Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel -Bootle (1905)

Mr Evan Roberts addressed a crowded meeting at the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Stanley-road, Bootle, this evening, and there, as elsewhere, the congregation began the service long before the appearance of the evangelist. Among those who took part in the service was Pastor Parker, of Paris, who dwelt upon the spiritual movement which had already commenced in France. He had visited South Wales and was on his return to proceed to Normandy to report upon his visit. He had hoped the Revival would spread, not only throughout this country, but to France and other countries. Among the incidents worth mentioning especially in conjunction with the opening of this service may be pointed out the coincidence of two men, one at each end of the chapel, simultaneously striking up as conductors as well known hymn, and both selecting the same tune, with a different pitch of voice. Of course, the congregation to the easier to follow. Then from a corner under the gallery, as soon as silence had been restored, came a deep voice in measured tones reciting 2 Chronicles vii.,14, which gives in a nutshell the secret of the Welsh Revival –”If my people who are called by name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The most remarkable of the prayers offered up – and they were fervent and frequent – were those of women in the congregation, and when one of those prayers was accompanied by the hymn singing of a portion of the congregation surprised people cried “Hush!” and, although no notice was taken of this, the singing became weaker, and ultimately prayer triumphed over praise. Then the well-known figure of the Rev. A. J. Parry, D.D., towered up in the neighbourhood of the “big seat,” and began a brief address. A young woman’s prayer broke in upon the address, and the veteran preacher promptly gave way. Mr Evan Roberts arrived about twenty minutes past seven, accompanied by Miss Mary Roberts (his sister, Miss Annie Davies (Maesteg), and the Rev. J. Williams, of Princes Road. Prayers singly and simultaneously combined until, in the midst of the petition of a woman, “Dyma Geidwad i’r colledig” (“Here’s a Saviour for the lost ones”) was struck up, and there was a great wave of song. Miss Annie Davies, in a wonderful outburst of prayer, passionately asked God to show the congregation the infinite love of Jesus. Before this prayer was over Mr Evan Roberts was on his feet, and, taking for his text a line of the hymn, which had been sung “Meddyg i’r gwywedig rai”, (“A physician for the dying”). The evangelist dwelt forcibly and clearly upon the healing power of Christ, but by way of introduction to the address, he said he was pleased to see that so many had entered the doors of the chapel that evening. They would however, soon go out through the same door, he said, but there were two doors which all would enter by and bye, never to return; and they were allowed to choose for themselves, all of them, whether they would enter the door leading to eternal life. Once the door was locked by God no one could open it for all eternity, and although it was open tonight; the day would come when it would be closed, when the Book (the Bible) would be closed and when the promises would be closed, Now God was offering the choice of the open doors – offering His Son as saviour and King – and if they accepted Christ they would be healed. Their wounds would be so healed that even the eyes of the archangel would not be able to detect the slightest trace of scar upon them. If they said their homes were too filthy for the Surgeon to come to them they were mistaken, for He had been to wonderful places, and, on the other hand, they could to him in his palace, where He would robe them, heal them, and maintain them. One thing, however, was clear – the Great Surgeon only worked on earth. Of the two places to which the patients were going, in one all would be perfect and would need no surgeon for all eternity; in the other the wounded would remain without attendance for all eternity. Were there some Welsh people in Liverpool tonight who would be in the place last referred to? No. Well let them turn tonight then to the Great Healer, so that they might be made whole. A Welsh hymn of great power sung by the congregation was the prompt response, and presently from the gallery came a wonderfully pathetic and touching prayer by a young woman whose father some time ago, a deacon and conductor of singing at this chapel, suddenly fell dead in the big pew at this very chapel. She now thanked God that although she had lost an earthly father she had gained a heavenly father. She declared that she had persuaded seven young women who had never been to a place of worship before to come to this service. Mr Evan Roberts shortly afterwards rose again and said he felt there were many Church members present who were not praying for the salvation of souls that night. Would they pray now? Immediately there was a wonderful scene of simultaneous prayer from the body of the chapel, from the galleries, from men and women, in Welsh and in English, while hundreds more stood with bowed heads and tears trickling over their faces, and when they quieted down somewhat another striking prayer but the Rev. Dr. A. J. Parry voiced the supplications of many more, judging by the chorus of “Amen’s” which punctuated the phrases of the veteran preacher. An eloquent prayer by the Rev. Griffith Ellis, the pastor of the church, also aroused the congregation, and during subsequent prayers the evangelist began another exhortation in his brightest and most winning manner. Then, while the wave of prayer still continued, the Rev. Griffith Ellis was asked to test the meeting for converts, and the scenes which ensues showed that the idea of a service for non-adherents had to some extent been observed here. There were so many applicants for admission from many parts of Wales and other countries that the non-adherents had, however, in many scores of instances been excluded. But the Rev. Griffith Ellis, unused to the simultaneous prayers, intermingled with enthusiastic hymn singing and other florins of praise, asked for silence and stood perplexed when he could not stem the torrent. The Rev. John Williams came to the rescue, and presently Mr Evan Roberts also took up his portion of this important work. The evangelist prayed silently, predicted the conversions one after another, and to waverers replied, responded, retorted and rebuked with a readiness which aroused joyful enthusiasm, occasionally bursting out into hearty laughter. In one instance when the Rev. J. W. Williams urged the stewards to be certain that they secured the names and addresses of the converts, Evan Roberts promptly chimed in with “The angels have been quicker than you.” In another instance Mr Williams cried out, “Will the steward speak to those who remain seated?” “Don’t let the stewards take your crowns,” shouted Evan Roberts. “If you ordinary members see any persons sitting down, speak to them yourselves.” After a while the Rev. T. Williams declared that, so far as they were able to judge, the converts enrolled numbered from 50 to 60. Mr Evan Roberts asked someone to thank God for the souls saved, and there was another wave of simultaneous prayer before the meeting closed. From, 'The Western Mail', 6th April 1905. To-night Mr Evan Roberts visited for the second time the Calvinistic Methodist Church, Stanley-road, Bootle, and there was a crowded congregation. The evangelist arrived shortly after seven o’clock and sat silent in the pulpit until nearly eight o’clock. “Have any of you hesitated too long?” he asked at length. “What does this say?” he continued, holding up the Bible and smiling. A series of wonderfully appropriate verses were recited by way of response. “Has anyone sunk too low for God to lift him?” was the next question. “No, no,” was the reply from every quarter, and the answer was clinched with sacred quotations. “Does God call on everyone here?” was the third question, and the affirmative reply was emphasised in the same way. “There,” the evangelist remarked, his face beaming, “you are now encircled with threats, with promises, and with desires.” A little later on he declared that many had been saved that night. God had been listening, and the harvest was a rich one. The devil was losing, and God was winning. The devil was doubly losing, because those he lost were turned against him. Oh, for the day when Satan would be bound. He (the evangelist) could not always pray as he wanted, but for some weeks now he had been able to pray God to bind the enemy. The meeting was then tested by the Rev. John Williams, who was enthusiastically seconded by Evan Roberts, and between twenty and thirty converts surrendered. A second test resulted in a few more converts being discovered. Evan Roberts then declared that there was a Welshwoman near the door who was dishonestly holding up her hand as a sign of Church membership. Every effort to discover her failed, but a man was found who confessed to having wrongly raised his hand. “There’s a storm in her heart now,” said Evan Roberts, taking no heed of the discovery named. “Don’t expect your curiosity to be satisfied tonight. Perhaps God will conceal the dishonest act. If He does I shall not mind.”

From, 'The Western Mail', 12th April 1905.

Additional Information

The chapel no longer exists.

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