Whitchurch Methodist Church

Penlline Road, Whitchurch Cardiff CF14 2AA

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The History of the Whitchurch Methodist Church

 

The Early Church

The area around Whitchurch has always been very attractive and one of the best views has been across the river Tynant and up the Garth to Castell Coch. The earliest reference to Whitchurch is in a document of 1126 called the agreement of Woodstock. It recorded a Chapel of Stuntaf (Capella dw Stuntaf) which has been identified as Whitchurch. This was served by a Priest from the Cathedral Church of Llandaff. The Stuintaf (alias Ystrum Taf) was the bend in the river. There was an “Album Monasterium”, or Blanc Minister in the area. This could suggest some form of monastic settlement or merely a simple white washed chapel.

 

This area was the domain of the great Welsh warrior, Ifor Bach, who controlled this area in the dark depths of Welsh history. He carried out many forages down to the Castle in Cardiff. At one stage, he carried off the Earl of Gloucester back to the hills to avenge the loss of large tracts of lands in the area. He remembered all this and gave back the area that contains the well near Castell Coch in 1266. It appears that the area that is now Whitchurch was included in the land within the bend of the river Taff where a mill existed to grind the corn. The original owner of this corn mill was called Griffith and so the area became known as Melin Griffith or Griffith Mill.

 

For many centuries, the Melin Griffith name was associated not only with the mill but also with the land around the area. This land was called Cae-y-Melin. It is thought that this name gradually changed to Velindre over many centuries. The present Velindre Road leads from Melin Griffith to Whitchurch.

In 1973, the old foundations of a 12 century castle were excavated at the end of Old Church Road. There was a small ecclesiastical there but nothing earlier was found. The old castle mound was behind Treoda House. The building was like a fortified house rather than a castle. Writings from 1536 refer to Eglws Newyth in the Llandaff parish. By 1547, a chapel was reported to be standing on the old site and this was dedicated to ST. Dionisius.

 

By the start of the 16th Century, Whitchurch was beginning to develop as a community. A band of agricultural land existed around most of the towns at that time. This stretched to Whitchurch, Llnadaff and Llanishen. According to local parish records, the population was very small. By 1752, there were only thirty children attending the local school and this was one of the lowest figures recorded for any parish in the area.

 

Most of the local land was still controlled by the large land owners and in 1570 there were fourteen tenants of Edward Y Fan within the Lordship and Manors of the Earl of Pembroke.

 

The Melin Griffith

In 1625, the Melin Griffith Mill consisted of a mail pond with sluice gates etc and was tenanted by Marmaduke Mathew of Radyr. The tenancy then passed to John Mathews William, Jenkins of Plas Turton. The exact change from milling to iron making is not certain as several documents give different dates.

 

Some reports refer to a census that was carried out in 1719. This indicates that Whitchurch consisted of 35 farmhouses and 25 cottages. The total number of inhabitants did not exceed 300 people. Records from 1722 show that many people were employed part time in the iron works as unskilled labourers, and spent most of their time in agriculture. They tended to use their horses and carts as hauliers. The earliest recorded farm was that of Wauntreoda that later became Treoda House.

 

 

After a few hundred years, the corn milling at the Melin Griffith gave way to the early iron smelting. This developed locally due to the presence of plenty of charcoal from the many forests in the neighbourhood and the large reserves of iron ore which were mined from Garth ore mine and other local hills in Pentyrch and Caerphilly. There was an abundance of coal in superficial seems that had been discovered in the Taffs Well and Nantgarw areas. The river Taff provided a rich and powerful local energy source and a means of transport for raw materials when the local reserves had become exhausted.

 

In 1740, the mill was adapted for iron working and the forge was built by Rus Powell of Llanharan. The Velindre was used by the works manager and visitors. Workers cottages were built at Sunnybank, New House and Scrap Row. These continued to expand into the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century.

 

The Start of Methodism

The first Methodist Society in Whitchurch was probably established in 1738. John Wesley himself first visited Cardiff on the 18th October 1739 and again in April 1740 when the Wesleyan Society was probably founded. In 1734, he opened the first Methodist Chapel to be built in Wales and this was in Church Street in Cardiff. This Chapel was associated with the start of the Sunday School movement and opened in 1822.

