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BARRY EDUCATION COMMITTEE:…

BARRY DISTRICT COUNCIL.

' DINAS POWIS.

! SULLY.

LLANCARFAN.

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BARRY CONGREGATIONALISM.

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BARRY CONGREGATIONALISM. LAYING THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF WINDSOR-ROAD CHURCH. ADDRESS BY MR. ALBERT SPICER, OF LONDON. SERMON BY THE REV. PRINCIPAL FORSYTH, D.D. Wednesday last was a memorable day in the history of Windsor-road English Congregational Church, Barry, the occasion being the laying of the foundation-stone of the new chapel, which is being erected at a cost of £5,500, the architect of the building being Mr W. E. Knapman, M.S.A., Barry; the contractor, Mr D. G. Price, Penarth and the clerk of works, Mr George Sanders, Barry. The building will be an imposing one, occupying one of the most commanding positions in the town, and will provide accommodation for 650 worshippers. The church was founded thirteen years ago with 40 members, and a temporary chapel, opened in 1890 by the late Rev Dr Berry, of Wolverhampton, was erected, which supplied the needs of the con- gregation for quite a decade. Additional land was then taken for the purposes of a permanent struc- ture, and, as the first instalment of the permanent scheme, a schoolroom, lecture-hall, and other buildings were put up about three years ago at a cost of £4,063, the whole of which has since been defrayed. Steps were then taken in the direction of providing a permanent chapel, and towards the E5,500 which this building will cost, considerably over £2.000 has already been received or promised. The church as we have stated was founded with a membership of 40, and a Sunday school of 56 now the church member- ship is 210, and the Sunday school nearly 500. The meeting which preceded the ceremony of laying the foundation-stone on Wednesday after- noon was held in the large hall, which was crowded. Amongst those present were the Rev P. T. Forsyth, M.A., D.D., principal of Hackney College, London Mr Albert Spicer, London, ex- president of the Congregational Union, and late M.P. for Monmouth Boroughs the Revs C. J. Clarke (pastor of the church), J. Mvdyr Evans, Ben Evans, W. Ingli James, D. H. Williams, M.A., J. Lewis Jenkins. Christmas J. Lewis, T. Pandy John, J. Morris (Cardiff), J. Ibbotson, D. Lee Cann, O. Rees, Alderman J. C. Meggitt, Councillor J. A. Hughes, Dr W. Lloyd Edwards, Mr D. Sibbering Jones, Captain F. Murrell, Mr E. W. Waite, etc. In the course of a suitable devotional service, the Rev C. J. Clarke said the church had journeyed on in the wilderness of hope for thirteen years, but now it was gradually approaching the promised land of realisation. There had been anxieties and disappointments, but they were inconspicuous parts of a very pleasant and successful history of the church. He hoped the new church would prove to be an important asset in the spiritual life of the town, contributing towards the loftiest of all ideals, the salvation of the people. Alderman J. C. Meggitt, the secretary of the church, apologised for the absence of a number of ministers of the gospel, including the Rector of Barry (Rev H. H. Stewart, M.A.) and the Rev J. Williams, Cardiff, the founder of the church. Mr Meggitt gave an outline of the history of the church, as detailed above, and expressed satisfac- tion at the spirit of harmony and co-operation which prevailed amongst all denominations of the Christian Church in the town. Mr Albert Spicer, who was introduced to the gathering as a prominent representative of the wider Congregationalism, delivered an inspiring address. For thirty years, he said, he had endeavoured to bring Congregationalists closer to each other, and the outlook at present was a very hopeful one. He felt it was hi. duty to come to Barry on the present occasion to do what he could to advance the interests of united Congrega- tionalism, especially so because his friends, Alderman and Mrs Meggitt, and himself were amongst a small party of Congregationalists who proceeded to the United States to attend the Con- gregational Congress in Boston in 1899. The remarkable growth of Barry called for ever- increasing opportunities for Christian work and influence. The enterprise in which they were that afternoon engaged had not been entered upon in a. spirit of opposition or competition with other branches of the Christian Church, but they felt as Congregationalists that they had their part to take in the work of spreading the gospel of the Redeemer. They believed that the methods they used, and their general church order, were in accordance with the practice of the early Christian Church, and that those methods and practices were still adapted for the Church to-day. They attached importance to certain fundamental Christian truths, but this did not mean that theirs was the only form, yet they believed that only those who professed the name of the Lord Jesus Christ could constitute it. The Church, he believed should be free from all State control and support, and should be qualified to manage its own affairs. As Congregationalists they had not accomplished all they should like to accomplish at the same time they were thankful for what uhey had been able to acnieve in this direction and for the great body of ministers and teachers' they had been able to produce. The Congrega- tional Church had been a distinct force for righteousness, and recognised the work it had yet to perform. He was beginning to get tired of the distinctions set up between home and foreign work. and claimed that in missionary work he was an imperialist of the truest order. But what were the dangers which beset them as a denomin- ation? What were others saying about them? They had had an opportunity lately of seeing themselves as others saw them. Mr Booth, in his "Life and Labour in London," had written a great deal about the work of the different churches in the Metropolis, and whilst on the whole his criticisms were favourable, yet he expressed the opinion that they as Congregationalists were too much a church of the middle classes. They were irot the Church of the aristocracy, he admitted yet Mr Booth overlooked one fact," that they had so many amongst them of the working classes that, when they came in, all distinction at once ceased, and this fact accounted for much of the influence of the Congregational Church. Mr Booth had also attributed to them the possession of a large measure of self-complacency and self-consciousness, but even if this was true it was not without its advantages, for it enabled them the more readily to recognise the good qualities of others On the whole, Mr Booth gave them a good character. It was the duty of the Congregational Church, which Mr Booth had described as more social than religious, good and wholesome, and free from the dangers of reaction, to endeavour to increase its religious influence, and to make its form of worship as attractive as possible from a religious point of view. Mr Spicer spoke of the need of greater personal influence, in- dividual duty, and devotion, and encouragement of pastoral efficiency, concluding by congratulating the members of the Church at Barry upon the encouraging auspices upder which the interesting ceremony that day was conducted. The congregation then adjourned outside, and the foudation Rtone of the new chapel was laid by Mr Albert Spicer, followed by the offering of an earnest dedicatory prayer by the Rev Principal Forsyth, the benediction being pronounced by the Rev J. Morris, Cardiff. A largely-attended public tea followed; and in the evening the Rev Dr Forsyth preached an eloquent and impressive sermon to a crowded con- gregation at the Wesleyan Church, the rev. gentleman taking as his text, What mean ye by these stones?" (Joshua iv., 6). This service was taken part in by the Rev T. Pandy John. Rev J Lewis Jenkins, and the Rev J. Ibbotson. Want of space precludes us from giving an outline of Dr Forsyth's sermon this week, but we hope to be 1 able to do so ia our next issue.