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Source : 17/03/1984 Northampton Mercury and Herald

Jesus People - so called by neighbours of the Bugbrooke community - have been the subject of controversy from the word go.

Developing from the Baptist chapel in the village, the community was first established by the Baptist lay preacher, Mr. Noel Stanton.

Since then, allegations have dogged the fellowship over its lifestyle, which mimics that sharing community of the First Century Christian Church.

The Church has been described by an elder as 'reformed, evangelical and charismatic' - meaning it is Protestant, believes in the bible as the word of God and in a Christian calling to preach the Gospel, and believes in the living work of the Holy Spirit in the church.

However, concern has been shown in many quarters about claims of family-splitting, suspicions of 'brainwashing' techniques, and complaints about the fellowship's business methods.

All the allegations have been firmly denied by the Jesus People, who have maintained an open invitation to anyone who wants to see how they work.

The unexplained death of two members within 15 months of each other cast an additional shadow over the fellowship, but numbers continue to grow.

They have also received backing from established church leaders and members, both in Northamptonshire and nationally, and remain firm in their beliefs and lifestyle.

As one member told me: 'It is a fear of the unknown which makes people suspicious. We welcome people to come and see us and find out that we are not a bunch of weirdos.'