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Ar Ban y Pentan.

WORK COMES EASIER

JBankyfelin Notes.

Llandilo Choral Society.

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Presentation to the Rev W.…

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Presentation to the Rev W. iiomas. INTERESTING MEETING AT WHITE AND. On Thursday afternoon (April 23rd) the members of the Tabernacle (V,;igrcgational Church at. Whitland assembled in their cheerful and commodious chapel, being joined by many ministerial friendof the district, for the purpose of presenting their greatly esteemed pastor, the Rev Wiliiam Thomas, with what was characterised as "A Love Letter from the Church" and a purse of gold. Among those who witnessed the interesting presentation were Dr Enoch Davies, ilrynteify, who presided Mr E. H. James, Pontygrafael; Mr E Jones, M.A., Inter- mediate School, Whitland Mr J. Phillips, Carmarthen Revs, D1 Jones (B), Whitland B Davies, Treleeh 0 R Owen, Glandwr J T Phillips, Hebron I) R Davies, Rhydy- ceisiad Dd Williams, Maenclochog J Williams, Carfan; and D E Williams, He ill lan M es.s W Scourfield, secretary of the testimonial fund, Board Schools, Whitland John Llewellyn, Carnmiles George Lewis, Board (School, Ffynonwen J N Hers, draper, Whitland I) Evans Bristol House, Whith lid; J Rees John, Brixton, Laugharne; E H Jones, Whitland Abbey Rees Davies, road surveyor; P N Owen Whitland W Rees, London House, Whitland; Thomas Williams, 3, Spring-gardens Howell Davies, AVillow Bank; J Griffith Rees, Whit-land; John Williams, Forest-gate J Richards, Millbrook-cottage T Phillips, Brynglas, the treasurer of the testimonial, etc. The Chairman, in opening, expensed nis admiration for Mr Thomas, whom lie had known for many years as an active minister of the Gospel and as one who, in taking part, in politics, generally managed to say the right thing at the right time, and so made eil'ective whatever lie propounded. He had acted on many public committees with Mr Thomas, and had ever found him to be a most useful colleague. Cordial letters of sympathy with the object of the church were read from absentee ministers and laymen, and appropriate addresses were given and inspiriting musical selections rendered, the latter by a well- trained children's choir, the former by the Rev J T Phillips (Hebron), the Rev D E Williams (Henllan), and the Rev J Williams (Carfan), who were followed by the presenta- tion, during which both pastor and people were overcome by no little emotion. Mr T Phillips, Brynglas, the treasurer, presented a purse of old on behalf of the church as well as the address which reads as follows The Rev W Thomas, in tendering his heart- felt thanks, was deeply moved. In a few well-chosen remarks he stated that, in his estimation, the chief features of his life were (J) General usefulness in church denomination and on behalf of his country. This applied to music, politics, Are. (2) Consistent conscientiousness, or conscientious consistency. Both were of great importance to a minister of the Gospel. To lack in either was a source of damaging weakness. (3) Untiring zeal and activity in doing good. He has been at his work almost night and day, and had had few vacations since he became a minister. (4) Religious latitudinarianism. Latitudinarianism was sinful unless governed by religion. His Christianity was broader than his Congregationalism. It was, lie said, broad enough to include all good men belonging to all denominations, ages, and countries. He had never erred in ignoring the intelligence and good qualities of those who differed from him. (•">) Supremacy of direct ministerial work. Neither the Press nor political calls had been allowed to injuriously interfere with pulpit and pastoral duties. (6) The best type of loyalty was to voice the voice of the people. Under certain circumstances, lie believed that I ox Popxdi was Vox Dei. This accounted for his serving on School Boards, District Council, Boards of Guardians, and County Council. Loyalty to principles, conscience, and God was what he had strongly advocated. He considered that that testimonial was an impetus to further work, and he, in resuming his seat, once more thanked his flock from the bottom of his heart for their kindness to him. Congratulatory addresses were delivered by the Rev D Jones, Mr E H James, Mr Howell Davies, Rev 0 R Owen, Rev B Davies (Trelech), and Rev DR Davies. Rev W Thomas, who has been one of the most energetic workers on the public bodies of Carmarthenshire was born at Llanguicke, in the county of Glamorgan. He was born in the year of the great Reform Bill, on the 20th of March, 1832, and the inquiry suggests itself whether this coincidence influenced in any degree his subsequent career in life ? Be that as it may, the minister of hitland has s I from the days of his youth been an ardent reformer, and has participated, and always in the van, in countless struggles for the recognition of the civil and religious rights of the people. His parents, William and Joan Thomas, were members of the Congregational Church at Cwmllynfell, and it was here that Mr Thomas, when a mere lad, was admitted to full membership in the church by the Hev llhys Price, who was then pastor. In those days an elementary school was kept near the chapel by the Rev John