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SPECIAL REPORT


NO TELLY, NO RADIO, NO DRINK AND NO SPORT...


Source : 09/10/1984 Northampton Chronicle and Echo

They don't drink, smoke, watch television or listen to the radio.

They are against competitive sport because the aggression in it can be harmful.

They take newspapers to keep in touch with local, national and international events but they never read roly-poly Russell Grant or other horoscope writers.

They accept many of the material goods of the 20th Century including cars and computers, and they operate a chain of businesses with a turnover of more than 2 million.

They are the Jesus People - members of the Jesus Fellowship Church (Baptist).

Senior Fellowship elder, David Hawker, said their lifestyle was based on the 'principle of simple living in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount'.

He added: 'We accept a lot of the material goods of the 20th Century but there are other things we feel happier without.'

Such as television. 'We are not anti-television for its own sake, but we feel it is obtrusive and demands attention. It also dulls people's own creative instincts and although there may be good programmes we miss, we have found community life is healthier without it, and the same applies to radio,' he said.

And smoking and drinking. 'We do not drink or smoke and regard smoking as an impurity of the body. As for drinking, we have a number of alcoholics among our membership who we have helped. But we would not necessarily condemn people who smoke or drink,' said Mr. Hawker.

And sport. 'We say 'yes' to recreation but 'no' to competitive sport within the community. If competitiveness is taken to extremes - aggression and ego boosting for example - it can be harmful. We prefer walking, cycling and swimming,' he added.

And holidays. 'Those who live in the community but work outside take their normal holiday periods but would not for example go off to Spain for a fortnight. When I am on holiday from work, I will spend the time catching up on work within the community and also spend some time travelling to see friends,' Mr. Hawker said.

And horoscopes. 'We see the dangers in these and also such things as tarot cards and seances because of the occult and demonic connections. We would warm people against them because some take them seriously and for some people it is a substitute for faith in Christ,' he continued.

And the latest fashions in clothes, make-up and jewellery. 'A lot of the clothes are made by the members themselves and modesty is the criterion. And the women do not wear make-up. With jewellery, some people wear crosses but nothing else,' added Mr. Hawker.

But the Fellowship does not ignore politics.

'We encourage everyone to vote and in the scriptures we are told to pray for our leaders. So if there was a party threatening our freedom, we would not be likely to vote for it, but otherwise the choice is left to the individual,' said Mr. Hawker.

So after the days toil is over and when workers from other walks of life are relaxing with a pint, a cigar and their weekly fix of Coronation Street, Fellowship members spend their time on other activities.

'There are many activities including drawing, painting, making music, embroidery, reading and walking.' said Mr. Hawker. 'Naturally we are always quite busy with meetings of various kinds and gospel outreach.'

And he added: 'We do not seek to go around pointing the finger at people who do not live like us.'

'But we think our lifestyle is a positive alternative to contemporary Western society and everyone in the community sees it as very important.'