05 November 2009

10 Welsh Unitarian Leaders and 1 Notable Welsh Universalist

. . . Culled from my not-so-little booklet, A Who's Who of UUs.

1. The Rev. D. Jacob Davies (1916–74), poet; television personality; champion of Welsh language, literature and culture; wrote Plwm Pwdin, a Rhagor o StorĂ¯au Digrif 1950 and other works in Welsh; Unitarian

2. The Rev. John Gwenogvryn Evans (1852–1903), scholar and paleographer of Welsh history and literature; printer-publisher of facsimile editions of ancient Welsh manuscripts; honorary D.Litt from Oxford 1901; ordained Unitarian 1877

3. The Rev. Thomas Evans (a.k.a. Tomos Glyn Cothi) (1764–1833), poet; hymnwriter; radical; translated into Welsh and published works of radical Unitarian preachers Joseph Priestley and Theophilus Lindsey; editor-publisher of highly controversial paper 'Miscellaneous Repository' 1795–96; imprisoned for sedition 1801–03; author-publisher of the English-Welsh Dictionary 1809 and hymnal Cyfansoddiad O Hymnau 1811; minister at Hen-Dy-Cwrdd Unitarian Chapel for 22 years, 1811–33 (first Unitarian church in Wales, founded 1751)

4. Thomas Griffiths (a.k.a. Tau Gimel, Thomas Jeremy) (c.1797–1871), hymnwriter; while minister at Cribin and Ciliau Aeron 1822–41 founded several schools; author-editor of the hymnal Casgliad o Hymnau 1830; Unitarian

5. Baron Sir Benjamin Hall (1802–67), Member of Parliament for 28 years, 1831–59; known there for his height and corpulence as 'Big Ben'; legend has it that as the first minister of public works 1855–58 his name was cast into the great bell installed into the Houses of Parliament in London, whence came the bell's nickname, 'Big Ben'; Unitarian

6. The Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones (1843–1918), Welsh–American social activist; uncle of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright; organizer of Unitarian fellowships (lay-led congregations); founding secretary of the Western Unitarian Sunday School Society 1874–80; president of the Western Unitarian Conference 1875–84; founding editor 'Unity' 1878–97 (weekly of same); founding pastor of Chicago's first multi-racial congregation, All Souls Church, 1882–1918; organized the first World Parliament of Religions 1893 (gathering of all world faiths, model for interfaith cooperation, part of the Columbian Exposition, a.k.a. Chicago World's Fair); founding president of the Congress of Religions 1893–1906; founding general secretary of the American Congress of Liberal Religion 1894–1906; founding trustee and head resident of the Abraham Lincoln Centre, an enormous non-sectarian social service origination in Chicago, 1900–18; ordained Unitarian 1870

7. John Jones (c.1766–1827), author; classical scholar; expert on ancient languages; frequent contributor to periodicals; assistant tutor at the Presbyterian (Unitarian) Academy in Swansea 1792–95; founding principal of a school at Halifax, Yorkshire 1798; wrote Events Calculated to Restore Christian Religion to Purity 1800, Grammar of the Greek Tongue 1808, Grammar of the Latin Tongue 1810, Greek and English Lexicon 1823, Principles of Lexicography 1824 and many other books; honorary LL.D. from the University of Aberdeen 1818; Unitarian

8. The Rev. Richard Price (1723–1791), D.D.; Welsh–English; philosopher; author; among the principal leaders of English Nonconformism (Unitarianism); elected member of the Royal Society 1765; wrote Principle Questions in Morals 1757, An Appeal to the Public on the Subject of the National Debt 1772, Observations on Civil Liberty 1776 (supporting American independence) and other books on finances, politics, theology; longtime pastor at Unitarian Church of Newington Green (now part of London)

9. The Rev. James Relly (1722–78), theologian; wrote Union: or Treatise on Consanguinity and Affinity between Christ and His Church 1759 (the first important modern work on universal salvation, published in London); credited with converting pioneer American preacher the Rev. John Murray from Methodism to Universalism; ordained Methodist, defrocked, became Universalist

10. The Rev. William Thomas (bardic name Gwilym Marles) (1834–79), great-uncle of poet Dylan Thomas; poet; hymnwriter; social reformer; founding principal of a grammar school at Llwynrhydown; Unitarian

11. Edward Williams (bardic name Iolo Morganwg) (1747–1826), poet; 'the Welsh Shakespeare;' founded Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain (Community of Bards of the Island of Britain); forged large assortment of 'ancient' manuscripts including 'unknown' poems by famous bards, Druid antiquities and lore, bardic alphabet, etc; compiled hymnal Salmau yr Eglwys yn yr Anialwch 1812; founded the South Wales Unitarian Society


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