A history by Paul James Goodhall
United Pentecostal Church Oxford
January 1978 – March 1980.
In 2010 the United Pentecostal Church in Oxford will be celebrating its 32nd anniversary. These have been Thirty two wonderful years of proclaiming full Bible salvation in a city famous for its University. This is a cosmopolitan city that is vibrant full of energy and is open 24/7. This is a young person’s city a place of learning young people arrive from the four corners of the world to seek the best education possible for themselves many of these young people will become the political leaders, movers and shakers of the future. Some of the students are from Royal households around the world. Some parents are leading figures in industry, politics, education, religion. Oxford is also famous for the BMW MINI car factory that is located just three miles to the east of the city at Cowley under Lord Nuffield it was the largest employer in the area.
During 1977 a group of local Christians met for a weekly men’s prayer meeting above a bookshop warehouse in Wolvercote village a few yards beyond the parish church of St Peters this small group of local people would earnestly pray regarding missionary work overseas but they also prayed for a spiritual awaking in Oxford. This small group were spiritually hungry. The Lord was working in their lives no one in the group had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues. It was during September that it became clear to me during bible study that the bible way of water baptism was in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ Acts 2:38. By the end of the December I had received the revelation of the oneness of God about this time a second member of the men’s prayer group was also open to this new doctrine that had not been taught by man but God had revealed during personal prayer and bible study.
During this time we all continued to fellowship in our local churches attending both Sunday services and the midweek prayer and bible study meetings. It was popular among Christians? to tuned into the gospel radio station Trans World Radio and HCJB, HCJB is located in Ecuador and broadcast the programme Harvest time this is the radio broadcast of the United Pentecostal church International. In order to receive HCJB radio broadcasts you needed a radio that was more than the standard model that was available on the local high street. I have been a radio amateur since I was 14 years of age. More people in the world know me by my amateur radio call sign M3JFM than by my name. A group of Christian friends would join me to listen into the English Gospel radio service broadcast from HCJB.
We continued to pray and seek the will of God encouraging each other in the faith longing for a spiritual awaking in Oxford. It was during November of 1978 while reading an article in a Christian newspaper that I felt the Lord was working upon me and for some reason I felt challenged to enter into a course of bible study with London city mission I wrote to them explaining how I felt when I read their article they in return sent me in the post A Biblical preparation course for Christian workers which I started on the first of December I found the course most interesting and profitable. I felt that this was something that The Lord wanted me to be doing in fact I was convinced of it.
Bro Paul Goodhall with Rev George Duke
Christmas 1977 came with all its blessings soon followed by the New Year of 1978 the men’s prayer group continued to meet and we prayed for mission’s world wide. That The Lord would bless us in Oxford with a spiritual awaking. We were longing, believing, hoping, that our prayers were going to be answered. Twenty eight miles away in a market town in Buckinghamshire called High Wycombe. A group of Christians had been praying and seeking the will of God for some months regarding opening a Church in Oxford. The Team was made up of The United Pentecostal church Home mission’s director and resident missionary Rev George Duke with his wife Sister Duke, Son Mark, daughters Lorraine, and Becky. Their oldest daughter Debbie was at Bible school in the United States of America. Rev Mogg, Bro Fred Plum, Bro Mike Joules, and Bible school students at Rev Dallas church in London Sister Joyce Hill and Sister Helen Diamond and Sister Margaret.
On Friday the 3rd of January 1978 I was studying Acts chapter 2 I believed that the events that I read were true and had taken place I also felt sure this experience was for today however I did not have the experience myself nor had I meet any one who had. I was getting to the stage where I really need to meet someone to explain this passage of scripture to me who had the experience themselves. I felt lead of the Lord to close my studies and to pick up my coat and leave the house for some fresh air. I made my way towards the Summertown shops and I could see a young man who was handing out tracts to people who passed by. As I approached him he gave me a tract which said the Pentecostal are coming healing, speaking in tongues. I asked him about acts 2:38 the young man I was talking to was Bro Fred Plumb he told me he was an evangelist with the United Pentecostal Church and they were opening a new church in Oxford the first service was to take place that Sunday 8th January and of course he was inviting me along. He told me Bro Duke had only minutes earlier dropped him off in Summertown.
