Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.41                      Price 1/- with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       MAY, 1964.

Minister: Revd. TOM CALVERT, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Mr. JOHN TYMAN, National Bank Buildings. Tel. 223

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

Treasurer: Mr. R. A. BLACK, 35 Eskdaill Street.

Organist: Mr. A. C. MALLINSON, A.R.C.O., L.R.A.M., 72 Henry Street.

Church Officer: Mr. ARCHIE SMITH, 7 Holmwood Crescent.

Hall Caretaker: Mr Donaldson, 7 West Street.

Text for May: The stone was rolled away." Mark 16, 4


Dear Fellow Member

We often worry about things—as those women worried as they went to our Lord's tomb on the first Easter morning. According to Westcott and Hort's translation the women kept saying to one another as they walked along towards the garden and their Lord's tomb, who will roll us away the stone? This means they kept worrying all the way, kept going over in their minds the problem they feared. And we read in our Text that when they came to the tomb they found the stone was rolled away—that all their worrying had been needless&mdash as so much of our worrying is needless. The thing they feared was no longer there&mdash the stone was rolled away&mdash and to their amazement the tomb was empty except for a young man in a white garment who told them that Jesus was risen.

Many of the things we worry about in life are like that stone that sealed our Lord's sepulchre—when we come to it we find the stone has been rolled away.

The Bible is full of such instances. Take the story of the Israelites in their march from Egypt to the promised land. After setting out on that long trek they began to worry about how they would ever get across the Red Sea, and on seeing Pharoah's pursuing army they became more disconsolate and cried out against Moses their leader. Then when they actually came to the Red Sea they found the waters had been rolled back by a strong east wind, and the stone had been rolled away so that they were able to pass over as by dry land. We have the same kind of surprise in the story of the Prodigal Son. After wasting his substance in riotous living he came to himself and decided to return home. One thing troubled him, how would his father receive him? Would he turn him away after having despised his earlier pleadings? He decides he will return and ask to be received as a servant on the farm. But we read that while he was yet a great way off, his father&mdash who had every day been looking out for his return&mdash saw him and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And without a word of bitter reproach calls for the best robe to be put upon him and a party of welcome home is arranged. The thing he had feared did not transpire&mdash the stone had been rolled away&mdash all his worries had been needless.

It is much the same with us in daily living. We often worry about things needlessly, things like ill health, financial insecurity, or about more intimate things like human love and loyalty. And so often it is found that the things we have dreaded have been like that stone that sealed our Lord's sepulchre, when we come to find them we find the stone has been rolled away. As Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Scout movement, once said: "I have had many troubles in my life, most of them never happened."

Of course it does not always turn out like this. Sometimes the things we have feared turn out to be stones that have not been rolled away. But it is certain that if we keep bravely going on towards the stone we have dreaded, we will find unexpected and sometimes unseen hands helping us to roll the stone away. This happened with Jesus. How he dreaded the prospect of suffering and the Cross. In Gethsemene he prayed that the stone might be rolled away. "Father, if it, be possible, take this cup from Me." ..But the cup was not taken away, Jesus had to drink it to its very dregs. On the other hand we read in St. Luke's Gospel that as Jesus knelt in prayer in Gethsemene there appeared an angel from heaven unto Him, strengthening Him. And strengths is just a Jewish way of telling us that Jesus was given special strength to meet special needs. And it is ever so for trusting men and women. This is something I have seen happening in the lives of men and women again and again. Trusting people are never left to bear the strain alone. Somehow we get help.

Now I would like to ask two questions about this stone that was rolled away from the door of our Lord's sepulchre. First, why was the stone rolled away; and second, who was it that rolled the stone away?
Why was the stone rolled away?

It is usually assumed that the stone was rolled away so that Jesus might come forth in His new and risen life, but the risen appearances of Jesus make this unnecessary. For in His resurrected life Jesus was independent of doors and indifferent to walls. St. John tells us how in the Upper Room where the disciples were gathered together for fear of the Jews: "Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst of them, and saith, peace be unto you." And yet the stone was rolled away, and I think I know why. It was not rolled away to let Jesus out but that we might see in. It was really a sort of demonstration of what actually happens at death and burial, to let us see how needless it is to worry about what happens to our dear departed ones. That stone was rolled away not that Jesus might rise from the dead, but that we might know that death had not been able to hold Him, that God would not suffer His Holy One to see corruption. And the sequence to it all is our Lord's wonderful promise: "Because I live, ye shall live also."

