Monday, September 03, 2007

The Free Church of The Welsh: Four

The Meeting on 15 March, 1900, was presided over by J. W. Jones, one of the elders atChatham Street church. He told the members that he, together with fellow elders William Williams, William Jones and John Jones could no longer work with W. O. Jones, their minister. It was proposed that the monthy meeting of the Presbytery looking into the affair, an idea that was enthusiastically secponded by W. O. Jones and which passed unanimously.
The committee of inquiry met for the first time on 30 March, at Chatham Street. There its members heard allegations that W. O. Jones had been drunk at some of the church meetings. W. O. Jones was horrified. He had sincereky believed that William Williams' retraction on 7 September, 1899, had been the end of the matter. However, other members of the committe stated that the minister had been warned about rumours circulating regarding his sobriety. Whatever the case, Jones was shocke dto learn that the inquiry was to focus on him, and not on the denominations disciplinary rules.
Angry confrontations between minister an elders continued throughout 1900, with W. O. Jones being supported by the majority of the church members. In this time, the one ray of sunshine was Jones' marriage, on 5 April, 1900, to Ceridwen Jones. But the clouds were gathering, as the committees enquiries dragged up rumours concerning Jones' conduct on the cruise-ship Vito. The committe heard conflicting evidence from church members, and were told that Jones was in the habit of taking claret for the sake of his health (this from his landlady). These stories were no more than rumour, but were enough to create suspicion.
The most solid witness was Captain Jervis of the Vito, who told two members of the committee that Jones had used foul language and was, in his opinion, 'an immoral man.' However, he died before this evidence could be pressed further. Jones admitted again that he had taken alcoholi, but enied being drunk, something his fellow passengers corroborated. Still, suspicions had been raised, and on 9 July 1900, the verdict was returned:
That we are forced to believe that the Revd. W. O. Jones, BA, has been guilty on several occasions of behaviour that makes him unfit to be a minister of the gospel, and thus we come to the decision that he should not in any way hold such an important position among us.
On 11 July, the monthy meeting votedto accept the verdict. W. O. Jones was expelled from the ministry of the denimonation.



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