Our First Century 1916 - 2016

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Joy Griffiths (pictured with her family) writes here about beginnings of the Apostolic church in Kidwelly, where she serves as a deacon.

The Apostolic church in Kidwelly began in 1919, when Mr D.R. Thomas and his family moved to Coleman farm, having come to know the Lord during the 1904 revival; services were held regularly in a large room in the farmhouse.

In 1934, the family moved from Kidwelly and Mrs. Thomas’s brother, Alexander Thomas (my grandfather), moved into the farm and continued the services there. During the summer months, meetings were sometimes held outside and converts were baptised in a well, located on the farm grounds.

By the 1940’s, the room used for meetings on the farm became too small to accommodate all who were attending and a room was hired in the Pelican Hotel. They later moved to the council offices, using the former Labour Exchange in the town centre. The room used for services was above the offlicence and stories are told of the bottles downstairs rattling when lively worship was taking place upstairs! Apparently when the Holy Spirit fell during these meetings, the little children were bouncing up and down on their parents’ knees as Mum or Dad were moved by the Spirit!

Soon this room too was outgrown and the congregation held their services in the Welsh Wesleyan chapel called Bethesda, which stood in the shadow of the castle and was known as the “Wesle Fach”, now sadly no longer in existence. The chapel continued to be used by members of the Welsh Wesleyan congregation but was shared by the Apostolics, with their services being held at different times. I have a vague recollection of going to this chapel for Sunday school. Eventually it was decided that the Apostolic congregation needed a building of their own and in 1956, a chapel in Gwendraeth Town, (previously owned by Capel Sul an independent chapel and used as a Sunday school room) was purchased.

Services were held there until 1991, when the building was declared unsafe for public use because of subsidence, a large crack having appeared in one of the walls. The church was therefore demolished and a new building erected on the same spot. This new building was opened in November 1991. A burst water tank in the winter of 2009 necessitated the refurbishment of the whole church. This was a blessing in disguise, as the kitchen, which had previously been located downstairs, was moved upstairs to the main hall, resulting in a much more practical and fit-for-purpose facility. Worship continues here to the present day, with a service every Sunday evening, preceded by the whole congregation eating a meal together. We also have a weekly prayer meeting in the house of one of the members and “Messy Church” once a month. Our small local congregation is supplemented by a large group of Korean families who are a real blessing and a continual inspiration to us.

Our pastor is Pastor Ivan Parker, but our local leaders are an American couple attached to “Horizons”, a missionary organisation based in Llanelli and they too are a blessing. Our constant prayer is that God will again move by His Spirit and enable us to really have an impact on this small community.

Bethesda, the Welsh Wesleyan Chapel which teh Apostolic Church shared.
This photgraph was taken in 1991 before the building was demolished due to subsidence.
Coleman Farm Kidwelly, where the Apostolic Church started in 1919.