Up to then the grave had been dreaded as man's last enemy, as the end of all things, the end of living, the end of loving, as life leading into a cul-de-sac. You see, up till then no one had ever come back from the grave to tell men what happened. Up till then, as Aristotle the Greek philosopher said, "death was of all things the most terrible, for it was the end". But when those women saw into the empty tomb they knew as we know that death is not the end but a new beginning.

Some years ago a Birmingham minister, Dr. Rendall Harris, conducting the funeral service of a young girl, remarked at the graveside: "This cemetery is the emptiest place in Birmingham." Of course it was, there was nothing there. As the Bible says, at death, "the dust returns to the dust and the spirit unto God who gave it". When we pass away from this world we are not buried in six feet of soil, not the real "you", not the real "me". The answer is that "because Jesus lives we shall live also". D. L. Moody, the famous American evangelist of the last century, once said when addressing an audience in New York: "One of these days you will read in the newspapers that D. L. Moody has died. Don't believe a word of it. For I shall be much more alive then than I am now." And it was because the stone was rolled away and the women were able to see inside the empty tomb that he was able to say that with confidence.

The stone was rolled away in order to deliver us from the dread and fear of what the grave might mean for us. Rather like this. Suppose you are given the responsibility of putting a little child to bed on a dark winter night, when the wind is howling outside. You hear his evening prayer and then tuck him snug in the blankets, and then switch off the light in saying or kissing him goodnight. But suddenly he begins to cry and protests at being left alone in the darkness. You ask why, and he says he is afraid there are evil spirits hiding behind the curtains. So you switch on the lights again and draw back the curtains and ask him to look and see for himself that there is absolutely nothing to fear. And so now he curls up and goes peacefully to sleep, even in the darkness. And so when the stone was rolled away on that first Easter morning it was not rolled away to let Jesus come out of the grave but to let us see in, to see that the grave is empty so far as the real you or me is concerned, and that there is nothing to fear beyond the shadows.

And the final question, who was it that rolled the stone away?

St. Matthew's Gospel says "there was a great earthquake, and that an angel came and rolled back the stone", suggesting that it was done by an act of God; an earthquake, not an unusual happening in the Near East. But St. Mark, whose Gospel is the most original and reliable, simply says "the stone was rolled away".

In his fascinating book "Who Moved the Stone" Frank Morrison gives us the result of a detailed and scholarly study of all the ancient Biblical manuscripts available on the subject. Frank Morrison began as a non-believer in the Resurrection, and he set out to write a book to finally discredit all belief in Jesus having risen, but as he says, "the book refused to be written". The more he poured over the study of the ancient records the more he became convinced in the truth of the rising again on the third day, and he finished up by writing and publishing his book—"Who Moved The Stone"—"which is the most convincing argument on the truth of the Resurrection ever written. And Frank Morrison suggests that the evidence all goes to prove that human hands played the biggest part in moving the stone, that the young man in the long white garment whom the women saw sitting in the empty tomb was none other than Mark himself, the writer of the Gospel. Quoting from the Gospel to the Hebrews, a Gospel not included in our New Testament, he tells how Jesus, after His Resurrection, first appeared to His brother James. This is what the Gospel to the Hebrews says: "Now the Lord, when He had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the high priest, went unto James, and appeared to him." It is known that this servant of the high priest was a secret follower of Jesus. As the Guard set to watch over the tomb was no doubt the Temple Guard, the servant of the high priest accompanied them. When Jesus appeared unto him he no doubt wakened the sleeping soldiers and told them what had happened. And then to confirm what they had been told they rolled back the stone.

And this suggestion of Frank Morrison in no way takes away from the miraculous nature of the Resurrection but rather adds to its beauty. For after all, this is the way God works, not through a catastrophic happening in nature like an earthquake, but through human agencies. Just as Jesus did when He fed the multitude of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, He used a lad who gave up the remains of his lunch basket. In this incident of the moving of the stone from the door of the sepulchre, which as I have said was not necessary for the exit of Jesus from the tomb but merely to let others see inside that the grave was empty, I am inclined to' agree with Frank Morrison that human hands rolled back that great stone, just as ever since God has been using human hands to do His work in the world.. And on the basis of this suggestion I want to go on and suggest that all the great stones that have been moved, stones of fear and sorrow and suffering, have been moved in the same way, by the hands of men and women whose hearts the Lord has touched.

For example, when the masses of agricultural workers in England in the early 19th century were-starving for bread, God rolled away the great stone-by the hands of John Bright and Richard Cobden, who set themselves to take no rest until they had seen the formation of the National Anti-Corn Law league. It was by human hands that it was made-possible for women and children to be saved from death and disease caused by under-feeding. It was by human hands that that great stone was rolled away.

Some of you may have occasion to visit Liverpool one of these days, and if you have time I suggest you visit this wonderful cathedral, and particularly the Lady Chapel. For in the Lady Chapel you will find a lovely stained-glass window dedicated to women who rolled away great stones. In this window many wonderful women are clustered. One is Florence Nightingale, the noble nurse. Another is Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles, preacher and hymn writer respectively. Another is. Josephine Butler, born near Hexham, who fought the white-slave traffic. Another is Grace Darling, the heroine of the Farne Islands. These noble women are crowded together in one window, and anyone with average knowledge of our social history will know what great stones they rolled away and why they are remembered in this way. But one other woman who has a place in that window, who rolled away a great stone, is hardly at all known outside of Liverpool. Her name is Kitty Wilkinson, a humble charwoman, who has been given a place in the wonderful window in the magnificent Liverpool Cathedral. Her story is that when cholera came to Merseyside and everybody who could do so had fled, she stayed and fought cholera, becoming the foster-mother to forty-five orphaned children and earning their keep by washing and scrubbing in other people's homes. She became the pioneer of the public washing-house. The first one that was ever opened in the country was opened by the authorities as a result of her influence. I have never seen a picture of Kitty Wilkinson, but have read the description of one, and it says that her hands were all shapeless and swollen at the joints, looking like the hands of one who had been beaten by rheumatism. But what tender wonderful hands they were. They were the hands of a woman who mothered the motherless—"hands that rolled away great stones of sorrow and affliction and loneliness and suffering in the slums of Liverpool more than a century ago—"just as the great stone was rolled away from the door of our Lord's sepulchre by the hands of unknown and unnamed men nineteen hundred years ago. And this is how God is rolling away stones of sorrow and need and loneliness today, often by the hands of people as humble and unknown as Kitty Wilkinson—"by hands that are willing to be used, hands of men and women whose hearts the Lord has touched. "The stone was rolled away: for it was very great." And there are great stones which we may help to roll away, which youth may help to roll away, and which people in middle life may help to roll away. And this is our high calling in Him who rose again on the Third Day and who does His work in the world today through human hands that are willing to be used. Alexander Irvine, the famous Irish preacher of a century ago, in his delightful book "My Lady of the Chimney Corner", puts on the lips of his wonderful mother in Antrim these words: "Listen, dear, " Anna said, "God's arm is not shortened .. . He takes a han' wherever He can find it, and jist diz what He likes wi' it. Sometimes He takes a bishop's han' and lays it upon a child's head in benediction, then He takes the han' of a docther t' relieve pain, th' han' of a mother t' guide her chile, an' sometimes He takes th' han' of a craither like me t' give a bit comfort to a neighbour. But they're all han's touch't by His Spirit, an' God's Spirit is everywhere lukin' fur han's to use." Yes, God rolls away the stones today as nineteen hundred years ago by human hands, and today His Spirit is everywhere looking for hands to use.

