Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Life And Ministry Of Harold Emanuel Griffiths Part 8 1956

If this is the first post you are reading about Harold Griffiths, or if you want to remind yourself about his life and ministry up to and through World War 2, then please take the time to read these older blogs. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7
An earlier post also provides a music sheet for hymn music he re wrote and published.


I've found no information about Harold between 1953 and 55. In 1956 more articles again crop up in the Redemption Tidings Magazine.

March provides a simple, short change of address.(1)

He now resides at 12, Newleigh Street, Milton, Stoke-on-Trent. A quick search on Google reveals a very short road between two other streets. There are a couple of bungalows present, but no number 12.

The month of April(2) gives even more information, and a photograph, of he and his wife.

Harold and Anne Griffiths are in the center.

It reads:

"Milton (Stoke-on-Trent). The 25th Anniversary Services of H.E. Griffiths at the Bethel Temple Assembly commenced on Saturday, February 11th, with a "dual reception", as it coincided with a farewell Tea to a member and his family who are leaving for Australia. The N.W.M.D., of which Brother Griffiths is Chairman, was well represented including J.Webb (Vice-Chairman), W.C. Scott (Treasurer). Testimony was given to the splendid services and sacrificial labourers rendered by Brother Griffiths and his family, not only in Milton but throughout the entire District. There were grateful tributes of many saved, healed and baptized in the Spirit under the pastor's Pentecostal Ministry. Brother and Sister Griffiths thanked loyal members and friends for gifts which included a cheque for £25 .

Councillor Seater who deputised for the local M.P. made mention in his speech of the fine Christian character of Brother and Sister Newshome. They also received presentations and "bon voyage" from a large company of well-wishers.

The grand tea ended with praise for the past and prayers for the future. E.E.H."

This small piece in September(3) is another reminder of the North West Midlands District Council for the A.O.G. Harold is still Chairman. An R. Griffiths is mentioned. At first it might have been Harold's brother Rhys, but Rhys lived in Blackwood. It is possible that it may be another family member I am unaware of at this time.

The last article(4) I found in 1956 concerning Harold, is about his brother who passed away in September 1956. Harold was by his side as he died. I would like to just note that the picture at the top of this clipping goes with the article on the right. I only just realised that Harold is also in that photograph, being the man on the front right. I am not as familiar with how Annie looked, but I am fairly positive she may be the lady sat next to him.

Here I will transcribe the article on the left. I will do so again when I blog directly about Rhys Griffiths, but that will be some time in the future.

"Home Call of Rhys Griffiths

With much regret we would inform the readers of the Redemption Tidings of the Home Call of Brother Rhys Griffiths, of Blackwood. After a long and very painful illness, our brother passed into the presence of the Lord on Sunday, September 23rd, 1956, with him at the time of his death were Pastors. Harold Griffiths and Bryn Jones.

We would like to pay tribute to our Brother's very faithful service in ministry, and in the affairs of the District Council, always very cheerful and happy, he was a source of inspiration and blessing to all with whom he came into contact.

He will be most remembered for his long and devoted service to the Blackwood Assembly, which he himself established. The funeral took place on Wednesday, September 26th, and was conducted jointly by Pastors A.L. Jenkins, E.C, member and Bryn Jones, of Cwmfelinfach. There was a goodly number of ministering brethren, both of our fellowship and other denominations, present at the service in Blackwood Assembly, and many tributes were paid of our Brother's activity for the Lord.

We would commend our sister Mrs. Griffiths to your prayers before the Lord, that He might sustain and comfort her during these days of sorrow and trial.

F.O.J (D.C. Secretary)."

As of this date, I do not know the name of Rhy's wife. Redemption Tidings don't always mention the first names of individuals, and I haven't traced their marriage certificate yet, though I am sure I shall do so in the future.

The second article, to the right of the notice of death is about a special event that occurred in the North West Midlands District. Since Harold was Chairman, he no doubt helped to organize it, although he is not specifically mentioned in the write up.

