Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

No.116                       Price 8p - with LIFE AND WORK - 3p LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                        February 1971.

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 March - "l sought for a man among them, that should stand in the gap but I found none". Ezekiel 22. 30.

Most of you will be familiar with the name of Lord Reith, better known perhaps as Sir John Reith who a few years ago served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and who served as the first director of the British Broadcasting Corporation. John Reith was the architect of the B.B.C. and served this country in a way that merited the highest honours the Monarch could bestow. He was the instigator of religious Services being broadcast in the late twenties. When the first religious services were broadcast on Thursday evenings from St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Canon Dick Shepherd, the preacher, gave a message of hope and encouragement to the people of this land during those depressing years of the great slump following the First World War.

I have read the life story of Sir John Reith. He was the son of a Church of Scotland minister in Glasgow and after going through the university and graduating in Arts, served in H.M. Forces in the First World War. After the war he was a bit unsettled for a time, had various jobs with seemingly little taste for any of them. Then one Sunday night, happening to be in London, he attended a Service in Regent Square Presbyterian Church when a well-known Scottish preacher gave the sermon. The text was the one I have chosen for March - "l sought for a man among them that should stand in the gap but I found none". Quite apart from the sermon this text made a very deep impression upon John Reith that night, and during the following week he pondered over it, during which week he saw an advertisement in the Press for a man to be appointed director of broadcasting. He had no previous experience in this field, as few had in those days, but he felt that here was a call for him in some way to fill a gap in the nation's life and to make his life a channel of service to the country. So he applied and was eventually appointed, and no one could have fulfilled that task better than this fine Christian man.

Our text refers to a sorry day in Israel's national life, when there was no one coming forward to take the place of its ageing leaders.

There were times in the story of ancient Israel when there was no lack of response for young men to play the part of leaders. Recall how when the Hebrew race was wasting away in slavery in Egypt God needed a man to lead his people forth to freedom and restored nationhood, and Moses as he stood by the burning bush, heard that call. It was with some reluctance that he responded, because as he pleaded, he was not a gifted spokesman. Yet despite that God used him, and this man slow of speech proved himself one of the greatest leaders and lawgivers of all history. Later we read of God needing a spokesman to declare his will and word, and he called a lad in the Temple called Samuel, as he served at the altar under Eli the priest. And Samuel responded in the well known words, "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth", and was from then on sent on the way of carrying God's errands. Later we find young Isaiah worshipping in the Temple and after overcoming his sense of God's majesty and holiness and realising that he had been purged from his sense of unworthiness, the call comes, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?", and he gives the reply "Here am I, send me".

But in Ezekiel's day the spirit of the Hebrew people was broken by long years of captivity in BabyIon, and few had any heart to respond to the call to fill the dwindling ranks of God's prophets - who were always the true leaders of the nation. In that day even the priests of the people were violating the law of God and profaning holy things. And so in that sad day no man was found to fill the gap.

But this state of things was not to remain for long for all unknown to Ezekiel, God was preparing a man to fill the gap, a young Jew called Nehemiah who at that time was cup bearer to the King of Persia, and who was later to be allowed to return to the desolate city of Jerusalem and set about the task of rebuilding its walls and its national life.

I would like you to notice how at every time of emergency, at the right psychological moment, God always seems to have some man or woman ready to fill the gap.

Think of how after the day of Pentecost, the leaders of the early Church who had never fully understood their Master's teaching about going to all nations with the Gospel, were confining their preaching to Jews. If this had continued Christianity might never have got further than becoming another sect of Judaism, had not God been mindful of this and was preparing the mind and heart of Saul of Tarsus to bring to the early Church the vision of Christ becoming the Lord of all nations. Saul who after his conversion was to be called Paul, was raised up to declare that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free.

Or think of how in the 15th century when the Church in Europe had sunk into a kind of commercial organisation, threatening men from princes downwards with torments in the next world unless they bought pardons and penances. And then God raised up Martin Luther and the reformation to recover the Church to present the true Gospel.

The same thing happened in this country, the Church became so corrupt that owning the greater part of the wealth of the land her priests were granting their livings to the illegitimate sons of priests, often while they were still mere children. And then God raised up John Knox to fill the gap and give the land a reformed Church.

When things got so bad in England that Thomas Arnold, the famous Master of Rugby, said he believed that religion was dead or dying in the land. At the same time Bishop Butler of Bristol, refused the offer of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, because he said it was too late to support a failing Church. It was at that time that God raised up John Wesley who was to lead the evangelical revival of the 18th century, bringing not only new hope to a failing Church but a new social conscience to the aristocracy who were starving the masses of the people under an outdated feudal system.

