Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.131                       Price 1/8p - with LIFE AND WORK - 8d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        June 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. Robert C. Craig, 5 Rosevale Place, Langholm

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 - "When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven ' - St. Luke 11.2.

We cannot really know God unless we are able to think of Him in the form of some earthly person already familiar to us. For example, if you want to describe to a friend some person your friend has never seen, you say, he or she is like so and so, referring to someone your friend already knows. This is how the Bible writers try to make God appear as a real person for us.

Take an example, the writer of the 23rd Psalm is writing to people who are familiar with sheep and shepherds, to people who know something about the grand caring qualities of a shepherd, and so he describes God by likening Him to a shepherd and says The Lord is my Shepherd.

It is impossible to speak about God and be understood unless we picture Him in human terms, and so when Jesus spoke of God as Our Father, He is using the name of a person well known to all His hearers, they all knew a lot about the grand qualities of a good earthly father, and Jesus is in effect telling them that God possesses those very same qualities.

Jesus was familiar with the highest qualities of human fatherhood as depicted in the Hebrew scriptures. He knew the story of Jacob, how he mourned over the loss of his son Joseph, and refused to be comforted in his sorrow. He knew the story of David and how after the death of his rebellious son Absalom even though Absalom had conspired against him, the father's heart didn't change towards his own child. David mourned long and sore, murmuring "Absalom, my son Absalom, would God that I had died for thee, my son, my son." And this is how Jesus saw God feeling for His children even though we disappoint and hurt Him."

Someone has said that these words in our text, "Our Father which art in heaven," are a monument of Joseph as high as heaven.

We are not told much about Joseph in the New Testament, but Jesus from early childhood had watched him and thought he was wonderful, possessing such wonderful heart qualities of caring and giving and forgiving. Gilbert Thomas has well expressed what the influence of Joseph as a father had been over the thinking of Jesus about the deity.

"Who has not carrolled Mary, And who her praise would dim?
But what of humble Joseph, Is there no song for him?
If Joseph had not proved him, A sire both kind and wise,
Would he have drawn with favour The child's all probing eyes?
Would Christ have prayed, Our Father, Or cried that name in death?
Unless He first had honoured Joseph of Nazareth?"

Martin Luther said he could never utter the words of Our Father without a sense of revulsion, remembering his own father who had been something of a brute. But not so Jesus as He remembered Joseph the father in the home of Nazareth. And this is His assurance that God, who must be better than the best of all His created creatures, must be as good and better than the best human father who ever lived upon this earth. For He says, "If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father."

Now what are the implications of our Lord's great message to mankind when He says, "When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven?"

First it means that for us prayer ought to be as natural as breathing.

Should our prayers be carefully prepared in eloquent language? Should they be presented in a splendid litany set to lovely music? This can be very nice and moving, but prayer is primarily a child talking to his father, talking and not always asking for something but telling his father of his plans and hopes, thanking his father for his goodness and gifts, yes, and asking his father for whatever he wants. Prayer is a child talking to his father. The hymn writer says, "Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try: Prayer the sublimest strains that reach The Majesty on high. Prayer is the Christian's vital breath, the Christian's native air, his watchword at the gates of death, he enters heaven by prayer."

A second point - if God is our Father, we have to remember that a good and wise father may for his child's good withhold or delay granting some request.

A father could grant his child a request that was not for his good, as the Psalmist sees in a request granted to the ancient people of God - "He granted them their request but sent leanness into their soul." The late W. E. Sangster, the famous Methodist preacher, tells in one of his books about going as lad to a camp for young men, the first time away from home. He had fifteen shillings in his pocket which he spent the first day. Then he wrote home to his father a letter which went something like this: "S.O.S. - L.S.D. - R.S.V.P." But no answer came to that letter to his father asking for money. He knew his father would give him anything and just couldn't understand why no reply until he got home at the end of the camp when, in two or three words, his father told him why, and said W. E. Sangster, "I have known the value of money ever since."

Belief in the Fatherhood of God leaves us with one unresolved problem, that of innocent suffering.

We can understand certain things being withheld from us as being for our ultimate but what we cannot understand is why some people should he called to suffer who have done nothing to deserve it. And all I want to say here is that while God the Father is not the author of evil or suffering, He cannot prevent any of His children becoming victims of accident or disease without taking from us the freedom of movement and adventure that is essential to living a real and purposeful life. Contrary to what the Bible says, I do not believe that the Father planned that His Son, Jesus Christ, should be falsely accused and spat upon in Pilate's courtroom, or that cruel nails should have been driven into his hands and feet on Calvary. But when it all happened and Jesus prayed "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," God seemed to use Calvary to tell all ages that love is stronger than hate and that suffering love and forgiveness is going to win in the end of the day.

