President’s New Year’s Message

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Greater emphasis must be placed on teaching Welsh history in schools if our identity as a nation is to survive, said Glyn Williams, President of the Union of Welsh Independents in his New Year’s Message, sent to the press and media. 

 Our nation’s memory

“History is our nation’s memory. It tells us where we came from, who we are today, and helps direct us towards tomorrow,” said Glyn Williams, President of the Union of Welsh Independent churches. “The Welsh Government and Local Education Authorities should make it a New Year’s Resolution to ensure that Welsh history, and history from a Welsh perspective, is taught more widely in our schools and colleges. Religious events and personalities are a key part of what formed our identity,” he said.

The key role of religious history

“As things stand, I feel that our history in general, and our religious history in particular, is neglected. In 2017, for instance, we celebrated the 300th anniversary of William Williams, Pantycelyn – one of the world’s greatest hymn-writers who gave voice to the Great Religious Revival in the 18th century, which shaped our nation’s character during the Industrial Revolution. The rugby crowds still sing Williams’ “Bread of Heaven” yet I suspect that very little was taught about him and the impact in our schools.  The same applies to William Salesbury, who translated the New Testament into Welsh 450 years ago to last year. This genius paved the way for William Morgan to translate the Bible, thereby ensuring the survival of the Welsh language down to the present day. Is Salesbury even mentioned in our schools?” asked Glyn Williams.

Union leads the way

The Union of Welsh Independents is doing its bit to enlighten people about our past by preparing a series of videos in Welsh called “The Way We Came,” which tells the story of Christian Nonconformity in Wales, in a Welsh and European context.  The Union is unique in Wales in having its own filming unit, TV studio with editing facilities and professional broadcasters on its staff. Every three months a new video is prepared. They are available on CDs and On-line as the basis for discussion in chapels or where ever.