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 May - "Thou spreadest a table for me in the sight of my enemies." Psalm 23. 5 N.E.B.

In these word David is not thinking of the festive table of his royal palace but rather of days when he was a fugitive being chased and hunted by Saul, or later by friends turned traitors who were seeking to wrench the kingdom from him, of days when he was being hunted like a deer in the hills, and he found his needs ever well supplied by God's goodness, ever a table spread before him even in his worst days.

So the table to which our text refers was not very different from the table around which we gather twice a year for Holy Communion, for this table was originally spread in the sight of enemies, on the night in which Jesus was being hunted by his enemies when he gathered with his disciples in the Upper Room and instituted the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

A Table, the Communion Table in our Old Parish Church, speaks to us of hospitality.

Some of the grandest acts of hospitality I have known were in war years, when lads away from home were welcomed into other people's homes and made to feel at home. This kind of hospitality was common here in Langholm in those days and its symbol was a cup of tea. I can remember the most wonderful hospitality given to our soldier lads in Northern Ireland when the kindly Irish people organised hospitality committees in almost every town and district.

Lady Astor, speaking in Baltimore on the spirit of British women in the first world war, told a story of a Devon lady whom she knew who used to entertain American sailors stationed in Plymouth. She used to give them wonderful parties, and nightly kept her door open for anyone who wished to come to a meal. This lady had already lost two sons in the war, and dreaded the thought that her third son now on the Western Front might be killed. She said, "I don't believe I could go on any longer if Jack should be taken". And then it happened on a Monday and on the Thursday she had a party laid on for a number of gallant American sailors. Lady Astor said, when this Devon lady arrived in Plymouth her face was stricken white as the bad news of Jack's death had come to her that very day. Lady Astor tried to persuade her to call off the party as the sight of servicemen would only remind her of Jack, but she replied, "No Nancy, these lads are a long way from home and we must do all we can for them". The party went on and the lads never guessed the terrible sorrow in the heart of their host who charmed them with her cheer and kindness. And it was something like that on the night the Lord's Table was instituted, the heart of Jesus was heavy with sorrow, for he knew that that very night he would be betrayed and taken by his enemies and done to death. But like the lady in Plymouth, Jesus knew that these lads, his disciples, were a long way from home and a terrible ordeal awaited them when he was taken from them. So he gathered them around a table and entertained them to a feast.

So the Communion Table which Jesus instituted speaks of hospitality. In its origin the Lord's Supper was a real meal, and continued so for many years a table of hospitality for needy folk. So it continues, and I don't believe we have any right to turn any away from the Lord's Table. Jesus didn't, not even Judas whose heart was full of dark intent. All were welcomed by Jesus and are still welcomed by him. The only people excluded from the hospitality of his table are those who exclude themselves by their unbelief. At the Lord's Table "There is welcome for the sinner, and new graces for the good. There is mercy with the Saviour, there is healing in his blood".

The Communion Table also speaks of Nourishment.

As I have just said, in its origin the Lord's Supper was a real meal, though with the passing of the years it became a feast of symbols. And the symbols speak to us of deeper hunger than physical hunger, of what our Lord had in mind when he said that man cannot live by bread alone.

I have known many fine Christian people for whom the Lord's Table had little or no meaning. On the other hand many of the bravest heroes of the faith have found themselves sustained and supported with this sacrament when they have had to face threats and danger and death. The early Christians of the second century whom the Roman Emperor sought to exterminate found the taking of the bread and wine in remembrance of their Lord to be the main source of strength. And it was the same for the Scottish Covenanters. We read about over two thousand of them gathering round a huge stone slab north of Irongrey Church, Dumfriesshire, and taking the bread and wine in remembrance of the suffering, death and victory of their living Lord, and by this being strengthened to endure. We are all familiar with the story of Nurse Edith Cavell, the brave English nurse who found herself in Brussels after the invasion of Belgium by the Germans in 1914. Because she assisted many British and French soldiers to escape as prisoners of war, she was arrested and condemned to be shot. The British Chaplain in Brussels was allowed to visit her on the night before her death, and together they took the bread and wine of the Holy Communion and she was so empowered that she went on to recite words of the well-known hymn,

"I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless,

Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.

Where is death's sting? Where, Grave, thy victory?

