Wednesday, February 14, 2007

D. R. Davies XIX: Back to the Ministry

Following the success of On to Orthodoxy, Davies was flooded with invitations to preach, write and lecture. Given his new celebrity, his return to the ministry was no longer a problem. He became minister of Richmond Road Congregational Church, Cardiff (pictured) in December 1939. It was agreed he would stay for one year.

The Congregationalism Davies found himself in was very different from that he had known ten years before:

"There was a colder spiritual climate. To a much greater extent in previous years, there was a greater strangeness to fundamental Christian experience." At meetings of ministerial colleagues, Davies found his emphasis on the sinfulness of man opposed by his older colleagues, while younger men found him a breath of fresh air.

The church was more worried about money, which was increasingly tight, rather than the saving of souls. Perhaps this was reflected in the fact that congregations were, as a rule, smaller than the membership, in contrast to the way things had been a generation ago. The state of the mid-week prayer-meetings was even worse. 'Ichabod' could have been written over the doors of many of the churches, even a great number of the more famous ones, for the glory had departed from Welsh Independency.

Still, Davies was a driven man:
"I found my work in Cardiff of absorbing interest, both preaching and writing, for which I enjoyed ever widening opportunity. I thought of myself first and foremost as a preacher; for God had called me to preach."
The pastoral visitation aspect remained a difficulty for Davies. While he would do the neccessary things, Davies felt worn down by having to do everything himself. He told his friend, Dr. J. D. Jones that he felt he must leave the ministry unless he could find a church that expected their minister to be first and foremost a preacher, only to have Jones tell him that he doubted such a church existed in Congregationalism. Dr. Berry, another friend laughed when Davies suggested he might be suited to a country pastorate, telling him that the Church of England had a monoploy of these.
The thought of leaving nonconfromity for Anglicanism had not previously occured to Davies, but it soon began to suggest itself strongly.



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