Rev. J. Elwyn Davies
It is with sadness that the Evangelical Movement of Wales announces the death of Rev. J. Elwyn Davies after a long illness. He was one of the chief founders of the movement, leading the work as its General Secretary for over thirty years.
Following the Second World War a number of Welsh men and women – some of them students – were converted. This group of new converts from all over Wales came together. Meetings, missions and retreats were organized, with J. Elwyn Davies taking a leading role. All the activity testified to their evangelical faith, rooted in personal experience and a sure belief in the efficacy of Christ’s death.
Unknown to Elwyn and his fellow believers, the foundations of the Evangelical Movement of Wales were being formed, with evangelical Welsh Christians old and new coming together across traditional denominational barriers.
Over the next months the Cylchgrawn Efengylaidd (Evangelical Magazine) was established and Elwyn and his friends became known as ‘pobl y cylchgrawn’ (‘the magazine people’). With the blessing they were experiencing came not just enthusiasm but also a more formal structure, and in 1955 Elwyn Davies was appointed as General Secretary of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.
With other members of staff appointed from 1956 onwards, the work grew with the publication of an English language periodical, The Evangelical Magazine of Wales. While he was General Secretary, Elwyn saw the formation of the Associating Evangelical Churches of Wales (AECW), which sought to link together Evangelical churches in Wales.
From being a Welsh language work the movement grew to become a bilingual organisation, arranging young people’s camps and publishing literature. Elwyn Davies was also instrumental in assisting dozens of ministers and religious leaders in Wales and beyond.
By his preaching, personal conversation and gentle character he became a friend, teacher and mentor to numerous people. His particular burden was to see God’s people in Wales sharing and united in biblical faith.
He laboured tirelessly during his long lifetime, emphasising that Wales – which he loved dearly – had unique spiritual features and needs. In his preaching, Bible teaching and writing, that love for Wales was always to be seen. His great desire was that the country he loved so dearly would be reconciled to the Christ whom he loved even more.
He accomplished so much during his lifetime. He was a Congregational minister in Blaenau Ffestiniog (1950–55) and worked for the IVF (UCCF) between 1955 and 1962. He was part-time minister at Seion Cwmafan at a later date, President of the British Evangelical Council (1969–72), and part-time minister of an English Evangelical Church (now known as Free School Court) in Bridgend – all of this and more, whilst heading the work of the Evangelical Movement of Wales (1955–1990) and finding time to minister for short periods in Australia and Patagonia.
Elwyn was ably assisted by his wife, Mair Humphreys, whom he married in 1951. They complemented each other perfectly, and were glad to be able to spend more time together when he retired as General Secretary in 1990.
During these last years of weakness Elwyn relied heavily on the support of Mair and the extended family. We extend our deepest sympathy to her, and their six children and families. We thank God for the hope of the gospel which speaks of a heavenly home ‘not made with hands’, and thank God that Elwyn has reached that home.
Evangelical Movement of Wales