During my first year at Liverpool I attended an afternoon meeting at the “House”. This was to allow people from other churches to go without them missing the morning service in their own churches. As much as I enjoyed being at the “House” I decided to go to a Brethren church on my own. My motivation was to show respect to my parents. I did not want to give the impression that I was kicking over the traces as it were, and abandoning the Brethren at the first opportunity. I then committed myself to the “House” at the start of my second year.
The “House” was dynamic when I started going in 1969. It had begun some years previously when Rev. Norman Meeten had resigned from the Anglican ministry and a handful of your men had started meeting with him.
Some of the characteristics I recall include plural eldership with four men all able to minister; Norman Meeten, Mr Moffat, David Wetherly and Dick Hussey. Other men were added over time, including Fred Tomlinson and John Valentine, and later still Paul Evans and Len Grates.
There was an intensity to the worship, with frequent operations of the gifts of the Spirit, much spontaneity, and an emphasis on men and ministry, with almost a competition among them to speak.
A new hymnal was refreshing for me with many of Charles Wesley’s hymns sung (known as the Blue Book) as well as from the Redemptional Hymnal (known as the Red Book).
There was a strong emphasis on ministry, and the impartation of holiness as people publicly responded. The new birth was preached very frequently along with many invitations to get right with God, receive the word, etc, people being expected to respond.
There was a strong sense of belonging and a great atmosphere of love.
From the beginning of the church there had also been a strong emphasis on missionary work with large numbers moving abroad, often in pioneering situations.
There were some tensions. Virtually all the students wanted just to be part of the life of the church, limited as that was due to our university studies and work. We had no other specific desires. We did find out much later however, that other non-university people in the church were intimidated by us, and as a consequence, found it difficult to relate to us!