Trerhondda Chapel - Ferndale (1904)

The return of Mr Evan Roberts to the Rhondda Valleys had been looked forward to with considerable interest by the people of Ferndale and the Rhondda Fach generally. When it was announced that Mr Evan Roberts and the lady evangelists had not arrived in Ferndale on Thursday afternoon there was some disappointment felt, but there was a crowded congregation in Trerhondda Chapel at two o’clock in the afternoon, and the usual revival meeting was proceeded with, the hymn-singing, addresses, and prayers being particularly fervent and earnest. Amongst the speakers during the afternoon was Mrs Baxter, wife of the editor of a London religious paper, who said that she had for 46 years endeavoured to work for Christ’s Kingdom, and she was glad to see this great revival going on in Wales. “Diolch iddo,” she said, and many in the congregation shouted “Amen.” Some of the colliers of Ferndale and Mardy were very enthusiastic in their exclamations and in their prayers, several of them laying special emphasis upon the work which was being done in making men sober. One of them said that a little more than six months ago he himself was singing in a public-house to amuse people, but he now sang songs of praise to God and was more earnest to-day than on the day of his conversion. He laid special emphasis upon the necessity for workmen who were professing Christians to be circumspect and upright in their conduct lest the lads who worked with them should emulate their bad examples. About a quarter to five o’clock. Mr Evan Roberts arrived by train at Fendale, accompanied by Miss A. M. Rees (Gorseinon), Miss Mary Davies (Gorseinon), and Miss Annie Davies (Maesteg). Trerhondda Chapel was well filled before six o’clock for a, meeting announced to commence at seven, and although overflow meetings were announced to be held at Tabernacle Chapel, the Welsh Wesleyan Chapel, and with the English Presbyterians and at the higher Grade School, the congregation continued to grow until the precincts of the chapel and the vestry had been filled, while a crowd stood patiently waiting in the street outside the gates. Mr Evan Roberts arrived at the meeting about a quarter to seven and found it warm and enthusiastic. He proceeded to deliver an address in Welsh, in the course of which he dwelt upon the imperative necessity of awakening the churches to the realisation of the greatness of God’s works and the love of Christ. While he was dwelling upon the beauties of God’s work as seen in Nature the vast congregation burst out into the rousing hymn, “Duw mawr y rhyfeddodan maith,” which was repeated again and again. Then, proceeding, he said that there was no middle place between Heaven and hell, and it was as well for everybody to realise it, whereupon a voice was heard crying out, ‘Here is one for Heaven at any rate,” and another enthusiastic member of the congregation shouted out, “Any passengers for Mynydd Seion! ”—a quaint way of inviting converts. “I have come 200 miles to confess that I love Christ,” said one, “and I have come a great distance to enjoy what you are getting,” said another. “I need Thee every hour,” was sung in Welsh. One speaker said what was necessary was, as Mr Evan Roberts had told them, to pray to save the congregations and to awaken the Churches. Another speaker referred with joy to the news he had received of public-houses being emptied at Kilgerran. A young lady from Ferndale got into the pulpit and said, “They have asked, me to sing. I don’t understand much music, but Christ may sing through me,” and she sang very sweetly “Tyr’d ato, bechadur.” This meeting continued until a late hour and was carried on with the utmost enthusiasm. Simultaneously with the proceedings described, another remarkable meeting was being held in the Higher Grade School, where Miss A. M. Roes, of Gorseinon, conducted an English service. At the outset, as no one seemed to take the initiative, Miss Rees rose and said that at the revival meetings it was not usually necessary to ask anybody to take part, even to the extent of giving out a hymn, for when the Spirit moved them the people were only too ready to take part, and she hoped that no one at this gathering would for a moment quench the Spirit in their own hearts or in those of others. A hymn was given out by a gentleman in the congregation, which was taken up very energetically by all. Then occurred one of those remarkable incidents which now and again mark the proceedings in connection with this strange revival. A young man rose in the middle of the congregation and said he had come all the way from Caerphilly to give his testimony. He could not be quiet, although his past conduct, to which he was about to refer, was such as made him feel heartily ashamed of himself. He was one of those who had been referred to as one of the converts at Caerphilly. He was a member of the Caerphllly Football Club, and — he regretted to have to say it,— he not only played football, but wherever he went, in the train or otherwise, he used to take with him in his pocket a pack of cards, with which he used to gamble, frequently losing money which he ought to have given to his poor mother. He used to take about with him in his pocket also bottles of whisky, young though he was, and last Christmas, between the cards and the whisky, he lost 26 shillings, and there was his poor mother in the house—and he broke down sobbing, and could not complete his narrative. The congregation fervently sang ‘Diolch iddo, byth am gofio llwch y llawr,” and “Songs of Praises,” Miss May John, R.A.M., taking the leading part in the singing. Resuming his narrative, the young man said that last Monday night he was for three-quarters of an hour wrestling with the devil, but ultimately he found salvation and hoped to be able to devote his energies to the work of telling young men of his own age all he could about the love of the Saviour. He said that after his conversion he handed to Miss Rees a dance card, “for,” he added, “he had also wasted valuable time in connection with dances.” Miss Rees, in confirmation of this narrative, held up one piece of the card indicated and said she kept it as a trophy of the young man’s victory in giving himself up under the circumstances. The other part of the card, she said, was in the possession of Mr Evan Roberts. Then Miss May John struck up with enthusiasm, “O happy day that fixed my choice, On Thee my Saviour and my God,” In conclusion the young man referred to asked if there were any young fellows like himself in that meeting who had been foolish enough to do what he had used to. If so, he hoped they would do what he had now done, for he certainly could tell them that, this week had been the happiest week in all his life. Miss Rees then left to join Mr Evan Roberts at the other meeting.

From, 'The Western Mail', 8th December 1904.

Additional Information

The church is now an Event centre.

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