New life at Mount Carmel Baptist Church
Minister Howard Jones highlights recent physical and spiritual blessings in the century-old Caerphilly church
Mount Carmel Baptist Church has been a Christian presence in Caerphilly for over 140 years, and now has the potential to be just that for many more years to come. The building is fairly typical of many of the non-conformist chapels built in that era in the South Wales valleys, during a time when colliery pitheads littered the valleys, as did steel works and iron foundries and all linked by a network of railways.
Families from these labour intensive industries populated our chapels, and though it's likely few were ever filled to capacity, these ancient monuments to faith still stand proud, often hiding the results of the onset of age. We have discovered this at our literal cost over the past two years.
A structural survey had confirmed the building was sound and stable. However, the building was in need of some remedial attention. Our contractors had hardly begun work on the roof when they discovered wet rot and dry rot in the wall plate timbers.
Our affordable estimate had now doubled which meant what limited reverses we had would almost be drained. As prayer and serious consideration were given to our circumstances, a letter arrived suggesting I call the sender for a discussion that might prove favourable.
In the bounty of God’s provision, our anonymous benefactor offered to write a cheque for the exact amount that had doubled our estimate. Our gratitude and relief were surpassed only by our praise and thankfulness to God.
With the works almost complete there only remained the examination of the chapel floor. The news wasn’t good; wet rot, dry rot and damp were in the floor joists.
Again it was time for prayer and serious consideration, and there was only one remedy. Because we believe God has not finished with us at Mount Carmel, because He is blessing our planning and efforts in what we call Running Our Race, we committed ourselves to seeking a Baptist Union loan to fund not just the renewal of the floor, but also fixing insulation to the walls, the installation of fire safety systems and a total re-decoration, repaying it with monthly pledged donations. Then came the offer of an interest free loan.
And once again we had good cause to give praise and thanks to God. But this is only a part of the story. Worship, weekday activities, and Running Our Race plans continued almost unhindered; our church accounts are now computerized, and to increase funds we have held two successful craft fayres and a charity concert.
We celebrated the completion of the renovations by holding a Re-dedication Service attended by 170 guests on Saturday afternoon, 31 January; the following morning, Helen Morgan and Mandy Redman were baptised, and in the evening with Andrea and Ken Bridgeman, they were received into membership - the physical and spiritual coming together to give hope for a future where we are blessed again to be a blessing.
In our Re-dedication Prayer we prayed we might be: …a restaurant for those who hunger and thirst after God …a guesthouse of retreat for the pilgrim… a hospital for the sick in soul that they might find healing and health in God …a school to study and discover the mysteries of God …a gym to build spiritual strength and fitness … a garrison to prepare an army for spiritual warfare… a rescue station from which to search and recover the lost…
The Revd Howard Jones is minister of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Caerphilly