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Source : 10/07/1986 Northampton Post

As the controversial Jesus People move into Northampton this week with their latest recruiting mission the church's image has been hit by three chock revelations.

Founder Noel Stanton's right hand man elder David Hawker, the public voice of the Jesus People for the last ten years, has quit the church after 'differences between him and the elders.'

The Jesus People have been expelled from the Evangelical Alliance because they refuse to mix with Christians from other churches.

And local residents have forced the religious sect to move out of Hunsbury Hill centre, where they held several meetings because they are worried about their beliefs.

Chairman of the West Hunsbury Residents Council said he was one of the residents opposed to the Jesus People.

'They were told the couldn't hire the hall again after our delegates on the Hunsbury Hill Centre committee were instructed to withdraw co-operation if they continued.

A spokesman for the Jesus People told the Post on Tuesday that Mr Hawker a former teacher who now works in Oxford, had left of his own accord.

But Mr Hawker claimed that because of differences between him and leaders of the church he found it impossible to stay.

'These differences of principles are between myself and the fellowship and not a matter for public debate. There is no personal animosity between myself and Noel Stanton.'

Archdeacon of Northampton Bazil Marsh said it was another serious blow to the Jesus People to lose David Hawker.

'It must be a serious situation for him to leave after all he has worked for. It would be to the fellowship like Margaret Thatcher losing Geoffrey Howe.'

Mr Hawker said this week he will be joining another church within the Evangelical Fellowship and was 'always hopeful of a reconciliation' with the church.

Clive Calver, general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance told the Post that the Jesus People choose to cut themselves off from other churches and this was the reason they had been asked to leave the Alliance.

'We feel being asked to leave mean the Fellowship will lose its credibility with other Christians. One of the conditions of membership is to become an active part of the network by developing an on-going relationship with other members and the Jesus People chose to ignore this condition and kept to themselves,' he added.

A spokeswoman for the Jesus People denied that the Alliance had asked them to leave.

'The present leaders of the Evangelical Alliance have changed membership qualifications since the Jesus Fellowship Church joined and consequently we have resigned membership as a church. Although certain of our leaders continue in personal membership of the EA.'