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Gwynn Williams

Remembering Gwynn Williams

Ar ddydd Sul 30 Medi bu farw’r Parch Gwynn Williams (1945-2018) ar ôl brwydr ddewr â chancr. Roedd yn ffigwr hynod ddylanwadol yn y byd efengylaidd yng Nghymru, yn enwedig yn yr iaith Gymraeg. Bu’n aelod o Fwrdd UCCF am nifer o flynyddoedd lawer ac yn gadeirydd Cyngor Cymru UCCF o 2001-2007. Steffan Jones, cyn-weithiwr staff UC yng nghanolbarth Cymru, sy'n trafod perthynas Gwynn ag UCCF a'i gyfraniad i weinidogaeth myfyrwyr.

On Sunday 30 September, Revd. Gwynn Williams (1945-2018) died after a brave battle with cancer. A highly influential figure in the evangelical scene in Wales, particularly in the Welsh language, Gwynn served on the UCCF Board for many years and was the chairman of the UCCF Welsh Council from 2001-2007. Former Mid Wales CU Staff Worker Steffan Jones reflects on Gwynn’s relationship with UCCF and contribution to student ministry. (Read this article in English below.)

Bu Gwynn yn gefnogwr brwd o waith UCCF trwy gydol ei weinidogaeth ac roedd ei gyfraniad yn nodedig ond o ble daeth y baich hwn?  Mae rhai cliwiau amlwg yn ei ddyddiau cynnar:

Dylanwad eraill ar Gwynn

Yn 1946, gyda Gwynn yn dal i fod yn faban, daeth grŵp o fyfyrwyr ar ymgyrch i Rydaman. Roeddynt wedi eu cartrefu yng Nghapel Bethany lle roedd tad Gwynn, Parch J.D. Williams, wedi bod yn weinidog ers dwy flynedd. Cafodd 'J.D.' brofiad dwfn o sicrwydd ffydd yn ystod yr ymgyrch gan roi “sail mwy cadarn i’r pregethu a symbyliad cryf i’m gwaith”. Mae’n siŵr bod clywed am hyn wedi dylanwadu Gwynn flynyddoedd yn ddiweddarach pan aeth yn fyfyriwr ei hun.

Roedd Gwynn yn fyfyriwr yn ystod cyfnod cyffrous yn hanes ‘Inter-Varsity Fellowship’ (UCCF bellach). Astudiodd Fathemateg ym Mhrifysgol Caergrawnt - lle bu'n aelod brwd o’r CICCU (Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union) a chlywed pregethu esboniadol cyson am y tro cyntaf - cyn symud i Aberystwyth yn 1966 i hyfforddi ar gyfer y weinidogaeth. Roedd bendith anarferol yn ystod y blynyddoedd yma ac roedd Gwynn yng nghanol y bwrlwm fel llywydd yr UC Saesneg a chyd-sylfaenydd yr UC Cymraeg yn 1971. Roedd yr efengylu’n rymus a daeth llawer o fyfyrwyr Cymraeg i ffydd, yn enwedig yn 1972-1973. Fel myfyriwr felly profodd Gwynn rym gweddi a thystiolaeth bersonol. Byddai'n sôn am y cyfnod gyda diolchgarwch a chafodd effaith amlwg arno. Fe'i wnaeth yn ffyddiog ac optimistaidd am efengylu i fyfyrwyr.

Roedd dylanwad Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones ar Gwynn yn sylweddol drwy gydol ei oes. Rhannodd Gwynn werthoedd diwinyddol Lloyd-Jones ac yn 1974 dilynodd yn olion traed y ‘Doctor’ trwy fynd yn weinidog ar Eglwys Efengylaidd Bethlehem, Sandfields. Roedd Lloyd-Jones yn gefnogwr brwd o waith myfyrwyr. Fel gweinidog ‘Westminster Chapel’ yn Llundain a llywydd cyntaf yr IVF cafodd ddylanwad helaeth ar sawl cenedlaeth o fyfyrwyr, ond roedd hefyd yn Gymro Cymraeg ac fe deithiodd yn aml i Gymru i annog y myfyrwyr Cymraeg yn eu cynadleddau. Roedd Gwynn ymhlith y rheini a ddylanwadwyd ganddo a byddai'n parhau gwaddol Lloyd-Jones trwy gefnogi gwaith IVF/UCCF.