(1) Redemption Tidings Magazine March 1956, Volume 32
(2) Redemption Tidings Magazine April 1956, Volume 32
(3) Redemption Tidings Magazine, Sept 1956, Volume 32
(4) Redemption Tidings Magazine, Nov 1956, Volume 32

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Life And Ministry Of Harold Emanuel Griffiths - Part 7 1953

If this is the first post you are reading about Harold Griffiths, or if you want to remind yourself about his life and ministry up to and through World War 2, then please take the time to read these older blogs. Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4Part 5, Part 6
An earlier post also provides a music sheet for hymn music he re wrote and published.


The first article(1) I discovered about Harold in 1953, actually sheds light on an event in 1952, and the different church practices that occurred then, vs now.

The news is located in Milton, Staffs, and reads, "The Boxing Day Convention in the Milton Bethel Hall (A.O.G.) was a real source of blessing. The speakers were Mr. Beckett, of Chesterfield, and Mr. W. Turner, of Leek. The Pastor, Mr. H. E. Griffiths, convened the meetings. Inspiring solos were beautifully rendered by Mrs. Turner and Brother Robert Norman, both of the Leek Assembly. The services were thoroughly enjoyed, the presence of God being very real. Backsliders returned unto the Lord. Praise God for a real, happy and blessed time in  God's presence."

Being very familiar with the Assemblies of God in the United Kingdom, I can't imagine them convening a convention on Boxing Day. Christians will go to church Christmas Day morning, and on a Sunday, regardless of whether it's a national holiday or not. To pull off a convention takes a lot more effort, and I think that Boxing Day(2) is generally seen as a time for the family.

1953 Also saw Harold announced as the Chairman for the North West Midlands District of the Assemblies of God. The address which follows is 318, Longton Road, Bucknell, Stoke-on-Trent. At first I didn't know if this was a house address or church address. A quick look on Google Maps shows an A road with no building. I think it should also be noted that Mr. D Griffiths is listed as the secretary here, which I believe is Harold's son, David.(3) This same information is given again in August of the same year. After speaking with Ruth Griffiths, I discovered that this was the address the whole family lived at. The road used to be called Dividy Road.

Another historically interesting tidbit is provided in the March Redemption Tidings.

Harold and his son David are now listed as being on the telephone. The following information is provided.(4) "Mr. H. E. Griffith's, Milton; Mr. D. Griffiths, Longton; 318 Longton Road, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent. Hanley 1629."

A four digit phone number always makes me smile. 

June brought an announcement in the Redemption Tidings(5), that Harold would be officiating the opening of a new church, Boundary Street Chapel, on Saturday July 4th at 3pm. 

In the August issues of Redemption Tidings(6) we find a couple of articles which provide pictures of Harold and some of the family as they open two new Assemblies of God churches. One details the opening of the church on Boundary Street listed in the June issue, the other is found in Leek. The opening of the building in Leek was also mentioned in the Post and Times, a regional newspaper in the Stoke on Trent area. I have not found the original article yet, but will share the copy in Redemption Tidings.

Before I provided a transcription of the article, I first want to note the family members in the photograph.

Back row, fourth from right is Harold. Rhys (His brother) may be the older gentleman opposite him.
Front row, center is David Griffiths and his wife Rosemary.

Here is the transcription:

"It was a joy to see the happiness on the faces of God's children at the opening of the Mount Zion Church in Boundary Street, on Saturday, July 4th. After twenty years of wandering from one unsatisfactory hall to another the Stoke Assembly has found a home. The Lord has wonderfully answered the prayers of His own; a little Methodist Chapel will live again and praise God it will now know the glory of Pentecostal fullness.
   The Church is on the Newcastle-under-Lyme boundary and thus a new field of evangelization is opened up in a town which has known little Pentecostal witness.
   After a brief service outside the building, H.Griffiths. District Chairman, turned the key in the lock and the Church was declared open for the work of God. The messages of our two visiting ministers were delivered under the unction of the Holy Spirit. During both meetings the theme was the need for the complete consecration of the Church and with gladness we read 11 Chronicles 5. Phillip Betty of Cannock reminded us of the many churches empty owing to the lack of complete and continual separation. Trevor Williams of Manchester spoke oft he significance of the Cross - a sacrifice, not a martyrdom-God in His great love suffering for our sin. One man decided for Christ in the evening service when Brother Williams gave the appeal. This man had been suffering from the effects of a third seizure but had been restored to health by the Lord after the Pastor had prayed for him. He is going on steadily and maintaining a faithful witness. His daughter has since accepted the Lord and is now rejoicing in salvation. A Sunday School is gradually being build up and there is a new expectancy in the air. A sound of a going in the mulberry trees! The Lord is Hosts is with us!"