It was all a little too much to take in suddenly to become aware that your prayers were being answered that the will of God was unfolding in front of your eyes I could hardly contain my excitement I returned home and I can remember making myself a cup of coffee and I was thinking about the events that had just taken place. I still had loads of questions I still did not fully understand full bible salvation and I felt convicted of the Lord so I went back and this time I took Bro Fred home with me. My wife Caroline was also open to the message that Bro Fred taught our good friend Geoffrey Williams called at the house to join us for dinner the three of us worked at the Thames Valley Police Headquarters Caroline as a sectary and Geoffrey worked in the department that made sure that the Police man and women’s personal files were kept up to date. I worked for The Home office as a wireless engineer I was based at the police HQ and taught Radio operating practises and procedures at the Thames Valley Police training College. We would meet up for lunch together and in time a very close friend ship developed in the course of time Caroline and I married and we moved into a flat on the Woodstock road and Geoffrey was a good few years older than us and had a bachelor flat on the Banbury road most evening’s the three of us would have dinner together during the evening Bro Fred witnessed to us more regarding the oneness message and salvation. We were all open to the message that Bro Fred preached after a very long and exciting evening Geoffrey gave Bro Fred a lift home on the back of his 500cc Honda motor bike to the caravan up at Horse path this was truly a day of great blessing for me and one I have never forgotten.
The United Pentecostal Church held its first service at the Summertown church hall on the corner of Banbury Road and Portland Road Oxford. On Sunday 8th January 1978 Caroline and I nor Geoffrey went to the first UPC church service in Oxford Caroline and I went to our normal place of worship the evangelical Free Church as was our custom we went to the morning and evening Sunday service. Many times during the following week Bro Fred visited us at home we talked about full bible salvation the baptism of The Holy Ghost. Midweek Bro Fred also brought along Rev John Mogg from our first meeting I realised that He was a man of God until now I had only read about men like him. In 1938-1946 he and his wife were missionaries in Ceylon. When he prayed and ministered the word of God you could feel the presence of God. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
We all meet up at my home again on Friday 13th January 1978 we had been talking about water baptism. I said that for some time I had wanted to be baptized like they did in Acts 2 Bro Mogg and Bro Fred could hardly contain there excitement Bro Fred telephoned Rev G Duke and He came over to meet us Caroline and I explained to Him that we wanted to be baptized like they did in Acts 2:38 This was the first time we had met Rev G Duke. Caroline and I were a little taken back when he asked were we married Caroline assured him that we were we thought that we would be baptised in the river Thames. But the Lord had other plans instead we went to Rev James Dallas Church Life Tabernacles Battersea London. Rev James Dallas was the United Pentecostal District board superintendent. Rev F J Turley was the editor of Pentecostal truth the District Presbyters were Rev S G Sappleton and Rev C Price. By the time we arrived from Oxford the Church was full of people. Bro Duke baptised me in The name of The Lord Jesus Christ. This was a great time of blessing for me when I came up out of the water I was so excited something wonderful was taking place in my life I could feel the presence of God all over me. The saints in the church were more excited then I was they were sing and dancing and praying out loud speaking in tongues. When Caroline was baptised she came out the water speaking in tongues I was really pleased for her and I was so excited that I could only watch her receiving a wonderful blessing from The Lord.
Brother Mike Joules
The following day Saturday 14th January 1978 Caroline and I walked up to the shops in Summertown in the street was a whole team of young people witnessing and passing out tracts. Everyone in the street either had or was soon going to receive a yellow tract similar to the one Bro Fred had given me over a week ago. One of the people who was out witnessing and giving out tracts was Brother Mike Joules since our first meeting we have been best friends. During the day I contacted my friends and those who were in our men’s prayer group and I invited them to attend the UPC church service on the Sunday afternoon at the Summertown church hall.
The second church service of UPC Oxford took place on Sunday 15th January 1978 After Bro Duke had preached he gave the alter call and a group of us went up to the front. I was encouraged to pray by Rev John Mogg and Bro Fred and seek the baptism of The Holy Ghost as I poured out my heart, seeking The Lord with all my mind, heart, and strength I received the baptism of The Holy Ghost speaking in other tongues as the initial evidence. I was one of two people to receive the baptism of The Holy Ghost that afternoon in Oxford. From our weekly men’s prayer meeting Bill and his wife Mable Wright accepted fellowship with the United Pentecostal church It was to take Geoffrey some weeks before he accepted full bible salvation. At about this time the following local people also came along Sister Sylvia, Brother Daryl and Sister Cathy. Mrs Fennimore, Sister kay with her children Brother Geoffrey was some year later to marry sister Kay and before sister Kay died of cancer and Brother Geoffrey witness to his step family and all the children were baptised a year before brother Geoffrey died. After sister Helen Diamond graduated from Bible college in London she moved in with a Dukes and found a job in a local shop for many years after she got married she attended UPC Oxford but since has not been for many years.
