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'Welcome Home' Meeting

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'Welcome Home' Meeting To the Rev. W. Morris, Treorchy. On Wednesday evening, a hearty wel- come home" meeting was accorded the Rev. W. Morris, D.D., F.R.G.S., at Noddfa, Treorchy, on the occasion of his return after a three months' sojourn in the United States of America. For this, a committee had been formed, with Mr. T. Griffiths, chairman; Mr. D. C. Jones, treasurer; and Mr. W. O. Short, secre- tary to whom credit is due for the success- ful issue. The meeting was well attended, the chairman being Dr. Morris' esteemed friend and vice-president of the Welsh Baptist Union, the Rev. H. Harries (Afanwy), Treherbert. Among those present were the Revs. Charles Davies, Cardiff; E. Edmunds, Swansea; J. Griffiths, Aberdare G. Matthews, Blaeu- rhondda; E. W. Davies, Ton; J. Lloyd Williams, Treherbert; J. Young Jones, Trealaw Rosslyn Davies, America B. Davies, Porth; Davies, Clydach; W. Evans, G. and L., Blaenrhondda; E. Lewis, Cymmer D. Phillips, Treorchy; Nicholas, Tonypandy; Howells, Penrhiw- fer; B. Davies, Blaengwynfi; Rev. W. Charles, M.A. (Cong.), Treorchy; Rev. W. Davies (Cong.), Treorchy; Ald. E. H. Davies, J.P., Pentre; Messrs. W. G. Howell, clerk, and Hv. Abraham, Dl. Thomas, and Dd. Lloyd, members of School Board; Mr. E. Samuel, B.A., County School, Porth; Mr. Jno. Samuel, M.E., county mining lecturer; Mr. Dd. Williams, Treherbert; Mr. H. Howells (headmaster), Treorchy; Mr. W. P. Thomas, and others. Letters of apology were received, which were read by the secretary, Mr. W. C. Short, including those from Dr. W. Edwards and Prof. J. M. Davies, Baptist College, Cardiff; Revs. Iorwerth Jones, Maesteg (his companion on tour); D. C. Jones, Penygraig; Joseph Evans, Mardy: Jason James, Tylors- town R. B. Jones, Porth (whose son is very ill); J, R. Phillips, Pontygwaith; D. Lewis, Treforest; E. Owen, B.A., Tonypandy; D, F. Walters, Bargoed; Rice Owen, Treoreby E. Probert, Pontypridd; T. Humphreys, Blaen- llechau; T. Davies, Bethlehem, Treorchy; D. Rhagfyr Jones, Treorchy J. H. Miles, Cardiff Myfyr Hefin, Treorchy Rev. H. B. Thomas, Deri; and Mr. D. James, Porth. The chairman then explained the origin of the degree which was conferred by the Bucknell University, Lewisburg Pa., who had paid similar compliments to the most eminent of Baptist ministers on both sides of the Atlantic.—Mr. J. Devonald, R.W.M.C., supplied an appreciable musi- cal item in the rendering of Galilee," which elicited warm approval, after which the programme proper was commenced. The Chairman set a good example in brevity, and with such a host of speakers, this was certainly desirable. Mr. Harries said they had assembled together to show their sympathy with the movement, and to join with the church in receiving their beloved brother back, after some months' absence. Many a minister went to America whom they should like to see staying there. (Laughter.) There had been earnest prayer for the return of Dr. Morris, and in the best of health and prepared for a renewal of activities. Their anticipations had been realised to a great extent. (Hear, hear.) He wished to say a word anent the honour conferred upon Dr. Morris. Seme looked down upon it. He was not one of those, lest he should be similarly honoured. (Laughter.) One thing he could say with- out fear of contradiction, that Dr. Morris fully deserved it. Some ministers who were paid homage were unfitted. The hat was too big, and shoes so much bigger than their feet. But here there was a complete fit, and he sincerely hoped that the recipient would have a long time to wear them. He would also like to see others securing the same privileges. They could not refuse, but in the simple terms of Dr. Gomer Lewis, would say Thank you, kindly." (Laughter.) The chairman laid down the strict injunction that no speaker should exceed the five minutes limit for speech, and the efforts of the orators to duly ob- serve the Mede and Persian attitude of the august authorities occasioned no little humour at times. The Rev. E. Edmunds, secretary of the Welsh Baptist Union, who spoke next, asked in dismay, only five minutes to speak on such a subject. If he only attempted but a brief glance over the time honoured connection between him and the rev. gen- tleman dating from the first three years he spent at Libanus Chapel, Treherbert— the three greatest years in his history- he would have to break the chairman's ruling. He (the speaker) felt that night as he often felt in a funeral—so desirable it was to be in that feeling to say well