Teitl Casgliad: Glamorgan Gazette
Sefydliad: Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru
Hawliau: Nid yw statws neu berchnogaeth hawlfraint yr adnodd hwn yn hysbys.
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GREAT ASSEMBLY OF DELEGATES
GREAT ASSEMBLY OF DELEGATES. ELOQUENT ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. WAR TIME .PROHIBITION ASKED FOR. FEDERATION OF FREE CHURCHES DISCUSSED. < The honour of receiving the ministers and delegat es of the Welsh Baptist Union has fallen this year to the Noddfa Baptist Church, Pontycymmer. It requires a church with strong resources to handle an influx of visi- tors to the number of six hundred, but the Noddfa Church has done it. But, then, it is not too much to say that Noddfa is un- doubtedly one of the strongest churches in the connexion in South Wales. And it was gratifying to see all the churches in the neighbourhood rising to the occasion with offers of help and accommodation; it proves the spirit of brotherliness and unity between all the various denominations throughout the valley. The fullest possible acknowledg- ment is due to the sister churches for this generous support and co-operation, as a re- sult of which the authorities at Noddfa ex- perienced no difficulty in providing the neces- sary accommodation for their numerous guests. As stated, between 500 and 600 delegates from all parts of the Principality attended, including the leading ministers and members of the denomination. An effort was made by the local minister, Rev. W. Saunders, C.C., to secure the attendance on Wednesday of Mr Lloyd George, but no promise could be ob- tained, the War Minister, however, telling Mr. Saunders "not to be surprised if he came." The retiring, president of the Union was Mr. Evan Owen, J.P., of Cardiff; vice- president, the Rev. T. H. Williams, Newport; treasurer, Captain J. Ray Gibbon (who acts in the place of his father, the late Mr. J. P. Gibbon,' of Maesteg), and the secretary, the Rev. E. Edmunds, Swansea. RECEPTION OF DELEGATES. I The conference was happily inaugurated on Monday evening by a public reception and J tea to the delegates, in the Higher Elemen- tary Schools, Pontycymmer, the host and hostess being Mr. and-Mrs. W. Thomas, of Tynton, Pontycymmer. A vote of thanks was accorded at the close to the host and hostess, moved by Mr. Evan Owen, J.P., Cardiff (retiring president), and seconded by Rev. Joseph Davies, Birkenhead (an ex-pre- sident). The host responded in a few well- chosen words. Following the reception a public meeting was held at the Noddfa Chapel, under the chairmanship of Mr. Wm. Lewis, Merthyr Tydfil. Rev. J. Griffiths, B.A., B.D., Ammanford, delivered an address on The Temperance Opportunity," while the Rev. T. Morgan spoke on The Young Man and His Moral Dangers" and Mr. John Samuel, assistant principal at the Treforest School of Mines," on The Sunday School and the Child in its Period of Awakening." The Rev. T. Morgan, dealing with "The Young Man and His Moral Dangers," said at- tendance at the cinema estranged people from places of worship, but much of the evil wrought by the picture palace would be miti- gated if there were a strict censorship. He deplored the fact that at a time of distress like the present racing and betting news should appear on the same page in newspapers as the casualty lists. He appealed to the young men to develop a purity of character which would enable them to look into each other's faces without blushing, and to the young men to treat other's sisters as they would have their own treated. One thing which mitigated against the work of Welsh churches was lack of knowledge of the lan- guage among the young people. He sug- gested that parents should take more trouble to teach their children Welsh, and, failing that, that they should allow the children to attend English places of worship. Mr. Samuel treating cf "The Sunday • school," said the greatest teed of the church was to set the Bible in its proper place. The Bible must be the c --ntrclli-ug power of the church, Sunday school, and home.
