The Church at Sharon, Goetre
The Goetre parish lies about midway between Pontypool and Abergavenny.
In 1823, one James Lewis, a member from Capel-Cyffin, Breconshire, lived at the Wern Farm in this parish. He and his wife kindly opened their house to the preaching of the gospel; and it seems that the eccentric Jenkin Harris, being single, made his home at the Wern and went about the farmhouses and cottages to talk with the people about their salvation, and induce them to go and hear him preach on Sunday.
The services were held at the Wern for about a year; and the Lord’s Supper was administered there to the few members who resided in the district.
As there was no deacon among the few members Jenkin Harris himself distributed the bread and wine.
During the period that the services were held at the Wern, some were led to seek membership who were baptised in a pool near that house, and received into Christian fellowship into the little flock.
The accommodation at the Wern at last became too limited, and in 1824 the services were moved to Tymawr in the same parish.
Pastor John Evans of Penygarn in Pontypool preached there the first Sunday after the removal.
During the three years Jenkin Harris remained here he preached only about two Sundays in each month. The students from Abergavenny and others supplied on other Sundays.
After the removal of the services to Tymawr, Mr. Henry Davies was appointed deacon. The services were held there about two years and six months, during which very efficient work was done.
Several were added to the members, who were baptised from time to time by Pastor Jenkin Harris, D. Roberts, Trosnant, Pontypool, F. Hiley, Llanwenarth, Lewis Lewis, Glascoed, and Richard Owen, Blaenafon.
In 1826, the members who were thus increasing in number were duly formed into a church; and the church was received into the south-eastern the same year at its annual meeting held at Caerphilly.
Soon after the formation of the church it was found that the room at Tymawr was becoming too small to accommodate the increasing congregation; and the members agreed among themselves to have a suitable place of worship, which was erected on a plot of the Wern Farm, near the main road.
The land, sufficient for the chapel site, a good graveyard etc., was leased for 999 years. The cost of the erection of the little sanctuary amounted to £210. The opening services were held on January 3rd and 4th 1827, with pastors M. Lewis, Chapelyffin; J. Morris, Newport; B. Williams, Beulah; R. Prichard, Cardiff; R. Owen, Blaenafon; J. Michael, Ponthir; and John Francis, Caerleon.
The good old itinerant pastor Jenkin Harris left the place about the time the chapel was built; but he was fully and earnestly employed in other places, endeavouring to extend the kingdom of his Lord, as he had been here.
Soon after the opening of the chapel Wm. Benj. Williams of Trosnant, Pontypool accepted the cordial invitation of the church to take its oversight, he was ordained on 17th October 1827 when Pastor D. Phillips, Caerleon spoke on the nature of the Christian church, put the questions to the pastors elect, and offered prayer, and Pastors D. Roberts, Pontypool; preached to the young pastor, and James Michael, Ponthir to the church. Pastors W. Thomas, Blaenau; J. Lewis, Llanwenarth; M. Lewis, Chapelyffin; D. Lewis, Llangwm; and M. Richards, Penyrheol, officiated in the other services.
Mr. Williams, like his father, was a smith by trade. His father was a member and assistant preacher at Trosnant, Pontypool for 50 years; and he took the leading part in establishing the church at Cwmbran where he ended his days as a member and faithful preacher, and where his body lies at rest.
When he settled here the members were about 40 in number. Mr. Williams proved a very suitable man here, being good natured, patient and careful in all his movements; yet very earnest and devoted to his work. He had a remarkably sweet voice which rendered his preaching very acceptable and effective, and he was especially effective in prayer.
He was generally asked to introduce the ten o’clock service on the day of the association. The thousands could hear his melodious voice, and his earnest and sweet prayer always prepared the multitude to hear the joyful sound of the gospel. He laboured here with much acceptance and considerable success for 18 years.
As the statistics of the churches was not so fully entered in the association, better them as they are now, we are not able to state how many were added to the church during his pastorate.
We may calculate, as the membership of the church in 1848 was 106 that it was not much under 100 in 1845 when he left.
In the summer of 1845 he received the warm invitation of the church at Darrenfelin, which he accepted, and settled there in the autumn of that year.