altogether. Two hours would hardly suffice for him to chronicle the goodness of the one honoured that evening. Dr. Morris had given him sound advice years ago, that lie should behave himself. (Laughter.) Because he had listened so well, he had got on remarkably well, and now would have the pleasure of following him through the darkest of clouds as well as the purest of sunshine, He had fully deserved every homage paid him, and that the highest of blessings should follow him to the end was his desire. (Hear. hear.) The Rev. Charles Davies, Tabernacle, Cardiff, followed ina beautiful "strain He had come to see the bright, genial face of his dear friend once more. and after the dubious feelings concerning his visit to America, he was glad to see that the various reports were subsequently con- firmed. He heartily joined in the ex- change of felicitations at the honour be- stowed upon their brother. He (the speaker) had had the pleasure of going through Bucknell University when in the States, and had an opportunity of witness- ing the remarkable sights there—the mag- nificent buildings, hundreds of professors and students. He considered the gift of the degree of D.D. a big compliment, and whatever was the opinion of the country, he fully maintained that Dr. Morris de- served acknowledgment, for he was among the wisest of divines. He welcomed him back to further participate in the glorious work of the formation of man's character. Treorchy, the Rhondda, and Wales would receive the benefits of his labours. In tern perance, educational and religious matters he had rendered magnificent service, which would entitle him to be described in a biographical sketch as one of the brightest stars in our midst. (Cheers.) The Rev J. Griffiths, Aberdare, expressed his pleasure at being present on such an auspicious occasion He had not come with the intention of soft soaping or "white- washing," for they hapl a true and pure character to deal with. He desired to pay his humble tribute to one that had been ever in the yangpiard of the cause, the ministry, the temperance and religious causes generally to appreciate net only the sterling services of one who had worked hard for his church, but who had sacrificed for his denornination-a wide and liberal devotion to duty for the glory of God. Honour was due to Dr. Morns for having so peacefully maintained the integrity and stability of the Welsh pulpit. (Cheers.) The Noddfa Choral Society, under the conductorship of Mr. Wm. Thomas (Royal Male Choir), with a spirited rendering of Glory of the Lord (Handel's "Messiah") wound up the initial series of speeches in a praiseworthy manner. No proceedings having any connection with Noddfa church would have been complete without a, word from Mr. Benjamin Lewis, now the oldest deacon, a staunch supporter of the cause, and right hand supporter of the pastor from the formation of the church. Mr. Lewis was in a peculiarly happy vein, and his witticisms elicited roars of laugh- ter and apnlause. He was afraid that his appearance would cause misgivings, for the general complaint was that he stood too long on his feet, and even then he could not promise strict compliance with the chairman's five-minutes rule. He and the pastor were not on very good terms just then, for the stick which he (Dr. Morris) had been presented at Pittsburg had been shown every one but him. (Laughter.) He was glad to hear every- one speaking in such glowing terms of their pastor's powerful preaching, and other qualities. He knew of one thing he could not do-the setting of a garden —at which vocation he was one of the most awkward. (Loud laughter.) Of course, he knew of Dr. Morris' ability in the pulpit, and his only regret was that the invaluable gems uttered from time to time had not been preserved and printed. But he asserted Dr. Morris was essentially a man of prayer. In the prayer meetings the man had been revealed in all the glory, and during his absence in the United States, the Noddfa folk had un- doubtedly lost some of the most brilliant things it was their good fortune to listen to. (Hear, hear.) He had a very pleasant duty to perform, i.e., the presentation of an address of welcome from the church to their pastor, who was now being so loudly advertised as Dr. Morris, though he liked the plain William Morris quite as well. The reading of the address was accom- panied by heartv applause, and subsequent remarks were tendered by Mr. Evan Rees on behalf of the Sunday School, and Mr. Wm. Thomas (conductor), on behalf of the choir, both of whom in a few concise words extended their pastor a hearty "welcome home." Then came, one