Part 1 can be read here.
Ruth recalls that while ministering in Ireland their family would travel in a gospel caravan. They were quite poor and dependent on donations from others. Despite this, Harold was a Welshmen and he wanted his children born in Wales. They would travel back to Wales to give birth to each of their children. (1)
I am not certain of the exact year Harold returned from Ireland. The 1931 census covered England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland had its own census in 1926. The British census was also destroyed so its details will forever be a secret. What I do know that is that during the early to mid 1930’s renowned evangelist Edward Jeffrey’s put on several evangelistic crusades across the Potteries and Liverpool. He requested that Harold join him as singer and pianist during these crusades. The Bethel Evangelistic Society was formed from this movement. Harold was a significant part of this. (2)
In a much earlier post I described one of the songs that Harold Griffiths wrote while part of these campaigns. As mentioned in part 1, he had a booming tenor and was a beautiful singer. The Bootle Times annual of 1935 mentions the affect of one of his songs and the Crusades in Liverpool.
“A foreman remarked that the men had never worked so well together as now; there was little blaspheming and the general topic of conversation was “the Tent.” Men are heard singing at their work, “I fell in love with the Nazarene,” and there is concord and a spirit of harmony where once there was cursing and swearing.” (3)
As mentioned in my other blog, I am blessed to have a copy of the song sheet for “I fell in love with the Nazarene.”
Several people that attended the Liverpool “revival’ and are still alive, left some feedback on the website liverpoolrevival.org.uk about the impact this song had on them.
Sally Wing says, “…during this meeting a song was sung which made such an impression on her that she remembers every word of this to this day, 71 years later: –
I fell in love with the Nazarene
The beautiful Nazarene
Whose face in glory was the light
The fairest I’ve ever seen
By his side I would abide
With never a veil between
Since I fell so deeply in love
With Jesus the Nazarene.
“The Rev. Richard Kays records “He remembers well the Bethel songs that were sung such as “Jesus is mighty to save” and “I fell in love with the Nazarene,” which have lived with him for 70 years.”
By 1934 they were definitely in Cheddleton, England. Their daughter Ruth recalls they lived in a Bungalow there when she was 5. Harold was both a strict and very loving father. He expected his children to do as they were told but he was also “as soft as a teddy bear.” (4)
Ruth continued to recall that, “My Mum was always very placid,but a nice lady. Everyone respected them and they were very much loved in the church. People were always calling in with their troubles.We kids were sent out to play for my Dad to council them as it is called now. Mum would bake welsh cakes & we used to hope there would be some left for us.”
Ruth also remembered that usually they were given a crust of bread with jam on it for their tea. (5) Times were hard and the family were very poor. One time Naomi didn’t eat all of hers so they hid it under the flap of a tent that Harold had set up in the field at the back of their bungalow. They or friends would often set up tents for evangelistic church meetings. The next day Harold found it and came into the house asking who had wasted it. Naomi was often caught lying about such things and Harold ended up breaking it in half and making both Ruth and Naomi eat it because food should not be wasted. To this day Ruth insists it was “wet and vile.”
Harold was often away from home because of work. Ministry still paid little so he would sell Christian books at a market stall and continue to work in the mines where he could. He used to keep cardboard in his shoes because there was a hole in the sole. None of his children went to high school because you had to pay for it in those days and the family could not afford it. They were taught to sing and play piano by Harold and Annie.
For transportation Harold had a little motorbike with a side car. One day he brought it home to take it apart and fix it. He then asked Annie to ride with him and test it out. Ruth was watching as they rounded a nearby corner and the side car came off, sending Annie one way and Harold the other. He had forgotten to screw the side car to the motorbike. Fortunately neither were injured and were able to continue their ministry as the late 1930’s approached.
(1) Confirmed by interview with Harold’s youngest daughter, Ruth Salmon.
(2) Several books and websites talk about the missions and life of Edward Jeffreys. Seminary and Masters of Divinity graduates have written many papers on him. There is not room here to talk about everything he did and I only mention him because I know that Harold worked a great deal with Edward Jeffreys. A summary of Edward Jeffrey’s life and missions can be found here. When Harold Griffiths died Edward Jeffreys wrote a letter of condolence as was noted in Redemption Tidings 1968 Volume 4, February edition.
(3) Excerpts of this newspaper and others which talk about the Jeffrey’s crusades in Liverpool can be read on a website dedicated to his remembrance.
(4) Confirmed by interview with Ruth Salmon in 2012.
(5) To the Welsh and northern English the last meal of the day is called tea. To this day I still get confused looks from Americans when I ask what they’re having for tea. The southern English call it ‘dinner’ and that, along with how to pronounce the word ‘scones’, can still be guaranteed a good 20 minutes argument if raised in conversation.