Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.55                       Price 1/ - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       SEPTEMBER, 1965.

Minister: Revd. Tom Calvert, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Mr. John Tyman,M.A. LL.B., Barbank, Langholm. Tel. 223

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

Treasurer: Mr. Robert 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.

Motto Text for September: "He shall drink of the brook in the way: Therefore shall he lift up the head." Psalm 110, 7.


Dear Fellow-Member,

The Bible is full of references to brooks and wells. We read about Elijah the Tishbite during a time of prolonged famine in Israel being told by God to hide himself by the brook Cherith. "And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee." Later on we read about David, the writer of our Motto Text, after being driven out of Bethlehem by the Philistines, expressing the longing, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate." And we read of how three of his brave captains broke through the Philistine battle lines at the risk of their lives; and brought their King the water he desired. And in the New Testament we read of Jesus being wearied resting by Jacob's well in Samaria, and asking a Samaritan woman who came to draw water to give him a drink, and how he went on to tell her of the living water which he could give. A lovely story which inspired Horatius Bonar to write the lovely hymn, "I heard the voice of Jesus say, Behold I freely give, the living water; thirsty one, Stoop down and drink and live."

For us, living in a country where the climate affords plenty of rain, brooks and wells do not have much meaning. But for the people of the Bible, living in desert lands, wells and brooks were vital to life and continued existence. Our soldiers of the 8th Army knew this when under General Montgomery they drove Rommel's forces back towards Agheila in the Western Desert. The retreating forces of Rommel had destroyed and poisoned the wells of Barce, and this meant a hold up while military transport was used to ferry up supplies of fresh water from Cyrene and Egypt. In our Motto Text David is recalling days when he was being persued by his enemies and cut off from the amenities of the civilised world. For the want of water rather than bread he is very near exhaustion and defeat when unexpectedly he comes upon a running brook of fresh water. After drinking freely he is refreshed and able to continue his escape, and preserved to fight back another day and recover his losses. "He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head." In older days of desert travel a brook in the way was a great discovery and blessing, and it is still a lovely symbol of the many grand experiences men and women have on the journey of life which help to renew their faith and confidence and vigour. I wish to mention some of the brooks by the way that we may drink from when we are feeling weary on the journey of life, and which send us on our way with renewed faith and vigour.

Summer Holidays, a Brook by the Way

For many people a holiday means all that a brook in the desert meant to David. Especially for people living in our great cities, people whose daily lives are governed by bus time-tables and clocking in and out of factory or office. People living in tenements in the industrial areas of the land, what a relief to get away into the open country or to the seaside for rest and change. Richard Jeffries tells in "The Story of my heart", of a place outside of Swindon, a quiet country spot to which he used to go whenever he felt depressed or cast down, and of how as he lay on the grass contemplating upon the wonders of Nature and the open countryside there came a wonderful sense of joy and peace into his heart. The seaside also has this ministry for the tired and weary and troubled, and I think this is why our wise doctors so often advise their worried patients to go for a holiday by the sea. For as you gaze upon the great rolling ocean with its unplumbed depths, you come to realise that everything else around you is small, including many of your own worries. "Immensity is magnificent medicine" says a well known writer. In Mrs. Barclay's Rosary she tells about how the Hon. Jane Champion consulted her physician Sir Deryck Brand. After realising the fearful strain to which his patient's nerves had been subjected, he said, "Here is a prescription for you. See a few big things." He urged her to go out west and see the strength us Falls of Niagara, or go out east and see the Great Pyramid. "Go for the big things," he said, "and you will remember when you are bothering about pouring water in and out of teacups that Niagara is still flowing."