Jones, afterwards of Cincinnati, America, and it was under tuition, here and at Carmel, that Mr Thomas was initiated into the mysteries of the taree R s. There is reason to believe that his thoughts turned towards the ministry at a very early ao-e and happily the Fates favoured him tor, as the result of an address he delivered on the importance of the office of Sunday school teacher at a quarterly meeting, the church and its pastor recognised his capabilities, and uraed him to prepare for the minist erial calling It was at the Louse of David Williams, ot Dolgan, that lie delivered his first sermon. He was then only sixteen years old, but the sermon gave every satisfaction, and the lad was placed under the tuition first of Daniel Thomas, and afterwards of the Rev S. Davies, of Cwmamman. and lie was admitted into Brecon College some time in Here he remained for three and a half years, when a hearty invitation reached him to undertake the pastorate of the Soar and Bethel "reIsh Congregational Churches at Whitland. The young student eventually decided to accept the call, and his induction to the pastorate took place on the 25th and 2Gth of December, 1855. The connection thus formed has survived for 40 years, and the 40th anniversary of the rev. gentleman's arduous and fiuceessfuI pastorate has now been celebrated with that heartiness that befitted so interesting an event. Taking a retro- spective glance of the period of his pastorate we find that, whereas Bethel Church at, the time of his ordination numbered only GO members, it has to-day a membership of 120, exactly double, while the membership of Zoar (or "Tabernacle," as it is now cabled) has during that period increased more than six- fold, having gone up from (i0 to 400. Of the 1:20 members at the two churches in 1855, 29 only remain to-day -1C at Bethel and 13 at the Tabernacle. The statistics at the churches disclose also the fact that, during the 40 years, Mr Thomas admited as many as 1,722 mem- bers by letters and from the world"; that he has officiated at 735 funerals, and composed and delivered over 5,000 sermons One of his admirers describes him as a most careful pastor, full of sympathy and tenderness, always ready to assist, and understands human nature thoroughly." Essentially a man of the people, the pastor of Whitland has long been renowned as a courageous and fearless exponent of the people s progress in all its various forms, and it would be difficult to mention any great public movement in his county or in Wales with which his name is not prominently identified. In the memor- able days of the anti-tithe campaign he laboured hard, on the platform and in the Press, to oppose the perpetuation of an in- justice which permitted the struggling farmer to be oppressed for the maintenance of an alien Establishment, .and his handbooks on alien Establishment, and his handbooks on Tithes and The Disestablishment Campaign contain the best possible evidence that in him the reforms that were sought for had an intelligent advocate of sterling ability. Firm and resolute in his convictions, always ready to uphold his principles whatever the risks, he is yet no lover of rash and violent methods, and by his attendance and saga n counsels at the t urbulent tithe sales of the county, he s Mom failed to influence the indignant anti-tithe crowds to abstain from extreme measures and te induce them to make their protests as men and Christians. (course he is a staunch Liberal and Non- conformist to the backbone, and the many political contests he has fought, and always victoriously, in connection with the public bodies in Carrnarthenshire, testify to the esteem and popularity in which lie has for years been held. He headed the poll in the l.S7^ election of the School Board for the united district of Llangan and Llanboidy, although at the time of the contest he was away from home and in 18r9 he was returned a member of the Carmarthenshire County Council. Despite the most stubborn opposition on the part of the Conservatives and some Dissentient Liberals, who urged the people to show the rev. gentleman "lie was not the lord of the place," Mr Thomas, without convassing for a single vote, was in December, 1894, elected a member of the District Council. He is an ardent educationist, and no man has worked more zealously to perfect and to popularise the educational machinery of the county, while as a temperance orator his services are always in demand. Mr Thomas is also a musician of considerable- attainments, and many years ago devoted much time and labour to the improvement of congregational singing in the surrounding churches. As a frequent contributor to the Welsh and English Press, his name is familiar throughout the Principality. Forty years or incessant and indefatigable toil have told even upon his strong constitution, and a few months ago the rev. gentleman was overtaken by a serious illness. His recovery we hope is now complete, and we heartily re-echo the many wishes already expressed that many years of good health and vigour are yet before him to serve his country and his God. We understand that a similar presentation to that which he has already received at the Tabernacle, will he made him by the members of the church at Bethel on the Otli of May.

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