Saturday, February 18, 2017

David John Davies - Cause of death

"On February 4th 1931 my brother Pastor D. J. Davies, Ystrad Rhondda died and on February the 9th was buried at Penrhys Cemetery - Pastor Tom Mercy, Cross keys, and Pastor Clement Morgan, Dowlais, officiating; when there were about one thousand people at the graveside." - Memoir of Price Davies [1]

Reading that began my journey to discover David John Davies. Price Davies' grandson, Roy Davies, also added this annotation to the memoir several years later.

"The March 1931 issue of Redemption Tidings, the official magazine of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain and Ireland, reported that the Assembly Hall where the funeral service was held was crowded out and hundreds of people failed to get admission. According to Ron Evans, a member of the church in Ystrad Rhondda of which D. J. Davies had been pastor, satin cloth bookmarks with details of his death and funeral were produced to commemorate his work. Ron Evans’s father kept one in his bible for many years afterwards but later it was lost."

My last blog post on David John Davies tells the story of how I located the March 1931 issue. It also transcribes the text of the article. I still didn't know how he died though.

Having located that particular issue of Redemption Tidings I was then able to find an online archive of previous and future issues of the magazine.[2] I downloaded them and ran a search on "Davies" to see what showed up. There I found the sad story of David John Davies' death.

This article is found in the March 1931 Redemption Tidings Ambassador, a weekly magazine that had was only published for a couple of years by the Assemblies of God in Great Britain. Here is a transcription. (I have not corrected any spelling mistakes.) 

Ystrad (Mount Zion)

It is with greatest sorrow that we report the home-going of our beloved Pastor, Mr. D. J. Davies, on February 4th with tragic suddeness. 
Sister Davies was very ill and he left her to go to the Executive Presbytery Meeting at Manchester.[3] He returned with a chill, went to bed and in five days died at her side, no one realising the end was near--of bronchial pneumonia.
We have lost a father in Isreael, one who showed to all that it was possible in these days to live "Sermon on the Mount".
There was only one Mr. D. J. Davies. He was laid to rest on February 9th with kingly honours, at Penrhys Cemetery. Like Moses of old he rests on the hill-top, in view of the scene of his many labours for the Master. His funeral showed us how much he was loved, when great and small, rich and poor, saints and sinners met to pay their last tribute. What a gathering! What a lesson to learn therefrom. The world acknowledges that it pays to serve Jesus. Our loved Pastor stood meekly, quietly, steadfastly against all criticisms, controversies with nothing more or less than "The Spoken Word." His favourite reply was "The scripture saith."
The prayers of the saints have been effectual, our dear Sister Davies is better though not yet in our midst. She ever stood shoulder to shoulder with her lost loved one who lived to do "His sweet will," and we pray that by God's grace she will again come forth with us, to carry on much aggressive work, following on what has already been labour fundamentally wrought with much success on Full Gospel lines. 
We feel we have lost our pastor at a time we needed him sorely, but His grace is sufficient and we say
          Had He asked us well we know, we would say, oh, spare this blow. Yes, with streaming tears would say, Lord, we love him let him stay, but we bow and reverently say, Thy will be done.
          John Harvey, Sec.

There we have it. He died of Bronchial Pneumonia and it was very sudden. 

Later, on march 18th 1931, the Redemption Tidings Ambassador magazine contains a message from David John's wife.

Her message can be read in the top right hand corner, "Sister Davies (Ystrad) wishes to thank all kind friends and relatives for their prayers and love shown in her sad bereavement."

Price Davies adds in his memoir that: 

"The following week Mrs. D. J. Davies, with the Elders and brethren of the Ystrad Assembly sent a letter to the Elders and the Church at Penrhiwceiber asking them if they would please release me and let me come to be in charge of the work at Ystrad until Mrs. Davies who was ill in bed at the time, could take over. They kindly granted their request. I was there for two months under much blessing from the Lord."

Still sick and in bed at the time of her husbands death it must have been a shock for his wife Edith. I am glad that her brother in law Price was able to take up some of the work in Ystrad and at least relieve her of that stress. 

There is one other thing I would like to take note of. Price Davies was only requested until "Mrs. Davies...could take over." This was 1931 and the church was seemingly perfectly okay for a woman to be leading them. [4]


[1]  Towards the end of his life Price Davies decided to write a record of significant events he could recall occurring in the Welsh Revival and his life since. It is called, "A Testimony and a brief recording of the beginning of the Pentecostal Movement in the Merthyr Borough, Bedlinog and the Aberdare Valley." It has been passed around my family and an electronic copy was handed down to me about 10 years ago. 

[2] This online archive where I found Redemption Tidings is held by University of South California. The copyright of all Redemption Tidings issues is held by the Donald Gee Center at Mattersey Hall and the Assemblies of God, United Kingdom. The particular issues that the articles in this post are taken from are no longer under any copyright at all. 

[3] During my research of the Redemption Tidings and re reading of Price Davies' annotated memories I have discovered that David John Davies was one of the original executive board members of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain. The reason he set off for Manchester was to meet with these original executors (In many ways founders of the Assemblies of God).

[4] There were several times during my reading of Redemption Tidings volumes that it was indicated women led various churches throughout the movement. Whether they were full time ordained ministers or lay ministers I do not know. 

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