About the same time as UPC started to hold church services in Oxford a retired Policeman Mr Fred Smith also started a Trinitarian Pentecostal church he was very popular and attracted a lot of people to his church he ran services for many years and for a while a lot of local people attend his church I personally new people who would try UPC one week and Fred Smiths church the next.
After the Oxford church service we would go to Bro and sister Dukes home for dinner then we would all pile into Bro Dukes mini bus and head for the evening service in High Wycombe these were great times of blessing after a couple of weeks Bro Duke started to hold a Saturday church service at RAF Croughton from this the American Service families travelled to the church in Oxford. He also held a couple of church services at RAF Upper Heyford and again from this the American service men and women were encouraged to attend the church in Oxford both these outreach services were very successful and families soon travelled into Oxford and the Saturday services were closed. I remember in the early days one of the families from RAF Croughton was Walt and Jan Lutes with their two children Scott and Rae Marie and from RAF Upper Heyford David Hinton and his wife Peggy and their two children. From these two families developed life time friendships
I also remember during this time that Bro Duke was trying to start a church in Cheltenham I was invited to accompany Bro Mogg and Bro Fred Plum for half a week in Cheltenham we stayed in a caravan and we travel into Cheltenham each day witness and passing out tracks both in the street and door to door on the Saturday evening we held a church service and after wards travelled back to Oxford ready for church on Sunday.
In The summer The Oxford and High Wycombe church held a tent crusade in Oxford this took place at the cutteslowe park a few miles north of the city centre one year we had a Christian pop band with us called David and the giants at the time the band was made up of David Huff and his twin brothers, Rayborn and Clayborn, were born into the Kingdom of God in 1977 with Keith Thibodeaux on drums. During the time the band was in Oxford they were selling copies of their album “Step in my shoes” The Tent Crusade ran for a week in Oxford and then we would moved onto High Wycombe. And set the Crusade tent up on the Rye Park.
More information on the Christian rock Band David and the Giants can be found at on line at http://davidandthegiants.com/index.html and at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_and_the_Giants
Bro Arlo Moehlenpath was living and working in High Wycombe with his family from 1976 to 1978 and He would often run the mid week bible study in High Wycombe his teaching was second to none and I still have some of his teaching notes I have good memories of him. His excellent Bible teaching can be found on line at http://www.doinggood.org/ He can also be found on twitter under Arlomoehlenpath
Some things stand out far more than others but even with the passing of time I remember as if it was yesterday The first time I cycled on my bike with Rev John Mogg to the mobile home that the team was staying at Rev John Mogg loved tea and he drank gallons of the stuff as soon as we arrived at the mobile home He put the kettle on to make a pot of tea but when it came to pouring out the tea He reached for the sugar bowl and it was nearly empty and there was no more in the house upon discovering this Rev John Mogg declared that it was time to pray and ask God to Bless us Rev John Mogg prayed out loud and I said a much quieter prayer I still had not gotten used to the Pentecostal way of praying out loud when Rev John Mogg had finished praying he told me to go first and take the two spoons of sugar I would normally take He encouraged me to put my trust and faith in The Lord to provide to be honest I had never witnessed a miracle of supply I had read about it in books from my local Christian book shop I had heard Rev John Mogg tell accounts of his time of great blessing on the mission field in Ceylon this was new to me and I this was a big step for me something alone the lines of going to the moon I put the spoon in and took the first spoon full out and there was hardly any sugar left in the bowl Rev John Mogg encouraged me to put the spoon into the bowl again and to scoop as much sugar as I could on to the spoon. As I lifted the spoon up sugar poured of the spoon and filled the sugar bowl.
How did I feel about this I am still excited about it 32 years later it had a profound effect upon me from this I was made aware that The Lord will provide for and bless me And my family all I have to do is step out and put my faith and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ. In the power and authority found in his wonderful name. Perhaps to someone who is reading this it’s no big deal to them but it was and is to me. The way I prayed from then on changed instead of saying through his son or through your son I pray in the name of Jesus.
During the time Bro and sister Duke were in Oxford a young lady arrived as a student at Oxford University I believe she was reading for a degree in music at St Hilda’s college this young lady was to be the first in a line of young people who are members of the United Pentecostal church who were to study at Oxford her name is Bethan at the time she was very friendly with Bro Mark Gadd I have wonderful memories of her cycling from college arriving for church wearing her gown and mortar board. And of course Bro Mark would cycle down from his college to oxford to visit sister Bethan today many people in the church know them as Rev Mark and Mrs Bethan Gadd.
