At the beginning of 2018 the members and friends of City URC began to reflect on their shared history and thoughts for the future. Their stories were collected and presented as a ‘timeline’ on the wall in the main Church, excerpts from which will be serialised here.
My church. History.
I was taken to Charles St Congregational Church as a small child my parents and
grandparents were all members of the church, my Grandmother having been received
into membership in 1895.I attended Sunday School on Sunday mornings and
afternoons and became a Junior Church teacher/leader in my teens. The ministers
of the church in my childhood and teens were Rev Brython Davies and Rev. Dr.
William Hodgkins.(founder of The Cardiff Adult Christian Education Centre,
CACEC) Dr Hodgkins was the minister when as members of the Congregational
Church in England and Wales we voted on joining with The Presbyterian Church of
England to form The United Reformed Church, the vote was carried with a number
against the motion. Around this time The Wood Street Congregational Church had
its building compulsory purchased by the council and needed another building.
Charles St and Wood St were the same denomination so it seemed natural to most
members to join together and worship at the Charles Street Church.
One of the results of this getting together was the settling of the proceeds of
the money received for the purchase of the Wood St building into a Trust named
The Wood Street Trust (now City Charity) this Trust was for the sole purpose of
the mission and upkeep of the newly joined Church. With the founding of the
United Reformed Church there were then two URC congregations worshiping in the
centre of Cardiff, Charles St and the former Windsor Place English Presbyterian
Church. Both congregations were in interregnum and without a minister. The
interim moderator at Charles St was Rev Hector MacDonald (retired minister from
Wood St.) at this point Rev Peter Scotland was called for Charles St and Rev E
Wyn Parry for Windsor Place. The memberships of both churches decided to
worship together in alternate buildings. This was costly first by loosing
dissenting members from all three churches and having the upkeep of two very
large 19th century buildings. God moves in mysterious ways! Ebeneser Welsh
Congregational Church needed a building. Their building was compulsory
purchased to make way for the new St David’s Shopping Centre and although both
Windsor Place and Charles St were offered for sale, the Charles St building
better suited the Ebeneser congregation. The transition to City United Reformed
Church Windsor Place was completed.
There have been a number of major building projects enabled by the proceeds of
sales of the former churches, to the Windsor Place site. In the meantime, the vision of the church, as
the only English speaking nonconformist church in the centre of Cardiff, had as
its mission, the reaching out to the commercial and political centre of the
capital. The post of Urban Chaplain was created and the Rev Douglas Bale called
to ministry based at Windsor Place.
The original Presbytery was demolished and the Cafe and suites of meeting rooms
and car park were facilitated. The interior and exterior of the Sanctuary made
safe, decorated and the heating updated. While this work was carried out our morning
services were held in the YMCA which was in The Parade. When this had been
completed Mr Paul Starling was employed to administer and take the project of
‘The Churches Centre’ forward. A broadcast service marking opening of the
centre was held in the Sanctuary. Church members and invited dignitaries were
presided over by Dr Rowan Williams the then Archbishop of Monmouth.
The chapel became the bookshop and the gallery became our beautiful Upper Room.
The lift, upstairs kitchen and disabled toilet with two attic rooms were also
added. In addition to these building projects, the church was building links
with the Cardiff Council, local Shops and Offices and the steel Industry
through our Urban Chaplain, Rev Douglas Bale. Douglas was also instrumental; with
the churches backing, in setting up The Huggard Centre for single homeless
people and bringing the Lightship to Cardiff. Meanwhile Rev Peter Scotland was instrumental,
again with the churches backing, in setting up City Centre Churches Together(now
Cardiff Cytun City and Bay). During Peter’s ministry services on Sunday were held
both in the morning and evening. Another interregnum and Rev Tom Arthur was
called to City. During his ministry apart, from the normal weekly services,
Asylum Justice was set up. It received an award for its work in assisting
Asylum Seekers with their legal claims. Our last Minister was Rev Adrian Bulley
who served this church for 4 years.
During the whole of
this time I have been involved with the Junior Church in various capacities.
There has always been a group of children of varying ages. We have had a Pilots
group and a FURY(Fellowship of United Reformed Youth) group. It has been my
privilege to serve the Junior Church and for the last 4 years, also serve on
the Children and Youth Work
Committee of the National United Reformed Church.
Adult Christian Education Centre) continues with lectures a few times a year.
In its heyday it ran Extramural courses for the University alongside other
courses and conferences. The most memorable recent occasions a dialogue between
Lord Leslie Griffiths and Huw Edwards.
continues through this period of ‘Transition’ we as a congregation need to look
to the future, still fulfilling the mission of a city centre ministry and reaching
out to all the URC’s in the area. Examining and redefining our joint ministries