In December 1846 pastor Benj. Williams was succeeded by Mr. John Edred Jones, who came here from Pontypool College. He was admitted into college from the church in Cardigan in August 1845. For some reason he had to leave college before the end of his term, and he arranged to come here to establish a school, and early in 1847 he was established as pastor of this church. He was a man of considerable power and he laboured here with considerable success till the latter part of 1853 when he emigrated to America.
During his pastorate 40 were added to the church by baptism, and 25 by restoration or letter. Membership when he resigned was 96, Sunday school scholars 25, teachers 3. He ministered in America in Pittston, Cincinnati. He ended his days at Pittston 12th Oct 1884 aged 63.
Pastor Morgan Davies who removed here from Groesgoch, Pembs. in 1856 succeeded Pastor John Edred Jones. He was a native of Merthyr Tydfil; was received into church membership and called to preach at Ebenezer in the said town; and admitted into Pontypool College in 1840. He was ordained at Llaurhystyd and Moriah Cardiganshire, Jan 14 and 15th 1845; whence he removed to Groesgoch, and thence here.
He was a man of peculiar talent, possessed of considerable poetic genius, but owing to his studious mode of living and strong poetic turn of mind he was often lacking in presence of mind; and would often do and say strange things, which led some to regard him as an oddity.
He was a good man and sincere Christian; but on account of his peculiarities he was not very successful as a minister of the gospel. He continued to labour here until the summer of 1860. During his pastorate 9 were added to the church by baptism, and 17 by restoration or letter. Membership when he closed his pastorate 79; Sunday school scholars 30; teachers 4.
Mr. Davies spent the remainder of his life as member and assistant minister of Mill Street Church, Aberdare, useful and respected at home, and away from home, preaching the gospel as required.
After a short illness he passed away Jan 24th 1868, and was buried in the Aberdare cemetery on the 31st of the same month.
After the resignation of Pastor Morgan Davies, the church was without a pastor for about 12 years, during which 32 were baptised and 49 were received either by restoration or letter; the Pontypool College being so near the students supplied the pulpit during the said years.
Towards the end of 1871 William Isaac Richards of Pontypool College accepted the invitation of the church as was ordained as its pastor early in 1872.
He was born March 25th 1841 at Cae’rgof Farm, Pontycelyn, Breconshire. He was the son of Christian parents, he became early inclined to follow the saviour, and was baptised at Pontycelyn by Pastor Wm. Harris, now of Aberdare. Soon after his baptism his parents removed from Cae’rgof to Llanwrtyd Wells, and in the church there he was shortly encouraged to preach, which after due consideration he did with much acceptance.
Being desirous of preparing himself for the work of the ministry he spent two to three years at the Graig Academy, Swansea, where he succeeded in carrying off the first prize in Greek and several other subjects.
In 1870 he was admitted into Pontypool College where he supported himself being of weak constitution and a cripple. Although he was not strong and obliged to use crutches, he laboured well here during the years he held the pastorate.
His preaching was characterised by thoughtfulness, freshness and pointedness; and he led a beautiful life, which rendered him a power in the district and wither so ere he went.
Alas! His noble career was cut short, on June 24th 1881 he was called away from the work he much loved, his mortal remains were interred in the burial ground attached to the sacred edifice wherein he rendered noble service to the blessed master.
During his pastorate 33 were added to the church by baptism and 46 by restoration and letter. Membership when he died 76; Sunday school scholars 50; teachers, 6.
Mr. W.G. Vaughan succeeded Pastor J. Richards from Pontypool College who was ordained here in June 1882. He went to college in August 1879 from the church of Gogmau, Cardiganshire, where he had been received a member and called to preach.
His pastorship was very short, he was not blessed with strong constitution, and doubtless he found the work and ministry onerous and trying to his weak frame.
Several were added to the church, 6 by baptism, and 26 by restoration or letter, for some reason however, he was led, early in 1882 to close his pastorship, leave and join the Anglican Church. Membership when he resigned 59; Sunday school scholars 50; teachers 5.
In the spring of 1890 pastor T. L. Thomas of Merthyr Tydfil accepted the invitation of the church and commenced his labours here April 13th of the said year.
