Cardiff and South Wales Bible Ministry Conferences Collection

Scope and Content

The material in this collection is primarily concerned with the administrative, financial, and social transactions of the Cardiff Conference Committee, Missionary Conference, and Ministry and Homeworkers Conference between 1966 and 2000. A high volume of letters of both an official and a personal nature are represented in the collection. Of the former, there are letters relating to banking and insurance, which provide insight into the financial arrangements of the Conferences. Of the latter, there are letters regarding the exchange of monetary gifts, family news, and general updates between Conference members. These papers are of particular value to those interested in the lives and religious concerns of later-20th-century Conference members and the networks of communication between them. The material comprising addresses, contact details, and lists of members in this collection also illuminates networks of communication between members, as well as providing insight into the numbers of Open Brethren operating in Cardiff and South Wales in the second half of the 20th century. Accounts of income and expenditure and conference agendas, minutes, and reports lend insight into the financial and organisational structure of the Conferences which united these individuals. The collection also brings together material relating to public events, which clarifies the proselytising mission of the Conferences.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Cardiff and South Wales Bible Ministry Conferences were made up of the Cardiff Conference Committee, the Missionary Conference, and the Ministry and Homeworkers Conference. They served the Christian community of Open Brethren in South Wales for over half a century.

Much of the material in this collection relates to conferences held by these bodies. Formal gatherings have been an important part of Brethren culture, their purpose being to unite and educate members on both theological and practical matters. However, as the 20th century progressed, their popularity saw a decline. This was largely due to the 'open policy' (according to which there were no pre-arranged chairmen or speakers to allow members to speak whenever the Holy Spirit moved them to do so). The protracted ministry which this policy engendered became increasingly unattractive to many members, especially younger ones. The resulting move away from open ministry, although resented by some of the older Brethren, marked the beginning of a series of reforms which saw a change in the form and content of Brethren conferences. As represented by this collection, the conferences of the 1980s and beyond were planned, with set agendas and pre-arranged chairmen and speakers. Other reforms included more practical discussion of the faith, the allowance of women teachers and speakers, and an increased emphasis on inter-church cooperation.


The original order of the collection was maintained. They follow the order listed below:

  • Financial papers
  • Conferences
  • Correspondence
  • Working documents

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. Under the Act 2018 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for archiving and research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the Christian Brethren Archive by Michael J. Burt in 2016.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The collection was created by the Cardiff and South Wales Bible Ministry Conferences Committees and donated to the University of Manchester in 2016.


None expected.


Grass, Tim, Gathering to his Name (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2006)

Geographical Names