April Celebration of the Sacrament of The Lord's Supper

The attendance at both services, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., was 440. Some have received Communion in their homes and in hospital and arrangements are in hand to visit some 20 more in their homes. I am anxious for all who are unable to attend the Communion Service in church to take advantage of the Minister and your Elder visiting you in your home so that you may fulfil our Lord's wish to "Do this in remembrance of Me."

Sunday School Outing

Plans have been made for the Sunday School outing this year to re-visit Gatehouse and Mossyard, Kirkcudbright, on Saturday, 20th June. Full details will be given later. The annual Flower Service and Prize-Giving will take place on Sunday, 27th June, at the Evening Service, marking the close of the Sunday School session.

Langholm Congregational Church Centenary

Langholm Congregational Church celebrated the centenary of its history on Sunday, 26th April, when the Revd. G. T. George, Secretary of the Congregational Union of Scotland, was the preacher. On Monday, 27th April, a Centenary Social was held in the church, when I had the privilege of conveying the congratulations of the Old Parish Church to the minister, office-bearers and congregation. There was a very large attendance both of local people and visitors from the surrounding district. Amongst the speakers were the Revd. J. C. Drife and the Revd. W. C. Cowan, former ministers, Provost Grieve, the Revd. C. V. Kendall, Scottish Episcopal; the Revd. Father Martin, Roman Catholic; the Revd. Dr. Dinwoodie, Erskine; and the Revd. A. W. Farms, Canonbie. It was an exceptionally happy occasion, very well organised, and a credit to the minister and office-bearers. We all hold the minister, the Revd. Beatrice Bonnar, M.A., B.D., in the highest esteem, and trust she will long continue to lead her happy and devout congregation in the rich contribution they make to the Christian good of our community and parish. Miss Bonnar is a lady of the highest culture and of great humility and shows forth a quality in her ministry that few ministers match, that of complete devotion and love for her people. May God bless her ministry in Langholm for many years to come.

Thanks and Congratulations to Miss Scott for Coffee Morning effort.

Very many thanks to Miss Scott for her very successful effort to raise funds in favour of the church heating installation. The Coffee Morning held on Saturday, 18th April, in Ashley Bank Hotel realised over £18. This is one of many special efforts Miss Scott has made for her church in the past two years, and we express our best thanks.

Recent Visit To Andover.

On Monday, 20th April, I travelled to Andover to attend a three-day conference of Air Cadet Hon. Chaplains. The journey south was a thrill at this time of year, especially encountering the M6 for the first time, practically 100 miles of three-lane motorway. Three other Church of Scotland ministers were present and twenty-seven clergymen of the Church of England and Methodist Church. The speakers at the conference were Miss R. C. Haddow, Secretary of the Church of England Youth Council, and the Rt. Revd. the Lord Bishop of Maidstone. The Bishop had just returned from a visit to H.M. Forces in Cyprus and had very high praise for the conduct and bearing of our soldiers on duty there. He told how a unit commander had remarked to him that it was evident that the secret of leadership was opportunity. By this it was implied that the young men of our Forces in Cyprus who are conducting themselves with such admirable bearing and restraint are just the same young men who at home a few weeks ago caused such an uproar in Clacton-on-Sea. I found the conference a very happy occasion when I was able to meet up with many wartime friends.

Sympathy with the Bereaved.

During the past month three much-loved and well-known members of our church have passed away. William Rutherford, 17 John Street, who passed away in his 89th year. He lived a happy good life, delighting in his work in rearing sheep and cattle. He also loved his Church and in his ripe years found his religion a source of consolation and peace. Also Mrs. Elizabeth Whitfield Harkness, living with her daughter, Mrs. Bell, at 24 Holmwood Drive. She passed away at the age of 75 after months of weakness and devoted nursing both by her daughter and the staff of the Thomas Hope Hospital. Mrs. Harkness was blessed with the love and care of her own family and passed away happy in heart and faith. Also Mrs. Elizabeth Graham, George Street, who passed away in her 81st year. She was with her daughter, Kathie, at Longtown, where she was nursed and cared for with wonderful devotion. Mrs. Graham had many friends in the parish, being the widow of an honoured elder of the Old Parish Church and a woman of gracious and kindly disposition. To the relatives of our departed members we extend sincere sympathy.

