Sunday, 30 September 2012

Capel Salem-why Salem?-26

This well preserved Methodist Chapel in Penmachno had an open day on 15th September and I was able to see its classic pitch pine interior and magnificent organ. One thing that strikes me about such chapels (which are everywhere in North Wales) is that they are all just too large and must have been too large even when nearly everyone in the village went to some sort of chapel or church. Only at an exceptional event could they possibly have been full.
The names of these chapels were heavily influenced by the Old Testament and some of them seem odd to the 21st Century mind. Salem is a short form of Jerusalem. Saron is the largest city in the prosperous Israel province of Netanya. Soar is a reference to Isaiah 40/31 “They will soar on wings like eagles”. Bethel is the place where Jacob dreams of a ladder stretching between heaven and earth, thronged with angels. Carmel is a mountain in Palestine. Horeb is a Hebrew name for the mountain where Moses received the 10 Commandments. Nebo is a challenging one. It was a Chaldean deity of the Babylonians and Assyrians. It all reminds us of another age when such biblical knowledge was widespread.

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