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Source : 09/10/1984 Northampton Chronicle and Echo

Mr. Noel Stanton, the senior pastor of the Jesus Fellowship, made a brief speech on the day that a man was baptised and became a full member.

The man remembered the day well and the speech even more clearly although he did not need his memory as the entire ceremony was tape recorded.

Since leaving the community the man has destroyed his copy of the tape but he says he received a 'clear indication that the community believed the real family was the Church and the blood family was only of secondary importance.'

And he has spoken of what he saw as a lack of contact between young children and their grandparents if they were not members of the community.

Another former community member, confirmed the man's view when he said: 'It would be very rare for the children to go out with grandparents without supervision from parents or other community members.'

And he also had first hand knowledge of the way family ties were given a very low priority rating by the community.

He said: 'When my sister split up from her husband, she went through a bad patch and I naturally wanted to help, by giving some financial aid. But the question was asked about how would it help the community, so in the end I was not able to help her.' He did, however, go to visit her.

The first man said: 'When I joined the community, my parents went through a distressing period although it was not because of me leaving home. They separated and my mother was left to set up a new home on her own.'

'I did ask to go and visit her but Noel Stanton often said there was something to do around the farm. Of course I did see her from time to time but not as often as I would have liked.'

A friend of the man, and still a community member, has claimed the man visited his mother when he wished.

Elders say that visitors to the community are always welcome to look around the various houses and talk with the members.

And according to the men, parents who approve of members of their family being in the community, are encouraged.

'If there is any criticism of the community in the media then some members are often told to contact their parents and get them to write letters supporting the community,' said one of the men.

Fellowship spokesman and senior Elder Mr. David Hawker, said the Fellowship did not go out of its way to do this.

The two former members also said that where parents were known to oppose the community, any visits they might make were strictly controlled and contact was not encouraged - a claim strongly denied by Mr. Hawker.

He said: 'The fact is that all members of the community are encouraged to keep in close touch with relatives outside, even where they are known to be somewhat hostile. Indeed, many family relationships have been healed as a result of a person finding Christ and joining the Church. It is certainly not true that family ties are given a very low priority rating as out critics suggest.'

One of the men said: 'I remember when I was about to leave the community, there was a lot of pressure on me from Noel Stanton an he called my mother selfish because she wanted help from me.'

This was denied by Mr Stanton.