Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.86                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        JUNE 1968.

Minister: Revd. Tom Calvert, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Alexander Hutton, Savings Bank, Market Place, Langholm

Clerk to Board: Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Town Hall, Langholm , Tel. 255

Treasurer: Mr. Donald Lamont, Rosevale 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.

Text for June “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew l7.2.

Jesus, in speaking of removing mountains, obviously is not thinking oi removing so many cubic feet of earth such as a building contractor does in preparing the foundation of a building, but usees the word in a metaphorical sense. Moving mountains here means dealing with seemingly impossible situations, hinderances, fears or problems which seem beyond human strength and power to solve. The disciples had failed to heal a sick child, and wondering why they had failed to effect a cure Iesus had so promptly perfo-rme-d, ask Him, “Why could not we?” And the Master replies, “For want of faith”, “Verily I say unto you, if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you".

I would like to say something in this sermon about the triumphs of faith experienced by men and women when confronted by the seemingly impossible.

First, the mountains that can be removed by faith in ourselves.

Faith in ourselves does quite a lot of business with the impossible, for it belongs to an element of spirit that refuses to accept defeat. Let me give you two examples. On Sunday, 2nd June it was reported on the radio that on the previous day Miss Helen Keller had passed away at the age of 87 in Westport (Connecticut). Miss Keller in the second year of her life contracted scarlet fever, which left her blind and deaf, but later she learned to speak. She was left completely isolated from the world and unable to cominunicate with her fell-ow human beings. But with the help of her teacher, Miss Anne Sullivan, she built up a mighty faith in herself, a faith which enabled her overcome many of her disabilities. She learned braille, the finger-touch alphabet, went to the Perkins’ Institute for the Blind, and in 1904 graduated with honours from America’s exclusive Radcliffe College. Since then she has published books, and travelled the world, meeting kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers in her untiring work of helping others with like disabilities. And wherever she has travelled she has declared that if only people with disabilities can build up faith in themselves there need never be such a thing as hopelessness. She once declared “I thank God for my disabilities for through them I found my life’s work, my happiness, and my God”. A second example I take from his book, “My Left Foot”, in which Christy Brown, a twenty-two-year-old Irishman, tells how he was born with cerebral palsy. He lay as a child unable to sit or stand, use his hands or make an articulate sound. One wintry day when he was five he was watching two of the older children doing their homework on an old chipped slate. He gazed, fascinated, not by the sums which he did not understand, but by the slender stick of yellow chalk. Suddenly he put out his left foot and took the chalk from Mona’s hand, and made a scribble across the slate. A tense silence gripped the family, till his mother took another piece of chalk and drew on the floor in front of him the letter ‘A’. “Copy that”, she said, “copy it Christy”. He learned to write, even to paint with his left foot, and his book tells the story of his faith in himself and his mother’s faith, struggling against doubts and depressions and those appalling handicaps. Here we have a man with a stubborn faith in himself that hurls defiance in the face of the impossible, that veritably says to this mountain, be thou removed to yonder place, and it is removed.

One of the biggest things we can do for young people who are not getting anywhere in life is to get them out of the habit of thinking, “I cannot do this or that”, into the faith “I can". This was the secret of many of our Lord’s miracles, getting people to believe in themselves again. Take the healing of the man with the withered hand. Jesus said to him, “stretch forth thine hand, and his hand was restored Whole as the other”. In other words this faith in his ability to stretch it out was restored.

Again mountains are removed when men come to a new faith in their work, and in what they desire to do with their lives.

We owe the telephone, the gramophone record. and most important of all the electric lamp to Thomas Edison. He believed that something far less clumsy than the arc lamp could be produced, and believed in this with such mighty faith that failure after failure didn’t deter him. He had 960 failures before succeeding in making an electric lamp that stayed alight.

To believe in what we are trying to do, as Bernard Shaw depicts Ioan of Arc believing in her mission as the saviour of France, is the secret of removing mountains and overcoming impossibilities. Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who could neither read nor write believed she could hear voices telling her what to do, and believed in those voices. Those in authority laughed at her and tried to frighten her by threats. But she replied “Do you think you can frighten me by telling me I am alone. France is alone, God is alone ... and the loneliness of God is His strength ... and my loneliness will be my strength too; it is better to be alone with God: His friendship will not fail me, nor His council, nor His love. In His strength I will dare, and dare, and dare until I die". And if we believe in our Work and in what we are seeking to achieve as St. Joan believed in her mission to save France, we will not be hindered by any mountain. It was a faith like this that enabled Mary Slessor to go to Africa as a missionary, where she achieved the impossible, venturing into the interior where white people had never been before. Mary’s eldest brother had intended becoming a missionary and going to where his hero David Livingstone had laboured. But he died and Mary resolved to take his place. She was turned down by Missionary Society authorities for reasons of health and education, but this didn’t hinder her. She believed so entirely in what she wanted to do with her life, that the day came on 5th August, 1876, when she sailed from Liverpool and later began her great life in Calabar. Wherever she went she won the hearts of the natives and government officials, becoming known as the White Ma, and the vast area of Western Nigeria was moved to sorrow when she died on 13th January, 1915. And much the same was true of Gladys Aylward, a London housemaid who felt the call of the Master to go out to China as a missionary. No Missionary Society would listen to her plea for she had none of the required. qualifications, but she believed so sincerely in her call that she found her own wav to Northern China via Siberia, found her own field of work, and never did a missionary enter China, man or woman, who fulfilled so honoured a place, as is depicted in the book and the film, “The lnn of the Sixth Happiness".

