Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.44                      Price 1/- with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       SEPTEMBER, 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 September: Behold I have set before thee an open door." Revelation, 3, 8.


Dear Fellow-Member,

September for many of us is like the beginning of another year. For our children it is the beginning of school for another year, while for our little folk just reaching five years it is the beginning of school. And in our Church life it marks the beginning of Sunday School for another year, and a new beginning of our various week-night activities. And it is with this in view that I have chosen this text for September—"Behold I have set before thee an open door." And in it I find a message from God for our young people, and for men and women of all ages and occupations, and for our Church.

Some of us can remember days when the familiar thing was the closed door. Just after the First World War there came a time when many thousands of people seeking employment were met on every side with closed doors. We can remember times when young people seeking to enter any of the various professions, while they didn't find the door exactly closed they found it very difficult to enter. It is not so long ago since women found the door closed upon them for the right to vote or enter certain professions like medicine or law. Things have vastly changed in recent years and continue to change, so that the message of our Text for September is seen to have fulfilment in practically every sphere of life.

First think of the message of our Text for our young people at school or college today—there is set before them an open door.

How often I have heard people say that "when I was young I wanted to be a teacher or a doctor or a minister but I didn't have the chance to get the education." No one can say that today. Any lad or girl at school can, if they have the desire and are prepared to work, train for almost any profession they choose. What with our modern highly equipped schools and the support of State Grants it is possible for any average youth to go on and realise their ambitions. No longer is it necessary for young people wanting a college training to carry on or commence their studies while working in factory or mill or workshop, as did David Livingstone, Thomas Edison, Dr. Alexander Whyte and Sir Henry Jones. Of course entering the open door still means hard work, persistence and avoiding the temptation to drift. But the door is open and the demands and difficulties should act as a challenge for us rather than a discouragement. When St.Paul first went out on his missionary campaigns to carry the Gospel into the heathen world, he found the door of entry into Europe open but beset by many dangers and difficulties. And writing in his first Epistle to the Corinthians he says "A great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries." But St. Paul never sought the easy way of serving his Master. The difficulties and dangers seemed to fascinate him and made him all the more determined to go forward. We read about David Livingstone when he first went out to Africa as a missionary, that he was asked by the London Missionary Society to labour in a coastal region among natives already won for the Gospel. But Livingstone objected, he wanted to go into the interior where white men had never been before, and despite the dangers of hostile tribes and jungle fever. "Send me anywhere" he said "providing it is forward". And I repeat that today the door is wide open for our young men and women to enter any profession or sphere of service to their choice providing they are prepared to work and not be put off by the example of slackers. Thomas Edison the famous inventor and scientist once said that his great success was not that he was a genius. He said it was one per cent genius and ninty-nine per cent persperation.

Our text also has a message for women, today there is before them an open door in almost every profession and calling.

As the result of long and splendid agitation women have battered open the door once closed upon them in this country to enjoy various rights equal with men, and enter any of the professions. In medicine, law and in the executive branches of the Civil Service they are now taking their place and doing the work with the same skill and faithfulness as men. Only in the Church, where one would have. expected their cause to be championed, do they still find the closed door to the ordained ministry. In the Church of Sweden and in the English Presbyterian and Congregational Churches the door has been opened, and the few who have entered have proved their call of God to the work. Some of us felt very distressed that the General Assembly of our Church of Scotland in May of this year should have kept the door barred against Miss Mary Lusk. She is serving as a Chaplain to Edinburgh University, is a graduate in Arts and Divinity of high distinction, and says she feels called of God to enter the ordained ministry of our Church. In the discussion in the Assembly it was remarked that she was seeking to "climb into the ministry by the window" and that no one was willing "to open the front door" until someone knocked. Well, someone has certainly knocked on the front door in this present year, who claims with sincerity that she feels called of God, and unless someone can show that Miss Lusk is mistaken that she is called of God, or that God has made a mistake, the day is not distant when the Church of Scotland will set aside all the prejudice we have inherited from the Jewish background to our faith, and open the door wide to any women fitted and called to the ministry. I was present at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of England when it met in London a few years ago and received an application from Miss Ella Gordon, M.A., B.Sc., B.D., for admission to the ordained ministry. Her application was strongly supported by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the late Professor Henderson of Aberdeen University. The application was granted and Miss Gordon was ordained to a Tyneside Presbyterian Church where her ministry was richly blessed. She was instrumental in recovering a congregation that had been declining for years; and is today fulfilling a fruitful ministry in Norris Green Presbyterian Church, Liverpool.

