Thursday, March 15, 2007

John Pugh XV: The Work in Newport

The blessing began to spread form Cardiff, first to the growing town of Newport in Monmouthshire, to the East of Cardiff. In August 1895, the Joshua brothers plastered the town with posters. Like their chief, the brothers initially met with a frosty reception. Seth, distributing tracts in the park, was approached by an official, who informed the evangelist that this was against the rules. Seth gave him a tract, only to be rebuffed! Coming to a lodging-house, Seth spoke to a number of men there, and they sang some hymns. A number of meetings saw swelling numbers, with overflow meetings being held in the Corn Exchange, while Ebenezer Welsh chapel lent its premises. After twelve months of sustained evangelism, about one hundred had professed saving faith, enough for a new, English-speaking church to be formed. Soon, the Corn exchange proved too small for this church, and by the winter of 1898-9, three halls had to be used.

Lord Tredegar, a friend of the Movement, although an Anglican, gave a plot of land at the heart of the town, and it was here that the church's permanent home, Central Hall, was erected, with seating for 2,000 in the main hall, and two smaller halls, holding 800 people each. Mrs. Edwards Davies, Llandinam, officiated at the opening on 4 October, 1906, while John Pugh spoke in the evening, giving a resumé on the work of the movement from its beginning.

Elsewhere in Newport, another hall was already operating. Malpas Road Hall (pictured) had opened in 1897, without even the core of a church, an act of faith on Pugh's part which filled many with apprehension. But God had determined to bless the work, and a sizeable congregation gathered on the first Sunday (this method of starting a church is still not advised). Within five months the church had thirty members and one hundred and fifty in the young peoples' meetings. This church would be greatly blessed in 1905, and is still open today.

In Cardiff, the work was greatly prospering, and it is to this that we shall turn next time, God willing.



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