Our whole lives, Dad and Mum, my younger sister Joy, and I, were all devoted to the life and work of the church.
We had a large church with about 150 to 200 “in fellowship” I suppose. It was known as the Brethren Cathedral of the South Coast. There were famous ministries associated with Edgmond Hall. This included Eric Hutchings Hour of Revival, an evangelistic style of outreach, along the lines of the great crusades by Billy Graham and others. He also had a radio studio in town that broadcast for many years. He and his wife lived just a couple of streets from where we grew up.
A few steps from us in the opposite direction was Ransome Cooper and his wife. He had come from New Zealand and been involved in ministering among a group of new churches allied with the Brethren as I recall. My parents revered him and his name will appear later in my story.
My parents were close friends of Dick and Betty Saunders who ran The Way to Life Crusade, based in Hailsham, a few miles out from Eastbourne. This was similar to Eric Hutchings’s ministry, involving tent crusades and daily radio ministry.
Dr Frederick Tatford was an elderly, distinguished man who was the editor of the Prophetic Witness magazine. This was a magazine devoted to the exposition of the second coming of Christ and with a very strong Pre-Millennium Rapture emphasis. He was the Director of the Atomic Energy Association. He had a son, Brian, who went abroad to France to be a missionary there and to raise up churches. When I was in Hazebrouck last I saw a book on Brian Tatford and the work he had begun in France which it seems was geographically close to the Hazebrouck church.
An even older man who visited frequently was Harold St John. I know little about him, except he was revered. His daughter was Patricia St John, a missionary in Algeria, I think. If not there, then definitely elsewhere in North Africa. She later found fame as a children’s author writing such books as “Treasures in the snow”, “Tanglewood Secret” and a book of short stories that we used to read to our children as they were going to bed. Other titles escape me.
Just a short walk down the road from the church building was the UK headquarters of The Slavic Gospel Association. This was a ministry to people and churches behind the Iron Curtain at the time.
Bob Summers was a lovely man, and I think I am right in saying, he was a board member of The Wycliffe Bible Translators.
So, you will see what an active, evangelistic, missionary minded church we were part of.