Rev Fred Plum and Brother Geoffrey Williams
One Sunday after going to church in Oxford Brother Geoffrey and I went to church in High Wycombe on Geoffrey’s motor bike we set out in plenty of time when we got to High Wycombe we drove down a very steep hill and at the bottom is a roundabout on the inside lane was a Thames Valley Police patrol car we shot past the police car and within seconds we heard the blues and twos and the police car over took us and pulled us over. We stopped and climbed off the motor bike took our helmets off ready to speak to the police officer one of the police men asked Geoffrey how fast did he think he was going which Geoffrey said 30 MPH the second police man noticed on Geoffrey’s motor bike the rev counter and mph meters was missing the policeman asked Geoffrey about this and He explained that they had been stolen off his bike when it was parked outside work at the Thames valley police Headquarters car park and he had ordered replacements but they had not arrived as yet perhaps in a day or two’s time. The policeman asked us our names address and where we worked and for whom so we told him and handed over our identity cards off they went to the patrol car and we could hear them speaking on the radio after a long pause they came back over to Geoffrey and I and asked us a few more questions about our jobs then went back to police car and continued on the radio after a while which seemed like a life time the two policeman came up to us and returned our ID cards and said that it would appear we were who we said we were and we were free to continue on with our journey. In fact it took a few more weeks before the replacement meters arrived and each working day Geoffrey drive his motor bike to work and parked in the in Thames valley police HQ car with out and question asked.
After my brother Antony was demobbed from the Army he returned to Oxford and stayed with my parents he would come over to visit Caroline and I and stay for dinner during these visit I felt lead of the Lord to witness to my Brother he was to accepted full Bible salvation and he was to later marry Bro and Sister Dukes daughter Lorraine today Antony is pasturing a oneness church in the united states of America.
Sister Helen Prichard nee Diamond
Sometime 1979 The United Pentecostal church in Oxford moved from the Summertown church hall to the cutteslowe community centre in wren Road We long longer went to the high Wycombe church for the Sunday evening service instead two church service took place on a Sunday 11am Sunday school and adult Sunday school and the Gospel service in the evening 6pm Bible study and prayer was on a Friday evening.
United Pentecostal Church Oxford
March 1980 – 16th June 1988
In march 1981 Bro Duke and sister Duke returned to the states and Bro Hinton became the pastor of the Oxford church Bro Fred Plum was still attending the oxford church and he would often preach on a Sunday. Under Bro Hinton families came into the Church from Oxford, High Wycombe, RAF Fairford and RAF Green ham common. During the time Bro Hinton was pastor in Oxford the Sunday service saw a minimum of 45 people. Sometime during this time The Oxford church moved back to the summer town church hall because the community centre in Wren road was bulldozed down. The Service changed to Tuesday Prayer and Bible study at the Barton community centre, Friday youth service summer town church hall and Sunday Gospel service 2pm at the summer town church hall.
Under Pastor Hinton a young American came into the church James Blandon today his is Pastor of a UPC in Kentucky.
In early September 1980 I left UPC Oxford to go to Bible school at UPC Elgin Rev C Price was the pastor of the church and dean of the bible school. One of the Bible school pupils came down to Oxford with me for Christmas 1980 we visited the Oxford church and we also stayed for a few days with Brother and Sister Lutes at RAF Croughton. We returned to Elgin Scotland in the New Year 1982. I married one of the Bible school; students Mary A Reid she came into United Pentecostal church Elgin Scotland under Rev David and Mrs Jean Campbell this was on the 10th September 1972 she was baptised on the 11th September and filled with the Holy Ghost on the 12th September 1972. We got engaged on Valentine’s day 1981 and we married on the 26th February 1981 during 1988 I was offered full time employment in one of the Oxford colleges we moved to Oxford with our two children in December 1988.
United Pentecostal church Oxford
16th June 1988 to February 2010.
Pastor David Hinton had moved from Oxford to the states with his family leaving Bro Arthur Boyce as pastor of the Oxford church he left. He pastured the church in Oxford until 6 years ago when he returned to the states. Under Pastor Boyce a young American came into the church with his wife Richard and Michelle they are pasturing a church in the state also a young man Brother Chad came into the church he is licensed with United Pentecostal church and is based at Life Tabernacle.
When pastor Boyce left UPC Oxford some six years ago the church was left without a pastor Sister Monica Webley today takes care of the Oxford church which calls its self Apostolic Faith church Oxford I have no idea when the name changed or why under Pastor Duke and David Hinton the oxford church grew and when I returned to Oxford from Scotland there was still a good number of families in the church under Pastor Boyce today the Oxford church is small in number with most Sundays families coming from Oxford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, and Princess Risborough. We meet at the Summertown United Reformed Church at 8pm on Wednesdays for prayer and bible study and at 12:30 for Sunday service.