Hen dy Cwrdd
On Wednesday and Thursday, October 12th and 13th 1910, the quarterly meetings of the Welsh Unitarian Society were held at Hen Dy Cwrdd, in conjunction with the induction of Mr. James Glynne Davies, as pastor of the church and successor to the veteran preacher and scholar, the Rev R. J. Jones, M.A.
Mr. Davies, who is a native of Cardiganshire, had been associated with Bwlchyfadfa Unitarian Church He received his training at the Home Missionary College, Manchester, under the Principal Alexander Gordon M.A.
On Wednesday evening and Thursday morning devotional services were held, at which the Rev T. A. Thomas, Llandysul, Dr. Tudor Jones, London, Revs R.C. Jones, Lampeter, I. Williams, Rhydygwin; and Carrara Davies, Cefn, took part.
On Thursday afternoon the induction service was held, The Rev. John Davies opened the meeting, Mr. D. Tyssul Davies, who presided, introduced Principal Gordon of Manchester and a gave a most stirring address.
Dr. Tudor Jones said that it was gratifying to find there that day the old minister and hearty while the new minister entered into his pastorate, Mr. Glynne Davies was privileged in having a man like the Rev R.J. Jones a member of the church to which he was ordained. They as ministers were living in an age of transition, and he believed that they would emerge from this stage the gainers. We had reached a period when less would be heard of theological controversies than before.
The Chairman remarked that it was 40 years since a similar event took place at the Old Meeting House. The minister who was inducted then was still with them, and he would be the next speaker.
The Rev. R. J. Jones said he was pleased to see such a full representation of the various churches present. He had always been on good terms with neighbouring ministers. The object of every church should be to multiply the good men. He was in favour of lowering denominational barriers sufficiently to enable them to shake hands over. He trusted that the union of the new pastor and the old church would receive the divine sanction and blessing.
Mr. Gwilym Griffiths, the secretary of the church, expressed his pleasure at seeing present so many people from outside the church. Mr. Griffiths read letters regretting inability for absence from the Rev D. Evans, Chester; Rev Blount Mott, Cardiff; Rev. J. Tyssul Davies, Newport; Miss Reed, Cardiff and the Rev. W. Harris, Baptist minister, formerly of Heolyfelin. Mr. Griffiths stated that the church was unanimous in extending an invitation to Mr. Davies. He trusted that Mr. Davies would have a happy and useful career as pastor of the Old Meeting House.
The Rev J. Grawys Jones, the congregational minister was pleased to join in welcoming Mr. Glynne Davies. He (the speaker) had been intimately associated with the old minster for a quarter of a century, and he would be pleased if he could enjoy the fellowship of the new pastor for a similar period. Mr. Evan Davies senior deacon of the church extended on behalf of his fellow deacons and members a hearty welcome to Mr. Davies.
The Rev E. O. Jenkins, Bwlchyfadfa, Mr. Davies’s mother church, paid a high tribute to Mr. Davies. He was a young man of irreproachable character, and the best wishes of his old friends went with him to his new sphere. The Rev W. E. George, Manchester, remarked that he owed a great deal to the friendship of the Rev J. R. Jones. He wished to sympathise with Mr. Davies, who was now commencing the work of his life.
The Rev. E. Gwenffrwd Hughes, Baptist minister, said that present to rejoice with them that day. He felt sure that the church would help the new minister with their prayers. Mr. Davies, Gellionen Chapel, said that he was present on behalf of the churches of Gellionen and Trebanos to wish the new pastor well.
The Rev H. A. Davies, formerly Congregational minister of Moriah, Aman, Cwmaman, remarked that his acquaintance with the Rev J.R. Jones, extend of 35 years. He was also familiar with the late Rev William James, another pastor of the church. He could assure Mr. Davies that he could have not found a better atmosphere to commence his ministerial career than Aberdare.
Mr. D. M. Richards could also claim acquaintance with the old minister for 35 years. He wished well to the pastor and the church. Councillor T. Lewis, J.P., chairman of the Aberdare District Council, said that we lived in an age when prophets and idealists were required more than ever. He trusted that Mr. Davies would be a worthy successor to the grand old man of Trecynon. The Rev M. Evans, the pastor of Highland Place Unitarian Church, spoke briefly, congratulating church and pastor.
The Rev Simon Jones, B.A., secretary of the South East Wales Unitarian Society, wished to thank Principal Gordon for coming there to re-consecrate some of his old pupils, including himself. The Rev. J. Sulgwyn Davies Siloh then gave interesting and humorous reminiscences of his association with Unitarian and his supplies at Unitarian Churches.