Dylanwad Gwynn ar eraill

Penodwyd Gwynn yn weinidog ar Eglwys Efengylaidd Gymraeg Caerdydd yn 1983 ac o hyn ymlaen byddai mewn lle da i gefnogi gwaith y myfyrwyr yng Nghaerdydd a thu hwnt, yn Gymraeg a Saesneg. Gwelwyd ei ddylanwad ar sawl lefel:

Fel gweinidog lleol mewn dinas brifysgol cafodd Gwynn argraff ar sawl cenhedlaeth o fyfyrwyr. Roedd Gwynn yn credu mewn pregethu. Pregethodd trwy lyfrau'r Beibl, gan gymryd adnod neu bargraff ar y tro, esbonio’r ystyr, sut oedd yn ffitio i holl ddysgeidiaeth Beibl, a sut oedd yn berthnasol i'n bywydau heddiw. Roedd yn nodedig am ei feddwl rhesymegol a'i allu i ddarllen yr amseroedd ond roedd ei eglurder a'i allu i greu darlun effeithiol hefyd yn elfennau pwysig o’i bregethu. Roedd yn bregethwr effeithiol o’r efengyl, yn enwedig i rai o gefndir Cristnogol, ac mae’n drawiadol gymaint o bobl ifanc ddaeth i ffydd o dan ei bregethu.

O eistedd dan weinidodaeth Gwynn dros gyfnod o amser roedd ymwybyddiaeth gref bod Duw ar waith yn adnewyddu ein meddyliau mewn ffordd dawel ond sicr, fel ein bod yn ‘cymryd pob meddwl yn garcharor i fod yn ufudd i Grist.’ Tyfodd nifer o fyfyrwyr yn eu cariad at Iesu a’u hyder yn yr efengyl o ganlyniad i’w weinidogaeth.

Roedd Gwynn yn credu mewn grym gweddi - gweddïodd dros y myfyrwyr a gwaith yr UC yn gyhoeddus bob Sul ac roedd hyn yn gymaint o hwb i ffydd y myfyrwyr - a chredodd hefyd yng ngrym yr efengyl. Byddai'n annog y myfyrwyr i weddïo dros eu ffrindiau, i fod yn halen a goleuni yn eu cyrsiau a'u cymdeithasau, ac i fod yn barod bob amser i roi ateb am eu gobaith. Mewn nifer o ffyrdd gwnaeth Gwynn waith gweithiwr staff UCCF fel gweinidog.

Roedd Gwynn yn siaradwr cyson yng nghyfarfodydd UCCF am nifer o flynyddoedd. Siaradodd mewn diwrnodau hyfforddi a chynadleddau di-ri’, yn Gymraeg a Saesneg, gan ddylanwadu ar lwyth o fyfyrwyr a gweithwyr UCCF ar hyd y ffordd. Roedd yn gyfathrebwr awdurdodol ac addfwyn gyda myfyrwyr, ac roedd wastad jôc neu ddau ganddo ar eu cyfer. Gallai uniaethu â'i gynulleidfa a disgrifio’u sefyllfaoedd yn graff, gan gyflwyno neges addas o’r Gair. Roedd bendith anarferol ar rai o’r pregethau ac maent yn dal i fyw yng nghôf a chalonnau’r rhai oedd yn bresennol. Pwy, o’r rhai oedd yno, all anghofio’i gyfres ar yr 'Oen ar y Orsedd', er enghraifft, neu’r ffordd yr ymfalchïodd yng ngogoniant Iesu yng Ngholosiaid 1?

Bu Gwynn yn gadeirydd ar Gyngor UCCF Cymru am chwe mlynedd ac roedd ei ymrwymiad i'r rôl yn arwydd o’i faich dros waith myfyrwyr. I Gwynn roedd y cyngor yn ffordd o ddiogelu gweledigaeth ac egwyddorion beiblaidd UCCF yng Nghymru.  Efallai nad oedd Gwynn yn perthyn i lwyth Issachar ond fel nhw roedd ganddo’r gallu i ‘ddeall arwyddion yr amseroedd i wybod beth ddylai pobl Duw ei wneud.’[1]   Sylwodd ar batrymau a thueddiadau’r gymdeithas a chynnig ymateb beiblaidd i sicrhau na fyddai’r myfyrwyr a’r UC yn cael eu dylanwadu. Tristhaodd wrth weld diffyg hyder cynyddol yn y Beibl wrth i gymdeithas seilio ei phenderfyniadau yn fwy ac yn fwy ar deimladau neu bragmatiaeth.

Os oes adnod yn crynhoi baich a chyfraniad Gwynn, 1 Thesaloniaid 1: 5 fyddai hynny – ‘Nid ar air yn unig y daeth atoch yr Efengyl yr ydym ni yn ei phregethu, ond mewn nerth hefyd, ac yn yr Ysbryd Glân, a chydag argyhoeddiad mawr.’

Mae Gwynn yn gadael ei wraig Lis a'i blant Hywel a Catrin. Gweddïwn drostyn nhw a'r teulu cyfan a'r eglwys yng Nghaerdydd yn eu colled.

