It all began on 15th November 1815. That is except for the Sunday School and other meetings George Conway held in his Tin Works in Pontrhydyrun from 1807. But on 13th May 1815, the foundation stone of the church building was laid and the building itself finished six months later. The church began with a desire for faithfulness to the good news message of Jesus and of the Bible, and for making this good news known to others.
John James was the first person called to be a Minister of the church. This was in 1817 and within a year there was already a significant impact made as 17 people responded to the message of good news by being baptised, showing that they had become Christians.
Ten years later, D. D. Evans became Minister of the church and was here for 30 years. As he shared the good news of Jesus, the church grew significantly meaning the building was no longer big enough. The new building was opened on 16th August 1837. Around this time, the graveyard was also enlarged and three Cedars of Lebanon were planted. (Two of these were blown down in a severe gale in November 1928, and the last had to be removed owing to decay in October 2013)
Longest Serving Minister
After two Ministers in quick succession, which weren’t a right fit for the church, J. D. Rees came to the church in 1877 and he shared the message of good news and led the church for 43 years. Significant renovations were made to the building. In addition, with an increasing Sunday School, the hall was built and opened in 1905. For several years, around the turn of the century, there was a particular sense of devotion to prayer. During that time, many were becoming Christians having heard the good news, and others coming back to faith. J. D. Rees retired in May 1923 and remained as a member in the church before he died just less than four years later.
Before World War II
Willie George Jones and Howell A. Morgan were the Ministers that followed. The Sunday School during this time continued to thrive with an average of 255 attending each week. A few changes were made in in church life, including individual communion cups, the new front gates, and a new pulpit when it was noticed the old one was riddled with woodworm.
On the 3rd December 1940 a bomb fell and exploded in the woods at the end of the graveyard making a crater 5 metres deep and 15 metres in diameter. It was thought that the bombers may have mistaken the church building for the ammunition works at Glascoed.
Cwmbran was established as a new town in 1949. It was formed from several pre-existing villages. The Minister at this time was William Henry Jones, followed by Daniel J. Williams. During this time, in 1951, the church building was registered as a building of special historical interest.
At some point in the history, the church lost its clear faithfulness to the message of the good news of Jesus and to the Bible. Derek Garwood began as Minister in 1962 and he had strong convictions of faithfulness to the good news and began renewing the church to its original convictions. The church was growing and progressing much like the town around it. Sadly, Derek Garwood died of a heart attack in 1985 leaving the church in a state of shock.
The church had to get used to someone preaching with a Dutch accent when Bert Weenink came to be Minister of the church in 1987! During this time, the church clearly was reaching out significantly to others with the good news of Jesus. Many became Christians during these years. One Sunday alone, 14th April 1991, eleven people were baptised, six adults in the morning and five teenagers in the evening. Also, the church began to introduce more modern songs with their own hymnbook in 1994, then updated in 2002.
John Edmonds followed and continued in the same faithfulness as Bert Weenink and Derek Garwood and also took up the process of modernisation. At this time, additional leaders were raised up to serve alongside John Edmonds as Elders. The church continued with an outward focus running Holiday Clubs and Christianity Explored Courses and seeing people becoming Christians.
In 2012, Jonny Raine came to be the Minster and the church appointed its first Assistant Minister, Stephen Tucker. The church has continued to grow with some becoming Christians and others moving to the area from other churches. The membership of the church is just over a hundred people, from a variety of backgrounds.
Although we may use different methods to our predecessors, we as a church are still committed to the same message of good news of Jesus.