The Rev. Glynne Davies, the new pastor, wished to express his gratitude for the many kind words said on his behalf. He felt honoured in being invited to succeed the Rev. R. J. Jones and grateful to him for his aid and encouragement. He already felt himself at home at the Old Meeting House, He also felt thankful to his old Principle for coming there that day and for his kindness to him during the four years he had been privileged to sit at his feet.
In the evening, the Rev D. G. Rees, Bridgend, conducted the preliminary portion of the service, and the Rev E. O. Jenkins, Bwlchyfadfa, Cardingshire, delivered the charge of the church. Mr. Jenkins, in the course, of a vigorous address criticised the Welsh churches for expecting too much from their pastors. He believed that the slave trade had been transferred from America to Wales and that ministers of the gospel were the serfs today. The pastors were expected to do everything in connection with a church. In one church he knew the minister was asked to preach three times on Sundays, and address a Sunday school, besides addressing various week-night meetings. In some churches, not Unitarian Churches, he hoped, the deacons seemed to be on the quiet life to discover any heretical tendencies in the minister. The advice he would give to such men to and to such churches would be to buy a gramophone. They could get whatever tune they liked in that. It was stated that the public made the Press. It was also true that the church made the minister. Hundreds of ministers today were afraid of preaching the truth and the whole truth lest they might hurt someone in the congregation. He would appeal to Hen dy Cwrdd to allow the minister to speak out his honest opinion on all things.
With the regard to visiting, proceeded Mr Jenkins, they could not expect so much in this line from Unitarian ministers as from, say, the C. M. and the Wesleyan ministers, A Methodist pastor was not at his, own church more than Sunday every month, so a Unitarian minister had to prepare four times as many sermons as a C.M. minister. The Wesleyans again changed their shepherds every three years and if the shepherds were wise men the set of sermons would do in their place (Laughter). He appealed to church members when their pastor visited them in their homes, not to worry and weary him with unfavourable gossip regarding other members of the church. It was the duty of church members to attend regularly and to encourage the minister by listening attentively to his message.
Rev J. Davies, Alltyplaca, Cardigan, preached on the words, “Do your best.” He prefaced his sermons by saying that this would in all probability be his last visit to Hen dy Cwrdd. He was 75 years of age and had preached for 51 years and he is now felt like the Rev J. R. Jones, Aberdare that he would like to give up.
The Rev Glynne Davies, the new minister, thanked all for their presence and help during the meetings.
Trecynon Minister’s Farewell 01.03.1913
The members of Hen Dy Cwrdd, Trecynon, much regret the departure of their pastor, the Rev. J. Glynne Davies, after two and a half years’ successful ministry, to Banbridge, Ireland. On Sunday evening he preached his farewell sermon, and on Monday evening his friends assembled at the chapel to bid him farewell and to present him with a token of their regard and esteem in the shape of a roll-top desk. The meeting was presided over by Mr Levi Phillips, who referred to Mr Davies’s successful work in Trecynon and his ability as a preacher. He expressed the hope that he would be spared for many years to continue the good work in his new sphere of labour.
Mrs. Phillips, Llewellyn Street, on behalf of the church, presented Mr. Davies with the key of the roll-top desk, expressing her regret at his departure, and wishing him the greatest success in Banbridge.
Mrs Morgan Morgan recited some verses appropriate to the occasion, and speeches were delivered by Mrs Willie Jones, Messrs. John Thomas, D. R. Llewelyn, and W. M. Llewelyn (Bwllfa), John Stanley Evans, D. R. Griffiths, Taliesin Griffiths, Jack Jones (Cwmdare) and Richard Jones.
Mr Gwilym Griffiths, the secretary, during an appropriate speech, road messages of apology for non-attendance from the Misses Griffiths (The Poplars), the Rev. R. J. Jones, M.A., Messrs. D. J. Jones, and Ebenezer Davies.
The Rev. J. Glynne Davies replied in feeling terms, thanking the church for their presentation and good wishes. He regretted very much leaving them and hoped the work would the will be carried on successfully in the Old Meeting House for many years. He had made many good friends since he came to Aberdare, and he would always cherish pleasant recollections of his stay here. He had done his utmost to carry out his ministerial work and had had every help from them.
Mr Gwilym Griffiths made an excellent secretary of the presentation movement.
Installation of Rev. James Glynne Davies, Banbridge, Ireland 24.05.1913
The induction of a successor to the Rev. Edgar Lockett, who retired some time ago to take charge of a congregation in England, in the pastorate of Downshire Road Congregation Church, took place on Thursday last, when the Presbytery of Armagh installed Rev. J. Glynne Davies, formerly pastor of Hen Dy Cwrdd Unitarian Church, Aberdare, who had received a practically unanimous call.