I triumph still if Thou abide with me."

It should be remembered that our Communion Table in its origin was closely related to the old Jewish Passover Festival when the Jews gave thanks for a great deliverance.

They gave thanks for deliverance of their race from slavery in Egypt, and Jesus must have had this in mind on the night he instituted the Lord's Supper. But by taking the bread and wine that night he gave a new and greater reason for thanksgiving, the deliverance his suffering and death and victory would have for the human race.

So when we come to the Communion Table we give thanks for a great deliverance and this is why the Anglican Church often speaks about the Lord's Supper as the Holy Eucharist, the word eucharist being the Greek word for thanksgiving. And we should have no difficulty in thinking of reason for thanks for a great deliverance, even though we may find it hard to comprehend the meaning for us of the sacrifice of Calvary. For there are few lives that have not experienced a great deliverance at one time or another, for which we should be truly thankful. Often when I find myself inclined to be gloomy and discouraged, I find myself pulled together by remembering how thankful I should be for a great deliverance. I often recall my own personal deliverance in the Evacuation of Dunkirk. I recall getting into a rowing boat and being transferred into a small motor boat. Shells were bursting overhead, boats being blown out of the water, men were drowning on almost every side. At that very moment the 20,000 ton liner Lancastria, with five thousand men on board, was pulling out of St. Nazaire when a bomb dropped by a German aircraft went down one of the funnels, and the great ship sank in a few minutes. Three thousand of the five thousand perished. Yet the small craft in which I sailed with a score of others came safely through the barrage and the next morning we went safely ashore at Sheerness. When I recall that night of terror I count myself fortunate to have experienced a great deliverance and often ask myself why? Most of us have experienced deliverance in one way or another. Perhaps when with some grave illness we were taken into hospital and by the skill of some surgeon we were preserved. Many people living today would not have been alive if they had come through the same illnesses they have had say fifty years ago. Medical science and modern curative drugs have given much cause to give thanks for a great deliverance. Our lives have been preserved and delivered again and again and we all have a lot to be thankful for. "The lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places, yea we have had a goodly heritage", so let none of us miss an opportunity of coming at least twice a year to the Lord's Table and thanking God for a great deliverance.

Finally, the Communion Table stands in the very centre of our Church to keep us mindful of and loyal to Jesus.

We need the table just as we need Sunday worship to help us to remember God who alone can satisfy the deep needs of the human spirit. As St. Augustine prayed, "O God, Thou hast made us for thyself and our spirits are restless until they find their rest in thee". The world, as someone has said, is too much with us, sooner or later, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.

It is so easy to forget God in the hectic lives most of us live. I am told that if a baby is three weeks away from his mother he will forget her. And if we absent ourselves from worship and from the Lord's Supper for any length of time, we stand in real danger of forgetting God and going back upon our vows of loyalty as followers of the Lord Jesus. The reason why I am so pleased of the good response to the early half-hour service on Sunday is that it is helping many people who wouldn't otherwise engage in an act of worship to begin the week with God in their thoughts. The Communion Table helps us in this, be it only coming twice in the course of the year, helps to keep us loyal to the Lord Jesus and mindful of God, "from whom we come, unto whom we return, and in whose service is our peace".

It was before the Communion Table that most of us once made our vows to be loyal followers of the Lord Jesus and even though we may have gone back upon those early vows, we can come again and renew them in the silence of our hearts and find strength to do better. This is why the Communion Table is sometimes called the Sacramental Table, the word sacrament originally having to do with a Roman soldier making his vow of loyalty to his Captain and Emperor, a vow that he would never be faithless. And I have read somewhere that in the days of the Roman Empire it was the custom to recall legionaries from garrison duty abroad so that they might renew their vow of loyalty on the Field of Mars and in the presence of the Emperor. This is what we are called to do when we come on Communion Sunday to make our sacrament, to renew our vow. To say in our hearts as we take the bread and wine:-

"O Jesus I have promised to serve Thee to the end;

Be Thou forever near me, my master and my friend.

I shall not fear the battle If Thou art by my side;

Nor wander from the pathway - lf Thou wilt be my guide."


