Siloah Welsh Independent chapel - Pentre (1904)

Crowded with incidents and crowned with success is a phrase that may very well be applied to the visit of Mr Evan Roberts and his band of evangelists to Pentre, for there were stirring events on Saturday and today. The meeting at Shiloh Congregational Chapel on Saturday afternoon was largely attended even at the outset, although operations at the neighbouring collieries had not ceased. When I entered the chapel shortly after two o’clock, Mr Roberts was not there—the lady evangelists had not arrived—and yet there seemed to be in the atmosphere that indefinable “something” which invariably betokens fervency before a word had been spoken. Mr Evan Roberts, ascending the pulpit, exclaimed, “You need not ask God to send the Spirit to this meeting, friends; the Spirit is here. Pray that you may be baptised with it” A young woman, sitting under the shadow of the balcony, rose, and in passionate tones, but in a voice evidently almost lost by recent straining, proclaimed:— “I do believe, I will believe, That Jesus died for me.” The young revivalist smilingly remarked, ‘She has lost her voice in telling the people about her Saviour.” ‘While the great congregation sang the well-known hymn, I inquired who the lady was, and was informed that she hailed from Treherbert, where, during the past nine or ten days, full of the revival “fire,” she had been so active that she alone had brought no fewer than 105 converts to the local churches. When the singing was finished, Mr Evan Roberts resumed, pointing out that the object in view in praying now was, not so much to “achub” (save), as “Plygu yr Egliwys” (Bend the Church). Our belief in the Churches was a stumbling block. It was not open unbelief, but half-belief, and there must be no such stumbling-block. Just as Achan was cast out of the camp of old, so must any and every Achan be cast out of Christ’s Church now. But he maintained that all that was necessary was to get the Churches to realise—thoroughly and absolutely—the love of Christ. While he was speaking, there arose from the “big pew” the voice of Miss Annie Davies, Maestag, bursting forth into song— “Wrth gofio’i ruddfanau’n yr Ardd A’i chwys yn ddefnynau o waed, Aredig ar gefn oedd mor hardd, A’i daro a chleddyf ei Dad; Ei’ arwain i Galfari fryn, A’i hoelio ar groesbren o’i foddd, Pa dafod all dewi am hyn? Pa galon mor galed na thodd? ” It is often sung to the tune “St. Andrew’s,” but Miss Davies had found a tune more suitable to her purpose from a slow, impressive, appealing solo, but I was unable to ascertain the title of it, for scarcely had silence come upon the touched congregation before the young lady from Treherbert already alluded to, was again on her feet, and, with her face glowing with fervour, she exclaimed:— Count your blessings, count them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord, hath done. This was instantly struck up by Miss A.M. Rees, of Gorseinon, one of the evangelists; who sang very effectively, the congregation, after a while, joining in very heartily. Then on subsequent “repeats,” Miss Rees varied the last line into— “Go and tell the people what the Lord hath done.” This “caught on” immensely, as it seemed to suit the spirit of the meeting admirably. Just a few words of prayer for the saving of souls, and someone struck up “Throw out the lifeline,” which was sung by the congregation with some warmth, but it was not energetic enough for Mr Roberts. He got up and asked if they had actually seen men saving life at sea. If not, let them try to realise what “throwing out the life-line” meant, and they would sing it with a power which was now lacking. It was, he said, one of the lessons of the revival—to show that they really were anxious to save souls. One notable feature of this gathering was the change in the character of the hymns, for although different tunes are sung to the same hymns, varying generally according to the denomination that predominates in the particular congregation, there has not hitherto been such a series of departures from what has been regarded as the most popular hymns. “O na bawn i fel Efe” may be taken as an instance, as well as those already quoted in Welsh and English. While Mr Evan Roberts was speaking on implicit obedience to the Spirit, and summarising the point into four words, “You must do anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere” (which he repeated in English), there was a stir in the aisle, and three young people marched up towards the “big pew.” Down from the pulpit came the evangelist, and, extending his hand to welcome the newcomers, he said, “This is Sidney Evans and two other workers,” and within a few minutes the newcomers were at work. Mr Sidney Evans ascended the pulpit, and with the familiarity of a brother Mr Roberts turned to him and said, “A oes genyt ti air i’w ddweyd wrth y bobl?” (“Hast thou a word to say to the people?”). Replying with a smile, Mr Evans (whose boyish appearance was very striking) said he had come there to receive, and in a few pithy sentences he dwelt upon the fulness with which God could endow people who came ready to receive. He declared that upwards of 300 people had been converted - at Morriston since last Sunday. Then, taking up his theme, he said, “God has a blessing for everyone who asks. He does ‘not throw His blessings as a father sometimes throws nuts for his children to scramble for—it is a blessing for each one.” ‘When the recital of testimonies came the scenes witnessed became very impressive, and in the course of the proceedings a number of converts were enrolled, one young man remaining obdurate, though under deep emotion, until the meeting had actually been closed. In the last group he was spoken to by Mr Roberts, and was added to the “saved list.” It may be added that among the workers who arrived during the meeting were Mr Evan Roberts’s young sister, seemingly only fifteen or sixteen years of age, but full of the work, and Miss Hopkins, of Loughor. The two subsequently proceeded to Tonypandy to assist in a meeting that evening, Miss Williams, of Gorseinon, joining the others at Ton.

From, 'The Western Mail', 4th December 1904.

Additional Information

The church has been demolished.

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