History and Heritage

Pastors of the English Congregational Church


From 'The First Fifty Years - A history of Ystalyfera County School' by Rees John Davies, M.A. (published 1946) comes this information on one of the 19th century pastors of the English Congregational Church:-

The Rev Tom Griffiths, B.A. (Lond.) was the pastor of the English Congregational Church, Ystalyfera, during the period from February , 1889, to December 1898. He was appointed clerk to the school governors [of Ystalyfera County School] on 25th September, 1896. He had already acted as clerk to the Technical Instruction Committee, which had been conducting evening classes in the district for many years. He resigned his position as clerk to the school governors on the occasion of his departure from Ystalyfera, in March, 1900, to live in London.


From 1902 to 1908 the pastor of the English Congregational Church, Ystalyfera, was the Rev T J Morgan who was ordained to the ministry from college. He was still going strong in 1944 to come back to help celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the church.


The Rev R G James served 8 years as pastor of the English Congregational Church, including being in place during the First World War. He had already retired by 1920 when the memorial service for the fallen of the war was held during which a tablet was unveiled in the church. The Labour Voice newspaper contained a profile of Rev R G James.


Melville Phllips took up the pastorate of the English Congregational Church in 1924, and he and his wife were presented in the July with gifts upon for their recent marriage. He served for 28 years, during which time the second church, in Ystradgynlais, was brought into a joint pastorate with that in Ystalyfera. He retired in February 1952, and died a year later in January 1953, being buried in Alltygrug Cemetery, Ystalyfera.
Read our full section on Rev Melville Phillips.


The Voice newspaper for 26th October 1956 reports on the ordination of Mr F J Williams as pastor of the English Congregational Churches of Ystalyfera and Ystradgynlais.


The ordination of Mr F J Williams, of Memorial College, Brecon, to the ministry and his induction to the pastorate of the English Congregational Churches of Ystalyfera and Ystradgynlais, took place on Thursday at Ystalyfera.
The ordination service was presided over by the Moderator for Wales and Monmouthshire, the Rev W Griffith Jones. Mr Luther Rees and Mr Brychan Davies both of Memorial College, Brecon, read and offered a prayer. They were followed by Mr WRG Bell, M Sc, who made a statement on behalf of the churches.
The commendation of the new pastor was then made by the Rev WT Pennar Davies, BA, B Lit, PhD, principal of Memorial College, Brecon.
Mr F J Williams replied.

The ordination ceremony was introduced by the Moderator and after the ordination hymn, the ordination prayer was offered by the Rev W T Pennar Davies.
The charge to the new minister was given by the Rev R J M Collins, MA, Coventry.
The Rev F J Williams gave the benediction.
After the service, a welcome meeting was held and presided over by Miss R M Williams, BA.
Mr Dyrinas D C Thomas, Memorial College Brecon, offered a prayer and then followed addresses of commendation by the Rev R G M Collins, MA, and Mr L Bailey, Coventry: County Councillor D J Lewis, Aberdare, students of Memorial College, and the Rev David S Morris of Port Talbot.
Addresses of welcome were given by Mr W R G Bell, M Sc, Ystalyfera Church; Mr W P Thomas, Ystradgynlais Church; Mr James Williams on behalf of the Sunday School, and Mrs B J Davies for the ladies of the church.
Fraternal greetings were received from Rev Iorwerth Jones, BA, BD, Pantteg; T Arfon Jones, Soar Baptist Church, Ystalyfera, and from the Rev T W Davies, Vicar of Ystalyfera.
Mr Gordon Thomas, Swansea, who deputised for the Rev W J Samuel, Neath, brought greetings and good wishes from the West Glamorgan Congregation Association.
Mr John S Maclaughan, Memorial College, Brecon, said the Benediction.
The new minister presided over the evening services. Those taking part were Rev D H Parry Jones, Pentrechwyth and the Moderator, Rev W Griffith Jones, who also preached the sermon. Mr Bert Davies was the organist.

The previous evening at Ystradgynlais Congregational Church a welcome tea and service was also held and was presided over by the Rev Owen Williams, Sardis, Ystradgynlais.
Among those who spoke were the Rev Hubert Davies, Ainon Baptist Church; Rev Llewelyn Davies, Bethlehem; Rev Dewi Davies, Penrhos; Rev D L Williams, Rector of Ystradgynlais.
Mr Holman Hunt, English Baptist Church, also spoke, and Mr David Abraham read verses suitable for the occasion.
Mr David James officiated at the organ.
The history of the church was given by the secretary, Mr W P Thomas
The new minster, Rev F J Williams, is a native of Cwmbach, Aberdare.


Maldwyn Mundy was Reverend in 1965, and left sometime shortly afterwards.


The Reverend Irfon James was in office by 1968 and held the pastorate for a good few years.


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