In the late 1970’s my husband Ian and myself had a Holy Spirit experience which found us questioning our devout but rather religious type of Christianity. At this time it seemed many faithful Christians were having a very similar awakening which was opening their eyes to more expressive, flexible worship. They began recognising gifts such as healing and tongues, and church being active beyond the walls of a building.
They also started to explore the possibility of women taking some leadership responsibility. Sadly the lovely group of people we worshiped with at that time did not want to embrace change and we didn’t want to spend our time with them in conflict. We had no intention of starting a church. I was busily working as a physiotherapist and my husband worked long hours in business. In addition we had two children, a dog and frequent house guests. However, we met in our home on a weekly basis with a small group of friends and teenagers for prayer and worship – trying to find a church to join.
As this grew, we had to take the door off in the lounge for the people sitting on the stairs. We gradually realised that perhaps this was church. We linked with a wider group of similar expressions of church called Pioneer. We became known as Lansdowne Christian Fellowship. Then as activities – especially with our youth workers – grew we registered as Ewell Christian Fellowship Trust (Charity).
Later, under this trust, we decided our work was not limited to a geographical location and so went under the logo GENERATION. This generation for the next generation. There were tough times as we received a lot of criticism from other churches but these were also exhilarating and liberating times. Since this early start we have had many adventures and I am sure probably made many mistakes, but the foundational Holy Spirit prompting of being authentic and open to God’s leading to follow Jesus and embracing the changes and risks this brings, I believe, is still in our DNA.
– Jacky Oliver