Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.94                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        MARCH 1969.

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 March: “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” John 11. 16.

During the ,next five weeks Christian people throughout the world will follow in mind and imagination our Lord’s last journey up to Jerusalem where He was to suffer and die upon the Cross. We read that Iesus set His face steadfastly to go up to Jerusalem in that last sad and dangerous journey. To escape the threats of His enemies He had of late withdrawn from Jerusalem to the peace and security of Galilee. Now word comes that His friend Lazarus is dead, and so Jesus decides to return and visit the home in Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, so that He may be of some comfort to Mary and Martha. The disciples seek to dissuade Him, saying, “the Jews of late sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again ?" But Jesus declares definitely that He is going whatever the consequences which draws from Thomas these words of our March text, “let us also go, that We may die with Him”. It is clear that the disciples regarded our Lord’s decision to go up to Jerusalem as sheer madness, recklessness, but if He insists they decide, to go with Him and share the consequences. Certain rare qualities of the character of Thomas emerge here that I would like to refer to briefly.


His superb courage displaying the highest kind of courage known to men and women. In the heart of Thomas as R. H. Strachan has said, “there was not expectant faith but loyal despair. Of one thing Thomas was determined, come what may they would not desert, not quit out of fear of what might happen to them. Gilbert Frankau tells of an officer friend of his in the First World War. This officer was an Artillery Observation Officer. His job Was to go up in a balloon and let the gunners know where their shells were falling, if they were falling short or beyond the target. It was one of the most dangerous assignments that could be given to any man because the balloon was a sitting target for the enemy fire. But Gilbert Frankau said of his friend, “every time he went up in that balloon he was sick with nerves but he woudn’t quit”. That is the highest form of courage being afraid yet going on with a dangerous job and refusing to quit. And this is just what Thomas is proposing to his fellow disciples in these words of our text, “let us also go that we may die with Him”. He is well aware of the worst that can happen, literally sick with fear, yet going on and doing the right and brave thing. This is the kind of courage Studdert Kennedy’s Cockney soldier prayed for before going to the attack on the Western Front.

It ain’t I ’opes E’ll keep me safe

While the other bloke goes down,

It ain’t as I wants to leave this worId

And wear an ’ero’s crown.

It ain’t for that as I says my prayers

When I goes to the attack,

But I pray that whatever comes my way

I may never turn me back.

Well, that was the kind of courage Thomas possessed, and it is the kind of courage we need for daily living, and for Christian witness in this modern pagan world where so many of our friends snigger at people who worship and pray and read their Bibles.

A word about the foundation of the courage of Thomas, friendship and loving trust and loyalty.

First, Friendship - Now for some three years these disciples had enjoyed the wonderful friendship of Jesus, and for them it was no one way traffic, not simply a matter of getting but of giving. It is true they were just beginning to discover Jesus as something of a disappointment, that He was not as they had supposed when they joined His ranks, the promised Jewish Messiah who would restore again the kingdom of Israel. But despite this sense of disappointment they had shared His wonderful friendship and this was something they could not treat lightly. I have told the story of the school teacher asking the class, what is a friend? And a lad answers, “a friend is a chap who sticks to you after he has found you out”. That was the kind of friend Thomas was to Jesus, and the kind of Friend Jesus is to every man. Is our friendslrip of that quality? The prodigal had plenty of friends in the far country as long as the portion of goods lasted but when he was spent up and the famine came they all left him. That kind of friendsrhtiip is a sham when it does not stand the test of the famine and disaster. I think it was Emerson who said that “a friend is never known until he is needed”. There was never a time Jesus more needed friendship, and those disciples didn't fail Him, and before going to the Judgement Hall and the Cross He thanked them for all they had been to Him; “Ye are they who stood by Me in My trials”.

