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SPECIAL REPORT


SPREADING THE WORD - AND THE EMPIRE


Source : 08/10/1984 Northampton Chronicle and Echo

They're known as the Jesus People - some 600 souls who 'aspire to live quietly, to mind our own affairs and to work with our hands so that we may command the respect of outsiders and be dependent on nobody'.

In 15 years, from small beginnings in the Northamptonshire village of Bugbrooke, the group has grown into an organisation spread right across the Midlands, owning considerable amounts of property and involved in businesses with a turnover of millions of pounds.

The Jesus Fellowship Church (Baptist) has flourished despite what it calls 'some persecution'. Certainly it has been the object of some criticism, and a lot of curiosity, especially in Northamptonshire where it has its roots.

The Church, and the New Creation Christian Community which it embraces, is publicity shy. But the Chronicle and Echo has broken down the barriers.

Former members have told us their side of the story, of the pressures they say were applied to them, of their disillusionment with the community and their criticisms of it. Elders of the community have told us their views, their beliefs, and how community members live.

We can reveal the surprising details of the finances of the organisation, how they are accrued, and how the business empire has spread.

In this - the first of a week-long series of articles - Chronicle and Echo reporter Alex Goodman tells of the wealth of the community and how it is structured.