 

By 1747, the state of the Society was poor. David Rowlands was preaching in that year at the Mr. Wesley Room “but nobody was converted there”. The Societies were very strong in Llnatrisant, Merthyr, Dinas Powis, Cwmcynon and Pentyrch. The people usually still took communion in the local Parish Church. The first recorded communion in a Methodist Church took place in Groeswen in 1749. An independent group the “New House” was established in LLandaff.

 

By 1752, the whole Methodist movement was falling apart in the Cardiff area because of the personal conflict between Mr. Harris and Mr. Rowlands. This led to the final separation between the Calvinistic and Wesleyan Methodists. By 1758, The Glamorgan County History Archives records “Apart from sporadic signs of life, the evidence of any activity in Glamorgan Methodist Societies is very meagre” A local Society was described thus “Methodist Meeting House at....... was in the parish where “ Methodists of all trades and denominations congregated, tinkers thatchers, weavers and all other vermin..”

 

The work of Howell Harris continued locally and by 1766 he was preaching to large congregations, travelling in his chaise in January and May of that year in Cardiff, St. Nicholas, Llantrisant etc. Things were happening politically at this time, and in 1762, an enclosure act was passed through Parliament to enclose the two mile area around Cardiff within the city. This included the common land of Whitchurch, Roath and Llanishen.

 

The Industrial Changes in Whitchurch.

This period of time was very important for the development of Whitchurch because of its vital geographical position. The first toll road to Merthyr Tydfil was completed via Caerphilly in 1767. This was an extremely hazardous journey at that time and the toll road fell into disrepair very quickly. A main turnpike road was constructed between Taffs Well and Merthyr Tydfil in 1771 and this made access more reliable for the Valley areas. The Glamorgan Canal act was passed in Parliament in 1794 and the canal was completed between Melin Griffith and Merthyr Tydfil in 1798 at a cost of £60,000. This allowed a substantial development of the company because of its access to the other Companies in Taffs Well, Nantgarw, Pentyrch and the developing areas of Merthyr Tydfil and Dowlais.

 

The presence of excellent water and road access to the works at Melin Griffith did much to help its growth. The canals were of the utmost importance despite the fact that a loaded barge would take twenty eight hours to complete the journey from Merthyr Tydfil to Melin Griffith. It carried millions of tons of material until the building of the railways. The railway acts for the Taff Valley were passed in 1841 and a new rail access to the Melin Griffith works was constructed to join the main line via sidings in Nantgarw. The era of the railways heralded the tremendous boom in the industrial development of South Wales.

 

The iron forge, rolling mill and tin plate works have a long history and it is said that as far back as 1774 the Melin Griffith contained a forge and two plate mills. It is thought that tin plate production actually started in 1760. The earliest record shows that a forge was probably in existence in 1750. The tin plate workers were very skilled and were not paid individually but as a group depending on the amount of work that had been done. During 1774-1775 two new mills were built and so the woks contained 2 mills, forge, scrap and smithies shop, scaling house, annealing and a tine house.
 
Built in 1749, the Melingriffith Tinplate Works in north Whitchurch, on the bank of the River Taff opposite Radyr, was built on or near the site of an old corn mill that had operated as far back as the late 12th century. Melingriffith was the largest working tin factory in the UK, until the much later construction of the Treforrest Tin Works
The tin mills were powered exclusively by water drawn from the River Taff down the Melingriffith feeder stream, a water course that doubled as a canal that carried raw iron ore from the Pentyrch Iron Works until around 1815, when the Pentrych tram road was completed. The tramroad crossed the River Taff over the Iron Bridge. The feeder’s lock was permanently closed in 1871 when it was bridged over, but traces of it still remain.

The tin works closed in 1957, and today the only signs that the works ever existed at all are the mostly dry bed of the original Melingriffith feeder stream that still runs down from the River Taff from just above the Radyr weir, and the recently restored water pump standing opposite Oak Cottage. The works site itself has been completely cleared, and is now a modern housing estate.

