Wales may be entering a new season of hope, according to Elfed Godding of the Evangelical Alliance.
Rev Godding, who has been National Director of the Alliance in Wales since 1999, was addressing Christians who gathered at Moriah Chapel Loghour on the anniversary of the 109th anniversary of 1904 Welsh Revival.
The meeting focused on the theme of "Wales Past, Present and Future" and the congregation contained a substantial number of Koreans, which is not surprising given the sense of gratitude they feel towards "the land of revival". The service was the brainchild of Gwent-based Korean Pastor Peter Cho and retired GP Stephen Price who lives in Abergavenny, the home of Robert Jermaine, the Welsh missionary credited with the birth of the Korean church.
"I was pleasantly surprised," said Godding, National Director of the Evangelical Alliance Wales. "There was a balanced approach reflecting our past present and future.
"It had a good positive feel. It did not simply relish in the glories of the past and people were certainly aware that if God moves in Wales again He will do it differently.
"Maybe there will a greater impact on communities with the transformation of society as a whole and a greater engagement with politics, business and the market place. The Welsh revival of 1904 witnessed a great number of conversions and missionaries sent out all over the world. The impact on Welsh society was quite minimal. Maybe the revival was too pietistic".
But following something of a charismatic renewal in the 1970's and a greater focus on "word and deed" mission since the 1980s, Rev Godding suggested that the periods of decline was bottoming out and there is a measure of growth in some parts of the churches of Wales.
And he believes that these growing churches exhibit certain common characteristics:
- A real commitment to be missional and a consequent determination to go out into the community engaging in holistic mission
- An emphasis on collaborative mission
- A renewed interest in trying reach people on the margins of society
Godding said: "My personal opinion is that we are in a season of hope and advance and if we pray together and are committed to work together we will witness and increasing number of conversions and churches growing once again across Wales"