I believe that the evils of the world like disease and war are there to challenge the children of the Father to be up and doing for their eradication. You all know the story of the life of Kathleen Ferrier, a woman with a golden voice who gave infinite pleasure and enrichment to all who listened to her. And then in her early 40's that golden voice was muffled by pain and weakness and silenced for ever. And yet we know full well that the disease which silenced Kathleen Ferrier's golden voice could be dealt with and robbed of its victims if one hundredth part of the money spent on the production of lethal weapons of war by the great world powers each year could be devoted to cancer research. The Father cannot control His children if He grants them freedom to live in a world of disease and accident, but He wants His children to care more for each other's health and protection than for seeking national superiority and political power over each other. He wants His children to live as a family, caring for each other.

Finally, belief in the Fatherhood of God implies a high and blessed destiny for His children.

No decent human father would stand for any child of his family becoming irretrievably lost if he could do anything to prevent it, no matter how rebellious or tending to evil ways that child may have been. God is Our Father, and this faith implies that every child, including the wayward, will have a home to go to when they end their earthly wanderings, with a welcome awaiting them.

So when we are called upon to part with dear ones as they pass away from this earthly scene, remember these words, Our Father, and know in your heart and for your comfort that whether we are in the body or out of it, "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." Or as Tennyson puts it: "Thou wilt not ]eave us in the dust. Thou madest man, he knows not why. He thinks he was not made to die. And Thou has made him, Thou art just."


Dear Fellow-Member,

Election of Cornet for 1972/73

We all join in congratulating Scott Haldane Morrison of Commercial Place on his appointment Cornet for the 1972 Common Riding. Scott is an experienced rider and has a great love for horses and riding and outdoor activities. He became a communicant member of the Old Parish Church at our last Communion in April and we will look forward to him, along with his Right and Left-Hand Men, Robin Nixon and Neil Davidson, attending the Common Riding Annual Service in our church on Sunday, 23rd July, when we will have the opportunity of wishing him "safe out and safe in".

This year's Common Riding will also be an occasion for congratulations to the Cornet's father, Ex-Cornet Alex Morrison, who this year celebrates his Silver Jubilee, having been Cornet in 1947, and the Common Riding Committee will be making a suitable presentation to the Semi-Jubilee Cornet.

We are all interested in the report of the recent meeting of the Castle Craigs Club when the Secretary displayed to the members a beautiful shield which is to be known as the John M. Mitchell Memorial Challenge Shield to be awarded to the winner of the boys' race from the Castle Craigs to Cronksbank on the annual ride-out. The shield has been presented to the Club by Mrs. Mitchell and Eric in memory of the late Mr. John M. Mitchell and to its first winner will go a handsome replica of the original. In a letter to the Club the donors of the Challenge Shield said they hoped it would give great pleasure to the members and competitors alike. In regard to the annual Castle Craigs ride-out the donors of the Shield referring to the unfortunate accident last year said they would like to suggest that arrangements be made for the cavalcade to approach Cronksbank at a slower pace. The Castle Craigs Club, in accepting the gift with great appreciation, agreed that the gallop to Cronksbank on the annual ride-out be stopped.

General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

As I write this letter the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is meeting for the last full session. The meetings have been well attended by ministers and elders, and on the occasion I managed to attend I sensed a growing impatience among the younger ministers for the earlier retirement of the older leaders of the Assembly and conveners of Assembly Committees. This is to be expected in this age when the wind of change is blowing in every department of life. A full report of the Assembly discussions and debates will be given in the July issue of Life and Work. My wife and I enjoyed attending the Garden Party in the grounds of Holyrood Palace, when I managed to have a short conversation with the Rt. Rev. R. Selby Wright, the new Moderator. We discussed some of our war-day experiences and acquaintances when we were both serving as Army Chaplains and particularly a visit he paid to Aldershot when he was serving as Radio Padre and when we managed to get the town cinema to halt the programme to give him five minutes to speak to the vast audience of soldiers and their friends. He has promised to pay a private visit to Langholm during his busy year of office.

Passing of His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor

Those of us who have memories of the years when the Duke served our nation and Empire as Prince of Wales cannot but feel saddened at the news of his passing, Many stories have been told of his humanity and sympathy, especially in the First World War days. He moved about among wounded soldiers, among the miners whose lot was a sad one in those days, and throughout the Empire of that day where he must be given credit for inspiring goodwill and better understanding. I well remember the day his abdication was announced over the radio and the deep feeling of sorrow among our people. This was in 1936. At that time I was minister of a mining parish in Ayrshire, Waterside and Lethanhill, and that evening I was visiting in a long row of mines' houses and found the wives of the miners weeping at the news. He will always be remembered for his part in promoting goodwill abroad for Great Britain, for his understanding and desire to better the lot of miners in the years of slump and depression, and for his tenderness in speaking to blinded soldiers of the First World War. Here is a factual story told about him just after the 1914/18 war. Edward, Prince of Wales, was asked to visit a hospital in the South of England in which some of the worst cases of war wounded were being cared for. He went immediately and was told that in one part of the hospital there were 36 injured and disfigured men. He went from bed to bed speaking kindly words and thanking them for what they had done for their country. When finished he said, "I was told there were 36 men but I have only seen 29." They told him he had better not see the other seven. But he insisted, and they took him to another ward and he went from bed to bed speaking to the men who had been terribly disfigured, and to each he spoke words of gratitude and kindness. When finished he said, "I was told there were seven men here but I have only seen six." The nurses looked at each other and the head nurse said that no one could see the seventh man. She said he was blind and deaf and so disfigured that even his friends could not recognise him. "He is kept alone and we make him as comfortable as possible, but it is useless for anyone to visit him. He would not know or understand anything that was said or done." The Prince was advised not to see him. But he said, I must see him. I have come to visit everyone in the hospital. " So one of the nurses went with the Prince into a quiet room where the war's most terrible tragedy was lying. The Prince stood for a moment beside the bed, with bowed head, looking at the man who could neither see nor hear him. And then very slowly he stooped down and the poor broken soldier knew that someone had kissed him.