Dear Fellow-Member,

April Communion

The attendance at the April Communion was down this year by 20 per cent. which was to me very disappointing. I realise this is an almost impossible time for farming people with the lambing season in full swing and anxieties with weather conditions. But the disappointing thing is that the number was well down on April 1969 when circumstances were similar. The attendance at the Morning Service was 267, and in the afternoon 72, making a total attendance for the day of 339. With a Communion Roll of well over 800 communicants this is saddening to me. On the other hand I must say that in the ten years I have been in Langholm I have not seen the members of the Kirk Session take their part with greater reverence and very nearly a full turn out of elders. I wish to congratulate our new session clerk, Mr. Archie Findlay, on the quiet and efficient way he carried out the arrangement of duties, and Mr. Robert Black who assisted him. Since Communion I have celebrated the Lord's Supper in several homes and have plans to visit many others.

I have a feeling shared by some of the elders that it would be worth while reviving a practice of my predecessor, Rev. James Cotter, of holding occasional house services in country districts for the benefit of elderly people who do not find it easy to come to church. I will be glad to hear of any country homes where this would be welcome.

General Assembly

The General Assembly will meet at 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday, 19th May, after a service in St. Giles at 10.30 a.m. The Moderator Designate is the Rev. Hugh Osborne Douglas, Chaplain to the Queen, C.B.E., D.D., minister of Dundee St. Mary's. Dr. Douglas is a minister of great charm and widely known for his T.V. talks and ministry. I am, along with our elder Mr. James Maxwell, a member of the Assembly this year, but doubt whether I will manage to attend on the opening day. The women's meeting in the Usher Hall on the opening day of the Assembly will this year be presided over by Mrs. W. Grant Anderson, president. Mrs. Anderson, wife of the minister of Hawick Old Parish Church, is well known throughout the Presbytery for rousing addresses at Guild meetings. The theme of the Women's Guild Meeting in the Usher Hall is, health and wholeness, and one of the speakers on the theme will be the Rev. A. Scott Hutchinson, B.D., the minister in the wheel-chair. Mr. Hutchinson, 25 years ago was a young officer cadet in India and as a result of polio became paralysed from the waist downwards. While lying in Bridge of Earn Hospital he resolved to fight back against his terrible affliction, managed to attend classes in St. Andrew's University, graduated in Arts and Divinity, and is now the minister of Rubislaw, Aberdeen where he is admired by thousands of people for his victory over seeming disaster. He is to speak to the guild ladies assembled in the Usher Hall on "health and wholeness" and he will have something to say that will be worth hearing. Some time ago a journalist spoke to him about his disablement and he replied, "I don't consider myself disabled. Not half as disabled as the people who go through life without any guiding star. Or half as disabled as the people who have no ambition beyond the next pay packet. These people are mentally disabled. They go through life with a constant feeling of pointlessness". The Old Parish Guild representative at this meeting will be Miss Hume of Greenbank.

Boys' Brigade Twelfth Annual Inspection and Display

On Friday, 24th April, the 1st Langholm Company of the Boys' Brigade held their twelfth annual inspection and display, when there was a record attendance of parents and friends. The inspecting officer, Group Captain S. Baillie, O.B.E. Commanding 14 M.U. of the R.A.F., Carlisle, congratulated the Company upon their fine turn out and training. Bailie J. Harkness served as chairman. Prizes were presented by Mrs. S. Cairns. In his annual report, Mr. James Kyle, Captain of the Company, thanked the Officers and lads for their loyal support in parades, activities and Sunday Bible Class. He said they had been working under difficult conditions owing to the breakdown of the Hall heating system. He also thanked the Mothers' Committee under Mrs. Madge Kyle, Mrs. Lamont and Mrs. Graham, for strong support in maintaining the finances of the Company. He intimated that the annual camp would take place from 1st to 8th August at Hederwick Hill Farm, near Dunbar. He also said that in 1971 it was hoped to have a camp abroad on the Continent of Europe. In closing his report Mr. Kyle said that owing to pressure of his business duties he felt obliged to hand over responsibilities as Captain to Mr. Ramsay Johnstone, the senior Lieutenant of the Company, though he would continue to attend and serve whenever possible. I then took the opportunity of expressing the thanks and appreciation of Church and Community for the excellent service rendered by Jim Kyle over the years. Also that we are confident the high standard of training will continue under Ramsay Johnstone who has been a member of the 1st Company since its formation by Mr. Robert Robertson.

