Source : 25/10/1984 Northampton Chronicle and Echo
As an ex-member and junior elder of the Bugbrooke community (who featured in the recent series or articles by your reporter), I would like to point out that the comments from the Community's public relations officer, Mr. David Hawker, carry very little credibility.
Let me defend this statement by reference to some words from a popular Community hymn, authorised from within the Jesus Fellowship and sung at their meetings.
In the recent series Mr. Hawker claimed, 'if a person expresses a settled intention to leave nothing is put in the way to stop them'
Does Mr. Hawker regard the fear and guilt which the Community imposes on such people as 'nothing'? I quote from hymn No. 486 (Jesus Fellowship song book) which is aimed at people who are intending to leave:
'Not with his Brethren would he stand.
His blood was now on his own hands;
He trampled on the son of god,
And thus profaned the covenant blood.'
I am deeply worried that impressionable people in your neighbourhood will be hoodwinked by the pious claims of the Bugbrooke Community in the same way that I was for many years. Oh yes, for some the first impression of the Community will be of an honest, warm, sincere company of believers. But oh, what a different story is revealed behind the closed doors of Community membership.
Mr. Hawker claims that only those who are 'selfishly independent' will suffer any restriction of freedom. I ask if it is 'selfishly independent', to want to sleep in the same bed as your wife? I think not and yet many Community couples are put under intense pressure to sleep apart in single beds. Is it selfishly independent to support a recognised charity (e.g. Christian Aid) from one's own earnings? I think not, and yet Community members are not allowed to do so.
Many people who join the Community in good faith but later wish to leave are prevented from doing so; not by locked doors and fears of financial hardship but by the indoctrination of the Community's lifestyle and teaching.
I beg you with my whole heart to print this letter in full and help spare some souls from the emotional and spiritual agony which I and many others have experienced through our membership of the Bugbrooke Community.