October, 1906 - The Welsh Revival of Faith
by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Revival is the engine of belief and faith. It breaks out without planning and in unexpected places, carrying people to a more intense relationship with God, one which strips away previous assumptions and defenses.
Over the past two thousand years spontaneous outpourings of emotion, grief, shame, and joy, have accompanied a renewal of faith and love which strengthened communities and changed the lives of the individuals.
If a psychologist described it they might see it as an emotional purging, clearing the lines of communication from within the individual to God.
Such an event took place in Wales from 1904 – 1905, known still as the Welsh Revival. The power of revival, the gift of God, was breaking out in unexpected places across the small nation.
To the staid and conventional congregants who walked into Bryn Seion Church which gathered for church in Mount Seion that Sunday morning the world was about to take fire.
As they entered the church they were confronted by two young women, described by David Matthews, the historian for the Welsh Revival, as “youthful maidens.”
Instead of following the long accepted practices of the church and announcing the hymn to be sung they were asked in beseeching tones that those entering surrender to, “the leading of the Holy Spirit.”
Then, one of the women burst into a spiritual song which expressed her own experience of faith. As she sang tears streamed down her face. The congregation gasped. Before she had finished, her companion joined her.
All present wondered at the meaning of this unexpected event. A young minister, Evan Roberts, appeared in the pulpit, obviously moved with emotion. He stood there, silent, his body shaking as he also cried.
A stillness came upon them, described like the quiet which precedes an electric storm.
The silence was broken when one of the proudest, “members of that assembly fell on her knees in agonizing prayer and confessed her sins.” Those around her, first confused, soon followed.
The service continued all day, without a single break.
Soon, word was carried throughout the neighborhood and others also came.
Revivals throughout the 20th Century have left people who were once unsure of themselves and on the path to destruction renewed and living different lives. During revivals all boundaries and broken and new relationships forged in common love and fellowship so intense as become a light forever after to those touched.