Brethren,

I have been going over some of the old stuff on Mike's site and reread this recollection from brother Neil Pendry as to the beginning of the FF.(The whole document is below the 3 paragraphs I have cut and pasted from that document.) I was struck by something I had overlooked before and I wanted to know what you think.

Neil seems to be saying that Stewart usurped a fellowship that would eventually need a Godly leader but that originally sprang up entirely independent of Stewart.

It sounds like Skip O'Neil would have made a true Godly leader. The following paragraphs in quotes are what I clipped:

"Stewart came around every day, looking after a luxuriant spiritual plant that had marvelously sprung up without him, right under his nose, and seemed to call for a daily watering from him, to which duty he perhaps too diligently attended, anxiously thinking too much of his supposed responsibility, I think, and laying the groundwork for the high anxiety that, by its impatience with the more easy-going faith personified by Skip O'Neill, would one day discourage the church."

"Stewart always seemed to me to be trying to retrieve Jesus from somewhere, and seemed to impart the need to live as though Jesus was going to get away from us if we didn't diligently, almost sleeplessly and vigilantly attend to the business of keeping Him around, as though He were so reluctant to stay with us, having first graciously appeared in our lives!"

"That that sobriety should have degenerated into morbidity, and that aggressiveness into contempt, lead to questions as to their real origins, which I suppose to have been in Stewart's personality in the first place; I don't think that they were spiritual gifts having been added to him."

The following is the document from Neil in full:

After having spent the summer gallivanting around out of doors in the heady wine of our recent conversion in 1971, through Skip O'Neill's influence with a hippie fellow traveler who frequented Robin Hood Dell in the Lehigh Parkway in Allentown (which was the real place of origin of the F.F./C.O.B.U., if there is an earthly place of origin actually to be considered), as the most forgettable members of society we moved into a most forgettable and forlorn-looking little house at 128 S. Church St., down in the backstreets of the city. This was in September of 1971, just when it was starting to get a little crisp outside and we needed our own 'indoors' in which to nurse our fellowship.

The first of those who 'lived in' in the history of the FF/COBU, therefore, were Skip and Pam, who were married soon afterward, and myself, joined shortly by James 'Jingo' Stauffer and Judy, who were also married soon afterward. Jingo quarreled irreconcilably with Stewart in the early going, and he and Judy were with us only for a few months, suddenly moving across and down the street a little to 137. Patty Daniels (Seif) was in close orbit in those days, and Steve 'Zach' Zatko moved in in Jingo and Judy's place. For eight months, until Spring had fully come again, our daily Bible studying and fervently praying young Christian singles' group, (for such it had become without anyone's deliberation about it) swelled to bursting out of that little house, and, when Jingo suddenly up and left the house across the street, we moved in there (Skip and Pam, Rem and Janet Lederer, and myself), while Zach continued at 128 with other brothers and sisters who moved in in our places. So now we had something of a little colony going, and we soon rented other quarters, across the parking lot from 137, to accommodate our constantly growing numbers.

So 128 was the first F.F. fellowship house, to answer your question, for the eight months between September of 1971 and April of 1972. Stewart came around every day, looking after a luxuriant spiritual plant that had marvelously sprung up without him, right under his nose, and seemed to call for a daily watering from him, to which duty he perhaps too diligently attended, anxiously thinking too much of his supposed responsibility, I think, and laying the groundwork for the high anxiety that, by its impatience with the more easy-going faith personified by Skip O'Neill, would one day discourage the church. Jingo was cruelly and unnecessarily jettisoned, in my opinion, by Stewart, who said things to him from which no young Christian ought to be expected to recover, in the grip of this inordinate impatience and anxiety that mystified and spooked us; for we had grown accustomed to and expectant of Jesus's constant and kind attentions in person. Stewart always seemed to me to be trying to retrieve Jesus from somewhere, and seemed to impart the need to live as though Jesus was going to get away from us if we didn't diligently, almost sleeplessly and vigilantly attend to the business of keeping Him around, as though He were so reluctant to stay with us, having first graciously appeared in our lives!

But at least two of the fruits of Stewart's influence were a sobriety and an aggressiveness which had much to do with the rearing up of a church that eventually made its mark in Time Magazine in the 1970's, which I have since taken to have been fundamental to Stewart's ambitions. That that sobriety should have degenerated into morbidity, and that aggressiveness into contempt, lead to questions as to their real origins, which I suppose to have been in Stewart's personality in the first place; I don't think that they were spiritual gifts having been added to him.

So that was '128', the first fellowship house, eight months between 1971 and 1972, Stewart coming around every day and kids getting saved and coming around in droves. In the days of 128 the hippie culture in Robin Hood Dell was decimated and discouraged under our influence. They all either converted or they drifted off in the shame of knowing that they ought to have been converted, and didn't wish to immediately trade worthlessness for eternity.