Brynmawr - Salvation Army (1879)

THIS place is about two miles from Ebbw Vale, and is in a thickly populated district on the borders of the county of Brecon. Some months ago we were offered the Pavilion and field attached, but it is only within the last month that arrangements have been completed for our taking over the whole of the property, which is henceforth to be used for the salvation of souls.

It was to open at this important position that Sister Kate Shepherd said farewell to the Rhondda Valley, and after a little needed rest, she, and a young Sister from Porth, arrived at Brynmawr early in the week preceding August 27th. The Pavilion which will seat 1,200 people with comfort, needed some repairs, and Sister Shepherd found help and sympathy right away at the start. The holes in the roof and the ominous openings here and there along the sides soon disappeared, and on Sunday, August 24th, the place was opened.

From far and near the people came. The building was packed - so crowded that the sisters could not move. Many were wounded by the power of the Spirit, and five professed to find peace in Jesus.

As to the next Sabbath and intervening week the following from our sister's letter of the Monday is enough.

"On Sunday we had a grand day. Praise the Lord. The place was crowded and hundreds outside could not get in. During the week we have had 200 converts. Grand open-air meetings. Thank God we are rising."

Writing during the following week she says-

" The Lord is working here, bless His name. Sinners every night. Place crowded. Bless the Lord."

Later still -

"I am glad to tell you we are getting on well. Place crowded every night; it is not half large enough, we want a larger. We have got a band of men and women, praise tho Lord.

"We have had over 400 converts in three weeks, great big men. Praise the Lord."

From, 'The Salvationist', October 1879, page 256.

Report from William Booth

Kindly driven over late last night. Found Captain Kate Shepherd well, and in the midst of a wonderful work.
The last time I was here was to view the town and inspect the Pavilion and a public-house attached, with a view to purchasing the same. Since then we have bought them both, and taken possession of the Pavilion, opened it, and therein something like 800 persons have professed salvation. It is a large wood structure, built and used for a theatre. With some few repairs and alterations, it will make a good barrack for the Army.

7 a.m. 500 to prayer-meeting.
9 to 10 About 90 men to a sort of Sunday school to learn to read.

10 to 11. Open-air and procession. 11 to 12.30 about 1,000 present to preaching.
2.30   Open air, and afterwards the Pavilion packed to suffocation. Testimonies and an address.
Evening. Procession and a still greater crowd than afternoon. The newspapers gave the attendance at 2,000. It could not have been much less. Too full for much exertion, however, some 16 souls came on to the stage seeking mercy and many appeared deeply impressed. The following is a statement respecting this remarkable movement, taken from the South Wales DaIly News, of October 7th:-

The town appears to have undergone a complete change -quietness reigns now where general disturbance and fights usually prevailed. On Monday a monster tea-meeting was held, and about two o'clock the Army was marshalled into marching order by Miss Shepherd and paraded the streets, visiting Nantyglo, and singing their favourite pieces. During the week the Army has been visited by several local clergymen and friends from Blaina, Abertillery, Ebbw Vale, &c. The effect of the preaching upon some of the noted characters of the district is wonderful, the police having Iittle or nothing to do. A collection is made at the close of each service towards defraying the expense of the building, and many are the fervent prayers offered up for the success of Miss Shepherd, who is a great favourite among those who usually attend the services.

From, 'The Salvationist', November 1879, pages 284-5.

More reports can be seen in 'The War Cry', that began in January 1880.

The 111 corps of the Salvation Army is going ahead. Praise God for what He is doing in Brynmawr and for the souls that have made their escape from the Devil's Camp to the feet of Jesus and found peace to the joy of their souls. Since you last heard anything from us, we have had some very powerful meetings and some very lively times. Captain Jones and Lieutenant Fysh are full of the Holy Ghost. In the little time they have been here, we have had as many as 47 precious souls at the feet of Jesus. Thank God that ever Captain James came here. Her shouts of praise have gone up to God’s throne and great blessings have come down, while she has shouted victory through the Blood of the Lamb.

From, 'The War Cry', November 1880.

Additional Information

I do not know where the pavilion was.

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