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Source : 13/03/1982 Northampton Post

A heartbroken woman spoke this week of her concern for the mother she claims she has 'lost' to a religious commune.

The West Haddon housewife says her 55-year-old mother ran off to join the Bugbrooke-based Jesus Fellowship Church five years ago - and has hardly been seen by her family since.

She grew so far apart from them that she wasn't even interested when her first grandchild was born. says the woman - who wants only to be known by her first name.

She claims that after her mother joined the commune it became more important to her than her own family.

'It got to the stage where my little girl didn't even know who her grandmother was.' she said.

'Eventually I insisted that my mother came to see her grandchild on a regular basis.'

'But what really hurt me was when I first had my little girl. When I held the baby up to her she said simple: 'Oh I've got 12 more of those in the house where I live.'

For the Bugbrooke community are encouraged to think of other members' children as their own.

'It brought it home to me that the Fellowship was now her family. We were second to them.'

Now the woman is concerned that her mother has become so dependant on the Fellowship - which is affiliated to the Baptist Church - that she may not be able to cope if the movement collapsed.

Her Mother, who joined the Fellowship when her husband died and is now a cook in the community, has changed dramatically since, the woman claims.

She has put on a lot of weight, takes no interest in her appearance and seems unable to make decisions - as they are now all made for her, she says.

Following the Post's story on the Fellowship last month, other local people have also spoken out about their experiences with the community.

The woman's sister, and her husband, of Wellingborough Road, Northampton, joined the Fellowship at the same time as her mother.

When they lived in Daventry members of the Fellowship lived with them for months at a time.

They stayed for a year before leaving after disagreeing with some of the elder's orders. She said 'We never got on with our elder, although we thought that Noel Stanton (pastor) was an excellent teacher.

'Somehow the message he preached got lost and we fear the whole thing will go out of Noel's control'