A. J. Cronin, the novelist, as a young man nearly gave up writing because he lost faith in his work as a writer. He spent three years on his first book, and in a fit of despair threw it into the dustbin. He set off for a tramp on the moors and met an old farmer digging away at the heath, and told him he done with writing. “See this bog", said the old man. “My father dug at it all his life, and I’ve dug at it all my life. He knew and I know that if we dig at it long enough we’ll make a pasture of it". Cronin went home and rescued his half soaked book from the dustbin. He re-wrote it and three million copies of “Hatter’s Castle" have been sold. That is what faith can do, take our work and our plans for life out of the dustbin of despair and make us a success beyond our wildest dreams.

Finally, some of the mountains, men have removed by faith in God.

Let me give two examples of mountains removed by faith in God. First the wonderful achievement in building Orphanages by George Muller of Bristol. George Muller came to this country from Prussia in 1805 and became pastor of an Evangelic Church in Bristoi. In those days poverty abounded everywhere. A penny loaf of white bread was a luxury, and the labouring class fed on bran dumplings. Children roamed the streets, uncared for by anybody, so hungry and ill clad that they were forever on the lookout for anything they could steal. They were kown as “street arabs" and hundreds of them grew up to be thieves and burglars. Muller decided homes must be provided for them, especially for the orphans. He was himself a poor man, but had a wonderful faith in God. He believed that if he prayed God would move the hearts of people to give him the money to build an orphanage. He decided he would not follow the usual method of asking people for money either in private or public, and that under no account would he go into debt. The answers to his prayers were wonderful, money came just at the time needed from most unexpected sources. By the time he died he had opened the fifth orphanage and had cared for over ten thousand orphans, all the orphanages built and maintained by prayer. For this work during his lifetime he received well over three million pounds without asking anybody but God for a penny. The second example of mountains removed by faith in God comes from a book I bought recently “God in Man’s Experience”, by Leonard Griffith of Toronto. He tells of an American woman with a wonderful faith in God. She was left a widow with five children while comparatively young. By careful management and hard work she saw them through school and college. One son became president of a great railway system. another became president of a university, another became a leading pioneer in a field of medical. research. When she died in her ninety-sixth year her family gathered on the day of her funeral and talked about her. They said they had never seen her despairing even in the hardest days, and never despondent. And the son who was now a university president said that no one could understand his mother who did not understand the meaning of faith in God. Her faith, he said, was the secret of her strength and radiant life. I could multiply instances like this from people known to me who have moved mountains and performed the well nigh imspossible through faith in God.

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed hence to yonder place, and it shall remove. And nothing shall be impossible unto you."

“Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to that alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries; it shall he done."


Dear Fellow-Member,

The General Assembly

Along with our Elder, Mr. James Maxwell, I attended the Assembly on the opening day, Tuesday, 21st May, when the Rt. Rev. Dr. James Longmuir was appointed Moderator. The Lord High Commissioner, Lord Reith, impressed the Assembly with his address, emphasising as last year the importance of the parish ministry. Lord Reith, a son of the Manse, is remembered as the first Director of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsay, was a visitor to the Assembly, and was invited to address the Assembly, which he did on the subject of renewal. One of the points the Archbishop made was the need for renewal of joy in our faith. It was a good Assembly well conducted by the Moderator.

One of the outstanding items of business was on the second day, and will be remembered for the histony it made. By a large majority the Assembly agreed that women should be admitted to the ministry on the same terms and conditions as men. This means that women are now eligible for training and ordination to the ministry of the Church of Scotland. On Monday, 27th the Youth Report was presented by the -Rev. Dr. Rogan of Paisley Abbey. He spoke of the alarming decrease in numbers attending Sunday School and Bible Class, and stressed that this was not unrelated to the growing rate of violent crime among youth in Glasgow and elsewhere. He made the point that the people who could help most Were the parents in the home who were prepared to give their children some religious encouragement and iexamlplie. He told how he had been chaplain of a Young Offenders Institution for some fifteen years, and that of some thousands of lads who had passed through the Institution, he could think of only one who came from a home with Church allegiance. The Garden Party on Monday afternoon was held in perfect weather conditions and was largely attended.