who is not by any means unknown in America, and an old Welshman, to wit. the, Rev. Rosslyn Davies, who was glad of the pleasant reunion after a long absence. He could testify to one fact, that the deepest sympathy of feeling and admiration was demonstrated towards Dr. Morris by the people of America. He also wished to bear personal testimony of the position of Bucknell University, Pa., from wh.ch place Mr. Morris had received his degree. There was a great deal in American tit 'es that was inferior, but the one conferied upon their compatriot was given only to those who merited it, and among the fine list of persons thus honoured, Dr. Morris was equally deserving. A song having been given by Mr. Todd Jones, Alderman E. H. Davies, J.P., spoke in the most eloquent terms of having had the privilege of co-working with Dr. Morris for many years on different public boards and bodies, but time would not now allow them to guage the immensity of work accomplished by the rev. gentleman the judgement. day alone could reveal that. His candid opinion was that Dr. Morris had conferred equally as' much honour upon the Bucknell University as the latter had conferred on him. (Hear, hear.) It was not only the Baptists that rejoiced on such an occasion. Outside denominations and the country at large joined in the rejoicings. He heartily wished him long years of further service, which should be fully availed of, and from which labour Wales would derive much benefit. Mr. Dd. Williams, Treherbert, and ex- member of the School Board, spoke feel- ingly, and claimed that admiration merited a voice in the night's proceedings; no one was more entitled to speak than he was. The rev gentleman had by dint of sacii- fice worked himself up to a position of ex cellence. Wales called him Rhosynog; England had given him the title of F.R.G.S. (Fellow of the Royal Geographi- cal Society), while America had conferred upon him the degree of D.D. Would that they would join in asking the Al- mighty to extend his mercies to the nation in general, and retain Dr. Morris among them for many years to come. Mr. M. O. Jones, headmaster, Treher- bert Schools, came there out of respect to Dr. Morris, but thought the additional title had not added an inch to the beloved "Rhosynog." He had always esteemed Rhosynog as one of those workers who did their work without noise, and a great deal of what Dr. Morris had accomplished was not by any means known to the out- side public. He was there that night to express gratification, and extend congra- tulations on behalf of school teachers, who owed a debt of gratitude to the chairman of the School Board. The latter on all occasions interested himself in the welfare of the teachers, concerning whom so many knotty points presented themselves at times. He (the speaker) was also proud of the fact that he had assisted tha feV. gentleman to start an English Baptist church at one time, and what surprised him was that such a zpajpvis Welsh nun of Gwalia Goch could speak English so fluently. Finally, he hoped that nodiing would prevent such a great and devoted educationist from pursuing his arduous task in the interests of education. (Cileer,, INir. Ionathan Jonei, representing Ainon Baptist church (offspring of Noddfa) coin- cided with the remarks previously uttered, and said he remembered well the tine the rev. gentleman first ascended the Noddfa pulpit. Since then many of the old stalwarts had departed, but there remained several true, loving brother yet. He had proved himself a grei,, preacher, not only in attracting crowds, but in keeping them. Mr. E. Middleton, representing another of Noddfa's offsprings (Bethel Bapti-v church, Cwmparc), said that no church more readily and with greater warmth welcomed back their father in the faith than his own. Their fervent wish was that God should keep him for some tiiuo to come, that they might continue to re- ceive the full benefits of his wise and suc- cessful ministry. Mr. J. T. Jones, L.R.A.M., the organist, and who accompanied throughout, then gave a charming solo on the organ, "Home, sweet home," the strains of which would suggest something more than a passing fancy to the one who had just returned to a home of loving friends. Mr. Jones' execution was masterly, and the effect most appealing. The Rev. W. Charles. M.A., pastor of Hermon Welsh Congregational Chapel, and co-member on the School Board, fol- lowed in choice terms. When the rev. gentleman was confined to his bed with the last illness, he (the speaker) visited him, only to hear how near he had been to death. Now it caused him unalloyed pleasure to welcome him home