Our Text also has a message for people in failing health or who have suffered disabilities or misfortunes—the door is ever open for those who keep faith and hope and courage.

John Milton lost his eyesight in service of his country. It seemed then that the door was closed for further useful service, but no. He did his best work after this misfortune, writing his "Paradise Lost, and Paradise Regained". It was much the same for Henry Fawcett. As a tall young man, a student in Cambridge with his mind set on service as a member of the British Parliament, he had the terrible misfortune of losing both his eyes as the result of an accidental shot from his father's gun. He was 25 when this happened, but from that day until his death twenty-six years later he never complained or showed any sign of disappointment. With a brave spirit he went back to Cambridge, graduated, later published his Manual of Political Economy, and later was appointed Professor of Political Economy. Then he entered Parliament representing Brighton and was by no means a silent member. He became Postmaster-General, and introduced the parcel-post, and later received honorary degrees from famous universities like Glasgow and Oxford. Some would have regarded the accident at 25 as the door closed upon any possibility of doing anything with his life, but instead it seemed to enrich the quality of his life. I could mention many more, some of them victims of the two world wars through wounds who have kept faith in God and in themselves, and come through to render exceptional and outstanding service.

But our text was originally addressed by the Risen Lord to a Church, the Church in Philadelphia, —Behold I have set before thee an open door."

This Church was situated in a city with the lovely name of Philadelphia, a word which means brotherly love. This name was given to the city after the King who founded it hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. And the people who made up the membership of this Church were worthy of the name of their city and lived up to it. Their city was set in a strategic point, at the very gateway of Asia Minor. The great trade routes from Syria and the coast passed through it, and travellers and traders passing inland found this Church witnessing to them of the Christian way of life. And what was true of this Church in Philadelphia is true of the Church as a whole, set in the midst of our modern and in many ways dangerous world. "Behold I have set before thee an open door." What an opportunity the Christian Church has today by closing her ranks and forgetting denominational differences in witnessing to a divided and warring world of unity and brotherly love. And what was true of the Church in Philadelphia can also be said to be true of our Church here in Langholm—the word of the Risen Lord to us is surely the same, "Behold I have set before thee an open door." What a wonderful open door we have set before us in this community in these present days, numbers of people outside Church membership are friendly disposed to the Church and many of them only need a friendly invitation and words of encouragement. I believe that the majority of the people outside the Church in this land today are feeling a bit disillusioned with life, and have a secret longing for some sure word and some great cause to which they might give themselves. I am sure that this is true of the majority of our young people in their heart of hearts, though they may never give you that impression. And of course its no use saying that people know where the Church is if they want to come to it. We have got somehow or other to discover the secret in that parable of the Great Supper where the Lord commanded his servants to go out into the highways and hedges and compel the people to come in, that God's house with all its provision for the deep needs of the human spirit may be filled and overflowing.

And of course the Gospel we have to preach in our Churches is the Gospel of the open door.

When Jesus came preaching in Galilee His message was about an open door. He went to Jerico and met a man called Zacchaeus who had a bad reputation among the Jews. They had closed the door of the synagogue upon him. But Jesus invited Himself to his house and told Zacchaeus that he was a true son of Abraham, and opened up the way for him to return into the true family of God. And the New Testament is full of such incidents. Of men and women whom Jesus recovered for the good life by His Gospel of the open door. In the parable of the prodigal son, the wayward lad was afraid to return home after wrecking his life and prospects. He expected that the door would be closed upon him, and it probably would if his elder brother had had his way. But instead of a closed door he found it wide open with his father standing outside eagerly looking for the return of his lost son, and greeting him on his return with no word of reproach, only words of welcome and festivity and rejoicing. Of course that is not the way of the world. The world doesn't give you another chance if you make a mistake. But that is the very heart of the Gospel, an open door, a second chance, a new beginning.

Just a few lines on how prayer is an open door to God's presence and help.

