Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.108                       Price 1/4d - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        May 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 June - "l will be as the dew unto Israel". Hosea 14. 5.

This word dew finds prominent place in literature. In the Old Testament it is used over thirty times to denote the way God comes into human life. In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare uses the word to enhance the quality of mercy. "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle dew from heaven - Upon the place beneath; it is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes."

These words of our text for June, taken along with lines in chapter 6 gave John Morrison inspiration to write the much loved Scottish Paraphrase which we often sing, "Come let us to the Lord our God - With contrite hearts return…. As dew upon the tender herb, Diffusing fragrance round; As showers that usher in the spring, and cheer the thirsty ground. So shall His presence bless our souls, And shed a joyful light; That hollowed morn shall chase away - The sorrows of the night".

This is what the dew does at this season of the year, it drops silently upon the parched ground, bringing new life and growth. We are all familiar with the falling dew at night time in this country. In the Eastern countries where the rainfall is much less frequent than in our land, the falling dew is vital and urgent.

In our text we are told what happens when a man or a woman or a nation opens the heart to the Spirit of God, like the falling dew upon the ground, it brings renewed life. And our text is God's promise that when we turn to Him we find new life, restored ideals and sense of purpose for living.

Our text tells us how human life is revived and renewed when we give God a place in our thoughts and affections.

The promise of our text is, "I will be as the dew", and the dew brings restored life and beauty. And this is what happened for the life of ancient Israel. From time to time the national life became corrupt and decadent, but there was always some prophet coming forward to recall the nation to the worship of Jehovah and the keeping of his laws, resulting always in the renewal of ideals and national stability. And this is what happened in our country in the 16th century after William Tyndale gave the people the Bible in their mother tongue. When the King authorised a copy of the Bible in English to be placed in the parish churches throughout the land, we are told that the people so far ignorant of its words gathered in the churches and read the Bible as thirsty men drink from sparkling streams. And the result was religious revival, and a new social conscience in the land, a new caring for the needs of others. In consequence the first Bible in English came to be spoken about as the text book of human liberty.

At the beginning of the 18th century when the religious life of the land had fallen so low that the aristocracy had lost all regard and concern for the starving agricultural labourers, and when Bishop Butler of Bristol refused the offer of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, because he said it was too late to support a failing Church, something happened in line with the falling dew from heaven. At that very time as dry as dust Church of England minister, John Wesley, had a moving religious experience. While attending a Moravian Meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, meditating upon Paul's Epistle to the Romans, he suddenly felt a new sense of reality in his faith in Christ. From that experience Wesley began his mission of field preaching - reaching the masses of the people who never, never, entered the deserted churches. This was the beginning of the great 18th century Evangelical Revival which swept through England like a prairie fire, bringing new warmth to the hearts of the people, a new caring and a new emphasis upon social reform. Historians all agree that this great spiritual revival saved England from the bloody revolution that had overtaken France.

Our country today is beset with many grave problems in our national life, problems for which the wisest of our leaders in Church and State can see no easy solution, problems which may well lead to the disappearance of Great Britain as a world power of any importance. And I would say that we could find recovery as a great industrial nation with much to contribute to the life of the world not by the result of the coming General Election but by a country-wide religious revival. In 1953 the late Dr. W. E. Sangster preached a sermon in the Westminster Central Hall, London, on 'This Britain'. This sermon found its way into the big type of the front pages of many of the national newspapers, and it asked and answered questions on What would a Revival of Religion do for Britain. Here are the headings of that great sermon, a revival of religion in the land would (a) Reduce sexual immorality; (b) would disinfect the theatre; (c) would cut the divorce rate; (d) would reduce juvenile crime; (e) would lessen the prison population; (f) would improve the quality and increase the output of work; (g) would restore to the nation a sense of high destiny; (h) and finally, would bring happiness and peace to the people. Few serious minded people would disagree with Dr. Sangster's claim for the Dew from heaven to fall anew upon the life of our beloved land.

But before the dew can fall upon the parched ground certain conditions have to be fulfilled.
First, the dew always falls during the silence of the night.

