In the shadow of Mynydd y Garth nestles Bethlehem, Gwaelod-y-garth chapel. It has been there since 1872, and the original cause started in 1832 in another building nearby.
The building is registered as Grade II in the Gwaelod-y-garth village conservation area, as an example of a chapel built in the second half of the 19th century, it has retained most of its original features inside and outside.
Since its establishment the church has been supremely fortunate in its ministers, be they full time or part time, and it was a renewed blessing to receive Delwyn Siôn as the church leader on this meeting house in 2016.
And even though the chapel sits almost hidden in the landscape, there is a vitality and vibrancy that is obvious among the chapel attendees.
The present membership, who are constant and supportive, live either in the village itself, in the nearby villages or in one of the suburbs of our capitol city.
There are 135 members registered and 30 children and young people in the Undeb’s Tanysgrifiadau a Chyfrifon 2020 (Subscriptions and Accounts 2020).
There is usually one service held on a Sunday at 10.30am, and there is a Sunday school for the children of primary school age held at the same time and the service.
The children and youth present special services during the year (including St David’s Day, Christian Aid and thanksgiving) and there is much anticipation each year as everybody looks forward to their Christmas presentation to see the ingenuity used to convey a ‘different’ version of the Nativity. (And yes, there have been some people similar to Dr Who, the Archdderwydd and Dewi Llwyd present as part of the services lately!)
In March 2020, just before the first lockdown, the chapel choir presented a choral work composed by one of our members Eilir Owen Griffiths ‘Geiriau Olaf Dewi’ – our hope is that it will be possible to present a similar work when the virus has gone.
The women hold a women’s meeting once a month and there is also a Drws Agored (Open Door) discussion group held monthly.
Support of charities, local and international, is an integral part of our activity, and the members are responsible for the annual collection for Christian Aid around the village.
Even though it has not been possible to hold the usual social events recently, because of the virus, the Summer Supper and Christmas Supper are an important part of the calendar, as well as a quiz, sponsored walks and sponsored bike rides, and curry or middle eastern food nights.
Bethlehem is part of the provision that offers food for the homeless at Tabernacl chapel in The Hayes, Cardiff, from Sunday to Sunday.
Also Bethlehem, along with four other local societies, co-organise the Cylch Llenyddol Cadwgan (Cadwgan Literary Circle) events annually.
A weekly notice appears in the Western Mail on Saturday noting who will be preaching and/or what will be happening on the following Sunday. The church magazine, Gair Bach Bethlehem, is published regularly during the year also.
The building has been registered to hold weddings and there are also registered registrars among the members.
For more information:
The church website is: www.bethlehem.cymru
Email contact for the secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org