TUESDAY'S PROCEEDINGS. IMPRESSIVE SERMON BY REV. THOS. PHILLIPS, BLOOMSBURY. STRIKING WAR PARALLEL—SCATHING CRITICISM OF MODERN INCON- SISTENCIES. The delegates began the day at 7.30 in the morning by a prayer meeting that was marked by a spirit of great fervency. Rev. Owen Owen, Llandegfan, N.W., presided, and the service was opened by Mr. Jones, of the Baptist College, Bangor, who read a portion of Scripture. Mr. Jones has seen active ser- ■ • v. vice, and was wounded in the elbow by a bullet in France, and has since been dis- charged from the Army. The first meeting of the session was held at Noddfa Chapel, under the presidency of Councillor Evan Owen, J.P., Cardiff. The representation of delegates exceeded 400. Comparatively small was the representation of the laity-a fact accounted for by the shortage of labour keeping many at home. The President was supported by the incoming President (Rev. T. H. Williams, Newport), and by several past presidents, including Principal W. Edwards, D.D., Cardiff; Prin- cipal T. F. Roberts, M.A., Aberystwyth; Rev. Peter Williams (Pedr Hir), Rev. Joseph Davies, Birkenhead; Rev. D. C. Jones, Peny- graig, and the Rev. M. Morris, D.D., Tre- orky, together with the Rev. E. Edmunds, Swansea, the secretary. The President paid a high tribute to the memory of the late Mr. J. P. Gibbon, J.P., Maesteg, treasurer of the Union, who for ten years had discharged these duties with marked ability and devotion. He proposed a vote of condolence with the bereaved family. Mr John Hind, M.P., in seconding, spoke of the singularly devoted manner in which the late Mr. Gibbon, had transacted the financial business of the Union. The Rev. E. Iorwerth Jones also spoke, and the resolution was carried in silence, all pre- sent standing. Captain J. Ray Ribbon acknowledged the tribute on behalf of his mother and the family. Captain J. Ray Gibbon, as acting treasurer, presented the annual statement of accounts, showing total receipt L2,553, expenses on account of the Union R390, payments to the Colleges at Cardiff and Bangor L105 each, bookroom account E144, and the "Llawlyfr Moliant" account £ 1,397; balance in hand, JE400. The statement was accepted, on the motion of Principal W. Edwards. Rev. E. K. Jones, Cefnmawr, called the attention of the Union to the matter of the annual report. This, he said, was the fourth year for the Union to be held without an annual report being published. He sug- gested that some ministers and friends resi- dent in Swansea be asked to assist the secre- tary in bringing out a report. The Secretary (Rev. E. Edmunds) said it was a ridiculous thing to publish an annual report and expect it to pay when one-half of those who attended the meetings never pur- chased it. He knew of very many represen- tatives, and some of them representing their most numerous churches, who had never pur- chased the annual report of the Union. Per- sonally, he was far too busy to prepare it, and would gladly welcome any assistance pro- vided due consideration be given to the finan- cial aspect. It was resolved that the matter be referred to the Council with a suggestion that imme- diate action be taken. Rev. Hugh Jones, Llanelly, presented the report of the Temperance Society, which re- commended that the second Sunday in Novem- ber be set aside as a Temperance Sunday. Mr. B. W. Griffiths had been elected president. The secretary would next year complete his fifteenth year of office, and gave notice that lie would then retire. The secretary recom- mended that resolutions be passed at the con- ference impressing the necessity of avoiding waste and utilising all the resources of the nation and urging the Government to prohibit the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors during the war, and for six months afterwards. These resolutions were put and carried, and a further resolution was passed appealing to the authorities and magistrates to exercise a stricter supervision with regard to the in- fringement of the Liquor Control Order, and appealing also to the churches to work for temperance principles. Rev. W. A. Phillips submitted the report of the Ministerial Fund, stating that since they had last met the Fund had been well organised, and there was every hope that it would be completed by the end of 1917, though it was difficult at the present stage to state exactly how much money had been pro- mised and subscribed towards the Fund. The scheme had been taken up in most of the churches. « Principal W. Edwards said -the completion of the Fund now seemed more hopeful than ever. It had been said that the promises amounted to £ 16,000, but as a matter of fact he knew that they amounted nearly to £ 20,000, and he expected R25,000 would be promised towards the Fund before the end of 1 1- Mr. J. Davies, Chairman of General Committee. Mr. Daniel Davies, Secretary of General Committee. I the year. When that sum had been secured they could claim the £ 5,000 promised by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland. He was pleased to state that £4,200 had al- ready been invested in Exchequer Bonds. The report was adopted. Federation of Free Churches, Mr. Evan Owen, the President, presented a report of the conference held at Shrewsbury, at the sugges- tion of the Rev. J. H. Skaespeare, for the purpose of considering the question of the federation of the Free Churches. He said that the impression he had was that the ideal of Mr. Shakespeare was a high one, but there would be a great difficulty in carrying it out. Rev. D. Powell, Liverpool, said he thought that the idea of creating an organic union seemed impossible. They must all be true to their prin- ciples, and while he believed Bap- tistg, were true to their. principles,, he believed Methodists were the" most sectarian denomination in Wales. They would never join the Federation, and he had no doubt 11 'I" tney woiilct- ail remember that the Baptists were not the only opponents of the scheme. A resolution was passed approving of the attitude adopted by the Baptist Union re- presentatives at the Shrewbury conference. The Rev. E. Ungoed Thomas, Carmarthen, Mr. W. P. Thomas, Treorchy, and Mr. John Hinds, M.P., had been nominated for the vice-presidency for the ensuing year. The Rev. E. Ungoed Thomas withdrew, and on a | vote being taken, Mr. John Hinds, M.P. for < West Carmarthenshire was elected. Mr. Hinds, in returning thanks for his election, said he felt it an honour not only to himself, but to the church in which he had laboured for some years, but honours such as these brought with them great responsibili- ties. He saw in the office an opportunity for work. It was a personal honour, but also an honour to the Church at Castle Street, to which he belonged—a Church which had been a home for the children of Wales out of Wales, and had help many sons and daugh- ters of the Principality in the Empire's chief city. Rev. E. Edmunds, Swansea, was re-elected secretary, Mr. Gwilym Treharne, Cardiff, auditor, and Mr. S. G. Owen, Swansea, audi- tor of the Century Loan Fund. The election of treasurer was postponed until the morning. It was resolved that the next meeting of the Union be held at A beravon. The Secretary read correspondence which had passed between the Welsh Baptist Union and the Baptist Missionary Society rel&tive to the Welsh secretary of the Missionary Society. Rev. E. K. Jones, Cefnmarw: and Principal W. Edwards made earnest appeals to the parties concerned to make up their differences, and in order to do so it was sug- gested that a round table conference be held. Eventually the matter was referred to the Council of the Union for further considera- tion. I YOUNG WELSH BAPTIST UNION. The annual meeting of the Young Welsh Baptist Union was held at Bethel Chapel, when the Rev .D. Bowen (Myfyr Hefin), the. president, gave an interesting address on Young People's Problems. The meeting urged the Young People's Society should en- deavour to tackle the problem of the leakage in the churches by establishing a church nur- sery where young people between 12 and 16 years of ago should be instructed in the funda- J Mr. W. Thomas, Tynton, Pontycymmer. I Treasurer. 1 Rev. W. Saunders, C.C., Pastor of Noddfa. I mental truths of religion and where teachers could be trained for Sunday school work. The Sunday Schol Committee was asked to co- operate in the matter, and a joint conference was arranged to be held next Easter, when both societies will endeavour to solve the pro- blem. The Rev. W. R. Jones, Glynceiriog, was elected president; Mr. E. Anthony, Good- wick, vice-president; and the Rev. W. Saun- ders, Pontycymmer, re-elected secretary. A memorable -service was held in the even- ing, when the chapel was full to overflowing. The pulpit was occppied by Rev. Thomas Phillips, B.A. (Bloomsbury), President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland), who based an eloquent sermon on 1. Chroni- cles, xiv. 15, "And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt go out to_ battle; for God is gone forth before thee t-o smite the host of the Philistines." It was 3,000 years ago, said the preacher, and,it was war then, and it is war to-day. There was war between the Philistines and Israel, and there is war again with the Philistines. Both the old and the new Philistines were a separ- ate nation—a nation of swank and swagger, of brute force and arrogant materialism-a nation whose God is Dagon, the God of a nation who cannot stand erect, and could not go straight. That which took place 3,000 years ago was taking place to-day, and one of the great values of the present war was that it opened our eyes to the greater war. The greatest war was not in Europe, in Salonika, or in Mesopotamia. The greatest war was in Wales, in England—every- where where the gospel of Christ is preached. And this present war was small in comparison. It was only one aspect of the larger war. For example, it was said to be a war between justice and injustice, and it. was that. But the war between jus- tice and injustice did not begin in August, 1914. It had always been going on-in the Principality, in the valleys, all over the land, and in our own lives. They said it was a war between oppression and liberty, and such it was; but the war between liberty and oppression was an old war. They had it in Wales, in Eng- land, in America, in our own lives— with the passions chaining them down, and he higher life struggling to )e It was, thev were again loul. a war vtwoen the arrogance of the strong, ai;d eor^k i ;uenesss of the weak. But that did not start tvhp). Belgium was in- vaded. Little people had been crushed before Belgium. Round about London, they had motor vans belonging to big firms, going to country places and under-selling the little tradesmen of the countryside, driving them "'II" 'II.. to the wall, and crushing the life out of them. What mattei-, so long as these men piled up their dividends? There- was a good deal of this crushing-out business going on every- where. The present war was an aspect of the greater war in which they. were engaled- the war of which that chapel was a fort, the denomination one of the brigades, and that meeting one of the great attacks. This holy b d war was always going on between right an d wrong; and what troubled one was that they did not seem to feel its enormity. They did not feel in Wales the enormity of the Euro- pean War. He believed they were having the time of their lives. The farmers never made so much money. Cardiff was more prosperous than ever-he dared not enumer- ate other towns. More money was made in Wales than ever before, and he was not quite sure that they did not wish the war to con- tinue. A Polish writer says you can't take up a clod of earth in Poland and squeeze it without human blood oozing out of it. That's war! But what about the holy war-this war which is always going on ? Are we like warriors in the great conflict? They talked about "High" and "Broad" Churches! What he was afraid of was "Soft" Churches. Religion was a "soft" thing for a great many. In Wales they did not regard religion as a picnic. They recognised that a Christian must declare war upon all the wrong that was within him, and upon all the wrong that was without. He would now use the text to describe some of the tactics of war,, and some of the secrets of victory. The first point he emphasised was that a saint is a man under orders. It was not David who managed the war, or drew up the plan of campaign. Again and again, David enquired of God. He con- sulted his General. He did not go to battle of his own accord. He recognised the sove- I reignty and the friendship of God. They wanted to keep that ever in their minds. Another aspect was this-that God was the Commander-in-Chief. The religion that was vital Christianity must have a "must" in it. The danger was for people to take the part of religion that pleased them, and refuse the other part. But if they were going to have Christianity they must take the whole of it. Commanders-in-chief did not permit their sol- I diers to choose their own drills. If they had been in the British Army and treated Kit- chener as most of them treated Jesus Christ they would have been shot. There could not be the least doubt about it. If they had military discipline, he did not think there would be a Baptist left in Wales. There was no conscription in God's army. Voiuntee- soldiers fought better than conscripts. But if there was no conscription, there ought to be loyality, and there ought to be a "must." Bohemianism said, "I'll do what I like!" Calvinism said, "I'll do what God wants me." Bohemianism said "Pleasure"; Calvinism, uty. Bohemianism, "Enjoyment"; vCalvinism, Responsibility." Bohemian- ism, A good time". Calvinism, "Loyalty to God, and loyalty to the highest." He hoped that through the instrumentality of the war, they would get iron and blood back into the churches, and recognise God as their Com- mander-in-Chief, and themselves as his true servants. The only way to achieve victory was to pledge victory once more to the great Commander-in-Chief. Men under orders did not go before the Generals, and they must not go before God. That was the danger of the Anzacs and Ghurkas who went of their own accord-little wars for their own sakes and to enjoy themselves. The first thing, then, was to obey orders from headquarters, and to be quite sure they followed the guidance of God. One half of the splits in the churches that had thrown back the Kingdom of Christ for 30 years had come through men's desire to go before God. The third point was that they must take time to catch the orders. One of the greatest problems of life was how to be sure of the orders. As they saw from the text, it was not a gale or an earthquake, but—just a breeze—the gentle movement of the trees. The mistake many made was that they expected God to give them a push. But God never pushes. He only touches. They expected Him to shout. He never shouts; He only whispers. They expected an earth- quake, and had the "still .small voice." God did not use force. He only moved and warned. The great thing was to be in the atmosphere to catch the thoughts of God. What they wanted was the power to listen. With the sounds of the camp, the rum-ours of newspapers, the clatter of conflict, and the demands of the world, they did not get time to listen to God. They did not hear the sound of the going amongst the mulberry trees. God is very near to us. If He is not rear to us, said the preacher, my religion God was omnipresent. Did they say He was everywhere except the souls of men and C) rT' women.' iDe !u't-m arose, What is the relationship of ? Holy Spirit to the Princi- pality at the present time?" It seemed as if the churches were more dead than last year. Yet God was near to the churches, and the Holy Spirit was as near as in the time of the great Revival. Prayer Jlleetings were the great test. Every Welshman was a po- r- I tential preacher. There was no credit in hearing sermons. The whole Church must come together and listen for the sound of the going in the mulberry trees. His last point was that when they were under orders they had victory before striking the first blow. This Christian business was not a kind of gamble. Their attitude must not be that they hoped it would turn out all right, but were not quite sure they were going to won. So long as they regarded the Kingdom of God as a gamble, it would turn out like the Darda- nelles. God was greater than difficulties, and he meant us to conquer difficulties. Ministers and deacons who said, "I am not fit," were the most conceited people, and not the most humble. The most courageous people were always the people in the "set fawr." One cause of failure was to always try to do possible things. Never try to do what is possible. Try that which is impos- sible. So long as you go in for the possible, you are calculating, and go by arithmetic, and if you go by arithmetic you won't get the words of God into your souls. You must depend upon God, and by depending upon God you will conquer.. There are problems in all the churches—problems everywhere. They were told the problems were too mighty. j He didn't believe it. Whenever a man was blest by the grace of God with the Gospel of Christ, he could say, I am put down here; here is my spot; I shall conquer." At the public meeting held subsequently, under the presidency of Mr. Evan Owen, ad- dresses were delivered by Principal T. F. Roberts, M.A., Aberystwyth, on The Minis- terial Movement in its Spiritual Aspect"; by Councillor D. Griffiths, J.P., Swansea, on The Nurture of Devotional Life," and by the Rev. J. Jenkins, M.A. (Gwili) on The Baptists in their Relation to the Democracies, of the Future."
Report of the Conference (including an His- torical Sketch of the Baptist Cause in the Garw) continued on Pane 8..
I Other Ogmcre and Garw News will be found- on Pages 2 and 7. >Ii: