History and Heritage

Pastors of the English Congregational Church


From 'The First Fifty Years - A history of Ystalyfera County School' by Rees John Davies, M.A. (published 1946) comes this information on one of the 19th century pastors of the English Congregational Church:-

The Rev Tom Griffiths, B.A. (Lond.) was the pastor of the English Congregational Church, Ystalyfera, during the period from February , 1889, to December 1898. He was appointed clerk to the school governors [of Ystalyfera County School] on 25th September, 1896. He had already acted as clerk to the Technical Instruction Committee, which had been conducting evening classes in the district for many years. He resigned his position as clerk to the school governors on the occasion of his departure from Ystalyfera, in March, 1900, to live in London.


From 1902 to 1908 the pastor of the English Congregational Church, Ystalyfera, was the Rev T J Morgan who was ordained to the ministry from college. He was still going strong in 1944 to come back to help celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the church.


The Rev R G James served 8 years as pastor of the English Congregational Church, including being in place during the First World War. He had already retired by 1920 when the memorial service for the fallen of the war was held during which a tablet was unveiled in the church.


The Labour Voice newspaper for 26th July 1924 records the presentation to the new pastor Melville Phillips and his wife of gifts upon taking up the occasion of their recent marriage.


At the English Congregational Church on Tuesday evening a social tea was held followed by a meeting at which the Rev Melville Phillips, the new pastor, and Mrs Phillips were the recipients of gifts given by the church on the occasion of their recent marriage. Later, Mr A Peters presiding, a programme of music and recitations was contributed to by the following: Miss Mair Thomas Cwmtwrch; Mr Willie Jones, Mr T David, Master Philip Thomas, Messrs G Ernest Davies and Clarence David.

The pleasant duty of making the presentation was entrusted to Mrs E Chappell, who, on behalf of the church, presented the new pastor with a chiming clock and Mrs Phillips with a salad bowl. Mrs Phillips responded with a brief speech expressing her keen gratitude. Mr Phillips said he was glad to see such a large and enthusiastic audience. He was exceedingly grateful for the gifts as a sign of their esteem and good feelings towards him and he hoped and trusted that he might count on their co-operation in work and prayer in building up a strong church.

Mr William Thomas, secretary of the church; Mrs D J Rees JP, Glan yr Onen; Messrs John Hunt, George Feltham and Ronald Williams also addressed the meeting each expressing his own and the church's best wishes for a long and successful career for Mr and Mrs Phillips. The meeting ended with the singing of the doxology. Miss Phyllis Jones acted as accompanist. The inscription on the present was as follows:
"Presented to Rev and Mrs Phillips by the English Congregational Church on the occasion of their marriage 22nd of July 1924".

Reverend Melville Phillips served as pastor until his retirement in 1952 after 28 years in the role.