Bethlehem Calvinistic Methodist Church - Porth (1904)

At night, not only was the large chapel filled, but I believe every chapel in Cilfynydd and the neighbourhood were also fairly filled. There was no work at the colliery owing to “stop wagons,” and the men certainly very largely availed themselves of the opportunity to attend the revival meetings. At Porth today Mr Evan Roberts was not welI enough to undertake the morning service at Calfaria. Mss Davies, Gorseinon; Miss S. A. Jones, Nantymoel; and the two sisters from Maesteg—the Misses Annie and Maggie Davies—and the Rev. Emlyn Jones (pastor of the Church) took charge of the proceedings, and there was upon the whole, an impressive gathering, although the warmth which characterised some of the other meetings seemed to be lacking for a time. The coldness of the weather, doubtless, accounted for this, to some extent, for the meetings held in the other chapels in the afternoon (also in the absence of Mr Roberts) were very enthusiatic. However, it was not by any means a fruitless meeting, for several converts declared themseIves desirous of joining the Churches. Miss Annie Davies, Maesteg, again, sang the Welsh version and my translation of “Here's a Love like mighty torrents, Pity like the boundless sea.” This afternoon Mr Evan Roberts conducted the service at Calfaria, and the congregation filled the chapel and the lobby and occupied the steps outside—in the intense cold—and overflow meetings were held in the Welsh Congregational Chapel and Bethlehem. At the last-named the evangelists who assisted the Rev. T. P. Thomas were Miss Davies, Gorseinon, and Miss Jones, Nantymoel. In the course of his address the Rev. T. P. Thomas dwelt very strongly upon the great influence wielded by the press in this matter and declared that hundreds of people wept with joy in reading the very full and sympathetic accounts given of the revivaI meeting. Reading the accounts had spread the desire for similar gatherings, and had inspired many to go and work for the cause, while it had induced some at least to go to the meetings, and by so doing they had had their souls saved. To revert to the meeting addressed by Mr. Roberts himself, however, let me say that, undoubtedly, many hundreds had to turn away from the doors, and although, of course, some of these were accommodated at other chapels, there was keen disappointment felt at the fact that only those in one comparatively small chapeI could hear, or even see him. True, Mr Roberts would be the first to say that people should not look to him; but it was feIt by very many that it was a great pity one or two of the largest chapels in the town had not been officially announced as the meeting-places. This was still further accentuated at night. Bethlehem Chapel (Calvinistic Methodist) was the meeting-place, and, obviously, when it was announced at the afternoon service that Mr Roberts would be there that night it could be seen that the building could not possibly hold one-fourth of the people who would flock to try and hear him. Long before half-past five the chapel was crowded to its utmost limits, and although six o’clock was the time announced for opening the service, the crowds Iddo turning homeward or to other chapels were immense. A whisper had gone forth that Mr Roberts would also speak at Salem Baptist Chapel—the largest available—so I saw Mr. Evan Roberts in order to ascertain whether that would be so, and was told it could not be done. The difficulty of handling the work at two different meetings simultaneously is a great one, and (as Mr Roberts’s host informed me) the doctor has emphatically forbidden the missioner from indulging in the practice of going from one hot meeting to another through the cold night air as he has been doing. The work had, therefore, to be carried on under the disadvantage or addressing a crowded congregation in a smalI building. The service was of the same character as that which has become typical of the mission, the enthusiasm being very great but the conversions were, comparatively, not so numerous as at other places. Two reasons probably account for that. In the first place, the revival wave had reached a very high level before Mr Roberts arrived, and scores, if not hundreds of converts have been enrolled, so that “drawing in the lifeline” could not possibly be expected to show so many immediate results. In the second place, the chapels were crowded at an early hour by people who were mostly members of the different Churches, so that the crowd who had to turn away may have included many who could have been directly benefited by admission.

From, 'The Western Mail', 27th November 1904.

Additional Information

The church is now an auto parts store.

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