The first meetings were held in the kitchen of a farmhouse known as Tyfry, situated on the opposite side of the road to the present day Moriah. The cause at "Tyfry" was further strengthened by the fact that Mari Dafydd had established the first Sunday School in the district in her home behind the farmhouse.
In her will, Mrs Elizabeth Morgan of Beili Glas, left money to the cause which enabled the purchase of the first Moriah. This was a thatched barn which was adapted as a chapel in 1827-28. It was known as "Capel Tô Gwellt" and was officially opened on the 11th October 1828, when, amongst others, the Revd Hopkin Bevan, Llangyfelach preached.
[b]Capel Tô Gwellt too small[/b]
The cause at Loughor was strengthened to such an extent that very soon the "Capel Tô Gwellt" became too small and it was decided to build a larger chapel upon the same parcel of land in 1842, and it become known as "Moriah". A burial ground was attached to the place of worship. A gallery was added to the building in 1849 and before long a chapel-house was attached. (Traces of the chapel-house can still be seen today on the East wall of the vestry).
In 1865 the number of members was 66. They were looked after and cared for by David Harry, a local man, who was unofficially minister of the Church. He had spent four years of theological training at Trefecca, but was never ordained a minister. He occupied the pulpit at Moriah at least once a month and supervised the Society meetings. Another local man who frequently preached at Moriah was John Rowlands, the village schoolmaster.
For many years after the death of David Harry, the minister of Nazareth Llwynhendy, the Revd David Lewis, preached at Moriah once a month and attended Society meetings. In spite of having no regular minister, the cause at Moriah flourished and by 1873 the number of members reached 100. It was in that year that Henry and Hannah Roberts, Island House, (Evan Roberts' mother and father) joined the Society .
In January 1877, the Revd M.D. Jones, Dinas, Pembroke, occupied the pulpit at Moriah as the prospective minister of the Church. He attended several Society meetings before being inducted on June 13th of that year. The occasion called for two preachers in the persons of the Reverends David Saunders and David Phillips. The following Sunday, June 17th, the annual meetings were held at which Robert Jones Treherbert and the Pastor officiated. As a result of the presence of a minister at the Church, there was an appreciable increase in the Society members, who now totalled 153. However, Mr Jones' stay at Loughor was a very short one.
It was during this period that certain members at Moriah became imbued with a missionary spirit. One such person was David Morgan a weaver of Penyfodau Cottage on Stafford Common, who worked unceasingly to establish a church at Waunarlwydd. William Eynon, Fferm Isaf, freely granted the use of a barn on his premises and it was there that the first services were conducted by the Revd David Lewis, Llwynhendy. David Morgan one of the finest characters in the district and former Church Secretary at Moriah, soon gathered a band of willing workers. The industrial expansion of Gower Road, as Gowerton was called until 1885, and its growing population necessitated the erection of a chapel, which was built in 1873 by Edward Morgan, Berthlwyd. The Society at Loughor was quick to nurture the infant cause at Gower Road and contributed towards the payment made to the Revd David Lewis when he preached there.
On the Sunday of June 14th 1891 the Revd Daniel Jones preached his first sermon as pastor of Moriah. He officiated once a month only at the Church. The coming of a new minister was the occasion of the purchase of a new organ.
The expansion of Gorseinon as an industrial town saw the mother church at Moriah spreading its wings and was instrumental in building a church to be known as "Libanus" at Gorseinon. This chapel was officially opened on Sunday June 22nd 1890 and on that day no services were held at Moriah. With the appearance of the Revd Dan Jones as minister, he also took charge of the flock at Libanus.
On 15th January 1893 a Sunday School was started in a room above the Broadoak Colliery (offices kindly lent by the owner, Samuel Thomas). This flourished to such an extent that in two years land was acquired and the Pisgah School Room built.
The membership at Moriah was again on the increase and soon the need arose of building a larger and a more commodious edifice. This was done in 1898, at a cost of £1,700. The foundation stones were laid by Samuel Thomas, the owner of the Broadoak Colliery, and William Clement, Coed Brydwen Farm, on the 12th September, 1898. The first service was held on a Sunday in July 1899 and the resident minister, the Revd Daniel Jones, preached the first sermon from the l Kings 8:57 - "The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers; let him not leave us, nor forsake us."
In lighting the new chapel, oil and candles were dispensed with, to be replaced by gas lighting. A generator was purchased, and supplies of carbide had to be procured periodically.
In 1901 the second "Libanus" was built and the Revd Daniel Jones acted as Minister there as well as at Moriah for about three years, at the end of which time the congregation at Libanus became strong enough to maintain the upkeep of its own minister. In 1903, the members at Libanus built Bethlehem school room in Penyrheol.
[b]The old Chapel, built in 1842, was transformed into a school room in 1903.[/b]
The Revd Daniel Jones, resigned the Ministry of Moriah on the 31st December, 1904, and the church had no regular minister until the Revd J. Howell Davies took charge in June 1907. (It was during the last few months of the ministry of the Revd Daniel Jones that the congregations at Moriah witnessed the greatest Pentecost in its exciting history, when Loughor became the Mecca of all pilgrims, and Evan Roberts the instrument in the hands of God)
In 1907 a new minister arrived in the person of Revd Howell Davies, Llanradach. He occupied the pulpit on June 23rd as Moriah's sixth minister. His induction services took place on 21st July when the Revd D.M. Davies Penclawdd officiated. The number of members at the time was 306.
On the 31st October, 1928, under the ministry of the Revd W J. Lunt, centenary meetings were held at Moriah to commemorate the opening of the "Thatched Roof Chapel" on the 11th October, 1828. It was also the 24th anniversary of the commencement of the Revival of 1904-5. The special preachers at the centenary were the veteran preacher the Revd W.E. Prytherch and Evan Roberts.
In March 1969, under the ministry of the Revd J. H. Walters, both the vestry and chapel were filled to overflowing to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the 1904/5 revival. At these services, in the afternoon in English, the preacher was Dr Eifion Evans - author of the book 'Welsh Revival of 1904" - and in the evening in Welsh, Revd Dr Martin Lloyd Jones.
On the 31st of October 1994, 90 years to the day, a large congregation gathered in the chapel to remember 1904/5 and pay tribute to the movement which changed Welsh life throughout the locality, indeed Wales. The Revd Haydn O. John, a native of Loughor and a member of the chapel in his younger days, presided and gave a brief synopsis of the beginnings and effects of the revival. Introductory devotions were in the hands of the Reverends J.D. Eurfyl Jones and David Shepherd.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon