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Home > Learning > Religion and culture: transcript of digital story (1)

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Religion and culture: Worshipping

Religion was central to the lives of many of the Welsh who went to America and they must have felt a great longing to be able to worship in Welsh, because soon after arriving they set about holding formal religious services in their mother tongue and establishing churches.

In the early years some people held services in their own homes, while others arranged meetings in slightly bigger buildings. In 1837, for example, the inhabitants of the Gomer neighborhood arranged for meetings to be held in Thomas Watkins's barn. Before long, Welsh settlers in every part of the state were to be seen building their own purpose built churches.

At first these were simple wooden cabins, like this cabin that was built in Gallia County and which still exists today. Of course small structures like Tyn Rhos soon became too small for the congregation so they set about building larger churches. The 'new' Tyn Rhos was built a stone's throw away from the old cabin and grand churches for the use of the Welsh were built the length and breadth of Ohio in rural areas, towns and cities such as Cincinnati and Columbus.

Some worshippers in the countryside had to walk miles to church on Sunday but others were more fortunate - they had a horse and cart to carry them there. Welsh was the language of the services, the Sunday School and the Bible Society and this did not change for many years and in some districts Welsh only services were held until the beginning of the twentieth century.

The long list of churches that were established by the Welsh in Ohio tells us a lot about their way of thinking and their way of life. Religion was central to their everyday lives and the church was the focus of the Welsh community everywhere. That is how things were back in Wales and when they reached the new country the emigrants made every attempt to continue with the same arrangement.


Religion and culture: Worshipping - Digital story | Excerise 1 | Excerise 2





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