The Melingriffith feeder stream made its way to the original Glamorganshire Canal where they ran in parallel through the tin works and out the other side at Melingriffith Lock. Where they had come together north of the tin works, any overflow from the canal was originally designed to empty into the feeder. This point is now at the southern end of the Glamorganshire Canal Local Nature Reserve and all the water from the canal runs into the feeder before disappearing into a piped water course that passes under the modern housing estate.

At the southern end of the housing estate, the feeder re-emerges at the point where the Melingriffith water pump stands, the pump originally designed to pump water from the feeder into the Canal at Melingriffith Lock. Today, the Glamorganshire Canal has been almost totally overbuilt. Ty Mawr Road has replaced the route of the canal from Melingriffith all the way to Whitchurch.

 

 

Methodism in Whitchurch

The further history of Methodism in Whitchurch is very much linked to the development of the Melin Griffith works in the village. The relationship lasted for at least 100 years. There seems to be no references in the Glamorgan archives to the formal establishment of the Methodist Societies in Whitchurch in the early days. The influence of Methodism was traditionally associated with the coal mining and iron foundry areas in the West Country and Wales.

 

The Methodist Society in Whitchurch

One very prominent family of the late 18th Century and early nineteenth century was that of Mr. James who lived in Heol Don. He kept a shop and carried out an undertaking business. His son, Christopher, was a carpenter and contractor t the Melin Griffith works. He was a committed Methodist and the earliest meetings were probably held at his father’s farm house in Heol Don. Charles Wesley, at one stage, stayed with the family for a period of a week and concluded with an enormous rally in the local area. The influence was considerable on the family and the workers from the Melin Griffith plant. John Wesley came to Cardiff on numerous occasions and preached at Llanishen Common, Dinas Powis, Llantrisant and Cowbridge. He probably stayed in Whitchurch during some of these visits.

 

In 1806 the Rev William Evans led a Home Missions revival in Whitchurch and the local areas. A new Society was formed. The local preachers were the Rev. J. Hughes, the Reverend G. Hughes and David Jones.

 

The Early Church Buildings

A Wesleyan revival swept over Cardiff in about 1829. In this year, a new Wesleyan Chapel was built in Church Street in Cardiff and this gave all the Methodist Societies a big boost in the area. Its influence was shown in the development of the first Methodist Church at Melin Griffith. This was probably constructed in 1820 and the start of Methodism in Whitchurch was noted in the Glamorgan Gazette of that period. A Sunday school was also beginning to flourish. It was held in a small barn or farmhouse at Penylan. The first building on this site was in 1838. Further details can be seen under “The History of the Sunday School” The local leader was Mr. Christopher James, a shopkeeper in Heol Don. It is likely that the local Methodist cause had been established by him as early as 1812. The members would have been associated with the local Parish Church having their own meeting before attending the Parish Church for worship.

 

When the farmhouse became too small, the men went to the owners of the Melin Griffith works and explained the situation. They told them that they would like to build a Sunday school for the children but that no money was available. The owners of the Melin Griffith works were very helpful and it wasn’t long before the Sunday School was built. Within a few years, the building became too small, and Mr. Booker Blakemore arranged a suitable site and a new building were opened on November 20th 1852.

 

The first chapel was built with the encouragement of Mr. Booker-Blakemore who, until his death in 1858, controlled the Melin Griffith works. As he was sympathetic to the Methodist movement, he not only provided the site for the building but also the materials for its construction. This meeting House was probably a small building that stood on the hill caused Penylan overlooking the Melin Griffith works but within its boundaries. The Services were probably conducted in Welsh. By 1850, both Welsh and English were used for the Services. Thomas Phillips was the Local Preacher responsible for the Melin Griffiths Society in the 1850s.

Within fourteen years, the Methodist Society had grown sufficiently strong to make the first meeting house inadequate, and the second chapel was built in 1862, not far away from the first building. The old Chapel books record a meeting in 1851 to make the arrangements for the building. The Melin Griffith work’s proprietors again provided a considerable quantity of building materials free of cost. Other materials were also given freely by sympathisers to the Society. The foundations, walls and buildings were erected by volunteer labour.

