On 27 July 1960 the church received the sad news of the death of the previously mentioned Rev Robert Jones at Abergavenny. He had served the church very faithfully for sixteen years fulfilling all the functions of a resident minister. His loss was deeply mourned by everyone and his Memorial Service in Abergavenny was attended by representatives from the Church. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Life was changing in the sixties, in Ebbw Vale as well as in towns throughout the country. The Sabbath was no longer being hallowed as God’s day and when the Ebbw Vale Free Church Council campaigned against the opening of licensed premises on a Sunday, they did so with the support of West End Church, who had also spoken out against the opening of the cinemas.
Services were also conducted in the vestry and it had long been felt that the seating there was inadequate. In 1962 the church purchased thirty six chairs at the cost of 2/6 each. These are currently in use along with thirty new chairs recently purchased at £30 each. Prices have indeed risen!
It was now felt that the time had come to consider a Summer Pastorate at least and so in October 1962 an invitation was issued to Mr Philip Williams of Neath, a student at Memorial College, to become the student pastor in 1963. He accepted willingly and soon endeared himself to the members and in particular to the young people of the church. In later years he became the minister of Ebenezer Evangelical Church in Cwmbran, and maintained contact with the church at West End.
At this time problems with the fabric of the church re-emerged with the collapse of the ornamental work at the rear of the pulpit. It was removed and repair work was carried out by church members. The frontage, though no longer as decorative, proved to be a suitable screen for the portrayal of slides and films.
Further changes took place, when it was agreed that the large stage erected for Anniversary services was no longer completely safe or essential, so a modified version was procured. No longer would Sunday School scholars be able to clamber over the stage and onto the gallery!
At this time the church vestry was first used for County Council Elections, since there was no other suitable hall in the area. This practice is in operation up to the present time.
1970 saw a great change in the Congregational Church. It had entered into an agreement with the English Presbyterian Church to amalgamate and form the United Reformed Church, and churches were given the option of joining the new church. Some Congregational Churches in the area chose to do so, but West End resolved to remain true to its Congregational principles.
In 1972 the church passed an unanimous vote to join the Congregational Federation based in Nottingham, with Wales being declared as the Welsh Province of the Federation.
Over the years overtures had been made to local churches to hold a joint pastorate. These had been unsuccessful, but with entry into the Congregational Federation, serious discussions were now held with Carmel Beaufort and Tallistown Cwm. These too proved unfruitful, but during the period of the pastorates of the Revs Gordon Taylor and Morgan Broome at Ivor Dowlais, fresh hopes of a joint pastorate arose with the likelihood of financial aid from the Federation. These too were dashed, and the church continued to rely on the ministry of lay preachers.
In 1978 the church purchased the freehold of the land, previously held by the British Steel Company.
For many years the church had been concerned with the question of its Trust Deeds, which had been deposited initially with the Memorial College at Brecon. Most of the trustees were now deceased and so it was deemed prudent to name the Congregational Federation as trustee, along with six deacons. In 1978 the matter was concluded and the deeds deposited with the Congregational Federation Ltd at Nottingham.
Periodically, problems regarding the fabric of the church building had arisen, but on 17 June 1979 Blaenau Gwent Council issued the church with an order to implement immediate considerable repairs to the front of the church. Failure to do so would mean an enforced closure.
On 24 June work commenced and scaffolding costing nearly £400 was erected. Up to that day the weather had been atrocious for many months, but from the start to the finish of the work, the rain ceased and the sun shone on the valiant band of workers. Each stone was numbered, let down by pulley and ferried by the older men of the church to be stored until replaced, whilst the younger men worked high on the scaffolding. The annual Barry excursion took place, minus the male element of the church who waved the women and children off from the heights of the battlements!
Donations flooded in from well-wishers from outside as well as inside the church and from those whose age and health prevented them from taking an active part in the rebuilding. The ladies of the church did their part in raising money by being given £1 each and, in the manner of the Parable of the Talents, strove to increase it in an amazing variety of ways. As a consequence, the work was speedily completed and the actual financial cost to the church was minimal. At the same time the fellowship was enriched by the “togetherness” that had resulted from the concerted effort to preserve the fabric of God’s house.