For our post-Easter break we stayed in a little village called Cilgerran just outside Cardigan, located on the Teifi river with the Welsh Wildlife Centre on the doorstep, and the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast just a little further away. We had a good, relaxing holiday. But what really got me thinking while I was there was the state of the churches in the village.
The middle of the village was dominated by a derelict Baptist chapel and hall. (Apparently it was on the market in 2011 for £40,000 but it didn’t sell)
Further down the high street was the Methodist Church which closed in 2011 and is now up for sale.
And round the corner, past the castle is the parish church of St Llawddog – an ancient place of worship last modernised in the Victorian era, with a stone inscribed in Ogham in the churchyard. We went there for the Sunday worship and heard a cracking sermon, but of the tiny congregation gathered there, half were visitors…
Just over 100 years ago Wales was home to a great revival. But the many closed chapels and ruined churches we saw on our travels clearly told us that the fire today is burning low. I do not know all the reasons for the decline but it certainly moved me to pray for a fresh move of the Holy Spirit in that country.
It also made me think how we make sure the faith is passed on to the next generation. I firmly believe that the future will have a church of some kind, as God always leaves a witness to His goodness, but how do we make sure our church has a future? That was the question that I took back from Wales. It’s one we all need to ponder.