The Presbytery and other friends were entertained to an excellent luncheon by the Session and Committee in the Dunbar Memorial School. The Rev. Thomas Dunkerley, B.A., presided, and there were also present: Revs. J. Glynne Davies, H. J. Rossington, M.A., B.D.; A. O. Ashworth, A. Davison, M. S. Dunbar, M.A.; J. G. Slipper, G. V. Crooke, M. Watkins, S. E. Bowen and J. H. Bibbey; also, Rev. Thomas Boyd, B.A.; Rev. R. Buick Knox, B.A.; Messrs J. Murphy, J.P.; J. Smyth, M.A.; R. W. Glass, LL.B.; S. Bell, A. McCammon, A. W. Emerson, B. McCaw, S. Sterling, W. Hutton, J. McKeown, and several ladies.
Mr R. W. Glass, in proposing the toast of “The Newly Installed Minister,” said he did so with very great pleasure, not only from his own point of view, but because he felt that in doing so and in saying what he wished to say about Mr Davies that he was expressing the universal opinion of the congregation. Mr Davies came to them with the active support of most of the congregation, with the active opposition of none, and with the reserved assent of some. Since his arrival, the support and esteem of his friends had been preserved and strengthened, and the reservation of those who were at that time passive in the matter had been removed.
They had seen him since he came to Banbridge. in private life and in their church services, by the side of the dying and the graves of the dead, and he could say with all confidence that the congregation is more attached to its minister, and more generally united in approval of him, and more hopeful of the future than it has been at any time during the past generation. He made this statement with a good deal of authority, because he was not one of those who actively supported Mr Davies’ coming here. His objection to him was not in any way based on personal grounds, and he made that admission in his hearing without any hesitation and without any fear that it would militate in the slightest degree against the friendship that something told him would exist between Mr Davies and himself. Mr Davies was coming to a loyal congregation. They were not censorious in Banbridge; they were not too critical; they were a congregation of decent men and kindly women, and he hoped Mr Davies would be happy here.
He (Mr Glass) sympathised with the difficulties of a clergyman’s position. He was always inclined to support, and in the past he had always supported, the clergyman in any little friction that might occasionally occur, and Mr Davies might rely on his loyal support and his desire to assist him in any way in smoothing the little difficulties that occasionally crop up, and he would try to make the path of his ministry here as smooth as he could. On behalf of the congregation he wished him many years of happy days in the ministry, and he expressed his own and their united hope that many of them would be passed in Banbridge. They welcomed him most cordially.
Mr Davies, who was warmly greeted, said he wished to thank them most heartily for their cordial welcome to Banbridge. He felt rather lonely and quite a stranger during’ the first few days after his arrival, but he did not now feel so; through the kindness and joviality of the people around him he felt quite at home. He came from a country where the language spoken here was not often heard, a little country that was very much despised by a certain class of people (no, no), called by some “Wild Wales,” but by others who knew more of its spirit and traditions, Gallant Little Wales.” The language here sounded strange to his ears at first, hut he had now found that behind the language and strange faces there exists a spirit very much akin to the spirit of the Welsh. He felt that they had a great many things in common, that many of their aspirations, many of their ideals. were identical, and he felt that he had come to quite a congenial sphere in coming to Banbridge.
The kindness and open-heartedness of the people were such that he could enter into their lives and share in their joys and sorrows, and by God’s help he hoped to help them through the highway of this life to the life beyond. He had felt perhaps that an Irish congregation was not quite so enthusiastic as the congregations in Wales, but yet he was beginning to change his mind in that respect; they do not say so much as the Welsh people do, but at heart he thought they were quite as enthusiastic and quite as sincere, and he thought that this steady quiet influence and enthusiasm was far more lasting than the superficial outbursts that they see in religious life in many circles. He looked forward with hope and confidence to his work here, and that with the loyalty of the people, with their kindness and generosity of feeling, he would be able to do something not only to improve their lives, but to improve his own also; and that they would go on from day to day and from year to year knowing each other better, and go on hand-in-hand doing the best kind of work possible.
He thanked them again for their warm welcome, not only that day, but in their homes which he had visited while he had been here. They had shown a quiet loyalty and kindness for which he felt incredibly grateful. He was awfully glad to see present so many of his brethren in the ministry, especially those friends of other denominations, for shoeing their kindness to him. He had felt that they were as a denomination somewhat looked down upon by some ministers belonging to other faiths, but he was indeed glad to find that here there was a loyalty among the churches and also among the ministers, and that there was a spirit of brotherhood and respect; that although they might differ in opinions the same spirit exists, the spirit of doing good and uplifting the whole community. He would be very glad indeed to take part in any movement in the town whose aim was the uplifting of the people and getting them out of the ways of darkness and sin, anything that would tend to the uplifting of the community aid the purification of town and civic life he would throw himself into whole-heartedly along with the ministers of any of the other denominations.
Back to Trecynon