It is interesting to read that Jesus once felt the need of a holiday. and betook Himself to a quiet place beyond the Jordan called Bethabara, the place where He had at first been baptised by His cousin John. It happened after the feeding of the five thousand, when he had refused to allow the people make Him their King. He had made it clear He had not come to rule an earthly kingdom which would divide men, but a spiritual kingdom in which men of all nations and colours and languages would share. This disappointed the ardent nationalists in the crowds that followed Him and soon He was finding Himself deserted by His followers with the exception of the specially chosen Twelve. And in that time of disappointment and deep discouragement Jesus went away beyond Jordan for what we might call a short holiday, and there by the Jordan in that Place where He had found His early inspirations for the founding of the Kingdom He found Himself recapturing His early zeal and faith, and found Himself recovered in strength to return and carry on His mission.

General Wingate, when planning the conquest of Burma with his famous Chindits, based his campaign on the scheme of Cities of Refuge we read about in the Book of Joshua. He set up "Forts" within the jungle, to which the wearied, the wounded and fevered might be brought to find recovery and re-equipment. These Cities of Refuge were not designed as a place of escape from the battle but a place of recovery where the tired and fevered might go to find renewal, and then return to carry on the battle. That is what a holiday meant for Jesus. and that is what it can mean if wisely spent for any of us . It is what the Brook by the Way was for David, an experience that enabled him to lift his head and go forward better equipped for the strains of toilsome days.

A Season like Christmas is a Brook by the Way

As we leave behind us our summer holidays and begin the new part of the year which confronts us with shortening days and coming winter, we will find Christmas set at the very heart of winter to be a brook in the way which will bring us refreshment and recovery. Looking forward to Christmas and actually partaking in its festivities does this not only for children, but for old folk and for men and women of whatever age or faith. Yes, Christmas when we all to some extent become little children again. when old folk find themselves being remembered, and when we sing over again the lovely carols about the Saviour's birth, we find it a veritable brook by the way, set in the heart of winter.

Other Brooks By the Way from which we can all drink and find ourselves replenished in strength for daily living

We are poor indeed if we are deprived of sympathetic understanding friends. Someone to whom you can go with a full heart and unburden yourself. It is interesting to note how much Jesus felt the need of understanding friends, and this is one of the main reasons why at the commencement of his ministry "He chose Twelve that they might be with Him." Jesus needed human friendship, and we know how much it meant to Him later on, when His popularity began to wane and He was confronted with the malice of His enemies. Before going to the Cross Jesus spoke to those Twelve friends in words of loving appreciation. They had stood by Him through the bad days, and He thanked them, saying "Ye are they who stood by Me in My trials". People can endure a lot and carry heavy responsibilities so long as they have sympathetic friends behind them, and this is why Robert Louis Stevenson said, "A true friend is better than the wealth of the world." A Glasgow business man about whom I have read fell into ill-health at a time when his business was far from prospering. But he won through and when asked however he had managed to stand up to things during his bad days, his reply was "I had a friend".

(b) The Gift of Humour and Laughter

I am sure Jesus often laughed, and that His good sense of humour helped Him over many of these dreary days when His enemies were planning His destruction. When we are feeling dreary or cast down, what a relief to see some funny side to things and be able to chuckle, if it is only for a fleeting moment when the comic side of things breaks in upon us. R. M. Benson, in Scenes From A College Window, says "God gave us humour to save us from going mad". Mr. G. K. Chesterton has said that the most important discovery of the Victorian age was that of nonsense, to be able to introduce fun into the serious business of living: There is a grayer inscribed upon. a plaque in Chester Cathedral which goes like this:

"Give me a sense of humour Lord, That I may get some happiness from life, And pass it on to Other folk."

And this is the important thing about this brookby the way of a sense of humour, it not only refreshes us ourselves but true gaiety is contagious, you cannot keep it to yourselves, you pass it on to other folk.

A Happy Home is a Brook by the Way

All I will say cn this point is to quote what a famous Edinburgh scholar and preacher of the last generation once said. The late Principal Rainey during the days of the Disruption of the Scottish Church often found himself the subject of bitter attack, and he had to endure a lot of false criticism. When asked by someone how he managed to keep such wonderful poise amid it all, replied "I am very happy at home".

There are many other brooks by the way to which I might have referred, the love of good literature and books for example. During the early days of the last war and during the times of constant crisis and set-backs in the battle of the Western Desert, General Wavell, the Commander in Chief, found himself calm and resolute because he found rest and repose in his love of poetry and the English classics. Another brook by the way for many is Sunday worship, when in the quiet of God's house, and listening to the reading of God's sure word of promise, men and women are enabled "to see life steady and to see it whole".

How to Keep the Waters of the Brook fresh and sweet

We read in the Book of Genesis how in ancient days the Philistines used to wreck the wells which Abraham and his servants had dug, how they used to stop them up with rubbish. This is what happened to the wells of Barce during the advance of the Eighth Army over the Western Desert, they found the wells choked and poisoned. And we live in a world which still delights in wrecking wells, a world of hates and jealousies and envies and spites and malice. And these are things which wreck many a holiday, spoil many a friendship. make many a home into a hell, just as the Philistines did with Abraham's wells. But I can tell you of one with whom we can keep company in life whose unseen but very real presence with us will help to keep the wells, "the brooks by the way", sweet and refreshing. The Lord Jesus offers to be in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Think of how men surrounded Him with hate and how they falsely accused Him, and put Him to a cruel death. Yet even hanging on the Cross He remained void of bitterness and prayed for His tormentors, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". And then on the Third Day after they had buried Him He came forth from the tomb the same joyous, loving Jesus. I have read about a well on the foreshore of Corrie in the island of Arran, just below Goatfell. The great salt tide comes in over it twice every day, but when the tide goes back the fresh spring soon washes away all the bitterness of the salt sea and the waters of the spring are as fresh as ever again. So with Jesus, and those who keep Him in their thoughts and lives, they are kept from allowing hate and suspicion and bad moods and tempers from choking the wells, a holiday, a friendship, a home. To the woman at the Well of Samaria He said, "I will be in you a well of water" springing up and making life grand and eternal. Let those who are finding their brooks by the way spoiled by the world's hates and lusts give him a chance and they will find new meaning in the words that I have already quoted from Horatius Bonar, "I came to Jesus and I drank of that life saving stream. My thirst was quenched. my soul revived and now I live in Him."

Common Riding Sunday and Visit of the Moderator

Sunday, 25th July made history as the first occasion when we have had a United Service of the Erskine and Congregational Churches with us in the Old Parish. I thought it was a wonderful Service having all the ministers taking some small part, with David McVittie and James Maxwell reading the Lessons, the Rt. Rev. Archibald Watt D.D., Moderator of the Church of Scotland as preacher. His address to the young folk will be remembered by young and old present as a most appropriate Common Riding message about the visitor to Sparta, a famous city of ancient Greece. Talking to the King the visitor expressed surprise that the city should have no walls to defend it. The King replied, pointing to his soldiers drawn up in battle array, "These are the walls of Sparta, every man a brick". Every man was prepared to give his life for the city's honour and good name, just as the Cornet and those who ride the boundaries of the common land of Langholm symbolise men and women who have the highest interests of the town at heart. On the Common Riding Day we were blessed with a lovely day. and we were all impressed with Cornet David McVittie's thoughtful remarks as he handed back the Langholm standard to Provost James Grieve.

Langholm Youth Centre

As most people know, the Old Infant School in Charles Street Old has been allocated by the County Education Committee to house the Public Library, and the other part to be known as the Langholm Youth Centre. The Youth Centre comes into use on Monday, 13th September and to begin with will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to the Senior Section of the Langholm and District Youth Club, meeting from 7 to 10 p.m. The membership of the Senior Section of the Club is open to young people from 14 to 21 years of age, and older people interested in the aims of the Club may become associate members on payment of an annual subscription. The Junior Section membership is 10 to 14 years of age, and will meet on Tuesday evenings, commencing early October. The Club will also be open on Saturday evenings, commencing October, for junior and senior film shows, and dancing classes. On Sunday evenings the Club will be open for the Fellowship of Youth which will now be incorporated with the Youth Club. The Club facilities include a coffee bar, billiards, table tennis, and the usual other games. It is intended to make full use of visual aids when projector equipment has been purchased. There will be an official opening later arranged by the County Education Committee.

Air Cadets Camp

I was on duty as Hon. Chaplain with three squadrons of the Air Cadets from 16th to 23rd July at Syreston, near Newark. There were approximately 70 lads with about a dozen officers on the camp. On the Sunday we had a parade Service in the Camp Church, when the Lessons were read by a Flt./Sgt. and a Warrant Officer, and when the local school-master played the organ. Each morning during the week I went on parade with the lads at 8.45 a.m. for Colour Hoisting, and was allowed time to say a few words and take short prayers. During the week we had conducted visits to the station establishments including the control tower, the shooting range when I was allowed to take part, and two visits of great interest. One to Cranwell, R.A.F. College, and another to Scampton, near Lincoln, where we had a look over a Vulcan bomber, and saw the police dogs in action. It was a busy and useful week, and I came away impressed with the response of the young men to all the Christian religion stands for in their lives.

United Services for August Holiday Month

The United Services with Erskine have been well supported, and I was impressed at the number of Old Parish people attending at Erskine last Sunday morning: As from the first Sunday of September we commence our Morning and Evening Services in the Old Parish, with the Sunday School meeting with the Morning Service, and retiring after the children's hymn for classes in the hall.

Hall Conversion Plan

The Congregational Board agreed on a plan to convert the hall gallery into an additional hall. The plan prepared by Mr. McMillan has been approved by the Hawick Presbytery, and by the Burgh Surveyor. We are hoping to carry out the main part of the work by voluntary labour and save having to draw upon the Church Fabric Fund. For this I would be pleased to have offers of service during evenings from joiners and others. The main work will be removal of the seating, bringing the floor down to one level, and battening the end facing the hall. Also we will require to construct a hinged window as an emergency exit, to meet with regulations. When the work is completed the premises will serve for Board meetings, committee meetings, and various activities.

Church Door Curtains

Since the last magazine was issued the provision of lovely red curtains for the inner-side of the Church doors has included the door on the right front. This gives a lovely warm appearance to the Church and has added greatly to the beauty of our Old Parish Church. While I know the donor doesn't want her name mentioned I feel I cannot allow this gift to come to us without expressing our best thanks to Mrs. Cowan.

Church Services and Visitations

On Sunday, 12th September I am exchanging pulpits with the Rev. Andrew Farms, when I will be at Canonbie in the Morning and Longtown in the Evening, and Mr. Farms will conduct the Morning and Evening Services in the Old Parish. On Sunday, 15th September we will, as requested by the Moderator of Assembly, keep "the few" in proud remembrance and thanks to Almighty God for the deliverance of the Battle of Britain. This will be at the Morning Service. On Sunday, 26th September at the 6 p.m. Evening Service we will observe our annual Guild Dedication Service. The Women's Guild meetings commence on Tuesday, 12th October, full details of meetings to be given in the October magazine. I am commencing visitation on the first week of September in Henry Street, and hope to get round the congregation during the next few months.

Elders Wives Effort for Church Fabric Fund

Under the leadership of Mrs. Kenneth Neill the Elders wives have organised efforts to help build up the Church Fabric Fund. A most successful car rally was held in July, when over 40 cars entered for the event organised by Jack Ross and friends. The rally ended with a gathering in the church hall when refreshments were served and a very happy and exciting evening concluded. The result was that over £43 was added to the Fabric Fund. A further effort in the nature of a Coffee Evening is to be held on Wednesday, 29th September in the church hall, full details given below. Many thanks to the Elders wives for their interest and support in their church.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

During the past two months we have lost three friends with long Langholm and Old Parish Church connections. Charles Stuart, brother of William Stuart our Senior Elder, passed away in Longtown at the age of 82. During the first world war Charles was badly wounded and suffered from the effects right UP to the end of his days. Yet he lived an active life and maintained wide interests and enjoyed the company of many friends. Mary Millar, Townhead, passed away suddenly at the age of 75. She was well known for her work as president of the W.R.I. over many years, and was a keen member of the Old Parish Choir, and was very anxious to see the choir restored to the strength of former years. Mary Thomson, 84 Henry, Street passed away in her sleep at the age of 81. Only two weeks ago she enjoyed the delightful outing organised by the Over-60 Club. To the relatives of our departed friends we express deep and sincere sympathy, thinking of Bela Millar who must be feeling very lonely for the loss of her devoted sister Mary, and of Mrs. Myra Murdoch, daughter of Mrs. Thomson, and Mrs. Cormack in their sudden bereavement.

With warm regards to all our people.

Yours sincerely,




There will be a meeting of elders wives in the vestry on Thursday, 23rd September at 7.30 p.m. to make final arrangements about the Coffee Evening.

The Coffee Evening takes place in the Old Parish Hall on Wednesday, 29th September at 7.30 p.m. During the evening Mr. Matt Armstrong will show a selection of holiday slides. We hope there will be a good attendance.


Commencing Monday, 13th September the Youth. Centre in Charles Street Old, in rooms adjoining the Public Library, will open for the Senior Section of the Youth Club. The Senior Section is open to young people of 14 to 21 years age group. The meetings will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between hours 7 to 10 p.m. The facilities include coffee bar, billiards, table tennis etc. In October a Junior Section for age group 10 to 14 will meet on Tuesday evenings. It is planned to be open in October on Thursdays and Saturdays and Sunday evenings; on Thursdays for those interested in arts and crafts including canoe building and sailing, on Saturdays for film shows and on Sundays for Fellowship of Youth now to be incorporated in the Youth Club.


September 12-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Andrew Farms, B.D. Flowers, Mrs. Dalziel, 16 Brae-head. Sunday School meets with Morning Service.

September 19-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. Jean Armitage, Glowrie, Hillside. On this Sunday we will remember how much the many owe to "the few" for the victory of the Battle of Britain.

September 26-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. D. Milligan, 5 Buccleuch Square. Women's Guild dedication at Evening Service.

October 3-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert.

Flowers, Mrs. A. Erskine, 35 Eskdaill Street.

Cctober 10-11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Harvest Thanksgiving. Rev. Tom Calvert. The Evening Service will be led by the children of the Sunday School when they will bring gifts for Carlisle Hospital Children's Ward, and Dr. Barnardo's Home, Hawick. Flowers, Mrs. Ina Irving, 20 Henry Street.


September 5: Keith Robert, son of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Yarham, Drove Road

September 5: Pamela Helen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Aitken, 20 Charlotte Street.


July 17: at Newcastleton. Allan Matthew Davidson, 14 Caroline Street, to Marie Scott, Gill-side, Newcastleton.

August 7: Robert Elder Harvey, Mosspeeble Cottage, Ewes, to Margaret Anne Murray, Green-head.

September 4: James Donaldson Green, 3 Cherry Av., Glenrothes, to Elinor Johnstone, 16 West Street.


August 4: Funeral of Charles Stuart, 41 English Street, Longtown. Age 82.

August 30: Funeral of Mary Wallace Mann Millar, Townhead. Age 75.

September 2: Funeral of Mary Jane Grieve Thomson, 84 Henry Street. Age 81.

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


The Kirk Session will meet on Wednesday, 8th September at 7.30 p.m.

The Congregational Board will meet on Thursday, 30th September in the vestry at 7.30 p.m.