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The Minister


Elfed received as many as 80 members one Sunday afternoon when he was minister in Buckley. There he also met his future wife, Mary Taylor. They married in 1887 when Elfed had moved to his second pastorate in Hull. She was ten years younger than her husband. During his seven years in the North of England, Elfed began to return to preaching in Wales regularly.


In 1891 he received a call to minister at Y Parc English church, Llanelli. During his time there he was in great demand for his services among the Welsh chapels. He moved to London to take charge of the ancient Harecourt church in 1898.


After four years he moved to one of the main Welsh Congregationalist chapels, Tabernacl, King's Cross, in central London and remained there until his retirement in 1940. At one time he had over a thousand members under his wing. He and his wife raised seven children but Mary died in 1918. Five years later he married Elisabeth Lloyd, a widow who hailed from the Tywi Valley, but she also died in 1927.


By 1930 Elfed had completely lost his sight and feared that his public work would cease because he could no longer travel alone. But that year he married Mary Davies, one of his members, and she supported him the rest of his days enabling him to live a full life.


His ministry at King’s Cross can be divided into three periods - the period of the revival in the early part of the century, the great desertion after the First World War and the economic depression in the 1930s when thousands of Welshmen moved to London and its suburbs in search of work.


Elfed was made Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales; Chairman of the Free Churches of England and Wales as well as Chairman of the Welsh Union and Chairman of the London Mission Board on two occasions.


His volumes of sermons and homilies such as Plannu Coed (1894) and Lampau’r Hwyr (1945) emphasise the moral rather than the theological aspect of Christianity. ‘The Book still speaks’ and ‘The approach to Christ’ were titles of two of his English books.


His visual preaching, emphasizing the devotional aspect rather than referring to the day's events, was considered a milestone in the development of Welsh preaching.

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