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Source : 13/11/1986 Northampton Chronicle and Echo

The Controversial Jesus Fellowship Church based at Bugbrooke has been expelled from the Baptist Union.

The sect, recently at the centre of a storm of criticism from former members, local MP Michael Morris, other religious leaders and the Press said they were not surprised by the decision of the National Baptist Council taken in London, yesterday.

A Fellowship spokeswoman said today: 'This was not unexpected, because the church does not fit into the normal Baptist pattern. The Jesus Fellowship sees this as a victory for tradition over a living, radical expression of Christian faith.'

She said the decision would not affect the sect's activities and it would continue to operate as an independent baptist church.

The Baptist Union said today that the expulsion of a church from the organisation was a very unusual move. But it will not officially explain its decision to the sect until tomorrow, and it is refusing to comment further until then.

Discontent with the sect began within the Baptist Church as far back as the 1960's after the Bugbrooke chapel came under the leadership of Baptist preacher Noel Stanton.

He began with fairly traditional, evangelical, Baptist preachings. But after a few years introduced a new radical dimension to the church, claiming he had been revitalised and 'baptised' and 'filled with the Holy Spirit.'

As the revitalisation spread some members of the traditional Baptist congregation disagreed with Mr. Stanton's new direction and 43 were said to have left between 1970 and 1974.

Last July, the Evangelical Alliance - a national body representing almost half of Britain's churches - severed links with the Fellowship.

And during the most recent of a series of inquests into the death of a sect member Northamptonshire coroner, Michael Collcutt, criticised Fellowship people as being generally unreliable witnesses in court.

Over the years the Fellowship has been the subject of intense media probes.