Bryn Sion Baptist Chapel - Trecynon (1904)

They arrived at Bryn Seion Church quite a while before the scheduled time for the ordinary morning service. From the moment they entered the building, these young enthusiasts rehearsed and described some of the marvellous scenes witnessed in their village.

They exhorted all present to “be obedient to the Holy Spirit” when they came together for worship. It is safe to assume that not a single member of the audience had any inkling of what was about to happen in this never-to-be-forgotten service. There had been only a brief announcement in the national dailies on the Saturday morning, giving a colourful description of the Loughor meetings and suggesting that Mr Roberts might be leaving for Trecynon, Aberdare, very soon. “Just an ordinary weekend appointment” was the mental attitude of the church leaders as they entered the building. Imagine their astonishment when they found two young, inexperienced women facing them, and in the most moving tones beseeching them to surrender to “the leading of the Holy Spirit.” They proved to be two young revival fire-brands.

The sober, sedate Calvinistic congregation that gathered in Mount Seion that morning received a shock. They looked askance when they saw their minister’s place occupied by a young man, accompanied by such youthful maidens. Instead of announcing the customary hymn for the commencement of the service, one of the young women burst forth in a spiritual song expressing her new experience, tears streaming down her cheeks. The whole congregation gasped! Before the solo concluded, her partner joined her. What did this mean? was the question on every lip. Like the people in the Gospel of Mark, they felt like exclaiming, “We never saw it on this fashion before.” That prim congregation breathed heavily and deeply. But the young minister in the pulpit—for such they all considered him, remained absolutely silent. They observed, however, that his body shook perceptibly as tears coursed down his pale cheeks. Then, we were told, a strange stillness fell upon the people, like the quiet presaging an electric storm. It soon broke when one of the proudest members of that assembly fell on her knees in agonizing prayer and unrestrainedly confessed her sins, creating consternation among other proud, self-satisfied, respectable members. Others followed rapidly and with such spontaneity as to cause bewilderment. How the elders gasped! All over the chapel, men and women, young and old, kneeling in the pews and aisles, claimed “the blessing.” Mount Seion, for once, became a veritable Valley of Baca. The great church organ remained silent.

Immediately upon the cessation of those burning confessions, extempore hymns were sung. How the people sang! That service commenced so inauspiciously, continued without a break all day! There was no dinner hour nor Sunday school. All the worshipers apparently were oblivious to every physical discomfort as Mr Roberts reiterated the cry, “Obey! Obey! Obey the Holy Spirit !“ with overpowering effect. When evening came, the other churches had received the news. The neighbourhood seemed to have assembled in this one place, striving to enter the one comparatively small building where “the revival” was. The crush was terrible. What language could describe the scenes inside the chapel! To the carnal mind, unsubjected and unsanctified, it must have appeared to be bordering on pandemonium. The scenes are recorded here just as eyewitnesses reported them to me later.

Although they had been in the church all through the day without respite, the evangelists continued through the evening service as unwearied as they were in the morning. Evidently “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” was assuredly quickening their “mortal bodies,” delivering them from any traces of fatigue. News of the meetings sped on lightning wings. Consternation took hold of the inhabitants of Trecynon and Aberdare. In agitated whispers and subdued dismay, groups meeting in the streets was the query on every lip. Time alone would give the answer.

From, 'I saw the Welsh Revival', by David Matthews.

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