Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Free Church of the Welsh: Six

Expelled from the Calvinistic Methodist Church, W. O. Jones found that, at the age of 40, his life was in ruins. However, while the great and the good of the denomination had rejected him, Jones still had his enthusiastic supporters. Expelled formally from the denomination at Oswestry in a meeting on 26 June, 1901, Jones met with the defence committee at the Common Hall, Hackins Hey, to consider their next move. That next move was a meeting on Tuesday 2 July, attended by 160 people, where it was decided to sever all links with the Calvinistic Methodist Church and look to set up as an independent congregation, with W. O. Jones as their minister. The first service was held on Sunday 14 July, 1901.
The morning prayer meeting was attended by 600 people, while the evening service drew a congregation of over 2,000. W. O. Jones preached on the text: 'The Son of Man is come to seek and save that which was lost.' At the end of the day Jones was able to record: 'At last a happy Sunday.' The following Sunday saw a larger congregation, and by 28 July, 650 people had applied to join the new church, which was formed at the evening service, William Jones, Rock Ferry proposing that W. O. Jones be called as their pastor.
Over July and August the new church organised, setting up Sunday Schools in Liverpool, Birkenhead and Bootle, with three others added by the end of August. At the same time the new church's organisation committe was forced to look for an assistant to the pastor, who was faced with more work than he could cope with.
The new movement was growing, but it needed a name. At a Seiat held in Hope Hall on 4 September, 1901, it was decided that the new denomination (for its growth was such that it would surely be so) would be called Eglwys Rydd y Cymry, 'The Free Church of the Welsh.'



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