History and Heritage

Rev Ifor Jones, Soar Chapel, Ystalyfera

Reverend Ifor Jones ministered at Soar (Zoar) from 1925 to 1944. He was inducted on 20th April 1925 and died in 1944, whilst still minister. Miss Mary Jones, daughter of the Rev and Mrs Ifor Jones, was the organist at the time of the 1943 centenary celebration. Ifor Jones had a flourishing ministry by that date, having baptised 164 persons and with over 300 members of the chapel.

The information on his induction ceremony comes from the Labour Voice newspaper, Saturday 25th April 1925 referencing events from Sunday 19th and Monday 20th April, 1925.

Soar Chapel Ystalyfera
Induction Services
Reverend Ivor Jones becomes Pastor

Large and enthusiastic congregations assembled at Soar Baptist Chapel, Ystalyfera, on Sunday and Monday last to inaugurate the ministry of the Rev Ifor Jones, formerly of Salem Baptist Church, Briton Ferry: a series of meetings began with a series of 3 preaching services on Sunday, when the Reverends T Valentine Evans, Calfaria, Clydach and WJ Dunstone, BA, BD, Ynystawe delivered timely and poweful sermons.
The official induction service took place on Monday afternoon and judging from the crowds that arrived from all points for this service, it was evident that the friends and well-wishers of the Rev Ifor Jones and Soar Chapel are exceptionally numerous. There was a large contingent of ministers and lay members were present from most of the churches in the Swansea and neighbouring valleys. Three or four large buses brought members of his old church and other friends of the Reverend Gentleman from Briton Ferry. Before the service began the chapel was crowded to overflowing and many failed to gain admission.

Ministers Present

Amongst those present were the Reverend E D Lewis, Caersalem, who presided, ... D W Stephens (C.M.), Ystalyfera, D J Moses, BA, (Ind) Gurnos, E T Evans, BA, (Ind) Wern, D J Davies, Ystradgynlais, D T Rees (Ind) Godre'rgraig, Melville Phillips, English Cong Ystalyfera,

The Introduction

The introductory part of the service was conducted by the Reverend S J Leake, Brynamman, and L J Lewis, Pontardawe. Reverend E D Lewis, Caersalem, in a few remarks said that the meeting was interesting in a special sense to the church and to the new minister but it was also of interest to the Church of Christ at large, as it would, they trusted, contribute to the coming of Kingdom of God. It was also a happy and auspicious occasion. They could not help being reminded of sad memories when they recalled that other service in that building which had led in a way to their meeting that afternoon. They had met to welcome in the heartiest manner the Reverend Ifor Jones to his new ministry and they all hoped that his stay at the Swansea Valley, his native district, would be long and prosperous.
His two predecessors, the Revs Charles Williams and William Jones had spent their whole life there. Who knew but that this would be the experience of the new minister also.

The History of the Call

Mr Morris Davies, "Y Glyn" the Secretary of the Church, giving the history of the call, confined himself to the simple statement that the call had been given and accepted and that was the main thing. The church at Soar had always revered its pastors and sufficient proof of this was found in the fact that the combined ministry that the last two previous ministers had last for 69 years. He had received a large number of letters from friends expressing regret at being unable to attend, and read those sent by the Rev JT Evans, Principle of Bangor Baptist College; Ben Davies, Pantteg, from London; and T Gywnn Thomas, President of the Council of Evangelical Churches, Briton Ferry. The former bore testimony to Mr Jones' character and devotion to his duties. The latter referred to him as a fearless and far-seeing leader in the public life of Briton Ferry and as a favourable minister of Christ. Reverend Ben Davies said that the new minister was fortunate in his choice of a pastorate, as Soar Church was a kindly disposed one and if he, Mr Davies, had to start his ministry over again he would prefer Ystalyfera to any other place.

Reverend Ifor Jones

Reverend Ifor Jones said he would to the futurer [sic]. He was held up, however, by his great faith. He would only promise one thing and that was to do his good best, and if the church added its best to his own, they could look forwardly confidently to God's best. He would co-operate to the best of his ability with anyone and everyone in serving the interests of God's kingdom.
Messrs David and William Morgan from Salem, Briton Ferry, said that Mr Jones' old church released him very reluctantly. He had won the affection and high regard of all classes in the community on account of his spotless character, his fearless discharge of all his duties, and his vigorous evangelical preaching. They also paid a high tribute to Mrs Jones.
Messrs Daniel Evans and Frederick Rees, deacons at Soar church, expressed the feelings of the church towards its new minister and his wife. The latter were assured that an exceedingly cordial welcome was extended to them. They look forward with great hopes that a new era in the history of the church was being opened that day. Mr Jones had made a great impression by his sermon held at Soar a few years ago, and this favourable impression had been deepened by his subsequent visits.
Reverend D J Davies, Ystradgynlais offered the prayer for a blessing on the new ministry. The reverends Thomas Morgan, Skewen, and D Lewis, Skewen, spoke on behalf of the Neath Baptist Quarterly Meeting. The former described the new minister as an earnest, straightforward man, who disdained to play to the gallery.
Subsequent speakers included the Reverend Myles Griffiths, FTS, Garnant, on behalf of the Ystalyfera District Quarterly Meeting; Reverends D B Jones, BA, BD, and R Powell on behalf of the Briton Ferry chuches; the Revs E T Evans, Wern, and D W Stephens, Jerusalem, on behalf of Ystalyfera churches, and the Reverend A T Madocks, Cardiff. The Reverend J Roberts, BA, BD, Clydach concluded the service by prayer.
In the evening the Reverends T Valentine Evans, Clydach, and WJ Dunstone, BA, BD, Ynystawe preached again at Soar and the Reverend I G Lewis, Pontardawe at Wern.

Rev Ifor Jones 1934


Rev Ifor Jones, died 1944

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