Lampeter Evangelical Church
On Sunday morning, May 23rd, 2021, Lampeter Evangelical Church held its first service in our new building. Being brought up in a Welsh speaking community in one of the West Wales anthracite mining valleys, when we went to church, we used to say ‘mynd i’r cwrdd’, which literally means ‘going to the meeting (house)’. It was a distinct means of putting the building in its place. It wasn’t the building, by any measure, that ought to be worshipped. The whole purpose of the building was to provide a place for people to meet with one another so that they might worship our great and glorious God, whose work of salvation is brought to us through our Saviour Jesus Christ and whose work of conviction and sanctification is brought to us through the Holy Spirit. We sincerely hope that despite our gratitude at seeing the new building completed, it is simply our meeting house.
Stepping out in faith
Lampeter Evangelical Church began in 1981. In the 1990s it developed into a bilingual Welsh and English church, meeting in Lampeter’s public hall. From the beginning, it had been part of the congregation’s vision to obtain a spiritual home, a place that would not only be a focal point for its own people but also a foundational point from which to reach out to people in the communities around.
In 2003, a group of local Christians, several of them associated with Lampeter Evangelical Church, established The Mustard Seed, a property in the town that included a coffee shop and Christian bookshop, and served as a meeting place with the community. A few years ago the property next door came on the market and after much deliberation, the fellowship decided to purchase it, for the building of a church. Many churches open a coffee shop to enrich the work of the church, but in our circumstances the whole procedure was reversed! Our desire is that having both the church and The Mustard Seed next door to each other, they will be of service to God and the communities in which we live and work, reflecting Christ’s humbling and marvellous statement that he came ‘not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Matt. 20:28).
The building began in 2017, and despite being affected by the lockdown, was finished in 2021. We have been most appreciative of the work done by the local building firm, ‘Williams and Thomas’, especially as the building design was a unique and quite challenging blend of the traditional and the modern. You will recognise immediately that it is a church, but at the same time it is fitted in such a way that it meets the demands of the 21st century, especially in terms of flexibility and making full use of the technological advances of the present age. It has been a substantial venture in every sense, not least in financial costs. We have benefited from and been wonderfully encouraged by a great number of contributions, each one of them warmly appreciated, not only from many other churches but also individuals. We were also able to obtain several grants from Christian charities and trusts. We have been truly grateful for all the kindness and generosity we have experienced.
God is sufficient
It is only fair and truthful to say that if we had known what it meant to bring the project to fruition, it is very probable that we would never have started! We had the same experience with The Mustard Seed, yet we experienced God’s goodness and graciousness in all of it. Our God sees the end from the beginning and takes us step by step along the path of his will. By doing so, he ensures that his people are not overwhelmed by the challenges of a task for which he is sufficient but for which we are not! We have joyfully experienced God leading us throughout with his incomparable wisdom and discernment.
It was most fitting that the opening service was held on Pentecost Sunday, one of the great festivals of the Christian calendar, marking the coming of the Holy Spirit. Robert Thomas, from Tabernacle, Llandrindod, led the service and preached with unction and conviction. Our yearning is that we as a congregation, and indeed all of Wales, will experience again the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit in might and power.
We do hope to arrange special services in future when we will formally mark the opening of the new building.
God is building his church
Over the years the Lord has been truly gracious to us as a church as we have seen a number of people coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. This, of course, is all a wonderful work of his grace and we are so blessed to have been able to hold baptism services in our new building recently. Here are two testimonies that we hope will be encouraging and uplifting for all those who read them.
‘I had been attending Lampeter Evangelical Church for some time. It was on a Sunday morning when Graham Reeves was preaching that I heard the Lord speak to me, telling me that he wanted me to repent of my sins. There and then, I made a commitment to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. That was about four years ago. Since then, I have continued to give God and Jesus my heartfelt praise and worship and have felt my faith strengthened daily.’
‘A few years ago, I was invited to attend Emmaus Christian Fellowship in Lampeter on Sundays and though I attended regularly, I understood very little. Every Saturday was very different as I would drink heavily and get drunk with a group of friends. My language and conversation were unseemly. This was my life pattern until the Summer of 2015.
I went along to a service at Caersalem Vestry, Ffair Rhos, where a series of services were being held by a local man, Gerald Morgan. At the end of one service, I responded to the call for prayer to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally. Immediately I felt fantastic, ecstatically happy, a turning point in my life. Yet I didn’t know much about Jesus Christ, or sin or anything about living a Christian life. So, Gerald took me under his wing, and I now have Bible studies with him every week. Although I have friends at Emmaus Christian Fellowship, Welsh is my first language, so I moved to Lampeter Evangelical Church. Thanks to the Lord for coming into my life!’