The second article provided another photograph.

Harold in the center, playing the piano accordion.

The second article transcription is as follows:
Firstly, it notes the article and photograph is used courtesy of the Post and Times newspaper. Secondly, beneath the photograph it reads: "Typically hearty singing was a feature when the new meeting hall of Leek Assembly of God, which the members have built in Strangman Street, was opened on Saturday. Varied ages were represented among the congregation. Playing the piano-accordion is H.E.Griffiths of Milton, chairman of the North West Midlands district of the Assemblies of God, who opened the hall. With him are A.G. Roberts of Leek (centre), who conducted the service, and H.Webb of Droylsden, who preached."

The rest reads as follows: "New Building Opened at Leek. The following report is taken from the Post and Times. "SACRIFICAL WORK BROUGHT NEW MEETING HALL INTO BEING."
Droylsden Pastor's tribute at Leek Assembly of God opening ceremony. "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts, and in this place will I give peace."

This verse from the Book of Haggai was read by Pastor H. Wewbb of Droylsden at the formal opening of Leek Assembly of God's new brick-built meeting hall in Strangman street on Saturday.
  The hall was completed last week after 18 months' voluntary labour by members.
  Pastor Webb said he believed the text could be a practical word for the occasion and in the days to come.
  "We are about to witness the opening of this building as a house of God" he said. "It has been built by voluntary labour to God by the members and we give thanks to God for all who have helped in such a sacrificial work to bring into being what is before your eyes and what in future will be called the new Assembly of God, Leek.
  The assembly's work had been going on locally for over 20 years, witnessing to the saving power of the Lord and to His glory in saving men and women.
Joy in Hearts
  "As we are about to enter this building, joy is filling our hearts, at least mine", he said. "Although I am not a native of Leek, I am proud to say that these are my beloved brothers and sisters.
  "We do not in our movement place great emphasis on buildings because we believe that the dying souls of men and women are more important to the Lord.
  "But we realise also that we have to have a house or place in which to worship and we believe tat the glory we have enjoyed in the past is going to be surpassed in the future and that God's glory will be in this place, speaking to men and women, and healing the sick."
  After the hymn singing the key of the new building was turned by Pastor H.E. Griffiths of Milton, chairman of the North-west Staffordshire district of the Assemblies of God. 
  The service, conducted by Pastor A.G. Roberts of Leek, was attended by 150 people.
  Pastor Roberts thanked, "All friends in the town who have so kindly helped to raise this building to the glory of God."

These events give a fascinating insight into where and why the district chairman of AOG would travel, and I am thankful to have found these documents. Just one remains about Harold from 1953. It is found in the November(7) edition of RT and is brief.

I will not transcribe this one, it simply states that the farewell service for a Brother W.T. Guest of Tunstall was conducted by Harold in his office as District Chairman.

(1) Redemption Tidings January 1953, Volume 29
(2) Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day, and a national holiday in England. It is also Saint Stephens Day.
(3) Harold's son,  David, was a minister with the Assemblies of God. I am not 100% sure he is the man mentioned in this article but another article lists his phone number as being the same as Harold's and at this location.
(4) Redemption Tidings March 1953, Volume 29
(5) Redemption Tidings June 1953, Volume 29
(6) Redemption Tidings August 1953 Volume 29
(7) Redemption Tidings November 1953 Volume 29