John Morgan Jones (1838–1921) was a minister with the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales for over fifty years.
He was born at Llanddewibrefi, Cardiganshire (the village where Daniel Rowland was converted), educated at Trefeca College (where Howell Harris once presided) and ordained in 1870. A contemporary said this about his ministry:
There are some perhaps who are more popular among the ordinary people, but there is no one with a purer gospel or who understands it better. He does not depend on voice or gesture. He has no silver trumpet or triple harp, but he has a speech live enough to cause excitement among the bones.
He served churches in Dowlais, Ystalyfera, Treforest and, for 37 years, in Pembroke Terrace, Cardiff. For the last fourteen years of his life he was the superintendent of his denomination’s ‘Forward Movement’, an organization formed to evangelize and build churches for the new masses of industrial workers that had moved into south-east Wales at the close of the nineteenth century.
Jones published various commentaries and biographies in Welsh, and innumerable articles. Much of his work had to do with contending against the rising tide of higher criticism. Through his biographical labours he realized that much of the early history of his denomination would soon be lost if it were not collected and published. Together therefore with his friend, William Morgan, he set about researching what was to become the two volumes of Y Tadau Methodistaidd.*
Because of his awareness of the importance of the Trefeca letters and journals, John Morgan Jones served as chairman of the committee formed in 1909 to facilitate their publication, and this committee led in turn to the formation of the Calvinistic Methodist Historical Society in 1914. He served as chairman of its committee from 1915 until his death in 1921. He was twice appointed Moderator of the General Assembly of his denomination – in 1897 and 1920.
*Published in English translation (by John Aaron) by the Trust as The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales.
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