John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Thursday 27th July 1967


Johannine Writings XXV.4–8:
4.On the twenty-seventh of July, in the second year of my going out with Audrey, it came about that I decided not to go to the prayer meeting at church, because of my oppressive conscience and my inability to pray.
5.Instead, I decided to catch the bus and go to the Woods’ house 6.and wait for them to come home after the prayer meeting.
7.But they delayed for such a long time that I began to get anxious. 8.Some time later, about an hour, being roused by impatience, I arose and walked to the church.
Because of feelings of guilt, I sometimes used to go to prayer meetings and get very bored, or even go to sleep in the actual prayer session, because I could not “enter into” the meeting. This Thursday, the usual day for prayer meetings, I decided that there would not be much point in my even going, so I decided to stay away. Perhaps I had been “-ing” again, or had committed some such “sin”, and so couldn’t “come to the light” for shame.
 I got a bus to Audrey’s house. This house was owned by a maiden aunt of Mrs. Wood’s, who occupied the front room while the Woods used the back room. So she let me in and I waited in the back room for the return of Audrey and her mother from the meeting; I expected them back just after nine o’clock.
 It was getting later and later. If the words of the Johannine Writings are to be believed, it would have been around ten o’clock, when impatience overtook me and I stormed off to walk the three-quarters of a mile distance along Poulton Road to Lowther Road where the church was situated. (Possibly the reason for my impatience was that I had to be home for half-past ten, and even if I got the twenty-five past Ribble bus and arrived home ten minutes late, I still wouldn’t get much time with Audrey.)

Johannine Writings XXV.9–15:
9.Now at that time there was a lad with protrusive teeth who had started to attend our church. (Trevor and I used the words “Teeth in Motion” in connection with him, from the pop song San Francisco, current at that time, which contained the words “People in motion”.)
10.This boy greatly admired a girl,* handsome† and full-figured; but she was believed to be demon-possessed and unwilling to have it exorcised.
11.Unbeknown to me, these two had caused a disturbance during the prayer meeting, which had caused the meeting to be prolonged.
12.I was indignant because of the delay; but when I showed it, indignation was matched by that of Audrey’s mother, who, 13.coming out of the building with the others after the meeting had finished, 14b.spoke to me with angry words, “You don’t know what went on in the meeting; for your information demons were being cast out.”
15.And this served to cool me down a little.

* A girl: she was called Dot. I forget the toothy lad’s name.
Handsome: she had an attractive face, but she couldn’t be called quite beautiful.
As I turned left into the now-dark Lowther Road, the people were just emerging from the doorway; and there were Audrey and her Mum, walking towards me! I went straight up to Audrey and demanded what was going on. But it was her mother who lost her temper and answered me sharply, rebuking me for being so angry and informing me that the reason why they were so late was that there had been an outburst in the meeting and a consequent exorcism of demons.
The pastor had been away that evening. And we all know what that means! When the pastor is away, the “lunatic fringe” holds sway! And sure enough, Dot, realising that the strict control of Pastor was lacking, had created a rumpus. She was reputed to have a demon, and although Elsie Wrigglesworth (who, some said, was in the habit of seeing demons under every lamp-post!) had tried to cast the demon out, she had failed, because, she said, the girl did not want the demon cast out. There has to be willingness on the part of the possessed person.
 And Dot’s faithful admirer, of Trevor’s and my “Teeth in Motion” fame, joined in with the disruption of the meeting. According to Elsie Wrigglesworth, he too was demon-possessed, but that night she cast the demon out; but Pastor Stan later maintained that he had only been faking, presumably to copy Dot.
 All this I learned later; that night I was only informed that there had been trouble and that demons had been cast out.
 What happened then I can’t remember, except that I ceased to be angry. Whether Audrey then seemed kindly-disposed to me, I don’t know.

Elsie Wrigglesworth, holding a map of Africa. She spent more than 30 years in India and after her return spent only three years back home before taking up a new post as governess to the children of the Royal Family in Ethiopia.

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