The Figurehead

Chronicle and Echo/September 24, 1982

Despite the fact the Jesus Fellowship opened its doors to the Chronicle and Echo its main figurehead Noel Stanton refused to be photographed or to give details about his own life.

And he refers to himself as the Rev. Stanton, but has never actually taken the necessary studies or examinations to qualify as an accredited minister of the Baptist Union.

The Fellowship goes to great pains to deny that the 55-year-old bachelor is the founder or head of the church, or the community which grew out of it.

Mr. Stanton himself said: 'Certainly I have been at Bugbrooke for 25 years and historically I was and still am the Baptist Pastor here, but, of course, all that has happened had been not of man, but of God'.

He wanted to avoid 'personality in human terms' what had taken place at Bugbrooke - meaning he did not wish people to see him as the founder, but as the ' proclaimer or preacher of God'.

'Some people say I am to blame, but they really ought to lift their sights a good deal higher and realise that this thing is Godly and man is simply an instrument,' he said.

And though he admitted he was generally in charge of the church's big gatherings, Mr Stanton said he was not the sole leader. Instead, he was one of 15 senior brethren who ran the Fellowship.

He also would not accept that he was a prophet-teacher, 'but there is no objection to it being said that someone has a prophetic ministry'.

He began his pastorate of the Bugbrooke and Heyford group of Baptist churches in the spring of 1957. He started his ministry as a lay pastor with a view to the full pastorate at a later date, but he never gained the necessary formal qualifications.

Formerly from Bedford, he was once deputation secretary to the West Amazon Missionary Society, London. He also worked in Northampton for a printing firm.

Mr Stanton studied and graduated at All Nation's Bible College, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

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