Source : 30/06/1989 Northampton Chronicle and Echo
As a leader in the Jesus Fellowship, I would like to respond to the letter (June 24)
The makers of the TV programme, following extensive research and questioning of Jesus Fellowship officials, spent five whole days among us filming. So far as I know, the letter writer has not spent even five hours with us! Readers will draw their own conclusions as to who carries the greater authority.
The upshot is that the letter writer pronounces judgement only on what she has been told by those for whom Christian community (for various reasons) has not worked. It does not work for everyone and we do try to help them to land on their feet.
The letter writer appears also not to take serious account of those (including literally thousands of non-members) whose experience, like those of other correspondents, is markedly different from the stereotype she portrays. Recently, she has suggested that one person who wrote in support of us must have been cleverly duped! What credence should readers give to someone who can question the intelligence of our many supporters - apparently because they do not agree with her preconceptions?
It is significant that, though the makers of the TV programme interviewed the letter writer, they decided not to make use of her material.
We already work with welfare agencies. We do not claim perfection and are keen to liase with any agencies who may have encountered problems in particular cases. Perhaps the relevant agency could contact us to take this further.
The letter writer raises again the question of family alienation and tries to blame us for it. In fact, most parents are either fully supportive of their adult 'child's' decision to belong to us or have no real anxiety about us at all! For the rest, I cannot see that the tensions are any different from other situations in which an adult 'child' adopts a lifestyle which either is offensive to its parents or frustrates their personal wishes and ambitions.
No Doubt the letter writer will continue her 'one woman campaign' as The Independent magazine called it recently. However, her emotive writings do not stand up to objective scrutiny and at the end of the day she will be found to be merely one of the 'axe-grinders', as another letter writer describes our usual critics.
We must march on in our work of helping thousands of people each year into a better life, introducing many of them to the Christian faith. We thank God that, in this difficult task, we have the support of many of your readers. We ask them to pray for us.
John Campbell, Elder,
Jesus Fellowship, New Creation Farm, Nether Heyford.