And this is how God comes into a human life or into the life of a nation. He doesn't sound a trumpet to proclaim his coming but comes silently as the dew. This is how God came into the world in the coming of Jesus, no one knew, not even King Herod. Phillips Brooks Christmas Carol speaks of how God came into the world so silently when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

"How silently, How silently - The wonderous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts - The blessing of His heaven.
No ear may hear his coming; But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still - The dear Christ enters in".

God comes like the dew in the stillness and quiet, and the reason why so many people find God unreal is that they never command a silence before Him. Modern ways of living are speed and noise. Many years ago Wordsworth said, "The world is too much with us, sooner or later, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers". And if that was true a hundred and fifty years ago, how much more today? One writer suggests that in our modern life we need to have some Halt Signs, times like our Presbyterian Communion Services when we have period of long silence as the bread and wine is being distributed, or times when we gather in church not so much to listen to a sermon but to command a silence before God. The late Mr. Ghandi used to say he would rather see the people of India go back than forward, back to the spinning wheel than forward to hurried ways of living. I know that there can be no going back to the slow and quiet ways of living of a pastoral age, we have got to keep abreast of the times. But to command times of silence, times when the busy world is hushed for us will keep our spirits attuned to God and the life of the spirit. This is the message of Whittier's great hymn -

O Sabbath rest by Galilee - O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee - The silence Of Eternity,
Interpreted by love.
With the deep hush subduing all - Our words and works can drown
The tender whisper of Thy call, As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Secondly, the dew falls heavily in the darkness.

One would expect God to be most near and real when the sun of life's joys is shining upon us, but few are moved to thoughts of God by experiences of joy. There is a sentence in the Book of Exodus which I have always found difficult to understand. It reads, "And Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was". It seems all wrong, and yet that is where so many great souls have made the great discovery of God's reality and purpose for their lives. Recall what Miss Helen Keller said about her blindness and deafness; "I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, my happiness and my God".

One writer has made this remark about the people of Britain, that they came to see a new reality in prayer and faith when things were at their worst in the last war. In autumn, 1940, when Britain stood alone, when the bombers came at dusk each evening and went away at dawn, this writer observed a sign on a church just off East India Dock Road. It was crudely lettered and read, "If your knees knock kneel on them". And that is what thousands of people living in our cities that were nightly bombed did, many of them people who had previously given God little thought.

Dr. Fosdick of New York has written a good many books which you will find in almost every minister's library, and which have helped most ministers in getting ready for their pulpit work. One of the first books he published, "The Meaning of Prayer" is a classic, and though now many years old, it was first published in 1915, it is still used by many as a guide to the real meaning of prayer. Dr. Fosdick has told that this book was the result of a nervous breakdown, that it was through a distressing experience in his life as a young man that he was led to write the contents of this little book. He says he could never have realised the meaning of prayer, of what God could do for him and of what God wanted him to do with his life without that breakdown which brought him near despair. Yes, the dew falls most heavily in the darkness, in the darkening experiences of life many who had given little thought to God have come to a real faith. As one woman, a great sufferer, has said, "in the depths of my suffering I came to believe, to believe that there is a power greater than myself that could help me".

And finally, the dew falls most heavily on low lying ground.

I think this is why Jesus had such an admiration for humility, and why He spoke about Himself as being meek and lowly in heart. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," he said, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". The poor in spirit are the opposite of all that is summed up in the word pride.

It is often pride that keeps God out of our lives, pride of knowledge, pride of achievement, or like the Pharisees pride of goodness. Recall the parable of the Pharisee and the publican going down to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee in his pride stood and looked up and thanked God that he was better than other people, and Jesus says his prayer went unheard, that it was just sham. But the publican dared not to look up, he smote his breast and cried, God be merciful to me a sinner. And he went away refreshed and blessed and helped. God comes to the humble and bestows upon them the blessings of His grace that the proud know nothing of. And this is why Jesus took a little child and set it in the midst and said, "Except ye be converted and become as a little child, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."