Church Services

The 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service is being well attended and I am most grateful to all who have helped me in conducting the Service. Marjory Statham with Mervyn Burnett and John Beattie, Jim Tuton, Ailsa and Shona Carruthers and Margaret Moscrop, and for the help of Ian Lamont and Douglas Anderson in reading the lessons. This early Service will continue throughout the summer and I invite any willing to help to let me have their names. Throughout June the Sunday School will continue to meet in the hall at 10 a.m. and will complete the present Sunday School session with the annual Flower and Prizegiving Service on Sunday, 25th June. Fortnightly we hold short Services in the Greenbank Eventide Home at 2 p.m. and in the Thomas Hope Hospital at 2.30 p.m. Also fortnightly on Wednesday evenings in St. Francis Home, Erkinholme. I will be glad of help of any who care to come along and help in the singing of hymns.

At the Evening Service on Sunday, 7th May, conducted by the Rev. George Urquhart, B.D., minister of Edgerston and Southdean and Moderator of the Presbytery of Hawick, Mr J. MacIntosh, one of our elders, was appointed a Reader of the Church of Scotland. The Rev. George Watson, B.D., Clerk of the Presbytery, also took part. On the following Sunday Mr. MacIntosh conducted our 11 a.m. Morning Service and I hear from many how much the congregation was impressed by his conduct of the devotional part of the Service and by his message to the children and his sermon. I here take the opportunity of thanking Mr. MacIntosh and relieving me to be in Hawick taking the Morning Service in St. Margaret's and Wilton South.

I wish also to make special mention of the pleasure given to us all by the visit on Sunday, 28th May of the Rev. J. Douglas Duff, M.A., B.D., minister of Edinkillie Parish Church, Morayshire. I have yet to attend a more impressive Church Service. The sermon was a real message for everyone present and delivered with such clear and pleasing voice and delivery. At this Service Mr. Duff baptised his granddaughter, Anne Louise, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Neil Douglas, Arresgill.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.


1972 £453.38
1971 £443.07

1972 £229.50
1971 £218.45

Annuals & Donations
1972 £76.30
1971 £89.75

1972 £207.50
1971 £212.00

1972 £966.68
1971 £963.27


June 11 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers Mrs. L. Ewart, 33 Henry Street.

June 18 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m Morning Service Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Jean Goodfellow, 8 Buccleuch Terrace.

June 25 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers Mrs. Derek Bell, 4 Buccleuch Square.

July 2 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. Morning Service Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers Mrs. T. Calvert, The Manse.

The Service on Sunday, 25th June at 11 a.m. will be the annual Flower and Prizegiving Service, when the children are asked to bring a gift of flowers or confection which gifts will be received during the opening hymn and later distributed among sick, aged and hospitals and homes.


May 7 - Jacqueline, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ian B. Stephen, 10 Lathlan Drive, Polmont, Stirling,

May 21 - David John, son of Mr. and Mrs. David McVittie, 76 Townfoot.

May 21 - Peter Leslie, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Harkness, 5 Holmwood Gardens.

May 28 - Anne Louise, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Neil Douglas, Arresgill Farm, Wauchope.


May 26 - George Roebuck, 6 Wauchope Place, to Jean Ballantyne Laidlaw, 17 Holmwood Crescent.


The outing to Cockermouth, Cumberland, on Tuesday, 9th May, was very much enjoyed and appreciated. Over 150 senior citizens of Langholm spent a memorable afternoon as guests of Mr. Malcolm Carmichael, Toronto, who is glad to remember the elderly of his native town in a practical way. The outing was organised by his brother-in-law, Mr. Alex Cowing, the Chairman of the British Legion, and we congratulate him and members of the Legion on their work in organising this successful effort.

Another outing for the senior citizens of Langholm and Eskdale, organised by the Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee, will take place on Tuesday, 6th May to Silloth. Well over 200 names have been given to the Secretary of people wishing to attend.

Recommended booklet for young people looking forward to marriage: The Road to the Aisle. A booklet outlining marriage procedures and customs in Scotland, as a guide to engaged couples, has just been published by the Saint Andrew Press, the Church of Scotland publishing house in Edinburgh. Written by a Glasgow minister, the Rev. James Martin, the book sets out in simple fashion information about all the ingredients of a church wedding in Scotland. It is designed as an easy-to-read, informative, but by no means solemn book that will be of help to couples stepping out on "The Road To The Aisle" Price 20p. Copies will be available from vestibule table.