Source : 27/09/1982 Northampton Chronicle and Echo
There has been a big response from Fellowship members on our current series. Here are extracts from some of the letters we have received.
I have been a member of the Jesus Fellowship for 10 years. During that time I have known friendship, help and loyalty of the members of the community such as I never found in my experience in the previous life I had.
Far from an escape from reality (as some have said) I've found it brought me into the reality of community and family life based on the Christian faith and expressed in genuine Christian love and practical living.
I've always had their support and care, and also from my natural family to whom I've found a closeness and reconciliation that I don't think would have been possible otherwise.
(A female member), Cornhill Manor, Pattishall.
I am a 19-year-old law student at the University of Warwick and a committed member of the Jesus Fellowship Church. In anticipation that parental concern will be a key issue in correspondences about us, I would like to mention my own parents' views.
After initial alarm following my conversion at the age of 16, my parents were very quickly reassured, following several visits to the community, that my commitment was entirely voluntary and un-enforced.
Although they have slight reservations, mainly connected with my lifestyle, they have basically endorsed my commitment to Christ and respected my decision to follow Him in this particular way.
I would appeal to all parents of young people of my age to come and visit us and talk to us. Rumours and allegations about us will not be anywhere near as effective as actually meeting us face to face.
(A male member), Harvest House, Leamington Spa.
I am writing as a teenager in the Jesus Fellowship, as I feel many people have strange ideas concerning my age group.
I am 16 and have lived in the community for four years. Previously I was at a boarding school in South Wales, as my parents are missionaries abroad.
I first came here through friends from that school when I was 10, and moved in two years later along with my sister and brother (who were then 18 and 15).
I want to tell how I have found a real home here; I felt loved and wanted the first time I came, in a way I had never felt before, in any country. I was thrilled when I heard that we were to move in with friends in the community, at my parents' request, to find real security and help through difficult years.
As yet I am still under age, but do intend, eventually, to become a full member of the community, with my parents' approval. I feel no desire to live elsewhere - even though, being Swiss, I have every opportunity to live abroad if I want to.
I am also being greatly encouraged in my studies - at the moment towards my A-levels, and with a future view to university.
(A female member), Cornhill Manor.
Some people have a notion that members are unbalanced in mind or brainwashed, because of our particular lifestyle.
They say we pressurise people. Well that's rubbish!
I consider myself to be a strongly independent person, though for several years I've been in accord with the Jesus Fellowship.
I shall neither be pressurised nor manipulated from within the Jesus Fellowship, nor shall I be pressured from without by silly rumours, slanderous talk, and malicious opponents.
(A male member) New Creation Farm, Nether Heyford.
I would point out that Jesus himself and the early Church faced similar contempt to that which you give weight to in your articles, albeit in a more refined, sophisticated twentieth century sort of way.
As it was in the days of Jesus, the critics are apt to overlook the miracles which He has performed in the lives of His followers and, feeling threatened by something they cannot understand, tend to point the finger and find fault.
For example, much has been made of the way in which the Fellowship allegedly breaks up families. We have witnessed in recent months a marriage which had previously broken down being restored by the grace of Jesus as one particular couple have come amongst us.
We can tell of many more miracles which Jesus has performed in peoples' lives amongst us.
(A male member) Honeycomb Grange, Weedon.
My wife and I joined the Jesus Fellowship in November, 1976, We have found that this way of life has brought to us a purpose and vision for our lives.
Living within the community environment has caused us to become stable and secure.
We visit our parents regularly and vice versa. They are both very happy that we belong to the fellowship, and are glad to see we are settled and contented in our lives together.
(A male member), Braunston.
I first came across the Fellowship in 1974, and joined the New Creation Christian Community two years later, after having put a lot of serious thought into how I should make good use of my life. I was then in my mid twenties.
My experience here has been one of increasing fulfilment, and I have never regretted my decision to practice the Christian life in this way.
That decision was quite a difficult one.
One difficulty was that I wanted to show my Mum and Dad that I was sensitive to their feelings, particularly in regard to use of educational opportunities. For this reason I completed my degree course, and have gone on to train as an accountant whilst living in the community.
My relationship with my father, in particular, developed considerably during my early years in the community, until he died, sadly, about two years ago.
(A male member) Cornhill Manor, Patishall.