 

Mr. John Emmanuel, of Church Inn Llanishen, a faithful supporter of the Melin Griffith cause, did the internal woodwork and the fittings at a cost of £102. The pulpit was bought from St John’s Church in Cardiff for £4.00 and was still in use until the recent alterations to the front of the present building. Both buildings stood until the recent levelling of the Melin Griffiths site for housing developments. The rooms were used as a Work’s Reading Room and the second as the Band Practice Room. The actual opening of the building was in 1852 and seated about 150 people. 

 

John Smith was the Choir Leader at both the first and second chapels. In the early days, the choir and the congregation sang without accompaniment, but later, a small orchestra was formed. Two of the violins were actually made by John Smith himself. His grandfather, Mr. G. Cross, was an instrument maker by trade.

 

During the early years, the Melin Griffith worshippers kept a very close attachment to the established Anglican Church, but later, the Church became attached to the Pontypridd Circuit of the Methodist Church. The Sunday School was held in the mornings and the worship Service was held in the evenings. Until 1870, the predominant language of the Chapel was Welsh. At this time, it was decided that services should be held on alternate weeks in English and in Welsh. The records do not show the exact time that Welsh was finally abandoned but this was likely to have been in the 1890s.

 

The Other Societies in Whitchurch.

Other local groups were also flourishing at the time. The Baptist movement was growing in Whitchurch and they erected their first Chapel on an ancient Mound on the Common at the Philog. The first Chapel was built in 1824. Prior to this building, the group was meeting at Waun Treoda Farm. The Chapel was rebuilt in 1851 and the present Chapel was constructed in 1914. The first Minister was the Rev. J. Williams in 1851.

 

A splinter group of Baptists began to meet in a small thatched cottage in Merthyr Road. This was first established in 1805. The group originally worshipped at Ararat Baptist Chapel but had split away because of the vexed question of the Welsh language. In 1867, the Bethel Baptist group built their first small chapel on their present site. The developing split between the Wesleyan Methodist and the Calvinistic Methodist Societies in Whitchurch became extreme. This progressed from the early days of the establishment of the Methodist movement in Cardiff. In 1866, the Calvinistic Methodist Movement built the Tabernacle Chapel in Whitchurch near the Common. This is still known as the Tabernacle Chapel and is associated with the Presbyterian Church in Wales.

 

The Melin Griffith Wesleyans seemed to have been celebrated in the District not only for the fervour of their cause, but also for the e4xcellence of their tea parties held every Good Friday. These attracted people from all over the neighbourhood. The musical appreciation was still often led by the orchestra. In 1883, the Sunday School purchased a harmonium for its own use at a cost of £41.00.

 

 
Wesleyan Church, Whitchurch 1910 before the Rebuilding in 1911.
 
 
Now called the Whitchurch Methodist Church, Cardiff.
 
 
 

The Methodist Expansion Period

 

Towards the end of the Nineteenth century, the growth of the population in the area, and the increase in the numbers attending the Methodist Chapel, led the Melin Griffith Society to consider the provision of new premises. The population of Whitchurch had increased from 696 in 1801 to 4,865 in 1901.

 

The members of the Melin Griffith Chapel were encouraged to consider the purchase of land within the Whitchurch village to construct a new Chapel. Part of the land of the present site was purchased in 1893/1894 and the foundation stone for the original building was laid on June 27th 1894. The details are not known. The building was completed fairly quickly and consisted of the Church and the School Hall behind the Church. The pulpit and many of the pews were taken from the Melin Griffith Chapel and used in the new building in Penlline Road. During the recent modernisation, it was realised that the pews were obviously from various sources due to their many colours. The Church extended to the position of the new screen at the back of the present Church. Outside the Church was a small stone porch. The appearance of the Church is shown in the diagram.

 

The effectiveness of the School harmonium must have had an influence as the Church decided to purchase its own organ for Church use in 1897. The cost was £63. Until recently, little was known about this instrument until the records of LLanishen Methodist Church were researched. It showed that Llanishen Church had purchased an organ from Whitchurch Methodist Church in 1912. It consisted of a single manual and a pedal stop.