"I will be as the dew unto Israel", and the dew comes in the silence and this is why we need Sunday worship. The Old Hebrew word Sabbath means "stop doing what you are doing". The dew falls in the darkness. For many who have no thought of God in the sunshine it may be that when darkness falls upon them they will like Dr. Fosdick be led into a real faith in his reality. And the dew falls most heavily on low lying ground, which is possibly the reason why Jesus so often took a little child as his text for a sermon on finding God real and near. God’s presence and grace and beauty cannot be known by the arrogant and the proud but by those of humble heart like the heart of a little child.


Dear Fellow-Member,

The General Assembly

Though a commissioner to the General Assembly, I found my diary so full of urgent duties that I decided to put them first. My wife and I did enjoy attending on the Tuesday evening, among the guests of the Lord High Commissioner, Miss Margaret Herbison, M.P. We found ourselves well taken care of by Miss Sheila Ross, the young daughter of the Secretary of State for Scotland. We also greatly enjoyed attending the Garden Party on the Saturday afternoon. It was a lovely warm afternoon, and we met many old friends including Rev. and Mrs. Cotter. The new Moderator of the General Assembly is a man of great charm. To get some idea of the kind of man he is I advise you to read his book, "Coping with Life", which can be obtained from the Langholm Public Library. The first woman Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly, Miss Margaret Herbison, M.P., in her address at the opening of the Assembly, made a plea for more love, tolerance, patience and understanding. "I feel deeply", she said "that at no time in the world's history more than today is love, tolerance, patience and understanding needed in greater measure". I feel that in her message she could not have been more to the point, and that Christian people need to read and meditate upon 1 Corinthians, 13, more than any other chapter or passage in the scriptures. The report of the Committee on Social Service given by the Rev. Harry Ricketts on the care of the elderly was of great interest. The Church of Scotland has given a great lead in the care of the aged in the provision of Eventide Homes. Mr. Ricketts pointed out that of the applicants for admission into the Eventide Homes a higher percentage than ever are unable to fulfil the conditions necessary for entry, unable on account of great age to rise in the morning, dress and come down to breakfast. Eventide Homes will not accept them if they cannot fulfil these conditions, and geriatric hospitals close their doors to them. Mr. Ricketts said the Social Services Committee of the Church of Scotland is doing everything in its power to meet this problem. Further care units are now in operation, more are in process of being opened, others are planned. Into these further care units frail old people will be accepted, folk who are up one day and down the next, folk who are at the moment the responsibility of none but the Church.

Conversion of Arkinholm Franciscan Convent to Eventide Home

It is now public knowledge that Arkinholm is soon to be adapted and opened as a Home for the Elderly under Sister Norah Cronin, the resident Sister-in-Charge. I give this venture my best blessing realising the great need for such accommodation, particularly for the elderly of Langholm and district. Sister Cronin has emphasised that there is to be no question of religion in the matter of admission and administration of the Home. I have seen the plans for the conversion of the premises which include accommodation for some 25 elderly people. A nursing staff is to join Sister Cronin soon, and when the Home is opened it will be possible to admit people who cannot normally be admitted because of the need for special nursing, and it also means that when those admitted in reasonable health become invalids they will be kept in the home for life. The conversion of the lovely old house will include a lift to the first floor, and a fire escape conforming to regulations. The conversion of the premises will cost from seven to ten thousand pounds, and it is hoped to raise some part of this expenditure locally. A Garden Fete is being planned for September, when I hope the whole community will give it their generous support. Personal efforts by individuals or organisations, or donations will be welcomed. The date for the opening of the Home depends upon how soon the plans are approved by the County Council, and the work carried through, but I hope that by the early autumn we will see the Home in use.

Memorial Corner in Old Parish Church

The front corner of the church opposite to the Buccleuch Pew, with the approval of the Kirk Session is being adapted as a Memorial Corner. With the expert help of Matthew Armstrong and David Calvert the work is now under way. Mr. Robertson, Head Forester of Buccleuch Estates, has kindly provided an oak base for the Old Kirk Bell. The Bell hung in the belfry of the original Langholm Parish Church up the Kirkwynd, and is eighteen inches in depth, and two feet across the mouth, and is inscribed "Armstrong, and Co, Founderers, Edinburgh. 1795". To complete the Memorial corner we plan a display case for old Communion vessels, Communion tokens, and other relics of interest. I discussed the plan in 1963 with the Church of Scotland Advisory Committee on Artistic Questions, and at that time had a visit from the Church of Scotland Advisory Architect, the late Mr. J. Wilson Peterson, CVO. His advice was to proceed with the project along the lines we are now planning, and with the approval of the Eskdale and Langholm Archaeological Society to include in the display the remains of the Wauchope Church. Also to provide a plaque giving the names of the ministers of the Langholm Parish since its formation. I am anxious to obtain a suitable table for the front centre of the corner upon which to set a lectern, and from which I would conduct Services when numbers were small. Also I am anxious to obtain about a dozen suitable chairs.