With warm regards to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.


By Deed of Covenant £82-10-0

Annual Envelopes £41-18-9

Retiring Collection (Benevolent) £:16-12-6

The Following Were Received Into Membership Of Our Church At The April Communion.

First Communicants:

Anne Murray, Greenhead.

Margaret Murray, Tarrasfoot.

Margaret Irving, Hagg Old School, Canonbie.

Kathleen Beattie, 124 High Street.

Muriel Barbour, The Burn, Westerkirk.

Margaret Barbour, The Burn, Westerkirk.

Jean Little, Skipperscleuch.

Christine McMurdo Arkletonshiels.

George Beattie, 8 Holmwood Drive.

George Kenneth Beattie, 6 Buccleuch Terrace.

By Certificate of Transfer, and Restoration:

Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Coxon, Brewery House.

Mrs. Margaret Brown, 32 Charles Street (New). (From Crown Court Church, London.)

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Little, Buccleuch Square.

James Middlemas, 28 John Street.

Misses Vera and Elizabeth Barkley, 1 Charlotte Street.

Nurse M. Ceasar, Thomas Hope Hospital. (From Greyfriars, Dumfries.) .

William Beverley, Inveresk.

Mrs. Flint. 33 Caroline Street. (From Church of England.)

Mr. and Mrs. John Benson, 109 Henry Street. (From Longtown Methodist Church.)

Mr. and Mrs. John Callum, 75 Caroline Street. (From Carlisle Methodist Church.)

Mr. and Mrs. Roger Kerr, Ardlui, 63 Henry Street.

Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Currie, 2 Elizabeth Street. (From Gretna Parish Church.)


The Spring Meeting of the Women's Guild Presbyterial Council will be held in Newcastleton this year on Tuesday, 12th May, at 3 p.m. The speaker will be Mrs. Hugh Douglas, the National President of the Women's Guild. Up to date twenty-seven from our church have handed in names to attend, and twenty-five from Erskine. The coach will leave David Street at 2.15 p.m. Any others wishing to attend should contact Mrs. Goodfellow, 9 Buccleuch Terrace, or the secretary, Mrs. Wood, National Commercial Bank Buildings.

Guild Annual Outing

The Annual Outing is planned to take place on Saturday, 20th June, by coach to Ayr. The charge for the coach is 10/- each, those attending being left to arrange for meals at Ayr individually. Times of leaving will be intimated later. We have booked a 42-seater coach and would like names of those wishing to go as soon as possible, and not later than Saturday, 30th May. Names should be handed in to the Secretary, Mrs. Wood, National Commercial Bank, or to the minister. We hope there will be a good response and a full coach.


April 19—Mark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Scott Armstrong, 1 Braehead.

April 19—Mitchell Joseph Park, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Liddell. .

April 19—Arlene Agnes, daughter of Ida Emelie Park, I Holmwood Drive.


April 10—William Rutherford, 17 John Street. Aged 88. Funeral to Westerkirk Churchyard.

April 20—Elizabeth Whitfield Harkness, Thomas Hope Hospital. Aged 75. Funeral to Langholm Cemetery.

April 29—Elizabeth Graham, George Street. Aged 80. Funeral to Langholm Cemetery.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."-2 Timothy 4, 7.


May 10—11 a.m. Revd. George Watson, B.D., Wilton Church, Hawick. (Pulpit exchange.) 6 p.m.—Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. J. Armstrong 29 Drove Road.

May 17—11 a.m. and 6 p.m.—Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. M. Douglas, The Parsonage.

May 24—11 a.m.—The Revd. Dennis Leadbeater, TD, Trinity Church, Hawick. (Pulpit exchange.) 6 p.m. .—Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. A. Cowing, Wauchope Place.

May 31—11 a.m. and 6 p.m.—Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. R. Douglas, Westwater.

June 7—11 a.m. and 6 p.m.—Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers: Mrs. A. Paisley, Struan.


The Congregational Board will meet in the Vestry on Thursday, 28th May, at 7.30 p.m.

The Women's Guild Committee is asked to meet in the Vestry on Tuesday, 12th May, at 7.30 p.m.