The birth of a church
Ainon' (or 'Aenon') comes from the Greek word for 'fountain' and is found only once in the Bible. It was the place in Israel, west of the river Jordan, where many people were baptized in water in anticipation of the coming of God's Saviour (John 3:23), and became a popular name for places of worship within the Baptist movement.
Christmas Evans and the birth of Ainon
Ainon Baptist Church in Tongwynlais had its beginnings in the early 19th century when Rev. Griffith Davies of Tonyfelin, Caerphilly held preaching services in the Tongwynlais home of one of Tonyfelin’s members. At this time there were no permanent places of worship in the village and Ainon was to become the first of the five churches established here. His successor, the famous charismatic Welsh preacher Christmas Evans, continued the work and a plaque in the Lewis Arms public house commemorates the services held there in 1827. Following these, the congregation was established in a rented house in Mill Road and work soon began on a permanent place of worship in Market Street. The opening services were held on April 24th and 25th 1832.
More on Christman Evans CLICK HERE.
Ainon's Gymanfa at Greenmeadow House
Over the years the work flourished, with many of the famous preachers of the time preaching here. The 1851 census records average attendances of 300 in the morning and 560 in the evening and that same year Ainon hosted the Baptist Association Cymanfa on the back lawn of Greenmeadow House in the centre of the village. The occasion drew crowds from all around the area and the renowned Cardiff preacher, David Jones, preached the final sermon to an estimated gathering of 10,000 people.
Another church starts in the Lewis Arms
Ainon was established as a Welsh Baptist church, with all of its services being conducted in Welsh. In the 1850s a large influx of English workers to the industrial works at Pentyrch and Melingriffith led to services being held once again in the Lewis Arms, but this time in English. This led to the founding of Salem English Baptist church in Queen Street, just around the corner from Ainon. The continuing influx of workers led to the eventual decline of the Welsh language in the area and by the end of the century Ainon became English-speaking.
Ainon re-opening 2003
Over the years the church’s fortunes rose and fell but by the end of the 20th century, along with many such churches, the membership had dwindled to a mere handful. However, a meeting between one of the members, Mrs. Gwyneth Williams, and the minister of Rhiwbina Baptist Church, David Ollerton, led to a decision by Ainon to join forces with Rhiwbina with a view to reviving the work here. A group of Rhiwbina’s members moved to join the folk at Ainon and between them they started to grow the church again. In the autumn of 2003 the building was refurbished and reopened in December of that year.
Since then the church has begun to re-establish itself within the community of Tongwynlais, in line with its vision to be ‘salt and light’ to its neighbours. We hold lively, friendly services on Sundays and there are a variety of activities throughout the week which seek to serve the needs of the village, including various youth group activities, pensioners’ lunch club, ‘mums and tots’, men’s football and ladies’ fellowship. A full list of weekly activities and other events can be found via the ‘News & notices’ and ‘Weekly’ tabs on the top of the page.