Or when the nursing profession in the land was at its lowest ebb and no one with any moral sense would be associated with it, God raised up Florence Nightingale to lift it to be the highest and most respected of all callings for women.

And in our own beloved land, when the threat of Nazi invasion was upon us and it seemed possible that our national life might disappear for generations to come, God raised up Winston Churchill to fill the gap by giving us new faith and confidence to endure and fight back. There is no end to the number of instances where God has raised up a man or a woman to fill the gap, often at a time when things seemed most hopeless.

A few words about finding men and women to fill the gaps in Christian service.

It is now a long cry from the days when Robert Raikes founded the Sunday School movement. Since then in Churches all over the land, indeed all over the world, wonderful work in gathering children together for Christian teaching has been continued by the readiness of men and women to come forward and fill the gaps. No one can estimate too highly the value of the work our Sunday Schools have done and are still doing in the winning of lads and girls for the best kind of life. An interesting statement was published in reference to juvenile delinquency and young people getting involved with violent gangs in our great cities. It quoted from police records that it was only a small number of youths who had been in their hands who had behind them Christian training and example in their homes, or who had attended Sunday School. I have quoted before the story of the young soldier who received fatal wounds at the Battle of El Alamein, asking a chaplain to write home for him to his mother, and to his Sunday School teacher to whom, he said, he owed so much.

The strength or weakness of organisations like the Sunday School, the Boys Brigade, the Guides and Brownies lies the readiness of some man or woman being willing and ready when needed to fill the gap in Christian leadership.

And I often think about the gap that is left every time a faithful Sunday worshipper dies or leaves the district. How cheering it is to find someone come forward to fill that gap. And this applies not only to regular worshippers but to members of the Church Choir, there are gaps waiting to be filled if the praise of God is to be led in triumphant notes, and let it not be said in our Old Parish Church in Langholm, "I sought for a man or a woman among you to fill the gap, and could find none".

A word about filling the gap when bereavement comes, especially for the elderly.

What a tremendous gap bereavement brings to many people. I can remember thirty years ago when Dr. Lauchlan Maclean Watt, the famous Highland preacher, was minister of Glasgow Cathedral. When his wife died unexpectedly, the blank she left never seemed to fill for him, and he said that all that was left for him was grey days. And as people get older they feel this very deeply, and all that the younger people can do and all that the Church can do to help to fill this gap is work you can be assured that lies very near to the heart of Jesus. For he himself stepped in to fill the gap in the home in Nazareth when Joseph died. He, it seems carried on the work of the carpenter's shop to support the home and younger members of the family. And in doing this Jesus felt he was going about his Father's business every bit as much as when later on he was preaching and healing in the towns of Galilee and Judaea.

The work of our Woman's Guilds in organising meetings where there is an open friendly atmosphere, especially meetings where people are helped in finding opportunity of talking and listening to each other, do much to fill the gap for the bereaved and the lonely. And this is a work that our Over 60 Clubs, Evergreen Clubs, and the like are doing in a praiseworthy way. And there are children and young people in the land who have been bereaved or deserted or neglected by their parents who need friendly understanding people to stand in the gap and help them on their way in life. And in our cities and heavily populated industrial areas this is work in which our Churches and Christian men and women are deeply involved in helping thousands of the young people of the land to live happy useful lives. We hear little about this kind of work, only about the few who grow up to be violent and anti-social, the problems of society.

When Jesus began his ministry he realised that the time would come when he would depart from the world in physical form, and so he called twelve men that they might be with him, and that when the time came that he was taken away they might stand in the gap and carry on the work. And in the work of the Church this is something we need to be constantly keeping in mind, gathering in those who will one day carry on the work our congregations now represent, if we are convinced that this is God's plan for winning the world for his kingdom.


Dear Fellow-Member,

I have not been able to have all the special Services and events of March and Easter confirmed but am able to give details of the following.

Guild Sale of Work

The annual Guild Sale of Work takes place in the Old Parish Hall on Saturday, 13th March, to be opened at 2.30 p.m. by Mrs. Moule of Canonbie Parish Manse.

It will be seen from the Annual Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31st December, 1970, shortly to be issued to the congregation, that last year the Guild contributed £200 to the Church Treasurer to help in meeting our assessment to Church Schemes. The Guild also contributed to the upkeep of the Church Hall the sum of £40. The hall is in nightly use and on Sundays, and in 1970 in heating and lighting and other charges made a call upon Church Funds to the amount of £288. We are hoping that all organisations using the hall will follow the example of the Guild and contribute as generously to its upkeep. In view of the practical support the Guild gives annually to the Church Funds, I appeal to all our people to give the Guild Sale your best support whether in donations, contributions to the various stalls, or by attendance.

