John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Saturday 14th May 1966


The 43rd General Conference of Assemblies of God in Great Britain and Ireland was held at Butlin’s holiday camp, Clacton, from Saturday 14th May to Saturday 21st May 1966, and coaches were organised by the local Assemblies (or groups of local Assemblies in co-operation — cf. Saturday 21st May 1966, where Pastor Holland of Lytham appeared to be one organising things).

Chris had to go on a different coach from the rest of us, though, because of his late booking.
…My travel arrangements to the Conference… [he told me] were a bit of a muddle because I had booked at the last minute. There was no room left on the bus which you and your Mum and Dad travelled on, but I had been given to understand that there would be room for me on the return journey. I’m no longer sure how it came about, but Rita Phillips,[1] through her friends in Radcliffe, arranged for a seat to be available for me on the bus that left from Bethshan.[2] I travelled with Rita on the X60[3] to Manchester on Friday afternoon, where we split up: she was travelling to Clacton by car from Radcliffe, so went there; I went to spend the night at 69 Upper Chorlton Road,[4] and found my way to Bethshan the following morning.

[1] Rita Phillips was a fellow-member of the Full Gospel Church in Fleetwood, where Stanley Smith was pastor. Stanley had been pastor of the Radcliffe Full Gospel Church, and Rita had friends in Radcliffe, whom she would visit from time to time.
[2] Bethshan Tabernacle in Longsight, Manchester, is the church which John Nelson Parr founded in 1917 and led for 46 years till 1964; see John Nelson Parr (1886–1976).
[3] The X60 was the regular express bus service between Blackpool and Manchester.
[4] 69 Upper Chorlton Road, Manchester, was where the Williams family lived; see, e.g., “By his stripes I am healed”, The “Second First Visit” to Manchester — Day One, The “Abortive Camping Expedition” — Day One.
Audrey and I were taking to the Conference a desire for the deepening of the spiritual life; but many of the other young people—the boys, anyway—were going just for a good time, and got quite high-spirited on the coach journey.

The rock band The Troggs had just released the single Wild Thing; and on the coach, the lyric—
Wild thing—
You make my heart sing—
You make everything— groovy
—was altered to—
Wild thing—
I think your feet stink—
I think everything— stinks
I was a bit torn between wanting to join in the fun and wanting to be sober, serious and spiritual. Audrey, however, did not seem to experience any such dichotomy: she seemed resolutely to be in the sober, serious and spiritual camp. Her brother Ken started referring to her as “Grandma” because of this.

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