 

It became apparent very quickly that the building was inadequate. In 1900, a vestry was added and a further classroom. The rooms existed until the total rebuild of the Church in 1996 as the “Boys’ Brigade Room” and a Church Lounge. The building work was carried out by Saulter and Sons, The cost of the extension to the main Church building was £262. Further land was bought at the side of the Church for further expansion to be undertaken. This land consisted of a few very small cottages that used to stand on the site of the present Kelston Hall and call often be seen in old photographs taken from the Library Park. Fund raising was necessary and this was organised by Mr. W.R. Davies. In 1911, a further major expansion took place. The foundation stone for the enlargement of the Church were laid on the 9th September 1911 by Mrs. Herbert Cory and Mr. Hubert Spence Thomas. The total cost of this Scheme was £675.

 

The building was carried out very quickly as the opening is recorded to have taken place on 11th December 1911. The front of the building was extended forward to its present position so significantly enlarging the building. Electric light was installed and structural alterations were carried out for the installation of the new pipe organ.

 

The gas lighting that was installed when the Chapel was built was modified. The last fixtures were recently removed with the redesign of the Chapel. When the organ was installed, the present organ loft was the sanctuary. Verses of scripture were painted across the walls at the back and sides of the sanctuary. There were several verses from the Lord’s Prayer and the psalms e.g. “The Lord is my Shepherd”

 

The organ was placed in the sanctuary at the front of the Church and, as a result, the communion rail and the dais were extended forward into the congregational area to replace the space that had been lost as a result of the organ construction. The earliest organists are not known, but thanks are recorded to Dorothy Kate Wills in the early 1900s. She is likely to have been the first organist playing a pipe organ in the Church.

 

An Active Period of Growth

Money was always a constant problem for the Church. Mr. Herbert Cory had been a benefactor of the Church at this time and the finances gradually improved. There had been and outstanding debt following the rebuilding and in 1911, this amounted to £175. This was gradually reduced and finally cleared by a donation of £72 in 1916. In 1918, the freehold of the site was bought for £192. Most of this (£167) was raised by the efforts of Mr. T. J. Lewis.

In 1929, the outstanding mortgage on the Velindre Road Manse was £300 and this was repaid. The church life continued to develop particularly among the children with the encouragement and hard work of Rev Ernest Nicholas and the other members of the Church. The foundation stone for the new School Hall was laid by Mr. T. J. Morel J.P. on the 16th January 1935. The opening was conducted by the Minister, the Rev J. R. Rushton in March 1933. The architect was Mr. A. G. Lyneham and the builder was Mr. H. C. Parker. If these dates are correct, the builder must have been undertaken in a very short time.
 
The photograph to the right shows the front of the church from about the late 1920s following the installation of the Jardine organ in the original sanctury until the rebuild  described later. The remaining gas light fittings were removed in the 1990s long after the introduction of electric lighting.

 

It is interesting to note that there is a record of the award of a Christopher Jones medal in 1950. This was an award from the Youth Council to a person in the Youth Organisations. It would be interesting to find any further records of this medal since that time. It is one of the few references to one of the founder members of the Society in Whitchurch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The period of rebuild

The next major period of expansion of the Church occurred in the period 1967-1968 when the toilet block, new Minister’s vestry, Beginners’ Room and the connecting corridor between the new School Hall and the other buildings were constructed. This allowed all the buildings to become accessible. The outline plan of these buildings is included and indicates the rooms, their use, and the connecting corridor. These buildings served well for a period of about 20 years.

 

The Church roof was replaced and several upgrades were undertaken. In 1975. A decision was made to remove the old organ due to its poor condition and the cost of the necessary rebuild. The organ loft was therefore converted into storage facilities.

 

The kitchen was modernised in 1986 with new kitchen units and sinks etc. The main area of concern then became the Church sanctuary itself. Its general state was very poor. Long discussions took place in 1987 and finally, the decision was made to totally clear the body of the Church of all its items including the old pews and the wooden entrance porch. Several methods were tried to restore the pews to their original condition but this proved not to be practical. It is likely that the pews had been obtained from various sources and appears to be made of different woods.