Stalls and Stall Conveners are as below -

CAKE STALL: Mrs. Woolnough and Mrs. Morrison.
WORK STALL: Mrs. McVittie.
NEARLY NEW STALL: Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. Mitchell.
CHILDREN'S BOOKS & TOYS: Mrs. Porteous and Mrs. Cairns.
PRODUCE STALL: Mrs. J. Little and Mrs. Rhoda Little.
SUNDAY SCHOOL & 5p. PARCELS STALL: Miss Mary Daigliesh
TOMBOLA: Mrs. Lamont and Mrs. Erskine.
TEA CONVENER: Mrs. Elaine Anderson.

The Guild asks friends for all the help possible towards these stalls, and also for sandwiches, scones and cakes towards the tea.

Visit of Carlisle Male Voice Choir

On Sunday 14th March, the 6 p.m. Evening Service will be led by the Carlisle Male Voice Choir of some thirty voices under the leadership of Mr. Harold Forsythe. This will be a very happy and inspiring evening of song and praise, and I am anxious for the occasion to be made well known and to have a large congregation to welcome our visitors from Carlisle. I appeal to all our members to be in church on this special occasion and bring your friends. After the Service of Praise the Guild will entertain the choir to refreshments in the hall.

Women's World Day of Prayer

The Women's World Day of Prayer for the Langholm Churches will be held in the Congregational Church, Kirk Wynd, on Friday, 5th March, commencing at 7.30 p.m. The reading on behalf of the Old Parish Church will be taken by Mrs. Betty Elliot. We commend this Service to all the ladies of our congregation.

Classes for First Communicants

Classes for young people who wish to become members of the Church will commence on Sunday, 21st March, meeting immediately after the Evening Service. These classes will continue until Sunday, 18th April. I will welcome young people attending this class whether or not they wish to be received into membership at this time.

Annual Meeting of the Congregation

The annual meeting of the Congregation is on Sunday, 28th March, immediately after the Morning Service. At this meeting our Church Treasurer will present the Annual Statement of Accounts. Reports will be given by the Session Clerk, the Clerk to the Congregational Board, and the Secretary of the Woman's Guild. There will be opportunity to discuss any matters pertaining to the welfare of our Church and in particular the report from Messrs. Henry Willis and Sons Ltd. on the essential overhaul they recommend for our Church organ. Five vacancies on the Board require to be filled, and I hope we will get names of members who are keen to see the Church Hall and Manse well maintained.

Other Special Services

The Evening Service on Sunday, 28th March, will be a service of Passion and Easter hymn singing led by our choir under Mr. Cecil Carmichael. There will be choir practices on the two previous Sunday evenings after the Evening Service. I make a strong appeal to all previous choir members and others who could come in and help, to give support to this Service.

On Sunday, 4th April, Palm Sunday, the Evening Service will be led by the Langholm Town Band in appropriate music and song and of Easter hymns of praise. The previous visits of the Langholm Town Band have always been well supported, and we are grateful to Mr. Alfred Chapman and the Band members for the promise of another Service to be led by them.

Junior Choir

Our organist is anxious to form a Junior Choir to help in being a source of feeding into the Church choir. This would not only greatly help our Church in occasional special services but would give our young people many opportunities in being of service to the community in visits to the Hospital and Eventide Home. A meeting of young people of 10 years and upwards is called for in the Hall on Friday, 12th March at 4.30 p.m. If this time of meeting should not be convenient for the majority of the young people willing to support this appeal, the time will be changed later.

Guild Meetings

In February the Guild had two well supported meetings. On Tuesday, 9th, the programme was ''Any Questions", with an excellent panel of Mrs. Jean Armitage, Mrs. W. Armstrong, Mr. W. Carruthers and Mr. P. Stroud. A wide range of questions were asked and the discussion lasted for well over an hour.

On Tuesday, 23rd, the Guild enjoyed the visit of Police Woman Eileen Irving, talking about her work and experiences in the police.

On 9th March, the next meeting of the Guild will be addressed by Mr. John Brotherston from Annan. Mr. Brotherston is Flight Lieutenant in Command of the 1152 (1st Dumfriesshire) Squadron Air Training Corps, and as chaplain to the Squadron I accompany him to the annual summer camp. He is also area director of the new Social Work Services Group and this will be the subject of his talk to our Guild. In this he will be assisted by Nurses Reid and Waldie who will show slides illustrating the nature and scope of the new Social Services Group in Scotland.

On 13th March the annual sale of work - as given in detail above.

On 23rd March the programme has been changed to Talent Evening, open to all, young or elderly. The scope of the Talent Evening will include musical items, handicrafts or needlework.