Simple earnest prayer is a wonderful thing. It is the door into God's very presence which we may enter, not only on Sundays in church services but any day and anywhere. It does not even need to be spoke, for "prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed. The motion of a hidden fire, that trembles in the breast." I have read a story about the famous Dr. Alexander Whyte when he was minister of Free St. George's, Edinburgh. At one time he had A. B. Macaulay—later to become a famous scholar and university professor—as his assistant. When Macaulay was leaving to take a church of his own, Dr. Whyte said to him, "I want to give you a present, the best thing I have to give, and here I give you the key to my house. And I hope you will use it whenever you are in Edinburgh." What a privilege to give anyone a key to your home, and that is what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. He has given us the privelege of coming to him in the name of Jesus at any time, and making our requests made known to Him. The door to God's presence is always open to us in Jesus. He is the key by which we can enter. And what a wonderful thing it is to come into God's presence in prayer in the name of Jesus. "We kneel how weak, we rise how full of power. Why therefore should we do ourselves this wrong? Or others? That we are not always strong, anxious or troubled. When with us is prayer, and joy and strength and courage are with Thee."

And it is my earnest faith that God's open door ,does not end when we leave this present world.

I believe that beyond this world is God's eternal city, with an ever open door. Before the coming of Jesus it was believed that the end of our earthly life was a cul-de-sac,—a closed door. Aristotle the Greek philosopher said "death of all things is the most terrible, for it is the end". But the Gospel of God's Fatherhood and the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus with the promise, "because I live ye shall live also", has given us sure grounds to believe that beyond this present life there is an open door through which we may enter into the Father's house in which there are many abiding places. Someone has put it in lines which go something like this—"Death is but a covered way that opens into light. In which no blinded child may stray beyond the Father's sight."


On Sunday, 13th September we will observe Battle of Britain Remembrance at the Morning Service. On Sunday, 20th September we will have a visit from a Church of Scotland missionary at the Evening Service. On Sunday, 11th October the annual Guild Dedication Service, a United Service with the Erskine Church at 6 p.m. in the Old Parish Church. And on Sunday, 18th October we will hold our Harvest Thanksgiving Services, the Morning Service being led by the children of the Sunday School, and incorporating the annual Cradle Roll Service. The Evening Service on this Sunday will be shared by members of the Eskdale Young Farmers Club.


The Youth Club has been hampered during the past year for lack of premises. The Committee has recently been considerably enlarged and looks forward to getting the Club under away again in the not too distant future. The County Education Committee has promised us premises in the Infant School in Charles Street Old, sharing with the County Library. As alterations need to be made to the premises it is not likely that accommodation will be available before December. The Youth Fellowship plans to hold fortnightly meetings on Sunday evenings in the Old Parish Hall, commencing on Sunday, 16th October when we hope to have members of the Eskdale Young Farmers Club as our guests.


I have plans for commencing regular visitation commencing on the week beginning 13th September in Henry Street. Intimation of visitation will be made from the pulpit.


We were very happy to have the Langholm Academy Prize-Giving again in the Old Parish Church, and to see the Church so well filled with members of the public. The Rector, Mr. J. Pattie, had much to say of great interest to us all in his annual report. Particularly we were delighted to hear him congratulate Pat Goodfellow, the dux-girl in 1960 on being awarded the gold medal for Geography by at Edinburgh University. We were also all very thrilled to listen to Miss Evelyn Smart deliver an address full of good counsel and humour before presenting the prizes.

During July I was absent for a week from the parish attending the A.T.C. Camp at R.A.F. Watton in Norfolk. Living for a week in the R.A.F. Officers Mess took me back to days when I was a serving chaplain, and gave me a great sense of pleasure. I was given every facility to minister to the Scottish lads attending, some 100 from Dumfriesshire, Ayrshire and Galashiels. On the Sunday morning we held a parade service in the Church of England Garrison Church, when officers of the Wing read the lessons. I was given the opportunity each morning at Flag Hoisting at 8 a.m. to take a very short service, and by the end of the week made many friendly contacts with the lads and their officers. Many thanks to Mr. Tyman for taking my Service here so acceptably in my absence.

The Langholm Common Riding was again a very happy event and carried through with marked dignity. Cornet Edgar played his part well and we all felt delighted in his sense of pride in this fine office.

The United Services in August were again well supported, and I am grateful to Dr. Dinwoodie for taking the holiday Sunday and enabling me to be away from the parish that day. During August I returned to my pre-war parish of Waterside and Lethanhill, Dalmellington, in Ayrshire, to conduct a War Memorial Service in the mining village of Lethanhill.


