Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , DAVID CHRISTOPHER (‘ Christy ’ ; 1878 - 1958 ); missionary and representative of the British Missionary Society (B.M.S.) in Wales .

Born 16 July 1878 at Clydach , in the Swansea valley, Glam. , second of the 10 children of John and Elizabeth Davies . He was brought up in a musical family; the father (who was employed in a local foundry ) played the trombone with the Clydach brass band , and was deacon and treasurer of Calfaria (B) Church . The pastor of the church was T. Valentine Evans (father of Sir (David) Emrys Evans ) to whom Christopher felt greatly indebted. When he was 12 years old and had reached the top class at school he had to work for a year in the family grocer's shop before being apprenticed to a tailor at Ystalyfera , where he was baptised in Soar Church . At the end of his apprenticeship he worked in Swansea and Cardiff before entering the service of Colmers of Bath . There he became a member of Hay Hill Church , and in 1900 decided to enter the ministry. The week his father d. he had an interview for entry to Spurgeon's College . He commenced his course there in Jan. 1902 . During the Christmas vacation of 1904 he came under the influence of Evan (John) Roberts ' Revival . While he was a student-pastor at Thorpe-le-Soken he felt a call to the missionary field, especially China , but the B.M.S. designated him for the Congo . After receiving medical instruction at the Livingstone Institution and spending some months at Brussels improving his French , he departed from London Aug. 1906 to go to his mission station in Yalemba in the Congo , near the mouth of the river Aruwimi . He soon mastered Heso , the language of the inhabitants. The natives called him Molembia , and revered him deeply. He also became proficient in Lingala , which was the common language of the inhabitants of the Upper Congo . He translated parts of the New Testament into both Heso and Lingala . He composed hymns in their languages and had them sung to Welsh tunes.

In 1919 the Society transferred him to the rapidly growing city of Leopoldville . His task was to concentrate attention on the new arrivals of the Bangala tribe, who spoke Lingala . In 1933 , because of his ill-health, he returned to Wales as a representative of the B.M.S. He arranged summer schools in various locations before being stationed for a period in the Theological College , Aberystwyth , and afterwards at Cilgwyn , Newcastle Emlyn . His good humour, his great sense of fun and enthusiasm greatly inspired those attending the summer schools. He retired in 1943 and spent the rest of his life at Mumbles , where be became a member of the Welsh (B) church, Capel Gomer , in Swansea .

In Nov. 1914 he m. Margaret Parker , a deaconess at Bloomsbury (B) Church . They had two daughters. He d. 4 May 1958 , soon after being elected an hon. member of the B.M.S.

Sources:

  • J. Williams Hughes , D. Christy Davies , London, 1962 .

Author:

Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001