 

It was decided that an entrance foyer with a meeting area was required, and so, the present screen was constructed to provide the entrance foyer and a new Minister’s Vestry. Chairs were then purchased to allow complete freedom of worship. Many thanks are due to the willing volunteers within the Church Company who carried out the majority of the wok. The total cost of the Scheme was £18,803. The front of the Church was left unaltered at this time so that future discussions as to the nature of the redesign could take place.

 

A redecoration of the old School Hall had also taken place. New electrical heating systems had been installed in the two main halls to improve the comfort in these rooms.

 

The New Church Rebuild

It became evident that very urgent, major repairs were needed in order to maintain the life of the Church. The floors in several Hall had been so weakened by use that holes started to appear. A number of buckets were needed to catch the water coming through the roof. The electric heating system was totally unsatisfactory and the general condition of the buildings was very poor. A professional report was prepared that indicated major extensive renovations would be required to the roofs, walls, heating systems, kitchen, toilets and floors. The options that were available were to close the fellowship or consider a major rebuild of the ancillary rooms of the Church. It was considered that the Church sanctuary and the Kelston Hall could be kept but that all the other rooms were in need of redevelopment.

 

A working party was established and a large number of options were considered by the Church. The general concept was agreed that the rebuild should be centred around

 

1.      a commercial-type kitchen

2.      Rooms that could be adapted for multi-use purposes.

3.      A new rear entrance foyer

4.      Extension of the building onto a vacant space to the South West of the current buildings.

5.      The installation of Central Heating

6.      A modern toilet block with handicap facilities.

 

 An architect, Mr. Rodney Cadenne was appointed to design the buildings following the outlines suggested by the members of the working group. Final plans were presented to the Church Council and approved by the planning Authorities. A redevelopment Scheme costing around £250,000 was approved.

 

A fund raising group was established and grants were obtained from a number of Organisations and are recorded on a plaque within the new buildings. Interest free loans were also sought and a bridging loan was provided by the Roath Park Methodist Church. The fund raising was completed within two years and all the debts cleared.

 

 

The outline design of the new building can be seen. Photographs and a tour can to be found elsewhere on the website.

 

The Opening and Dedication of the new buildings was carried out in 1996 by the Rev. D. Street assisted by the Minister, the Rev D. Aldridge. A weekend of celebrations ensued with Services on the Sunday, again conducted by Rev. D. Street.

 

The redesigned buildings have proved to be a great asset to the Church and the Community. The facilities are used almost ever session of the week. Activities include, Luncheon Club, “J” Club, Guides, Brownies & Rainbows. Women’s Fellowship, Choir, Prayer Groups, Parent & Toddlers and Messy Church. Many hirers use the premises including, Kumon Maths & English Classes, NHS Clinics, Band Practice, Baby Music Classes etc.

 

 
 
 
 

The Redevelopment of the Sanctuary.

Following the modernisation of the Church Sanctuary in 1987, continuing discussions took place about the redevelopment of the front of the Church. We had a historical legacy of a pulpit that had been in the two previous Churches and was initially purchased from St. John’s Church in Central Cardiff. Its actual age was not known. There were furniture and items that had been donated by previous members of the Church including the baptismal font, Communion table and Rherodos and kneelers. The imposing timber work of the organ case was very dark. The pulpit was rarely used as it was rather dangerous for access and its position limited the versatility of use of the front of the Church. The organ loft was fixed and further access was limited by the structural support needed by the adjacent arches. The dais was very small and caused problems with administering communion by the Ministers. Stage erection was dangerous and, as a result, a mobile stage had been purchased to be used at the side of the Church necessitating the turning of all the chairs in the Sanctuary.
 
The future of the pulpit was a source of much discussion. It ranged from keeping it in its present position, moving it to the side or removing it from the building. In view of its difficult access and the concerns of many preachers about its available space, a decision was made that it should be removed and sold. Its history is interesting and further information is available.

