Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Bible Week Phenomenon

Is reminiscing a sign of age?!
Ah well - I was excited to find this small advert in one of the many Restoration Magazines I am reading tonight (that is scanned and at the bottom of this post). The Bible Weeks were a key part of the 1970's to 90s and some indeed have carried on (such as Grapevine) whereas others such as Stoneleigh Bible Week have closed down. Why were they such a part of the Charismatic Movement? William K Kay comments in his academic thesis; "Apostolic Networks in Britain - New Ways of Doing Church" - that;
"The big public events of the Dales and Downs Bible Weeks brought restorationism to public notice in the 1970's. Before then it's following had been small and invisible. The big Bible weeks made a resounding declaration and established a trend".

In terms of statistics William Kay stated;

"By 1987 it was estimated that restorationist numbers in the UK as a whole had grown from 20,000 to 75,000; indeed by 1987 there were some 20 Bible Weeks a year in the UK catering for 100,000 people ... the cry that God had finished with denominations seemed all too obviously confirmed".

Those who are familiar with UK charismatic history will know that as the Dales Bible Week reached it's heights in the early 1980's and Bryn Jones encouraged other Bible Weeks to begin in different locations of the UK. This generous and pioneering spirit demonstrates that Bryn was far from trying to build his own empire - but his spirit was for God to be famous throughout the nations.
The Downs Bible Week began under Terry Virgo and Coastlands down on the south coast of England which then became the famous Stoneleigh Bible Week near Coventry.

The South and West Bible Week began near Bristol in south-west England under Tony Morton - which has now become New Wine and Soul Survivor .

And my home church - New Covenant Church in Dunstable - began the Anglia Bible Week first held at Chadacre and then the Royal Norfolk Showground. Ern Baxter was our main visiting speaker in 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985 saw Bob Mumford visiting - with Peter Parris and Peter Lewis also contributing to ministry alongside Stanley himself.

So here is the advert for the first Anglia Bible Week below. The logo of the tree was famous among us as kids. Each year we were given badges with the logo on and each year the colour would change.

4 comments:

Nick Cameron said...

Wow Dan - that logo brings back so many fab memories of a day when I remember all kinds of fab things happening.......... must confess that I miss Stoneleigh like crazy - could do with that intense time out with God in worship and teaching. Hearing the Word preached by those that didn't know you but yet the word they brought being so spot on for me!
Thanks for posting this reminder...... :-)

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Although 3rd level stuff is beginning in a trickle...I can assure you when it takes off there will be the most incredible gatherings. And the worship and teaching will be stunning.

At the mo' tho, 3rd level stuff is like the early 70s, just handfuls meeting in lounges, or the odd hotel lobby. Like the Feast of the Booths, every new advance begins with saints sharing new stuff in "love feasts". This is how Acts began. How Darby and the Brethren began, and actually still operate. How Fred and Fredas were baptised in the Spirit in the 60s in their lounges, and how Bryn, Gerald Coates, Maurice Smith began ministering on how God wanted to build a Body. They circulated around front rooms like "Wilbury Villas" in Hove. Ask Terry Virgo...that's where he nicked my Psalm 84 song from. I found it all incredibly exciting at 16. I remember exactly how I felt making my way down there on the train from Amersham. I remember verses in Romans 8 being shared which started to set me free. And the craziest thing of all, is that one of those speakers was Kitt Mason, whose tapes I heard while I was there. And here he is....now coming to our glory Conferences here in Havant. Not to minister...but just to drink in in the Presence of God. You know those prophetic excerpts I shared on my blog from Revelation 3....http://080808onnowto.blogspot.com/2009/02/revelation-320-prophecy-and-glory-cloud.html Well how mad is that! Daring to prophesy in front of people like Kitt Mason who were used to lay foundational stuff in me when I was 2 foot high.
It's crazy.But Kitt's humble like that!

Dan Bowen said...

Good times weren't they Nick!? I miss them too!! I think it was more than "just" another Bible Week - it was a taste of heaven, every tribe, every tongue (or a lot of tribes and tongues in the case of Stoneleigh!) meeting together with the soul aim of worshipping and lifting high the Name of God!

James Watts said...

Hi Guys,

There were fantastic times, God used Stoneleigh to know him more and begin to know who the Holy Spirit was!
I also remember going to Royal Week in Cornwall and SpringBank more locally in Brentwood headed up by the C-net Churches, which I now believe to be Southampton Community Church???
It was always (and still is!!) great to see Christians/followers of Jesus come together from every background, denomination, age, and nation to worship the almighty and fellowship together, I just wish the Church could do this day in and day out. That has always been my hearts cry, restore the church and unify your body!!!!
Come Lord Jesus.
But thanks guys for triggering some great memories!!!
I will never forget the last night of Stoneleigh 95 (surely the warmest of them all!!!) when the 15-18 building had a fire in or around it and we had to join the main meeting! Crazy time followed when God moved in power!!!