Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Free Church of the Welsh: Two

Less than a month after W. O. Jones' return from the Mediterranean, a member at Chatham Street was accused of immorality, and the elders called on to discipline the offender. W. O. Jones was of the opinion that the offender's memberhip should be suspended for a fixed term, during which he would be excommunicated, something supported by two of the elders. A majority of the elders, however, were in favour of permanent excommunication. The result of the deadlock was that three of the four elders who opposed Jones submitted their resignations. W. O. Jones refused to accept their resignations, treatening to resign himself. On 18 July, agreement was reached and tranquility restored. W. O. Jones left on his summer holiday, returning at the end of August for a new year.

However soon after Jones' return problems it became clear that all was not well. On 7 September, at the first seiat (fellowship meeting), Jones' appearance was such that one of the members asked whether he was ill. Jones was later described as mumbling and dishevelled, supporting himself on the lectern. A baptism took place afterwards, where Jones mistook the nurse holding the baby for the mother and one member smelt alcohol on Jones' breath. After a second such incident, one member, William Williams, shared his concerns with the minister.

Jones reassured Williams that he was a teetotaller.

"I know," Williams replied, "your name is on the temperance book of the church, written with your own hand; but what was that smell?"

Jones informed the concerned member that he never touched a drop: 'only a glass of whisky sometimes on a Sunday night.'

Williams was later to state that he had shared his concerns with Humphrey Lloyd, the member who wad asked whether Jones was ill. Jones was later to state that Williams told him that the matter would not go further, but this was not to be.



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