Bethlehem Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel - Mountain Ash (1904)

Contrary to his original intention not to go to Mountain Ash until next Saturday, Mr Evan Roberts arrived at that place shortly after ten o’clock this morning, in obedience, he said, to a summons he had received from the Holy Spirit during his stay at Abercynon. Although the news of his coming was only slightly known, Iddo throngs of people had congregated at the railway station to receive the young revivalist and his lady supporters, who proceeded at once to Bethlehem Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, where a service was held forthwith. The building was quickly crowded to its utmost capacity. The service was opened with a fervent rendering of the hymn, “A welsoch chwi Ef” (“Have you seen Him?”) After numerous repetitions of the few closing lines, Mr Roberts proceeded to address the congregation. According to his wont, he walked to and fro. In a deep voice he briefly narrated the history of the revival, which, he said, with a solemn look upwards, was the outcome of a call from God to His people on earth. To him no credit was due for the great manifestations of religious awakening which was traversing the country, for he was only giving vent to the devotional fire which had been instilled into him by the Divine Hand. No sooner had the last words fallen from his lips than the tall form of a young lady. was seen in the gallery, and the gathering was thrilled with the singing of “O rest in the Lord.” It was a stimulating and effective rendering, the singer being Miss Rachel Ann Thomas, a well-known soprano. The emotion was now at its highest point, and the congregation was evidently under some spell which it would be futile to try to describe. Owing to the large number of people who had congregated outside the chapel for the afternoon service, it was decided to hold an overflow meeting at Bethania. Both buildings were crowded long before the time of starting, and Mr Roberts, after speaking for a few minutes at Bethlehem, went to the other place, where he spoke in the same terms as at the morning service. The proceedings were marked with great fervour and were interspersed with spontaneous prayers and singing. “Dyma gariad lel y moroedd” (“Here is love in copious torrents”) was sung, with telling effect. In the evening three meetings were held, but, owing to the limited accommodation, hundreds of persons were obliged to returns to their homes. What has been said as to gatherings in other places may be repeated with regard to the beginning of the revival movement at Mountain Ash. On all hands it is said that the “fire” has been smouldering for a long time and that the great outburst could not be long deferred. In the course of a conversation the Rev. D. Anthony, pastor of Providence Chapel, Mountain Ash, said the movement was only in its infancy, and before long there would be such a wave of religious awakening as the world had not seen for a long time, as the atmosphere was charged with it.

From 'The Western Mail', 24th November 1904.

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