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How it all began

Emmanuel Church began in 1983 under the leadership of Rev John Welsby.

In 1979, John and his wife Cherrie had come to work with Rev Norman Ellison, an itinerant preacher and evangelist, who had been working in Pembrokeshire since the 1950s. Rev Ellison ministered throughout the county with children’s caravan missions, schools work and ministry in the farming communities. He also ran a Beach Mission in Saundersfoot every summer with students from Emmanuel Bible College in Birkenhead. John and Cherrie came to serve on the teams and sensed God’s call to work with Norman and his wife Mary.

Shortly after Norman’s death in 1981 a small gathering of enthusiastic people keen to share their faith, began to meet in 71 Pembroke Road. John and the leaders prayed that God would confirm the call to establish a church, through someone who had no knowledge of what was being discussed. God’s plan was confirmed later that day when a phone conversation confirmed that “the only way forward in Pembrokeshire is a church planting ministry.”