There’s a converted warehouse at the back of B&Q in Cwmbran which is attracting hordes of people almost every evening of the week. This is the location of Victory Church, and since early April they have been proclaiming a dramatic outpouring from the Holy Spirit.
It all started at one of their normal prayer meetings. They prayed for a guy who’d been wheelchair bound for ten years – he was healed, and ran around the church holding the wheelchair above his head. (Read more) Since then, people have turned up for meetings in their hundreds, often traveling for miles.
I went there for the second time yesterday, and managed to persuade Craig (my lodger) to go as well. We arrived early and sat at the same table as a guy from Hereford, who had been homeless for large parts of his life. There was however a joy about him now – he told us that he was here to praise God, and it wouldn’t matter to him whether he was in the main auditorium or the overspill room, the most important thing was to worship God.
Shortly after, I bumped into Rick Thomas, a chest specialist at the hospital in Worcester who is on the leadership team at City Church – and he, like me, wanted to find out what was happening in Cwmbran.
The actual meeting began with praise and worship of God – there was a freedom and straightforwardness to this time that was very refreshing. After a while, there was a call for those who had come to the meeting for healing, and several dozen went forward. I wasn’t close enough to the front to know whether any actual miraculous healing took place, but there are regular testimonies that they do.
The teaching was given by the dynamic Robbie Howells from Newport City Church, who gave a powerful message based on the story in Mark’s gospel, of the woman who pressed through the crowd to receive Christ’s healing. (I’ve yet to hear the church’s leader, Richard Taylor, a former drug addict and prisoner before a dramatic encounter with the Holy Spirit: but his video message about the revival is well worth seeing).
Whenever there are claims of a revival, it is good to discern the authenticity of the events. As a regular participant at New Wine, what is happening at Cwmbran is recognisable – but it feels fresher and more passionate. Also there is a wonderfully diverse mix of people which really does cross the boundaries, socially and racially, as one would expect of a genuine Holy Spirit-inspired event.
One indication of authenticity, for me, is the attitude towards money. I have been there twice and there was no mention of money: there are buckets for donations as one leaves, but that is all. There are none of the manipulative tricks I have seen and heard at other meetings – indeed it is a key value of the events not to take the focus off God and onto finances.
So, is it revival? I don’t know – but the signs are good!
Update July 2013: Report of 100 days of the Welsh outpouring