Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel - Anfield (1905)

The second day’s proceedings in connection with Mr Evan Roberts’s visit were marked by more excitement than the first, and long before the night meeting began it became manifest that the revival wave was sweeping over the Welsh element, and that even the staid respectability of the well-to-do people, of whom there are so many in the three boroughs, would prove no more than a frail bulwark against its inroad. For a long time, some hours before the opening of the gates or doors of Anfield-road Chapel, there were large crowds in the two streets (Anfield-road and Sheper’s Hill) awaiting admission, and the singing of Welsh revival hymns not only seemed to while away the time, but served to attract attention to the fact that this was going to be the central meeting-place for the evening. The Welsh police were again in evidence, and although there was no disorder their services were certainly necessary here in regulating the entrance of the public. The stewards and a few pressmen were admitted by special arrangement through the chapel keeper’s house, and when the doors were thrown open there was a rush which filled the chapel in a few minutes. The building – a very handsome one, although not so large as the Methodist “Cathedral” in Princes-road – accommodates about 850 people in the ordinary way, but it is said that 1,200 have frequently been packed into it. While this scene if bustle is proceeding, let us glance at some memoranda, which ought to be made as to the progress of revival in Liverpool apart from these meetings. First and foremost, let me point out, that all denominations – Church, Roman Catholic, and Nonconformist – appear to a large extent to be in sympathy with the great movement, and to have to have been watching the revival in Wales with the keenest interest. The Rev. Musgrave Browne, a prominent Church of England clergyman, called upon the Rev. J. Williams, Princes-road, to-day, and invited Mr Evan Roberts and his party of evangelists to pay a visit to one of the revival meetings connected with his own church. The same invitation was sent in by the vicar of one of the Welsh churches, and, although these kind invitations cannot possibly be accepted now that other definite arrangements have been made, the good feeling shown is thoroughly appreciated on all sides. The Rev. Dr Parry opened the service with reading and praying, and the Welsh hymn singing which followed was powerful and effective. Of the prayers, which came in quick succession, some in Welsh and some in English, those of the women especially were earnest, and pathetic while the remarkable petition of a boy who stood at the front of the balcony was very striking, especially when he prayed that the young people of Liverpool, himself included, should b kept for time and eternity. Presently the singing of the Welsh hymn, “Wrth gofio’i riddfanau’n yr ardd” (“Remembering the agonies in the Garden”) by the congregation showed the enthusiasm to be gradually rising, and when Miss Annie Davies (Maesteg) sang “Dyma gariad fel y moroedd” (“Here is love like mighty torrents”) glistening tears stood in hundreds of eyes. While she was striking her first notes, “Gipsy” Evens (Gipsy Smith’s brother-in-law) began praying in English from the midst of the congregation, but not being used to simultaneous praise and praying, the English evangelist stopped. When the great love song of the revival was concluded Gipsy Evens again prayed, and although a Welshman in the gallery prayed at the same time, both petitioners went on and the singing of the next hymn, “Yr Oen! yr addfwyn Oen” (“The Lamb, the tender Lamb”), by the congregation was remarkably fine, indicating that as curiosity was being worn away the evangelists (who, by the bye, came in at seven o’clock) were getting into thorough touch with each other. To those of us who had come from the midst of the revival scenes in Glamorgan, it seemed only natural and proper that the sounds of the hymns sung outside by the excluded crowds should come floating into the chapel as they could be heard about a quarter to eight o’clock. At one time those outside sang, “O nab awn i fel Efe” (“Oh that I were like Jesus”), while a prayer was proceeding, and then followed a response from the congregation in the chapel, who sang, “O anfon Di yr Ysbryd Glan”) (“Send down the Holy Spirit, Lord”). Several English prayers of remarkable power followed. Mr J.J. Pinkerton of Paris and a well-known Liverpool lady aroused great fervour by their petitions, the one specifically praying for France, and the lady giving thanks that the Pentecost had come again. Hymn-singing and Welsh prayers again alternated for some time, the main difference between these petitions and those heard in Glamorganshire services being that here the prayers were longer and dealt with a larger number of subjects. There was not here of the single-and-double sentence petitions which are such a marked feature of the revival in Bristol, nor of the single-subject, direct prayers without introductions which have characterised many of the South Wales gatherings. But, in view of the progress made in since last night in warmth and “go,” we shall probably see this state of things soon remedied. During a “crush” in the gallery, the Rev. John Williams asked for silent prayer, and afterwards for a rendering of “Marcheg Iesu” (“Ride Triumphant, Blessed Jesu”), and sung to “Ton y Botel.” This was very effective. A Welsh prayer, led by Mr W. Evans, the president of the Liverpool Committee, then led the congregation at its close to sing another Welsh hymn to an old Welsh tune. But why say “Welsh”? These Liverpool services are far more confined to the Welsh language than any of the meetings held by Mr Evan Roberts in Wales. The only jarring note heard in the meeting was the voice of a woman in the corner of the gallery asking peevishly in English half-dozen time. “Will you send the police here?” But no one appeared to take any notice of her, and she eventually remained and put up with inconvenience of the crowding. It was just after nine o’clock when Mr Evan Roberts began his address, but when it came it certainly was a powerful one and dealt with the need of realising the force and greatness of the Saviour’s love. It was full of those trite, pithy sayings which have marked his addresses in his calmest, deliberate moments, and caught the ears and hearts of the congregation at once, confirming and deepening the excellent impression made the previous night. A prayer had been offered for a down-pouring of the Spirit’s influence, and the evangelist remarked that, although the young man who offered up the prayer was perfectly sincere, they must not forget that they could not have a downpour without being themselves perfectly ready to receive the downpour. They must take care to think more of the “Name” above all else. The Spirit was present, but there seemed to be too much expectation and too little response to the promptings of the Spirit. It was difficult to get people to do small things. They preferred waiting for great things. Who had disobeyed here? Well, certainly not those who were full of the love of Christ. Some people’s phials were not only not full, but had merely a drop in the bottom. God must not have half the heart of anybody. A branch which was withered was of no value. Were they trying their best for Jesus? Were their words drawing people to Jesus or driving them away? What about their losing their tempers? Did they attract or repel? Well, what about Jesus? He was a magnet to draw all men unto Himself. He had no power whatever apart from Him, and it was necessary to clear the rust from many. “Remember our Church,” prayed one; “Remember our denomination,” said another, and it was glorious to hear in this revival prayers embracing the whole world. He was very glad to hear some young men at the opening of this meeting praying for the crowd outside. Later on, the evangelist said some people in Wales-Welsh people who had been brought up in the midst of the sound of the gospel – listened to the promptings of the evil one and put off accepting salvation. Let them try to imagine a patient, a weak patient, trying to cure himself in order to be ready to meet the doctor. There was an interval of prayer and praise, after which Mr Evan Roberts again proceeded with his address, and concluded by asking the congregation to sing “Duw mawr y rhyfoddadan maith” (“Great God of wonders”) and to sing it as if they were face to face with God. The response was a very impressive one. Miss Mary Roberts then delivered a brief English address, “I offer you Jesus with a smile,” she said, “because my own heart is full of joy,” and this was followed by Miss Annie Davies singing “Os caf Iesu” (“Jesus only”). The meeting was then tested by the Rev. Owen Owen, the pastor, the evangelist making several excellent and wonderfully apt exhortations. In one instance, it was said that a waverer was weak. “Well,” replied Evan Roberts, “why does he not except the eternal strength then?” In another instant the cry came, “There is someone sitting down over the clock.” “Well,” retorted the evangelist, “this is the correct time to accept salvation – now – not tomorrow.” Someone declared that he “knew too many of the tricks of professing Christians,” to which Evan Roberts replied, “On the great day you will not be asked what you thought of other people on earth, but what you thought of Jesus, and you will not be asked to bear the blame for others, but the blame for your own shortcomings.” When the people were asked to lift up their hands to show that they had accepted salvation, Mr Roberts said: - “Hold them up. Remember the extended arms of the Saviour on the cross – extended for you and for me.” The singing of “Diolch Iddo” when conversions were declared became enthusiastic and frequent, and the service altogether was a considerable advance in warmth upon that of the previous night.

From, 'The Western Mail,' 30th March 1905.

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