 

On Sunday 30 September, Revd. Gwynn Williams (1945-2018) died after a brave battle with cancer. A highly influential figure in the evangelical scene in Wales, particularly in the Welsh language, Gwynn served on the UCCF Board for many years and was the chairman of the UCCF Welsh Council from 2001-2007.

Gwynn was a keen supporter of UCCF throughout his ministry and made a significant contribution to student mission.  So where did this burden for student ministry come from?

His younger days provide some clues:

The influence of others on Gwynn

Gwynn was still a baby in 1946 when a group of students visited Ammanford, South Wales and were based in Bethany Chapel, where Gwynn’s father, Revd. J.D. Williams, had been a pastor for two years.  During the mission, ‘J.D.’ came to a deep assurance of faith, which gave him, in his words, ‘a sure foundation for my preaching and a strong motivation for ministry’. Hearing about this experience would surely have influenced Gwynn a few years later as he prepared to become a student himself. 

Gwynn was a student during an exciting time in the history of Inter-Varsity Fellowship (now UCCF). He studied Maths at Cambridge University, where he was actively involved in the CICCU (Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union) and encountered consistent expository preaching for the first time, before moving to Aberystwyth in 1966 to train for the ministry. The students were unusually blessed during those years, with Gwynn at the heart of it as the president of the English language CU and co-founder of the Welsh language CU in 1971. Many Welsh students came to faith amid a real passion for evangelism, especially in 1972-1973. As a student Gwynn saw the power of prayer and personal witness, He would refer to this period with affection and it clearly left a mark on him. It made him faithful and optimistic about student outreach.

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones had a profound and life-long influence on Gwynn. Gwynn shared Lloyd-Jones’ theological emphases and even followed in the ‘Doctor’’s footsteps by becoming the pastor of Bethlehem Evangelical Church Sandfields in 1974. Lloyd-Jones was a great supporter of student ministry; as the minister of Westminster Chapel, London and the first President of IVF, he influenced many generations of students. He was also a Welsh speaker and regularly travelled to Wales to encourage the Welsh speaking students at their conferences. Among them was Gwynn, and he would continue Lloyd-Jones’ legacy of supporting the work of IVF/UCCF.

The influence of Gwynn on others

Gwynn’s opportunities to support student ministry grew after he was called to be the pastor of the Welsh Evangelical Church in Cardiff in 1983. From now he would be well placed to help the work in Cardiff and beyond, in Welsh and English. His influence was seen on many levels:

As a local pastor in a university city, Gwynn’s ministry shaped generations of students. Gwynn believed in preaching. He preached through books of the Bible, taking a verse or a passage at a time, showing what it taught, how it fitted into the whole teaching of the Bible, and how it applied to our lives today. He was known for his logical mind and his gift of reading the times, but his clarity of expression and ability to craft an effective illustration were also crucial to his preaching. He was an evangelistic preacher of rare persuasion, especially to those of a religious background. The number of young people who came to faith under his preaching is striking.

To sit under his ministry for a period of time was to be aware of God very subtly but surely renewing one’s mind so that ‘we might take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’.  Students grew in their love for Jesus and in their confidence in the gospel because of his ministry.

Gwynn believed in the power of prayer and in the power of the gospel. He publicly prayed for the students and the work of the CU most Sundays, and would encourage the students to pray for their friends, to be salt and light in their courses and societies, and to always be ready to give an answer for their hope.

Gwynn was one of the ‘go-to’ speakers for UCCF gatherings in Wales for many years. He spoke at numerous UCCF team days and conferences, in English and Welsh, influencing hundreds of students and UCCF workers along the way. He was able to communicate with authority and gentleness and always seemed to have a joke or two up his sleeve for these occasions. He could empathise with his hearers and describe their situations with remarkable insight, bringing a word from an appropriate passage of Scripture to help them. Years later, some of his talks still resonate in the hearts and minds of those who were present. I personally will never forget his exposition on the theme of the ‘Lamb on the Throne’, for example, or his rejoicing in the glory of Jesus as described in Colossians 1.

Gwynn served as chairman of the UCCF Welsh Council for six years and his commitment to the role demonstrated his concern for student ministry. For Gwynn the council was a means of helping UCCF maintain its biblical vision and principles in Wales.  While he might not have been of Issacherite descent he certainly had the gift of ‘understanding the times and knowing what the people of God should do’.[2]  He observed current trends in the culture and society, giving a perceptive biblical response to guide CUs and students. He was particularly concerned about the growing lack of confidence in the Bible as society increasingly bases its decisions on feelings or pragmatism.

If a verse were to summarise his burden and contribution it would be 1 Thessalonians 1:5: ‘Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.’

Gwynn is survived by his wife Lis and their children Hywel and Catrin. We pray for them and the whole family and the church in Cardiff in their loss.

 

[1] 1 Cronicl 12:32

[2] 1 Chronicles 12:32

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