South Wales - Religion


The South Wales landscape is marked by numerous chapels, places of worship (past and present) of the various Christian Nonconformist congregations. The Baptist congregation at Ilston, Gower, felt compelled to move to Swansea, Massachusetts, but after the restoration of Anglican worship in 1662 several "gathered" churches survived belonging to the Baptist, Independent and Presbyterian denominations. In the 18th century members of some of these congregations became dissatisfied with the theological innovations of some trained ministers, and created new congregations such as Hengoed near Ystrad Mynach In the same century, churches were sometimes involved in the Methodist movement, especially Groeswen and Watford near Caerphilly, which both received frequent visits from John Wesley The largest denomination, however, became the Calvinist Methodists (later the Presbyterian Church of Wales), whose distinctive grey stone chapels can be seen in many parts. These were mainly Welsh language congregations. Anglicanism in South Wales became autonomous from the Church of England with the Welsh Disestablishment Act in 1920, but the immediate demise of the denomination feared at that time has not taken place. The Roman Catholic community, despite systematic persecution, survived in the 17th to 19th centuries, especially in Brecon and among minor gentry such as the Vaughans of Welsh Bicknor, on the Monmouthshire–Herefordshire border. Among members of worldwide origin in later urban Catholic congregations were the Bracchis, Italians in the café and catering trades often from Bardi in the Apennines Post-war diversity has brought such developments as interesting buildings used as mosques, especially in Cardiff and Newport, Sikh gurdwaras, including one on the mountain near Abercynon and a growing number of Evangelical and Pentecostal congregations. These often add a strongly international element into local life, such as the "Pont" twinning project between Pontypridd and Mbale, Uganda, and the creation of "Fairtrade" relationships with primary producers worldwide.

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