Congratulations to 1968/69 Cornet

It is reported that over 900 townspeople turned out this year to vote for their choice in election of Cornet, and that Cyril Iohnstone was elected by a vote of 717. Our heartiest congratulations to Cyril and best wishes for a very happly Common Riding. We are confident he will maintain the best traditions of Cornet,

Sunday School Outings and Flower and Prize Giving Service

The Senior Sunday School holds the annual outing to Girvan this year, and takes place on Saturday, 22nd June. The Primary Sunday School holds a half- day outing to Glendinning on Saturday, 29th lune. Times for leaving Langholm will be intimated in Sunday School. The Flower Service and Prize Giving takes place on Sunday, 23rd Jnne at 11 a.m. Flowers or gifts will be brought by the children and received during the singing of the opening hymn. The gifts will later be distributed among the aged, sick, the Hospital and Eventide Home.

Minister’s Absence all Air Training Corps Annual Camp

The Dumfries and South West Scotland Air Training Corps annual camp takes place this year from 28th June to 6th July at Oakington, near Cambridge. As Hon. Chaplain of the 1152 Squadron, I will as in previous years be attending the camp, and be absent from the pulpit of the Old Parish Church on Sunday, 30th June. The Services on that Sunday will be conducted by the Rev. Basil I. R. Deane, B.D. Mr. Deane is a minister of the Church of Scotland, and employed as a teacher in the Langholm Academy. We extend to him a Warm welcome on his first visit to the Old Parish Church of Langholm.

Comment on Special Services

On Sunday, 19th May, my wife and I enjoyed a return visit to St. George’s Presbyterian Church, Blackburn, when I conducted the Morning and Evening Services in connection with the Centenary of the Congregation. St. Georges, Blackburn, is a congregation that draws upon Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Lancashire Presbyterians over a large area of the country. While it is now eight years since I left to be inducted to Langholm Old Parish, I found a large number of old friends in the congregations, all very happy under the ministry of the Rev. Tom. Morrrison. The Services in the Old Parish of Langholm that day were conducted by my friend, Rev. Dr. John Kennedy, and I have heard from many how rnuch his sermons were appreciated.

On Sunday, 26th May the Evening Service was attended by the “Star of Eskdale” Chapter No. 550, when there was a large congregation from many parts of the county and Longtown. The procession into church was led by Worthy Matron Sister Mary Grierson, from Longtown. Lessons were read by Worthy Patron Brother Thomas Warwick and Chaplain, Brother W. James Bell. Sister Violet Borthwick sang “The Holy City” to the delight of everyone present. The hymns chosen by the Worthy Matron, which included “Lead kindly light”, and “God be with you till we meet again”, were heartily sung, and accornpanied by our organist Mr. Mallinson.

Eskdale Od People’s Welfare Committee Summer Outing

The Outing for residents in Langholm and Eskdale over 60 years of age, takes place on Thursday, 20th Iune to Silloth. Coaches leave Langholm at 12.30 p.m., halting near Carlisle. A good meal is laid on at the Silloth Cafe, and will be served at two sittings 3.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. People wishing to go please hand in names to one of the Lady Visitors or to myself.

Sympathy With The Bereaved

During the past month we have lost two people closely assiociated with our Old Parish Church. On 27th May, Miss Marrion Murray passed away in the Hope Hospital at the wonderful age of 99. Miss Murray formerly lived in Arkinholme Terrace where her charm won for her many friends. Also on 27th May, Mrs. Elspeth Burnett passed away in the Dumfries Hospital at the age of 83. Mrs. Burnett, formerly of Station Buildings, is remembered by her family of two sons and two daughters. Her funeral to Ettrick was largely attended by those who remembered her and her late husband Alexander Burnett. Our sincere sympathy with the relatives of the bereaved.

With warmest greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.

Treasurer's Report

F. W. O.

May £53 17 0


£18 13 7


June 9 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. D. Hendrie, Cleuchfoot, Wauchope.

June 16 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. James Pattie, The Schoolhouse.

June 23 - 11 a.m. Flower Service and Prize Giving. Rev. Torn Calvert. S6 p.m. Evening Service. Flowers, Mrs. L. Ewart, 4 Elizabeth Street.

June 30 - 11 a.m. and 6 pm. Rev. Basil Deane, B.D. Flowers, Mrs. Jean Goodfellow, 8 Buccleuch Terrace

July 7 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. R. Johnstone, 7 Elizabeth Street.


April 7 - Kenneth William, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Moffat, Westwater Cottage.

May 26 - Iona, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Beattie, 14 Holmwod Drive.

May 26 - Stuart John, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Graham, Wattaman Farm.

May 26 - Morag, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hogg, 50 Henry Street.

May 26 - Jamie Derrick, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jarnes Shannon, Tighnabruaich, Drove Road.

May 26 - Gillian Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Cartner, 1 David Street.

May 26 - Donald Norman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Maxwell, 8 Wauchope Place.

June 2 - Gillian, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Richardson, 5 Holmwrood Drive.


May 27 - Miss Marrion A. Murray, formerly of Arkinholm Terrace, age 99.

May 27 - Mrs. Elspeth Burnett, formerly of Station Buildings, age 83.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”. John 10.27.


A new Church of Scotland tie, which ministers, elders and church members can wear, has been de- signed and is now available in the Church of Scotland Bookshops. Displayed with the slogan, “Wear and Witness” the tie is made of blue terylene with the burning bush symbol, and is priced 15/-.