Second, love and trust - They loved Him better than their own lives, and trusted not a cause called Christianity but a person called Jesus. Donald Hankey in A Student in Arms, has a chapter entitled “The Beloved Captain”. It is a story of the First World War. The beloved captain’s men when he first got them were a poor lot. But he had been so understanding and wonderful with them that now they would go anywhere and do anything for their leader. “He was absolutely fearless, regardless of danger and indifferent to death. And there was not a man in the battalion who would not willingly have died for him”. That was the impression the Beloved Captain made upon his men, and that was the impression Jesus had made upon Thomas and the rest.

Third, loyalty - They didn’t believe He was wise in going to Jerusalem but their loyalty was such that if He was so resolved they would go with Him and share the dangers. The story is told of blind King John. of Bohemia how in the Battle of Crecy four of his knights intertwined their bridles with his resolved to share his fate whatever happened. Thomas and his fellow desciples did something like that, intertwined their lives with Jesus whatever happened. They didn't want to die but were more willing to die than desert, more willing to suffer reproach and death than see their Master go into the firing line alone. Those early disciples had many faults and failings but one quality they possessed was outstanding loyalty to their Master, a rare quality which when found in men and women makes good homes, good citizens, good members of a congregation of the Church.

And finally, our text reminds us of the great gamble of faith.

Thomas and the rest of the disciples were not at all sure what the cause of Christ was all about, and they didn’t understand much He said to them. On the way up to Jerusalem Jesus said to them. "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know”. And Thomas had to ask Jesus to be more explicit; “We know not Whither Thou goest and how can We know the way”. They couldn’t understand what Jesus was up to but they had faith in Him, dim it may often have been, yet they staked everything upon their trust in Him. “Religion” says Donald Hankey, “is betting your life that there is a God”. And that is just what Thomas and his fellow disciples were doing, gambling their very lives on Jesus. And they had no alternative. If they had turned away from Him, to whom else oould they have turned and found the same satisfaction? Peter had faced up to this very question after the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. The people wanted to make Jesus King but He began to speak to them about spiritual food and this offended the people so that they began to disperse and leave Him. Turning to His disciples Jesus asked,. “And will ye also go away?” Then Peter, in the same mood as Thomas when he uttered the words of our text, replies, “Lord to whom shall We go’? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Thomas had his doubts, and that is why We speak of him as doubting Thomas, but he loved and trusted Jesus. And the time was soon to come when all his doubts were resolved, when the Risen Lord appeared unto him and asked hrim to reach hither his finger, and behold His pierced hand, and to reach hither his hand and thrust it into his Lord’s wounded side; and be not faithless but believing.

At the beginniing of that last journey up to Jerusalem those twelve disciples displayed a splendid courage, whatever was to happen later. Later when the testing time came they brok down and who could blame them, most of us would have done the same. Peter denied his Lord but afterwards so full of shame and remose he wept like a little child. Judas betrayed his Lord but afterwards hated himself so much for what he had done that he felt he just couldn’t go on living any longer. They all loved their Master and meant every word of our text when it was spoken. And it behoves us to be slow to condemn those who fail under the testing of the scorn of unbelievers as the Twelve did. And we should remember, “What’s done we partly may compute, but know not what's resisted”. We need ever to remember Paul's word to the Corinthians, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” for we can never tell how much we will have to come through if we ever have to be tested as were the Twelve when our Lord’s enemies laid hold upon Him.

Remember the story I told in a previous message about the late Dr. Alexander Whyte when he was minister of Free St. George’s, Edintburgh. A prominent Edinburgh business man had fallen into disgrace, and on a Sunday morning the elders of Free St. George’s were discussing his fall in a oondemnary manner. Dr. W.hyte listened for a while and then made this comment, “Brethren, I'm just thinking it moght have been any of us, it might have been me”.


Dear Fellow-Member,

I regret that owing to a prolonged cold I have not made much progress in the visitation of members as intimated in the January magazine. So far I have completed High Street except for two or three homes Where so far I have not managed to find people at home. Within the next few weeks I hope to complete visitation of all homes in the Old Town side of the Esk.

