Delta Welsh homecoming offers opportunity to learn about culture of slate miners
Indeed, just as the church orients folks to the Welsh culture – including offering Welsh-speaking lessons – the Delta Welsh Web site provides a portal to the Welsh community in Delta and Peach Bottom Township.
It joins Web sites offered by the Friends of Welsh Cottages (this site can also be viewed in Welsh) and the Old Line Museum as rich repositories in helping folks understand that remote region of York County that attracted Welsh slate and marble miners in the 1800s.
As for the chapel, here is a York Daily Record story (8/29/95) that tells its story:
Since the first worship service in 1854, the congregation of Capel Cymraeg Rehoboth, or Rehoboth Welsh Chapel, has worked to contribute to the community and to keep alive the area’s Welsh heritage.
“It’s like witnessing history every time you enter its doors,” congregation member Pat St. Clair said. “It’s like a museum, but yet it’s still active, still making history.”
Built in 1891, the chapel exemplifies the skills of the Welsh immigrants who in the 1800’s settled in the Delta area because of its slate and green marble quarries. The chapel’s slate roof, doorsills, foundation and walkways led to its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
The chapel achieved its highest attendance in 1913 with 193 members, a number that began to dwindle shortly thereafter with the decline of Delta’s slate production. Since 1980, however, the church has again become a vital religious denomination within the community, now listing 125 people on its rolls.
The Rev. Richard Price Baskill conducts the weekly services, held 6 p.m. Sundays in the tradition of the Welsh workers who quarried seven days a week. The church, which follows a Presbyterian form of worship, also offers weekly Welsh language lessons because worship services are conducted in both English and Welsh.
Over the past decade, it has hosted numerous performing artists and groups, including two previous visits by the Pendyrus Male Choir of the Rhondda Valley in Wales. In sponsoring the 1995 Gymanfa Ganu, the congregation hopes to raise money for the restoration of the chapel.