Guild Outings

The day outing to Holland on 15th April was very much enjoyed by the 40 ladies who left Langholm at 5 a.m. The bus travelled to Newcastle airport, then by plane to Holland, and returned to Langholm by 11.30 p.m. Owing to the late Spring season the bulb display was disappointing, but the ladies enjoyed good meals and attractive scenes in Holland and by no means least, what was for many their first flight.

There has been a request from many members of the Guild to have a half-day outing and plans are afoot for an outing to Galloway on Saturday, 27th June, with high tea at Mayfield Hotel, Kirkcudbright. The cost of coach and meals would be approximately 19/- in all. So far 16 names have been handed in to Mrs. Woolnough, Guild secretary. We would like as many more names to make it possible, and I appeal to all the Guild ladies and others interested to help to bring up the number to fill a coach.

Annual Spring Meeting of Hawick Presbyterial Council

The Woman's Guild spring rally organised by the Hawick Presbyterial Council has in former years been two separate meetings held in different areas of the Presbytery. This year it will be one meeting held in Langholm Old Parish Church on Tuesday, 12th May at 7.30 p.m. The speaker will be Mrs. W. D. Hart, convener of the Horne Board Women's Council. As we expect between three and four hundred ladies attending from different churches of the Presbytery, we are anxious to offer them warm hospitality and refreshments in the Old Parish Hall, after the meeting. We appeal for gifts of cakes and scones towards the supper and will be glad to have ladies to help in serving refreshments and preparing the Hall. Will all ladies free to help in the afternoon please come along to the Hall about 2.30 p.m.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

We were all deeply distressed by the sudden passing of Miss Jean Wilson, 3 Caroline Street, on Wednesday, 22nd April. Jean was in her 60th year. In the war years she served with the A.T.S. in London and since the war with Messrs. Stevenson and Johnstone, W.S., where she was very highly thought of by all to whom she had rendered grand service. Jean was devoted to the care of her late aunt Agnes Wilson, and also up to the last to her aunt Christina Black. I am glad to know that she was supported in her last moments by four of her closest friends, Jean Hyslop, Ella Glendinning, Molly Roddick and Haldane Gillespie and by Dr. George Watt. Our sincere sympathy with her aunt Mrs. Christina Black in her great loss.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.




March 72 8 11

April 197 8 5


March 73 18 9

April 157 1 6



March 15 3 4

April 52 3 5


March 16 19 4

April 58 8 5


The Kirk Session reports that at the April Communion the following were received into full membership. By certificate:-

Mr. Eric Douglas King and Mrs. Gloria Ann King, Langholm Police Station, from Dornock Parish Church.

Miss Hume and Mrs. Ross, both in Greenbank church - membership renewed.

Mr. Charles William Graham, 4 Galaside.

By profession of faith. Previous to Communion:-

James Neil Stevenson, Great Oaks, Langholm.

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Turk, 9 Academy Place.

At Communion:-

Ian Campbell Glendinning, 70 High Street.

Graham Bell Weatherstone, 26 Caroline Street.

Janet Elaine Irving, 5 Buccleuch Crescent.


May 10 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. M. Douglas, The Parsonage.

May 17 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Cowing, Wauchope Place.

May 24 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. R. Douglas, Westwater Farm.

May 31 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. William Elliot, 3 Buccleuch Terrace.

June 7 - 9.30 a.m. Half-hour Service. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. D. Hendrie, Cleuchfoot Farm.


April 12 - Duncan John, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Ritchie, Academy Place.

April 12 - Lara Jane, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mervyn Burnett, John Street.

April 12 - Lynn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gribbon, 1 Cavan Place, Ecclefechan.


April 22 - Miss Jean Wilson, 3 Caroline Street. Age 59.

"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.


An advert has appeared in many papers, "Work Wanted". A group of young people in Edinburgh are looking for work. They are members of Quest, the Youth Fellowship at Greenbank Parish Church, Edinburgh, and they are anxious to find a project for a two-week summer work camp in Scotland. Miss Flora Milne, of 39 Morningside Drive, Edinburgh, says that the fellowship would like to help any parish where their voluntary labour could be used to renovate old or deteriorating property. The group are prepared to tackle redecoration in a church, community centre, old people s home or other similar institutions.