Women’s World Day of Prayer

The Langholm Churches including Old Parish, Erskine, Congregational and Scottish Episcopal will observe Women ’s World Day of Prayer in the Old Parish Church on Friday, 7th March at a United Service at 7.30 p.m. The Service will be led by representatives of the four congregations. Choirs of the four congregations are asked to meet at 7 p.m. in order to sing over any tunes not so well known.

Guild Sale of Work

The Guild will hold a Jumble Sale on Friday, 21st at 6 p.m. Gifts of jumble will be welcomed. The Guild Sale of Work will be held on ,Saturday, 22nd March, and will be opened at 3 p.rn. by Mrs. Wood of the National Bank House. Mrs. Wood has served our Guild as Secretary for some years, and We are grateful to her for this further act of service before leaving Langholm. The Women's Guild depends upon the Annual Sale in raising enough income to maintain their annual contribution to our Church Treasurer. Last year the Guild contributed £300 to the Co-ordinated Appeal and relieved our annual Church income by that amount. The Guild also contributes £40 annually to hall maintenance. With our Church account having carried over a deficit of £250 from 1968, we are depending more than ever upon the support of the Guild. I appeal to all our people to give this effort their full support. There will be the usual stalls, Produce, Work, Cake, Tombola, Candy, Sunday School stall, teas, and last year the Young Wives Fellowship kindly provided an additional stall.

First Communicants

Classes for young people wishing to join the Church commence on Sunday, 16th March, held in the vestry immediately after the Evening Service. These classes will continue up to the April Communion.

Annual Meeting of the Congregation

The Annual Meeting of the Old Parish congregation is called to take place on Sunday, 23rd March immediately after the morning Service. At this meeting the Church Treasurer will present the Annual Statement of Accounts, nominations will be called for to fill vacancies on the Board, and there will be opportunity to discuss and transact any business concerning the welfare of our church.

Boys’ Brigade

The Boys’ Brigade Parents Night held in the hall on Wednesday, 12th February was a most successful meeting. There was a large attendance of parents and friends. The programme consisted of a film, and coloured slides on the variorus summer camps. Billy Geddes delighted the gathering with his art as a conjurer. Refreshments were served by the Ladies Committee. In proposing a vote of thanks I took the opportunity to thank the Officers for the splendid leadership they are giving, and congratulated them upon the strong and happy 1st Langholm Company, and the Junior Brigade.

The 1st Langholm Company of the Boys’ Brigade hold their Annual Display in the Buccleuch Hall on Friday, 11th April, when we invite all interested rto be present.

The senior members of the Company have done an excellent job in preparing and conducting a Church Service, given in our Old Parish Church on the first Sunday of December, and repeated a week ago in Arthuret Parish Church of England, Longtown. They have also given evidence of a great interest in the old people by visitation of homes, singing cheerful songs, and leaving a gift. We read a lot in the news about delinquent youth in our cities. I can do nothing but praise the youth of Langholm, and the Boys’ Brigade can claim a lot of credit for this.

Guides and Brownies

The Guide Company under Guiders Miss Mary Dalgliesh and Miss Jean McVittie, with the Brownies under Brownie Guider Miss Mary Armstrong and Assistant Brownie Guider Miss Helen Smith, observed Guide Thinking Day on 22nd February by taking gifts to sick and old people, and this was tremendously appreciated. On Sunday, 23rd February they attended the Evening Service in the Old Parish Church, when Lessons were read by Janice Anderson representing the Brownies and Janet Morrison representing the Guides. At the close of the Service the Guides and Brownies renewed their promises on the call of their leaders. The hymns were all chosen by the girls, includintg “Fair round the world Thy children sing their song”, and “And did those feet”, etc. There was a large attendance of girls and they sang the hymns with evident delight. We congratulate the leaders upon the growing strength of the Langholm Guide Company and Brownie Pack, and their smartness and discipline.

Sunday School

In the Children’s Competition under the Women’s Committee of the Church of Scotland Social and Moral Welfare, eighteen scholars of our Sunday School entered. The competition required that the scholar read St. John’s Gospel, chapter 6, verses 5 to 12, the story of how Jesus fed 5,000 people, and to write a letter describing what happened, or make a picture of the scene. A first prize was awarded to Helen Stroud of our Sunday School, and we congratulate Helen. We also thank the other seventeen scholars who entered the competition and who made an excellent effort.

Young Wives Fellowship

The March meeting of the Young Wives Fellowship takes place on Tuesday, 18th March at 8 p.m. We are glad to hear that the number of members is on the inerease and the meetings, now monthly, are very much enjoyed.

Youth Fellowship

The Youth Fellowship under Miss Kitty Duff, is now meeting every Sunday evening after the Evening Service. The attendance is growing, and an interesting variety of programmes have been planned for March.

Over 60 Club

The Over 60 Club under the leadership of Hostess Mrs. Flint, continues meeting on Tuesday afternoons and there is an ever increasing attendance. The next special event is to receive as guests the members of the Duns Senior Citizens Club on Tuesday, 8th April.

Langholm Youth Club

The Club continues meeting a real need in the town and district, maintaining a junior and a senior section. The Annual General Meeting takes place in the Youth Centre on Monday, 31st March at 8 p.m.

Departure of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Wood from Langholm

It will be a great personal loss for me, and also for our Church and community when Mr. and Mrs. Wood retire at the end of March, and leave Langholm. Mr. Wood was ordained an elder of the Church of Scotland in Forfar, and later served as an elder in Thurso, and since coming to Langholm has served as an elder in our Old Parish Church. His wisdom and good humour have made him a valuable office-bearer of our Church. He has taken responsibility for arranging contributions to the Church by Deed of Covenant and in this he has rendered most valuable service. Mrs. Wood has served as Guild Secretary and to her we owe much planning and correspondence in fixing outings, and the fortnightly programmes for Guild meetings throughout the Winter sessions. She also has given good service as accompaist at Guild meetings. We are going to miss both Mr. and Mrs. Wood very much, and I would like here to express our warmest and most sincere thanks for all they have done for the Old Parish Church and Guild, and for Langholrn community. Also to wish them both every blessing in their retirement.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,



F. W. O. February £75 18 3

Ordinary February £14 8 1


The Guild meeting on Tuesday, 25th February was a specially happy evenling, when the Over 60 Club, the Young Wives Fellowslmip, and the Matron amd residents of Greenlbank Eventide Home were our guests. The programme was David Ward Quartette Party from Carlisle, which provided a thrilling hour of song and music and recitations. The guests were welcomed by Mrs. Calvert, Guild President, and a vote of thanks to all who had taken part, and all who had contributed to the refreshments was given by Miss Ella Glendinning.

The next meeting of the Guild is on Tuesday, 11th March when the Matron of Greenbank will speak on Eventide Homes organised by the Church of Scotland and show films.


March 9 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Andrew Farms B.D. Flowers, Mrs. W. Kay, 22 Caroline Street.

March 16 - 11 am. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. J. Morrison, Commercial Cafe.

March 23 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Miss Burnett, Holm Cottage. Congregational Meeling after Morning Service.

March 30 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Ritchie Hyslop, Waverley Road.

April 6 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. J. Kyle, Kyleakin, Wauchope Place.

February 23 - Allan Alexander, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Irving, 3 Bridge Road, Kirtlebridge.


The Rev. Professor William Barclay, with his Trinity College Students Choir will visit Hawick Presbytery from 5th to 12th April, and will visit Langholm on Wednesday eveneing, 9th April. A special open meeting for the town and district will be arranged and intimated in the press and from the pulpits.