This Pentecostal work began in Tonyrefail around 1910 when a number of families began Meetings/Services in their own homes. When numbers grew and homes became too small in which to assemble, the decision was taken to build a church. In September 1923 the Pentecostal Full Gospel Hall, situated on “Doctor’s Hill” (Cross Street) was opened. This building was built mainly by volunteers using stone from the local quarry, then in Collenna Road.
Source of 1934 photo: https://www.cutlock.co.uk/2017/08/10/blaengwynfi-and-beyond/
Blaengwynfi was a focal point for the Religious Revival of 1904, many families were influenced by this movement.
Eli Sibley married to Susan Osborne had a son Eli who became an important leader of the Pentecostal movement in Tonyrefail. They had moved to Tonyrefail after 1910 when it is recorded that members of the Pentecostal Church met in houses and later in the local bakery. Eli Sibley Junior became Pastor and served for over 40 years. In 1921 they built their own church – the Pentecostal Gospel Hall – using stone from a local quarry and money borrowed from John Brookstone.
The Sibley, Osborne and Tucker families were devout members. In 1943 a celebration service of ‘The Clearing of the Debt’ took place when John Brookstone was finally repaid. After 1978 the Pentecostal Church moved to Bethel Church’s building in the centre of Tonyrefail and is thriving in 2017 as ‘New Life Community Church’
A very active multi-generational church then developed with activities for every age group including a young person’s section that had a regular attendance of eighty to one hundred children. Whilst not an example of excellent architectural design, the church on Doctor’s Hill stood throughout the ravages in the local area during the Second World War and was still standing when a decision was taken to relocate in 1978. The Bethel Welsh Independent Church which was built in 1893 was seen as the new home, although it had stood empty since 1973.
The building was renamed the Bethel Pentecostal Church up until 2010 when it was renamed the New Life Community Church, as the leadership wanted a name that depicted what they saw as their mission within the community and further afield.
Examples of such are that the Sunday School attendance which peaked at around 120 in the 1970’s; at the same time a Royal Ranger/Missionette Program was successfully introduced and ran for at least 11 years; (well before computers came on the scene). There was also a successful ‘Silver-liners group for those over 55 yrs of age. At the invitation of the 3 local PRI Schools, a schools’ work was set up and continues till today. The church was now the Hub of the community and continued to flourish.
We are pleased in that we are able to continue to be, a proactive multigenerational church dealing with not only the spiritual needs of the church members but also offering activities for the whole community especially those who are vulnerable and in need of support. Through a group of highly committed volunteers who have been active within the community, support has been offered as and when required.
Due to the increased needs within the community of various age ranges and the poor state of the church a decision was made in 2012 to develop the building. Applications were made to various funders for a multi- purpose facility in order that we had room to expand our services for the community In October 2016, the church was in a position to start the building work as all finances had been provided and completed October 2017.
Where are we now:
In 2012 the work carried out by the church took on increased community activities at the suggestion of members and the local community. This to date has evolved into activities as shown below by helping those experiencing a crisis or just need a little help and direction in their lives, by providing the following sessions through it’s H.U.B.
God’s Pantry (food bank), Community First, CAB, Café, Ex Veterans Valley Support, McMillan Carers, Shoe boxes, NLCC Church, SSAFA Brew, Focal Point, Safer Care For Families, Care For Ex-offenders, Recycling Bag Distribution, Book & Jigsaw Swap, Music Group, Befriending Service, Self Help Group, Open Access Play Scheme, Mum & Toddler Group, 1:1 I.T Classes,. etc etc…
Watch this space to see what else is happening at the New Life Community Hub.
TODAY we have become a multi-facet Church, in the Community ‘serving’ the Community. To help promote what we do, we have become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (registered Charity Commission no: 1174521)
We want to acknowledge that over the life of our church we have seen the hard work, commitment and ministry of many faithful people. We cannot write in detail about them all but their names include:
Helen Owen, Andrew Butcher, Paul Leader, Roy Jeffs, Les Knowles, Glyn Lansley, Ron Sibley and Eli Sibley.
- The Welsh Assembly
- Welsh Church Act
- Congregational and General All Churches Trust
- James Pantyfedwen Foundation.
- A charity fund that wishes to remain anonymous.
- Wind Farm
- Legacy from Eileen Evans our oldest church member