Summer Outings

Under the Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee we are taking a party of 162 of our older people on an Outing to Silloth on Tuesday, 9th June, coaches leaving Langholm at 12.30 p.m. The meal will be in the Silloth Cafe, first sitting at 3.30 p.m. and the second sitting at 4.30 p.m.

Through the generosity of Mr. Malcolm Carmichael another outing for the senior citizens of Langholm will take place on Tuesday, 14th July, coaches leaving Langholm at 12 noon for Galloway. The meal will be at the Mayfield Hotel, Kirkcudbright. All wishing to attend should hand in names to Mr. Alec Cowing, Chairman of the Langholm British Legion, or to members of the Committee or myself.

Angling Course for Youth

The course will take place on Association Waters on Monday, 13th, Tuesday, 14th and Wednesday, 15th July under an expert tutor. The course is being financed by the Hon. Simon McKay and Messrs Buccleuch Estates Ltd.

The course is open to lads and girls, equipment provided. Names to be given as soon as possible to Mr. James Pattie, Rector of Langholm Academy, or to Mr. John Scott, Secretary of Langholm Youth Club, or to myself.

A.T.C. Camp

As Chaplain to the 1152 Squad of the Air Training Corps, I am due to join them at their Annual Camp at Wattisham, Nr. Ipswich, from 4th to 11th July. This means that I will be absent from my pulpit on Sunday, 5th July.

Floral Display in Langholm Old Parish Church

The Langholm Floral Art Club has undertaken to decorate the Old Parish Church for a Floral Art Week, 19th to 26th July. I appeal for gifts of flowers, loan of pot plants, and donations to purchase additional flowers. The decoration work will be on Friday, 17th and Saturday, 18th July. The church will be open during the week when visitors will be welcomed. The Service on Sunday evening of 19th will be attended by the Over 60 Club with members from senior citizens from Stanwix, Longtown and elsewhere. During the week we will have special Services of praise, given one night by the Langholm Operatic and Dramatic Society, another night by the Langholm Town Band and Mr. Mallinson on the organ, and I hope of the Saturday, 25th a Youth Night led by the Carlisle Salvation Army Youth Songster Group. On Tuesday afternoon, 21st the senior citizens of Maryport will visit our church.

Presbyterial Council Spring Rally

The Spring Rally held in our church on Tuesday, 12th May and attended by close on 400 ladies from the various Guilds of Hawick Presbytery, was a very happy occasion. The arrangements for refreshments in our church hall were first class, and I wish to thank the ladies who gifted cakes and sandwiches, and all who served the refreshments to our guests. And many thanks to Mrs. Howarth for the flower decoration in church, and Misses Graham and Miss Smart for donating flowers.

Cornet Neil Davidson

Our warmest congratulations and best wishes to Neil on his appointment as Cornet of the Langholm Common Riding for 1970. A better choice could not have been made. He will bring to this office good experience in riding, the dignity and charm of his personality. We look forward to having Neil with his Right and Left Hand Men, and the Common Riding Committee, in church on Sunday, 26th July.

Youth Choir

I am very encouraged and delighted that a Youth Choir has been recruited through the Youth Club and from other young people of the Sunday School and congregation. The choir is helping me in the 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service, and also will help in my duties as Chaplain of the Thomas Hope Hospital in a monthly short Service. Miss Jean Geddes has undertaken to be choir leader, and Jamie Telford to serve as pianist. And of course I am deeply indebted to Mrs. Barker for her Services as pianist at the early Service, and to Jim Hunter for his ready help.