During July and August there have been many unexpected and sad bereavements. Mr. David Oliver, 41 Eskdaill Street, passed away very suddenly, and we express sincere sympathy to his widow and to Mr. and Mrs. Barker and family. Mrs. Nellie G. Snowdon, 15 George Street, passed away after some years of weakness and helplessness. She was nursed with wonderful care by her husband, George Snowdon, to whom we offer our sympathy. Mrs. May Waldie, wife of the late James K. Scott, Jedburgh, passed away at Thornhill, and was interred at Staplegordon. Deepest sympathy with Mr. David Bell, Mount Gardens, in the passing of his wife Janet suddenly in the City General Hospital, Carlisle. While David Bell and family are members of the Erskine Church, I mention this bereavement as that of good friends. Then while on holiday at Morecambe, Magnus Neill passed away so suddenly that distress came to us all. Our very tenderest sympathy to Mrs. Neill and her son Magnus.

With my kind greetings to all our people, and particular remembrance of Miss Nellie Veitch in the City General Hospital, and Mr. Joseph Little in the Cumberland Infirmary.

Yours sincerely,




Collections for July and August, 1964

F.W.O. £147 4 3

Ordinary £42 15 2

Annual envelopes £20 0 0


The Annual Camp this year was held at Girvan, Ayrshire, where 20 officers and boys had a wonderful holiday. In fact the boys voted this year's camp the best ever.

The Company attended the morning service at the Old Parish Church in Girvan and were complimented on their very smart turn-out.

Visitors' day was on Wednesday when over a dozen parents and friends arrived in spite of the long distance from Langholm.

The weather during the week was very mixed but never becoming too wet to be uncomfortable.

Very soon now the Company will be starting a new session when it is hoped that a good number of recruits will come along.

The junior movement of the Boys' Brigade, The Life Boys, hold their enrolment in the Congregational Church Hall on Friday, 1 1 th September, at 7 p.m. when all boys who will be 10 years of age by 31st May, 1965 are invited to attend.



July 5—Fiona Catherine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Laidlaw, 15 Maxwell Place.

July 11—Carole, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Irving Nichol, Terrona Shiels.

July 11—Joan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hyslop, Perterburn.

July 26—Angus Richard, son of Mr. and Mrs. William G. Brown, Ardcharnich.

July 26—Helen Elizabeth, daughter of Mr and Mrs.James A. Wilson, Tundergarth Mains Farm.


July 18—William K. Braithwaite, 16 George Street, Annan, to Margaret B. Murray, Tarrasfoot.

In Memoriam

July 7—David Oliver, 41 Eskdaill Street. Age 70.

July 9—Mrs. Nellie G. Beattie Snowdon, 15 George Street.

Aug. 1—Mrs. May Waldie Scott, Thornhill. Age 77.

Aug. 5—Mr. Magnus Neill, Sawmill Cottages, Ewesbank. Age 59.

"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." John 11, v. 25-26.


September 13—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Dalziel, 16 Braehead.

September 20—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Visit of Church of Scotland Missionary at Evening Service. Flowers, Mrs. E. Armitage, Glowrie, Hallpath.

September 27—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. D. Milligan, 5 Buccleuch Square.

October 4—11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. A. Erskine, 35 Eskdaill Street.


The Eskdale Old People's Welfare Committee in response to the request of several of the older people of Langholm recently organised an Old People's Club. The Club is meantime meeting in the Old Parish Hall on Tuesday afternoons, from 2.30 p.m. onwards. Mrs. Flint, Caroline Street, is the hostess, and a Committee consisting of the following has the oversight of the Club—Mrs. Mackie, 3 Holmwood Crescent, Mrs. Callum, Caroline Street, Mrs. Beverley, Henry Street, Miss J. Graham, Whita Cottage, and Mrs. Richardson, Charlotte Street. The attendance has been encouraging and programmes of interest and refreshments have been arranged for each meeting. One of the best programmes recently was violin selections by Mr. David Hardie, Edinburgh, with Mrs. Barker at the piano. The aim is eventually to obtain a house in which the Club can have its own premises, and an open door throughout the day.

Printed at Advertiser Office, Langholm.