to their midst after a pleasant sojourn in America, after a fair restoration of health. As a worker, the Rhondda did not possess his superior, while he might say further that men of such character and ability were rare. There was no mistaking the rev. gentleman's ability to cope witheaucational matters, they were at his fingers' easts- He was glad to unite with the church in according such a welcome It was some- thing to be proud of. He sincerely hoped that the late illness would emphasise the importance of exerting himself less than he formerly did. Mr. J. A. Thomas, A.C., appeared on behalf of Moriah Baptist Chapel, in the absence of Rev. T. Davies, the pastor, who was indisposed. Mr. Thomas paid Dr. Morris every compliment as a wise and sympathetic counsellor, and one at all times ready to help. He was one of the chapel trustees, and in him the church had all confidence. He joined in the con- gratulations, especially on his recovery of health. Treorchy's senior District Councillor, Mr. W. T. Jones, endorsed the previous sentiments, and expressed his sincere delight at his vastly improved health. He could well corroborate the testimony given to Dr. Morris' abilities. His aptitude and utility in various spheres of public life was beyond doubt, and they all hoped he would be spared many years, and allowed the necessary strength to carry on the great work, for the sake of his church, his country, and his nation. Mr. Rees James, who spoke on behalf of the Sunday School, was peculiarly re- miniscent, and wound up by applying tLe Biblical quotation, Llawer a weithiodd yn rymus, ond ti a rhagorais arnynt oil." Mr. Thomas Griffiths, the chairman of the committee, spoke in brief but pointed terms, and while expressing the pleasure they had had in making arrangements for the meeting, they also wished to tender sincerest thanks for the gratifying at- tendance, and to all who had assisted on the occasion. The proceedings, he held, served to show the happy relations be- tween church and pastor. Mr. Thomas Morgan. in his quaint and original manner, lengthened the pro- gramme by some general remarks. Then came another demonstration of the church's goodwill and esteem, i.e., the presentation of a handsome roll-top Derby desk, the result of a spontaneous collec- tion, and which, irrespective of value, should serve as a highly cherished memento of a memorable occasion. The gift was made by Mrs. Evans, "Engineer," the eldest female member of the church, who in a few touching remarks handed Dr. Morris the key. Dr. Morris, on rising to receive, was accorded tin overwhelming ovation, the -b -1 i- 0 1 e whole audience raising to its feet. When the demonstration ceased, the rev. gentle- man, with a heart overflowing with grati- tude, and feelings betrayed by traces of emotion, replied in the choicest of terms. He was sure they knew the contents of his heart that night. If they were in his place they would know his feelings. He would like to say a great deal but could not. All he desired to express was his sincerest, purest thanks to all. During the past six months he had received such expressions of sympathy and tokens of appreciation which he could hardly venture to define. In America he had had a mag- nificent reception, and the hearts and bosoms of Welshmen in particular were given him. He could never express in' words his indebtedness and gratefulness for the reception he had received from all, in- dependent of class. There were no grades in America—they were as on one stan- dard, all uniting to pay homage. He had been entertained by millionaires and others, and had been preaching with all denominations, including even the church- men. He found no difference whatever in their attitude, for the Churchmen listened like the truest of Baptist deacons. In brief, he had been nearly killed by the sympathy of a nation, He saw the Welshmen across the water" complete as he had never seen it in Wales. The solo played on the organ that evening- Home, sweet home "conveyed an exact representation of his feelings many a time though. In spite of his memorable stay in the United States, Wales, Treorchy, and the church at Noddfa were nearer his heart than ever. With all thy faults. I love thee still." He could venture to say that there was no church in its loyalty to its pastor so unceasingly pure and considerate to its shepherd as Noddfa church. They had had to mourn the loss of many, but there still remained a warm, true l.o id of loving followers. He was sure Le could say he was esteemed in the hearts of over 500 members. The young ,

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