On 19th June, the Guild will assist Miss Barbara Paterson at Hopsrigg in running a coffee morning at Hopsrigg Farm. There will also be a sponsored walk on the afternoon of the same day, which is being organised on behalf of our Church and Hall fabric fund. The organisers of the sponsored walk are Mr. Ramsay Johnstone, Mr. Gavin Graham and Mr. John Scott, and others whom they may wish to co-opt. We are hoping for a large number of our children to give this effort their support and make it a good success.

Guides and Brownies Observe Thinking Day

On Sunday, 21st February, I had the pleasure for the tenth time over the years of my ministry in Langholm to welcome the Guides and Brownies to our Old Parish Church in observing their annual Thinking Day. Guide Thinking Day falls on 22nd February, the birthday of the Guide founder - Lady Baden-Powell, who was born on 22nd February, 1889. The Guides under Miss Mary Dalgliesh, captain, and Miss Jean McVittie, lieutenant, and the Brownies under Miss Mary Armstrong, brown owl, were very smartly turned-out. Lessons were read by Sheila Lamont representing the Guides and Rena Crawford representing the Brownies. In my short address I congratulated the Guides and Brownies upon the practical way they always observe Thinking Day, by thinking of the elderly and the sick in their homes, in Hospital and in the Eventide Home. The main points of my address this year were that thinking or thoughtfulness is important because it saves us from the sin of ingratitude. That thoughtfulness helps us to avoid becoming envious of others. And the importance of cultivating happy cheerful thoughts.

At the close of the service the Guides renewed their promise on the call of their Captain, and the Brownies on the call of their Brown Owl. Then followed the prayer:

God be in my head and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes and in my looking;
God be in my mouth and in my speaking; God be in my heart and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.

Early Morning Half-Hour Services

The early half-hour services which have been so well attended and supported in the past two years will commence on the first Sunday of May - that is, 2nd May at 9.30 a.m. This is the first Sunday after Communion, and they will continue every Sunday until 24th October, the Sunday before the October Communion. I know that many look forward to these shorter services and that many are helped to join in an act of worship when they have plans of going out of town for the day.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

Our sincere sympathy with Mr. and Mrs. Moscrop of Broomholm Cottage in the passing of his mother Janet Moscrop at the Crooks, Westerkirk, on 28th January.

Our sincere sympathy with Mr. Jock Templeton and family at Innerleithen, and relatives, in the passing of Jean Templeton, formerly Davidson, at the age of 44.

On 11th February, Martha Irving Lightbody, passed suddenly away at 85 Caroline Street, at the age of 73. She was greatly loved by all who knew her for her grand neighbourly spirit and good humour. Our deepest sympathy with her bereaved husband Fred, and her daughter, Netta, in their sad loss.

On 13th February, Thomas Irving, late of 12 Buccleuch Terrace and formerly in business at 116 High Street, passed away in the Dumfries Hospital at the age of 84. Tom, as he was best known, was born at Claygate and was an expert drystone dyker. For some years he was in Green Grocery business in Langholm where he was a popular and well loved man. Our deepest sympathy with his grand-daughters Joan and Linda, and his son-in-law Len Armstrong of Carlisle.

On 20th February, Margaret Helen Bell passed away at Clinthead at the age of 67. Her health has been declining over the past seven years, but she was blessed with the constant care of her husband Gilbert Bell and their family and many friends. For many years Margaret played a leading part on the Old People's Welfare Committee and in the Meals on Wheels Service and is remembered by many for all she gave of her time and means to others. Our deepest sympathy with Gilbert, her bereaved husband, and with Arthur and Michael and their families.

As this letter goes to print I have just heard of the sudden passing of Mrs. Tyman's brother, and express our deepest sympathy with her in her bereavement.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.


March 7 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. W. Kay, 22 Caroline Street.

March 14 - 11 a.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. 6 p.m. Carlisle Male Voice Choir. Flowers, Mrs. James Morrison, Commercial Cafe.

March 21 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Ritchie Hyslop, Waverley Road. Class for first communicants after Evening Service.

March 28 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mr. James Maxwell, Treetops. Annual Congregational Meeting after Morning Service. Service of Praise led by Church Choir at 6 p.m. Class for first communicants after Evening Service.

April 4 - 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. J. E. Kyle, Kyleakin, Wauchope Place. Evening Service led by Langholm Town Band in Easter music and praise. Class for first communicants after Evening Service.


February 11 - Mrs. Martha Irving Lightbody, 85 Caroline Street. Age 73.

February 13 - Mr. Thomas Irving, formerly of 116 High Street. Age 84.

February 20 - Mrs. Margaret Helen Bell, Clinthead. Age 67.

"I am the resurrection and the life," saith the Lord. "He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.' St. John 11. 25/26.