there will be the usual stalls and efforts, when I hope the whole county area around Langholm will give generous support. This effort will be opened by Cardinal Joseph Gray on the invitation of Sister Cronin. Sister Cronin will be glad of offers to help in running stalls and serving tea, etc. Sister Cronin hopes to be in a position to begin admitting elderly to the Home in the early Autumn. I have already passed to her 13 names of elderly, either from Langholm or having been brought up here and wishing to return to end their days in their home town and district.

Boys' Brigade Camp

The 1st Langholm Company leave on Saturday, 1st August for their annual camp at Hederwick Hill Farm, near Dunbar. I expect that Wednesday, 5th August will be visitors day. We hope they will have good weather and a very happy camp.

Langholm Academy Prize Giving

The prize giving ceremony took place in the Old Parish Church on Wednesday, 1st July, and it was good to see the church well filled and a lot of parents and friends present. Bailie Harkness served as chairman. One of the most enjoyed items was a large girls choir under Mr. Cecil Carmichael singing "By cool Siloam's shady rill" to Belmont. Mr. Pattie, Rector of Langholm Academy, gave a most interesting report on the year's activities. My wife had the honour of presenting the prizes.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

On 10th June, Margaret McKinnon Dalgliesh of 25 Ord Drive, Tweedmouth, beloved wife of the late James Laidlaw Thomson, passed away in Berwick infirmary. Our sympathy in bereavement with her family Francis, Margaret and Bill, and her sister Miss Mary Dalgliesh.

On 17th June, Mrs. Joan Elliot of Cleuchfoot Cottage, passed away at Hillhead at the age of 82. Our deepest sympathy with Joan Ellen Armstrong of Hillhead, her devoted adopted daughter who surrounded her with loving care.

On Saturday, 20th June, Mrs. Agnes Johnstone passed away at Oakwood Lodge, Galashiels, at the age of 89. She was the wife of the late Thomas Johnstone, formerly of 25 John Street, and earlier shepherd at Sorbie, Potholm and the Craig. Our sympathy in bereavement with her family Richard, Agnes Moffat, and George.

On 23rd June, Walter Murray passed away at 49 High Street, at the age of 85. He was a member of the Erskine Church, and a well known and highly respected native of Langholm. He was blessed with a most devoted daughter in Margaret who gave her father every attention and care up to the last. Our sympathy in bereavement with Margaret and William and John.

As this will be the last Minister's Letter before the holidays, covering July/August, I wish all who will go away for holidays and those who will not leave Langholm a very happy July and August.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.


The Guild Committee is called to meet in the vestry on Monday, 13th July at 7.30 p.m.

The Kirk Session called to meet on Wednesday, 15th July at 7.30 p.m. followed by a meeting of the Congregational Board at 8 p.m.


July 5 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. Miss Anne Cartner. 11 a.m. Morning Service. Miss Anne Cartner. 6 p.m. Evening Service. Mr. John Scott and Mr. Robert Hart. Flowers, Miss Jean Ferguson, Neidpath, Walter Street.

July 12 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. Mr. Niall Weatherstone. 11 a.m. Mr. J. Macintosh, Orchard Hill, Ha'path. No Evening Service. Flowers, Mrs. Derek Bell, Buccleuch Square.

July 19 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service. 6 p.m. Evening Service. Rev. Tom Calvert. Evening Service attended by Over 60 Club with Evergreen Club, Longtown, and Senior Citizens from Stanwix as guests. Flowers, Mrs. Torn Calvert, The Manse.

July 26 - No 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 10.30 a.m. Ceremony of wreath-laying by Cornet at War Memorial. 11 a.m. Service attended by Cornet Neil Davidson, with Right and Left Hand Men, Common Riding Committee, and Provost and members of Langholm Town Council. This will be a united Service of Old Parish, Erskine and Congregational Churches. Rev. Tom Calvert and Rev. J. J. Glover, M.A. Flowers, Miss Peggy Hotson, 2 Walter Street.

August 2 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service and 6 p.m. Evening Service Rev. Tom Calvert.

August 9 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service and 6 p.m. Evening Service. Rev. Tom Calvert.

August 16 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service and 6 p.m. Evening Service. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Ella Calvert, 12 Charlotte Street.

August 23 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service and 6 p.m. Evening Service. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Beverley, 58 Caroline Street.

August 30 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service and 6 p.m. Evening Service. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. D. I. Anderson, Mary Street.

September 6 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service, 11 a.m. Morning Service and 6 p.m. Evening Service. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Dalziel, 16 Braehead. Sunday School meets in the Hall at 10.15 a.m.


June 14 - Karen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Olsen, 13 Roberton Place, Hawick.

June 28 - Clare Nicola, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Smith, Hillcrest, Arkinholm Terrace.


June 19 - Malcolm Johnstone, 16 West Street, to Moira Elizabeth Bell, 19 Braehead.


June 10 - Margaret McKinnon Dalgliesh, 25 Ord Drive, Tweedmouth, wife of the late James Laidlaw Thomson.

June 17 - Mrs. Annie (Jean) Elliot, Cleuchfoot Cottage. Age 82.

June 20 - Mrs. Agnes Johnstone, at Oakwood, Galashiels, wife of the late Thomas Johnstone, formerly of 25 John Street. Age 89.

June 23 - Wa1ter Murray, 49 High Street. Age 85.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and I am life. If a man has faith in Me, even though he die, he shall come to life; and no one who is alive and has faith shall ever die." St. John 11. 25. N.E.B.