Pendref Congregational Chapel - Caernarvon (1905)

(British Weekly Special) Last week you published a most readable account of the revival at Talysarn, Carnarvonshire, and it may interest your readers to know something about the movement in Carnarvon, the capital of North Wales. Carnarvon is the most Welsh of all the Welsh towns; it is Nonconformist to the core, and can boast some of the largest chapels in the Northern part of the Principality; but, in spite of all the facilities it possesses, a great bulk of the inhabitants were at together indifferent towards all things religious, and the places of worship on Sundays were poorly attended. None but the faithful went to the week-night prayer-meetings, and often there would not be more than a dozen or two present at each chapel. A wonderful change has come over the scene within the last fortnight or so. Prayer-meetings, which were never so popular, are held nightly — and often twice daily — in all the chapels, and they are attended by young and old, rich and poor, and many are the converts. The young people seem to take greater interest in the meetings than the grownups, and the revival, so far as Carnarvon is concerned, may be said to be the result of an awakening among the young people of the town. The conversation of boys in the streets turns upon the revival, and it is nothing unusual to bear one asking the other if he is going to the prayer-meeting. The services are throughout spontaneous, resembling a Quaker’s meeting, and at a Congregational Chapel a few miles from Carnarvon, a boy of fourteen years went forward to the big pew to pray. He asked the Lord to forgive his sins, saying that he had been in the habit of reciting verses from Scripture in chapel on Sunday evenings, and afterwards smoking cigarettes and swearing. He declared that from that day on he would never do it again and that he was going to lead a new life. This is but one instance of the effect the revival has had upon the young people. Young men and women — whose voice had never before been heard at a public gathering of any kind — take part freely in the meetings, and some remarkable scenes have been witnessed. On Sunday night last at Pendref Congregational Chapel — the oldest chapel in the town — four young women prayed so impressively and so earnestly that many in the large congregation were moved to tears. One old backslider, overcome with emotion, appealed to the people to pray that he might receive strength to resist temptation and to lead a better life. Thereupon a young woman rose in the body of the chapel and prayed fervently for him, and afterwards, the congregation broke out into singing the well-known hymn — Diollch iddo byth am gofio llwch y llawr. An intense feeling of devotion permeated the meeting, which will be long remembered by those who had the privilege to be present. Two men who had followed afar off for many years gave themselves up to Christ, and the same night, at other chapels in the town, there were many converts Prayer meetings are being held this week again, and by request all the shops are closed at an earlier hour than usual to enable shop assistants and others to attend the meetings. The revival has already purified the moral atmosphere of the town. The public-houses are losing their customers — the people think of nothing but prayer-meetings — and drunkenness in the streets is becoming a rare occurrence. A strange place wherein to hold a prayer-meeting is certainly a railway carriage, yet this is what took place on the railway near Carnarvon the other day. In the quarries at Llanberis and Nantlee Vale prayer-meetings are held daily by the men during the dinner hour. There was a time when the quarrymen could not get their dinner over soon enough to play cards, but now they want to finish their dinner as quickly as possible in order to participate in the prayer-meetings. From the villages surrounding Carnarvon reports come of most excellent meetings, and the converts are many.

From, 'The Great Revival in Wales', by S B Shaw, page 90.

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