Saturday, January 27, 2007

D. R. Davies XII: The Bed of Sickness

As we have seen, D. R. Davies' ministry in Southport had been somewhat successful, if very liberal. He had retained his socialist, humanistic ideas, and applied them to the Bible. The result was a reasonably successful ministry, with numbers increasing. But God was soon to show that He was sovereign over the liberal minister.
Shortly before the commencement of the winter 1924 session of meetings, Davies was struck down by an attack of something akin to rheumatism. He was unable to preach for almost three months, and when he did re-enter the pulpit, he could only walk slowly, with the aid of a stick.
It took two years before Davies could resume his pastoral duties. Two years of treatments that caused him to become more and more isolated from the church at Southport, as he had from the church at Ravensthorpe. Again, D. R. Davies retreated into a private world of books.
It was at this time that an even occured that was, ultimately, to lead to the end of Davies' minsitry at Southport. Indeed, to the end of his ministry as a liberal. He was approached by a young man from a local engineering works, who wished to be married by Davies because he had heard the pastor of Hawkshead Street described as 'a bit of a Bolshie.' By 1926, Davies was holding meetings for Trade Unionists at Hawkshead Street Chapel, much to the disquiet of his deacons.
While many men from the Vulcan Engineering Works came to the chapel, the result of the Tuesday meetings was that Davies' preaching became more stridently political. Then, on 1 May 1926, the dreaded event happened: the miners of Great Britain, in dispute with their employer over wages and hours, were locked out by the mine-owners. Since the Trades Union Congress had promised that any lock-out of the miners would be answered with a strike of all unionised workers. The General Strike had begun.



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