MORGAN, DAVID EIRWYN (1918-1982), college principal and minister (B)

Name: David Eirwyn Morgan
Date of birth: 1918
Date of death: 1982
Spouse: Mair Ellis Morgan (née Jones)
Child: Mari Helga Morgan
Child: Dylan Eryl Morgan
Parent: Rachel Morgan
Parent: David Morgan
Gender: Male
Occupation: college principal and minister (B)
Area of activity: Education; Religion
Author: D. Hugh Matthews

David Eirwyn Morgan was born on 23 April 1918 in Bryn Meurig, Heol Waterloo, Pen-y-groes, Carmarthenshire, one of the four children - 3 sons and 1 daughter - of David and Rachel Morgan. His father worked in the local colliery, but the family worshipped in Saron, the Welsh Baptist church in Llandybïe, and it was there that Eirwyn was baptised by the Revd Richard Lloyd, and there also that he began to preach. He received his early education in Pen-y-groes Primary School before going to the local Grammar School in Ammanford. There, his interest in literature was aroused by his friendship with D. R. Griffiths, ‘Amanwy’, the school caretaker. He won the Mary Towyn Jones Scholarship and was admitted to the University College of Swansea where he was gained an honours degree in Welsh in 1938. He moved to study theology in the Presbyterian College in Carmarthen in 1939, graduating B.D. in 1942. He went on to the Baptist College in Regent's Park, Oxford, gaining his second degree in theology in 1944, and on the 26 July of that year he was ordained minister of the Welsh Baptist church meeting in Pisga, Bancffosfelen.

He married Mair Ellis Jones of Bancffosfelen in the Spring of 1953 and they had two children, Dylan Eryl and Mari Helga.

He was the pastor of the church in Pisga for twelve years before accepting a call in 1956 to be minister of Tabernacl and Horeb churches, Llandudno. Four years later, the churches in Llandudno released him for a year to enable him to take up a Fulbright Scholarship as Ecumenical Research Fellow in New York Union Seminary (1960-61). Toward the end of his year in America, his health broke and he returned to Wales without graduating. In 1967 he was invited to join the staff of the Baptist College and the Faculty of Theology in the University College in Bangor as tutor in Pastoral Theology and the Philosophy of Religion. Four years later he was appointed Principal of the Baptist College. His ill-health subsequently returned and forced him into early retirement in 1980.

Eirwyn Morgan gave his denomination and his country sterling service. He was an uncompromising pacifist who served as Secretary of the Welsh Peace Society and as President of the Welsh Baptist Peace Society. His interest in Welsh hymnody prompted him to become one of the founders of the Welsh Hymn Society, Cymdeithas Emynwyr Cymru and he served as the Society's first secretary. He served for a term as Secretary of Arfon Baptist Association before becoming its President (1967-68). The subject of his Presidential address indicated one of his main interests, ‘Yr Addoliad: Arfer ac Arbrawf’ (Worship: Custom and Experiment). He also served as President of the North Wales Free Churches in 1964, while always supporting ecumenical discussions and activities. He was a prominent member of Plaid Cymru and fought four parliamentary elections in Llanelli on its behalf (1950, 1951, 1955 and 1959). He also edited the Party's Welsh language newspaper, Y Ddraig Goch.

The journalist W. Anthony Davies, ‘Llygad Llwchwr’, said of him that he was one of Wales's best journalists. His journalistic talent is exemplified in his editorship of Seren Cymru, the Welsh Baptist denominational newspaper, 1960-72. One striking feature was ‘The Editor's Diary’, which, under different titles continued to be published in Seren Cymru until the end of 1976. Eirwyn Morgan had also been a regular contributor to Seren Gomer. As a young minister he had been one of those who had been invited to edit the publication until Lewis Valentine could take up the appointment in 1951 and it was he who succeeded Valentine as editor in 1975. His term as editor proved short-lived as the recurrence of his illness prevented him from continuing after 1977.

Over the years his contribution to Welsh life and literature had been substantial. His interests were extensive, as is shown by his three books. William Carey (1761-1834), published in 1961, is a history of the first missionary sent abroad by the Baptist Missionary Society. Bedydd[:] Cred ac Arfer [Baptism: Belief and Practice] (1973) is an extended version of his Pantyfedwen Lecture, delivered in 1969. With John Hughes, Dolgellau, as music editor, he published a bilingual hymnal for young people entitled Mawl yr Ifanc. As well as editing the hymnal for the Baptist Union of Wales, he contributed thirteen translations of hymns. Two of these, together with a third not in Mawl yr Ifanc, were included in the ecumenical hymn book, Caneuon Ffydd (2001).

Eirwyn Morgan died 30 August 1982. His funeral service was held in Penuel, Bangor, before cremation in Bangor crematorium.


Published date: 2010-01-27

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