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Rev. Dr Eifion Evans (1931-2017)

February 2018 | by Philip Swann

Eifion Evans, Jim Walters and Vernon Higham at theological college.

Born in Cross Hands, Eifion trained as a pharmacist before entering theological training for the Presbyterian Church ministry.

He ministered in Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Belfast and Abergavenny before returning to pharmacy in West Wales while continuing his preaching ministry and the encouraging of smaller fellowships.

Like many Christians, I first met Eifion Evans through his books. When he is come, on the 1859 revival in Wales was the first book I read as a new Christian. It had a lasting impact on me. Eifion’s gift of writing church history with clarity, warmth and challenge was a rare one and his books leave a helpful legacy for churches.

It was a delight when Eifion and Meira settled with us at Llanelli Free Evangelical Church 15 years ago. Eifion’s fellowship in the gospel was appreciated so much. For many of us, it was his faithfulness, prayerfulness and wisdom that encouraged us.

Eifion had a wealth of Christian experience and knowledge and used it to benefit our church. His memory and grasp of hymns was truly encyclopaedic. Crucially, he never threw his considerable theological weight around, but humbly shared and encouraged. He was a great help.

Encourager

Eifion was a great encourager of preachers on the Lord’s Day. He never pushed his opinions on me, but was more than happy to discuss them, if asked. There was a lovely constructive gentleness about him.

We appreciated his contributions to our ‘Reading the Bible together’ meetings. We always learnt something from him, and it was a joy to see his enthusiasm for Christ overcome him.

But it was his public praying that was probably his greatest contribution to the life of our church. He prayed consistently, boldly and with rare conviction. Christ, his glory and the work of the church, were his burdens; to hear him praying was a wonderful encouragement.

Revival was never far from conversations with Eifion; it was in his DNA. Last March he spoke on the life of William Williams, Pantycelyn, marking the 300th anniversary of his birth. It was a tour de force of passion, history, encouragement and challenge. Many felt we learnt more that night of Christ than of William Williams or Eifion Evans (this talk is on YouTube).

Not long after that memorable evening, Eifion’s health deteriorated more significantly. It was the security of the words ‘in Christ’ that brought him great assurance.

Philip Swann

This obituary first appeared in the January 2018 edition of The Evangelical Magazine (published by the EMW) and is used here by kind permission.