 

Many Schemes were considered. The Church Council finally agreed a plan involving the following:

 

1.      Removal and disposal of the pulpit. It was offered to various historical Societies but none felt that it was of great historical significance as        many similar period pulpits were available.

          The history of the pulpit is of interest and further information can be found here.

2.      Removal of the wooden frontage of the Organ Case

3.      Disposal of the Combined Communion Table and rherodos.

4.      Replacement of the existing communion rail using the original supports as donated in memory of a previous member.

5.      Extension in depth and breadth of the dais and the provision of two mobile sections of dais that could be used to extend the facility for            concerts etc.

6.      Provision of theatre lighting at the front of the Church to support Concerts etc.

7.      The provision of curtains on front of the organ to allow access and the provision of an oak cross to match the new woodwork of the organ console and chairs.

 

The development has been heralded by many members and visitors to the Church. The concert staging had been used very successfully and has enabled a modem auditorium to complement to long series of concerts that have been held in the Church and supported by the local population of Whitchurch. Photographs and a TOUR of the building are available in the menu directory of the Church.

 

In Jan/February 2009, The Stewards’ Vestry at the rear of the Church was modified by adding a window into the Sanctuary and Audio visual facilities all to be controlled from the Vestry. The theatre lights, audio system, LCD and computer facilities are all controlled from within the vestry.

 

This has allowed many opportunities for varied worship, celebrations, concerts and a Community venue. Further work was carried out in 2010 on the pipe organ to provide a modern and responsive instrument. The details of the rebuild of the organ can be found on the website under “The history of the pipe organs”


The Coffee Shop or "Roundabout Cafe"

 

Late in  2012, the Church was approached by the "Innovate" Trust with a request for the Church to consider a joint venture to develop a Coffee Shop at Whitchurch Methodist Church.
 
The arrangements would be similar to those in existence at Wesley Methodist Church in Cowbridge Road in the Canton area of Cardiff. Various options were considered and a decision was made to build a facility in the space between the Church building and the Kelston Hall that was currently being used as a store area for waste etc. Mr. Tim Worsford was employed as an architect and plans were finally passed by Cardiff City Council. Jeremy Madley was appointed as the contractor and work started in September 2012. Fund raising was spearheaded by a fund raising group. Large grants were obtained some several sources and we are particularly indebted to the People and Places Grant from the Lottery Fund through the Welsh Assembly, the Communities Grant associated with the Land fill Scheme from Lamby Way in Cardiff and The Veolia Trust. A further grant was received from the Methodist Connectional fund for outreach in the Community. Members made donations and supported the local fund raising.
 
Photographs of the building work can be found elsewhere as well as the pictures of the formal opening carried out in March 2013. The evening sessions were started on April 1st 2013 and Innovate started their day sessions on May 1st 2013. This arrangement continued until January 2014 when the Innovate Trust withdrew their support due to their financial position from the day sessions. The Church council had previously agreed a financial recovery plan and took the full responsibility of the running of the Coffee Shop from February 1st 2014 by appointing their own Manager and agreeing to part part in a Training Scheme for young, employed individuals in a work experience Scheme. A number of the Innovate volunteers wished to maintain their connections with the Coffee Shop and were welcomed by the Church. Members of the congregation offered to assist in the Coffee Shop on a Saturday morning on a rota Scheme. 

 Various external organisation such as the local Library have been associated with  schemes to increase the Community involvement. A book Club has been established and craft classes are being developed. The progress of the Coffee Shop is under review and we ask for prayers for continuing the Community outreach and support of the volunteers to make this a success. The first 18 months up to October 2015 has been very positive with increasing numbers attending the Cafe. 

The financial position is now stabilised and a manpower increase to two f/t seems justified. It is likely that we will be involved with the Jobs Growth Wales Scheme so partially funding a further member of the Staff. A number of external groups are now using the Cafe regularly and their presence is appreciated.Further assistance would be welcome and contact can be made through the web site.

We are always seeking volunteers to help in the Coffee Shop. not only to serve customers but to provide a welcome facility for people to meet.



We are a Church Community in a Village in the North of Cardiff offering worship, a welcome  and a friendly society. Please look at our Web site and contact us if you want any further information