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Chapel, near Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Worshipper: Wes Charles.
Chapel, near Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Church of Wales, also known as the Calvinist Methodist Church
A tiny building on Tenby Road, Saundersfoot, about ten minutes
from the centre of Tenby. Outside is quite typical of Welsh
chapels, nicely painted in cream paint with some bare stones.
Inside was pretty Ė no altar, but a pulpit dominating the centre
and nice wooden pews. There was also a gallery area at the rear,
used for TV and audio equipment to relay the service to a back
room when theyíre busy. I couldnít find out much about the age
of the building, but according to a web search I did, some of
the gravestones date to the mid-1800s. The interior was whitewashed
walls and dark wood. Very quaint!
Although we didnít see anything displayed on walls or notice
boards, there were newsletters in the pews with details of weekly
Bible studies and other events outside of normal church services.
Unfortunately, the names of these events werenít very descriptive
and I didnít bring one of the newsletters away, as they seemed
to be relevant for more than just that service. There seemed
to be a busy programme for such a small church. According to
the churchís website, they run fortnightly ladiesí meetings,
fortnightly menís Bible studies, a monthly service at a local
residential home, a monthly prayer meeting (praying for the
right missionary organisations which the church supports). The
church has a witness stall in the summer at the New Hedges Open
The Tenby part of Wales is a busy tourist area in the summer,
popular with people from across south Wales and further afield.
In winter the area is quieter, with a mixture of locals and
people whoíve retired from other parts of the country living
here, as well as a few winter visitors, as we were on this day.
The area is rural, with villages, farms and woodland, and the
chapel is situated a couple of miles from the coast.
Dafydd Morris, immaculately dressed in a sharp suit, crisp white
shirt and white tie. He clearly takes his preaching seriously
and his demeanour matched his tone. The church has been without
a full time minister for four years, although a new pastor is
about to take over in the new year. Apparently, Dafydd Morris
has led regular services and Bible studies in the meantime.
The date & time:
Sunday, 29 December 2013, 11.00am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
About half-full. It was a very small building, so the congregation
of approximately 26 people felt quite cosy. Apparently the congregation
were slightly different from usual as it was Christmas week
Ė there were some people away whoíd usually be there, and some
visitors. I was told that they usually get slightly more people.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes. There was a gentleman at the door who was very friendly
as we arrived. Then a lady came over to us after weíd sat down
and welcomed us again. Interestingly, they both asked us which
church we normally go to, and when we said "Anglican",
they both said "Well, we all worship the same God, donít
we?" That is, of course, a valid point, but I was surprised
that both the first two people Iíd spoken to had said it!
Was your pew comfortable?
It was a small building, and the pews were slightly squashed
together. Being tall, I found that my knees touched the pew
in front, and there certainly wasnít room to kneel!
How would you describe the pre-service
Quite reverent, with only very quiet, minimal greetings going
What were the exact opening words of the
"We come to the Lord in prayer Ė let us pray."
What books did the congregation use during the
A well-worn hymn book called Christian Hymns by the
Evangelical Movement of Wales, and The Holy Bible, King
James Version. I was particularly pleased to see this,
as itís so unusual to find a KJV in churches these days, at
least in the ones I usually find myself in.
What musical instruments were played?
A honky-tonk-sounding piano. It was amusing actually, because
my experience in tiny village churches has sometimes been that
the piano isnít played all that well. However, the lady playing
was really good and the music was quite uplifting. Someone behind
us remarked, "Look whoís playing the piano!" so perhaps
they have a couple of people. She was very good!
Did anything distract you?
Going into a tiny church in Wales in December, Iíd wrapped myself
up well. But it was roasting! I felt very conspicuous in quite
a serious service having to remove clothing a number of times
to stop myself overheating!
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Stiff upper lip. It was quite serious, which isnít a bad thing,
but a little too solemn for my liking. It fitted my expectations
though and it was a nice service. Remarkably, the word "Sunday"
was never uttered once either during the service or in informal
conversations afterward. Throughout, "Sunday" was
called "Lordís Day." It sounded odd but nice.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
8 The preacher was very good. Iím used to a church where
the sermons start with some light humour, and there was certainly
none of that. But he was nevertheless very good Ė clear to understand
and with a very Bible-focused message. What I particularly liked
was the way we traced themes through the Old Testament. It was
a very in-depth study of Jesus in the Old and New Testaments,
and of Johnís role as a preacher even whilst in exile. It was
both fascinating and enlightening.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
The reading was Revelation 1, and the sermon focused on the
last few verses and on Johnís reaction to the Lord. Revelation
1:17 states: "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though
dead." This calls to mind similar reactions by Abraham,
Moses, Joshua and Daniel, which is an appropriate way to submit
to Jesus. In Leviticus, animals whose blood is brought into
holy places are burned outside the camp, which is why Jesus
died at Calvary, outside Jerusalem.
Which part of the service was like being in
The general atmosphere of a nicely-sized congregation, solid teaching and enthusiastic music. I really enjoyed this.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Again the music. Iím just getting over a cold, and I struggled
a lot with the high notes. I donít think itís so much about
me feeling like it was "the other place", but for
the rest of the congregation who had to hear me screech out
the high notes in "Joy To The World"!
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
There was no time to look lost. A friendly gentleman came over
to say hello, and we chatted with him and his wife for about
half an hour over coffee in the back room. Unfortunately, this
meant I wasnít able to look closely for any notice boards, or
to take a photo of the lovely inside of the church, which Iíd
like to have done.
How would you describe the after-service
It was very nice. Mrs Charles and I both had coffee. We couldnít
tell whether it was fair trade or not as the jar wasnít on display.
My main memory is of Mrs Charles taking the largest biscuit
on the plate.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 If I lived in the area, I could make this our regular. It was a little too serious for my taste, but the teaching was excellent and the people very friendly.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
Yes, very much so.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The fact that no one said "Sunday."
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