Cwmbwrla Welsh Independent Chapel (1905)

Notwithstanding the suggestion which had been made as to the possible want of readiness in Swansea for the revival, the immense crowds which gathered in and around the chapels at Cwmbwria to-day indicated an amount of expectation which surprised even those who have followed the meetings in many of the large centres. The meeting this afternoon was held in Zoar Congregational Chapel, and the sight which was presented there was an interesting one. The building was crowded as early as twelve o’clock for a service announced to begin at two p.m. The vestry was full also, and a separate meeting was conducted there. In the street in front of the chapel was another congregation, which had its own service, for now and again there were two addresses - I may almost say sermons and sermonettes - delivered, prayers were offered, and hymns were sung. In the course of the afternoon references were made to some further incidents, showing the efficacy of prayer. It was stated that the prayer of the little girl - ten years of age - at Clydach on Wednesday had been answered, her father for whom she then prayed, having become a convert. Another instance reported from Pontypridd is to the effect that a boy, twelve years of age, prayed publicly for the conversion of his father at a revival meeting held in Hopkinstown, and that night the father, who went into another revival meeting at Penuel, Pontypridd, became a convert there. In the evening there was, shortly after half-past five, a huge crowd surging and singing in front of the “Gate” Chapel. Cwmbwria, and when the doors were opened there was very soon a regular “crush” in the building, while large numbers were unable to gain admission. So great was the throng inside that the service was considerably disturbed by the incessant chattering which characterised the first part of the proceedings. About twenty minutes to six the usual revival service was entered upon, prayer and praise alternating in fairly regular order and in quick succession, the hymns sung being the favourites which have been heard in so many other places. Here, as at other towns and villages, there were numbers of visitors who had come to try to “catch sparks from the revival fire”, and some of those failed to make their way into the meetings owing to the overcrowding which, of course, prevailed. It was announced that Libanus Chapel was open for an overflow meeting, but few left the Cwmbwria Chapel in response to this announcement, as no one could definitely state that Mr Evan Roberts would go to Libanus. And even those who wished to leave had to face a serious difficulty, inasmuch as those outside the doors were unwilling to give them room to pass. Strange to say, what first secured peace was an effective recitation of the parable of the Prodigal Son. There was congregational singing, but it was somewhat half-hearted, owing to the prevalence of curiosity, and when Mr Evan Roberts arrived he instantly noticed this, and stopped the singing, and asked instead for half a minute of silent prayer for the “bending” of all present, the speaker included. Mr Roberts afterwards proceeded to speak on the omnipresence of God. Dwelling later on upon the character of prayer, the missioner said there were some people who in praying aimed at pleasing or influencing a congregation, and the consequence was their prayers were not heard in Heaven. They noticed in some of these meetings occasionally a man who prayed, and when anybody started singing he stopped and started again when he obtained silence, not caring to go on when his voice could not be heard by men. Such a man was not speaking to God. No sooner had the evangelist begun speaking than “testimonies” came pouring in, and the congregation broke out into song. “Pa Dduw sy’n maddeu fel Tydi?” being sung with magnificent effect. It was evident that the curiosity had by this time been overcome, and that the enthusiasm of the people was rising.

From, 'The Western Mail', 2nd January 1905.

Additional Information

The chapel was demolished in the mid-1960's

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