He was called to preach at Treherbert, Glam. admitted into Haverfordwest College in 1876; ordained at Aberaeron in 1879, whence he removed to Porthcawl, Glam., about 1881, there to Ferryside, Carmarthenshire in 1884, and thence to Merthyr Tydfil whence he removed here in 1890.
His pastorate again was short owing to some disagreement he deemed wise to resign and he closed his ministry Dec 13th 1891. During his short pastorate; 3 baptised; 9 received by letter; membership when he left 44; Sunday school scholars 50; teachers 7.
The cause was very low when Mr. Thomas left. Very little unity, love and joy among the members.
After this Mr. Thomas took an insurance agency and resided in Pontypool.
Early in 1879 arrangements were made in order to have Mr. B. Davies missioner to take the oversight of this church as well as that of Llangwn and Cwmera.
The committee of the mission directed him to discontinue his services at Llangibby and take charge of this church.
Of course he continued to have very little more than one Sunday of each month but he attended the weekly services; and assisted the church to get supplies when he was not here.
This arrangement continued till the committee in the summer of 1899, removing him to take charge of the new cause at Six Bells and spend all his time there for a limited period.
So Mr. Davies closed his pastorate on Sunday July 30th 1899 and commenced his labours at Six Bells the Sunday following.
During his service here one Sunday per month and in the weekly meetings 14 were added to the church by baptism; 20 by restoration and letter; membership when he closed his ministry 65; Sunday school scholars 30; teachers 2.
Towards the end of 1900 pastor Henry Iltyd Jenkins, formerly of Bethel, Merthyr Tydfil accepted the invitation of the church and settled here as pastor.
He is a native of Lantwit Vardre near Pontypridd. There he was received into membership and called to preach. He was trained at Cardiff College; on leaving College he was ordained at Bethel, Merthyr in 1894. Having resigned the pastorate there he was without charge for some months before he settled as pastor of this church.
During his pastorate of 2 years duration he received 3 by baptism; 5 by restoration and letter; having received and accepted cordial invitation from the central church at Tredegar he commenced his labours there in early Jan 1903.
Membership when he resigned 62; Sunday school 45; teachers 5.
Mr. Abraham Bowen Morgan A.J.S, who came from Cardiff College, succeeded Pastor H.I. Jenkins in June 1903 and was formerly ordained in July following. He was born at Pontypool.
In his early days the family moved to Treorchy, Rhondda Valley, Glam, where he was brought up and educated at the board school.
In accordance with the other boys in the locality he went to earn his living in the coal pit. When he was 15 years of age he was baptised and received into church membership at Moriah, Pentre in the same valley, by pastor John Lewis Jones, now of Glyneiniog.
At the age of 19 years he was called to preach by his mother church; in October 1898 he was admitted to college and on leaving he settled here as pastor, as we have stated.
In about 2 years after his settlement Mr. Morgan took to him a wife, a daughter of one of the good brethren who served in the church as deacons, one who is likely to be en excellent helpment for him.
In the spring of 1908 Mr. Morgan received the cordial invitation of the church at Moriah, Abercynon, Glamorgan to which he succeeded and entered his work there in June following which was a great loss to this little church.
The small rural church is thus often deprived of their good pastor who is called to serve in more populous districts.
During his short pastorate Mr. Morgan laboured with considerable success; 40 were received into church membership; 23 by baptism; and 17 by restoration and letter; membership when his ministry closed 83; Sunday school scholars 67; teachers 7.
Pastor Abraham Bowen Morgan was succeeded by Mr. Havelock Roderick from Cardiff Baptist college, who accepted the call of the church and was formerly ordained on Wednesday October 12th 1910, in the afternoon additions were delivered by pastors T.C. Davies, Aberbeeg; B. Davies, Pontnewynydd; J.L. Roderick, Bromley; W. Davies, (Presby) Llanover; Mr. T. Hughes, student and others, after which Prichard Evans delivered and change to their pastor.
In the evening, service was held with pastor DJ Benjamin, Blaenavon and J.L. Roderick, Bromley.
The new pastor is a son of D.L. Roderick, late of New Quay and was called to preach under the ministry of his father.
He was admitted into college in 1905, on leaving college he accepted the calling of this church, as we have stated.
Deacons of the church
Present deacons of the church
D H Morgan
The author of this is married to a great-granddaughter of James Lewis.
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