A couple of weeks ago I made a post on my Welsh language blog in support of a man from Llanrwst who I believe is being victimised by officials of the Presbyterian chapel in Llanrwst. Some non Welsh speaking acquaintances of the victim who heard about the post have requested an English translation. Here it is:
Methodists are full of malice
They go to chapel without grace.
Is a very rough translation of an old Welsh jingle.
Those who read my (other) blog regularly and those who know of my posts to Maes-e, will know that I am normally quite defensive of nonconformist Welsh chapels.
Unfortunately some times the jingle is proved to be correct. Occasionally things arise in the chapel community that are totally indefensible. I recently heard of a case relating to a chapel in Llanrwst, which can only be condemned by true Christians and others who belive in fairness and justice.
The case involves a decision by the officials at Seion Presbyterian Chapel, Llanrwst to send a solicitor's letter to the tenant of the chapel house threatening him with eviction just three days before Christmas. Whilst chapel members were celebrating the festival of good will to all men, the chapel was behaving with incredible ill will towards its tenant. Whilst chapel members were remembering the sadness of there being no room in the inn for Joseph and Mary, the chapel authorities were using the forces of law to make it clear that there was to be no room in the chapel house for the tenant either.
Apart from considerations of religious hypocrisy, the timing of the letter was generally underhand. The notice to quit was sent at that time of the year when many offices and advice centres were closing down for almost ten days. The tenant was forced to "celebrate" Christmas in uncertainty without anywhere to turn for advice or legal help.
The reason why the tenant is being made homeless is a matter of childish spite.
A few weeks previously the tenant was given notice that his rent was to be increased by 60%. Shocked by this huge hike in rent and what it would do to his already meagre finances, he went to Conwy Council to ask if the chapel as landlords were allowed to increase the rent so much. A council official agreed to write to the chapel to mediate between tenant and landlord to see if a reasonable compromise could be made. Rather than accept any form of mediation the chapel decided to evict the tenant for being so rude as to even dare to seek advice about a decision that they had made.
To decide to make a person homeless just three days before Christmas for such a petty reason suggest that the Seion chapel's deacons are more like followers of Peter Rachman than they are followers of Jesus Christ.
If any members of Seion Llanrwst happen to read this post I appeal to them to press upon their church elders to reconsider their actions with regard to the chapel tenant. This sort of incident gives a bad name, not just to the individual deacons involved, but to the Christian church in its entirety.
Contact details for the Presbrytarian Church of Wales can be found here