Top Nurse

Warmest congratulations to Mrs. Christina Paterson, formerly Christina McMurdo, on being presented by Mrs. Margaret Herbison, Lord High Commissioner, a prize as one of the best two nurses trained in her year in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Chris is a member of our Church, and a previous pupil of Langholm Academy.

Sympathy With The Bereaved

James Alexander Balmer, Greystones, passed away suddenly on 30th April at the age of 59. He came to Langholm in the early spring and was looking forward to enjoying retirement in Langholm where his son James is Manager of the Savings Bank. Our deepest sympathy with his widow Hannah Mackenzie, with his daughter Ann Allan, and his sons James and John.

James Smith, 60 Caroline Street, passed away on 5th May at the age of 85. James was employed by Reid and Taylor's for 63 years and was held in very high regard by the firm and by fellow workers. Our sincere sympathy with Leslie, Rovery, and Beryl in their bereavement.

Janet Graham Notman passed away in the Thomas Hope Hospital on 8th May, at the age of 90. When I was settled in Langholm ten years ago I remember visiting her with her late cousin Lizzie Tudhope in Waverley Road. For some years she lived in Benray Home, Lockerbie, and was remembered by kindly visits from her many Langholm friends. She enjoyed comfort and care in her last months in the Thomas Hope Hospital. Our sympathy with her son James in his bereavement.

Annie Dobison Armstrong of 23 Holmwood Drive, passed away suddenly in the Thomas Hope Hospital on 11th May at the age of 73. We remember her for her devotion to her home and family and support of her church. Our sincere sympathy with her husband Thomas Armstrong, and her family, Mary, Doris and Robert.

Mrs. Jessie Borthwick, passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Blackburn, 4 Fairways Avenue, Broughton, Nr. Preston, Lancashire, at the age of 83. Many of us remember the late Rev. Dr. Tom Borthwick who passed away this year in Edinburgh. Jessie, his widow, shared his wonderful life as a missionary in China, and later as parish minister of Ardwell-Sandhead. My wife and I called on Jessie at the Pilgrim House, Netherby Road, Edinburgh, soon after the passing of her husband Tom, and she was so glad for the visit and our prayer together. Our sympathy in bereavement with her son in Canada, and her daughter Mrs. Blackburn.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.



May £66 5 7


May £79 15 0



May £25 7 2


May £28 17 3


June 14 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. James Pattie, School House.

June 21 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service. 11 a.m. Annual Flower Service. 6 p.m. Evening Service. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. L. Ewart, 33 Henry Street.

June 28 - 9.30 a.m. Half-Hour Service, and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Jean Goodfellow, 8 Buccleuch Terrace.


April 12 - Eric, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Beattie, 14 Holmwood Drive.

May 3 - Craig Halliday, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Sadler, 8 Holmwood Drive.

May 3 - Kevin Dinwoodie, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Turk, 9 Academy Place.

May 6 - Brian, son of Mr. and Mrs. Derik Nordon, Holmwood Drive.

May 10 - Michael, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hogg, 19 Walter Street.

May 10 - Julia Margaret, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Reid, 34 Caroline Street.

May 22 - Malissa Anne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Collin Reay, 31 Mandall Caravan Site, Forris.


May 9 - Irving Kirk Lockerby, 15 Scots Street, Newcastleton, to Edith Hotson McNeill, 88 Henry Street.

June 5 - Michael David Castles Shanks, High Meadow, Kemnay, to Patricia Jean Goodfellow, 8 Buccleuch Terrace.


April 30 - James Alexander Balmer, Greystones, Langholm. Age 59.

May 5 - James Smith, 60 Caroline Street. Age 85.

May 8 - Mrs. Janet Graham Notman, formerly Waverly Road. Age 90.

May Il - Mrs. Annie Dobinson Armstrong, 23 Holmwood Drive. Age 73.

May 30 - Mrs. Jessie Borthwick, at Broughton, Lancashire. Age 83. (Widow of Rev. Dr. Tom Chalmers Borthwick, M.B., Ch.B.).

"Happy are the dead who die in the faith of Christ. Henceforth, says the Spirit, they may rest from their labours; for they take with them the record of their deeds." Revelation 14. 13. N.E.B.