Behind the Blue Doors

Memories of 1970s and 80s -

In articles written for the Nutfield Link there was news of what was happening 'behind the blue doors'' of the Free Church. Here are a few extracts from the link...

Rodney's last service - 14th April 1974 - Rodney La Trobe led his last service at Nutfield with a communion service this Easter Day.

Rodney has been here since 1969, and has had a great influence in the village particularly in his work with young people - setting up Jucos, Covenanters, a youth club, and bible study groups. He will probably be best remembered for taking us on lots of outings and adventures. He would sometimes take us Covenantors to the caves behind his parents shop in Reigate where we would set up candles in the alcoves and play football underground. He also took us go-karting on an unused road circuit, and built a railway circuit in the loft above the vestry. His bible studies did also lead some of us to a different sort of adventure which still carries on.

Come Together - 25th May 1974 - Lots of the Free Church went to St. Mary's  Parish Church in Reigate to take part in the 'Come Together' musical. It has been performed in lots of places in the USA and the UK and uses modern music, narration, and audience participation, to bring people together, first to worship and praise, and then to move to help each other, and then there is an invitation for people who don't know Jesus to ask him into their life.

 A lot of the songs can be revisited on youtube. Here for example is Holy Holy ...

Phil Stone joins the church - 22nd February 1975 - At the start of February we welcomed Phil and Chris Stone and baby Marc to live in the Manse and share in the leadership of the church. Phil has spent three years at bible college, and works in insurance in London. He also writes and plays Christian music. Phil has already visited to preach a number of times last year.

Today before a packed church, Phil Stone was appointed to the Eldership of the church.

Five people laid hands on Phil and prayed for him. These were Mr A. Howick and Mr R. La Trobe, previous pastors, to show the continuity of the work; Revd.S Wakeling as an act of unity with all Christians; Mr Ken Sheppard, who will be sharing the responsibilities; and Mr Phil Rogers.

Phil Rogers called for all Christians in the Village to share their one Lord and one faith in love.

Baptism at Seaford - 13th April 1975 -
Most of the church went down on Friday evening from South Nutfield Free Church. They then had a prayer meeting, and went to stay in the homes of hosts from Seaford church.
On Saturday morning they went down to find the seaside baptismal spot. The beach looked steep and stony and the weather rough.

In the afternoon they went down to the sea in a convoy of 8-9 cars. The sea had gone out revealing beautiful sand, and the sun come out for the first time in ages. 

The church elders Ken Sheppard and Phil Stone baptised 6 Christians in the sea. 

On Sunday morning they had a time of worship and praise to Jesus. The ministry that morning said that Christians are no longer subject to trying to do the Law, but have died and are alive again in a love relationship with Jesus. Because they love him they want to do what he wants.

There was more ministry from Terry Virgo in the afternoon. God loves us as we are. We should  develop this love with Jesus more and more, and enjoy everything around us, because it is from God. 

Shared Meal - 19th April 1975 - The members of the church shared an evening meal together. This included passing round the bread and wine in an act of communion. They concluded with a time when they committed themselves to Jesus Christ, to serving Him in the village, and to each other.

Family Service - 7th March 1976 - There was the first of the new simple family services this morning, lasting for just half an hour. The informal time was planned for both parents and children. This is a time of change and we are letting go some activities such as Jucos for which there are no longer leaders, and taking on more family oriented activities.

Praise and Worship - 4th April 1976 - Terry Virgo and other friends from Seaford led us in praise and worship over the weekend. The theme was Freedom in Worship, and hands were laid on some friends to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

This is the Place - 11th April 1976 - Today a group of us performed a musical about the Easter Story that Phil Stone had written called 'This is the Place'. It was performed to a audience of about 30 in the large downstairs room of the manse. There was music, song, poetry, dance and drama.

Church Holiday Together - 25th July 1976 - The majority of the church went to the Isle of Wight for a week's holiday together. Those who could not go were welcomed at Christ Church.

Changes at the Manse - first half 1977 - Phil and Chris Stone are to vacate the manse in the coming months and after praying to find other accommodation in the village found somewhere. Mike and Isobel who have recently moved to the village will move to the manse with their two children. They will not have any official capacity other than being part of the church.

Good News Club - 6th February 1977 - The first Good News Club was enjoyed by the children who came. Parents who brought children were welcome to stay and see what happens, or return after the hour.

The Promise of the Father - 12th May 1979  - Over 200 people in Nutfield and Caterham enjoyed a new musical/drama/dance called 'The Promise of the Father'. Phil Stone created the outline for the production, and Angela, Mike and Isobel completed the production which was performed by friends from Nutfield and Caterham-on-the-hill. The musical tells about the Holy Spirit coming down at Whitsun.

A Marriage - 10th May 1980 - There was a wedding in the church today. The happy couple were, as they are now, Edwin and Jennifer, who are members of our church. The vows made at the marriage ceremony are, I believe, vitally important to any stable relationship, together with the presence of Jesus in that relationship.

Goodbye Phil and Chris - 29th September 1981 - Phil and Chris Stone moved back to Streatham after six years with the church. They first joined us when a group of young people came down from Streatham, and feel God is calling them to go back. They came with one child and leave with three, and have been a great blessing to the village in their time here.

Centenary Celebrations - 25th October 1986 -
This is a typical scene at a Sunday morning service in the Free Church, Mid Street, South Nutfield, which celebrates its centenary today The artist Mike Young, who is a member of the church, and an art teacher living in Redhill, drew this picture in May 85.

As part of the centenary, people were invited to a special exhibition of the work of the church over the last 100 years. We are looking forward to what God will do in the future, as well as rejoicing in what he is doing today and has done in days gone by.

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