[Source: Northampton Chronicle & Echo Published: Friday, 24 September, 1971]
In the battle of the elements on Hunsbury Hill last night, fire overcame water.
Despite a downpour of rain a beacon to celebrate the Festival of Light and the Jesus Lives crusade, was lit.
For the supporters of the movements it symbolised their hope that the fire of their conviction will stem the flood of “moral pollution” which they see as threatening the country.
The 300 strong gathering was a mixed one.
Some were middle aged mums and dads responding to the “anti-porn” campaign of the Festival of Light organised by Malcolm Muggeridge, Cliff Richard, Lord Longford and others.
It is this campaign which had organised the lighting of 300 similar beacons in different parts of the country last night.
But the majority of those who stood on the hill were young and a number of them were “Jesus Freaks” of the American inspired “Jesus Revolution” long haired and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Jesus Lives”.
The lighting of the beacon, was organised by the Rev. Noel Stanton, minister of Bugbrooke Baptist Church who is also running the local venture, the Jesus Lives Crusade.
He explained: “This is one of 300 or so beacons which are being lit all over the country tonight as a witness to the fact that there are people who take a stand for the Christian faith.
He saw the evening as bringing together the two strands in the Christian movements which have sprung up in the last few months.
“The Jesus Revolution is a new cult and some of our people here tonight would be dubbed Jesus Freaks, but I certainly i acknowledge them as real Christians.” said Mr. Stanton. “We are happy to be known as Jesus Revolutionaries. We are also happy to be linked with people like Cliff Richard.”
Although he supports the Festival of Light, Mr. Stanton has reservations about what he sees as its negative emphasis on “anti-porn”. He declares: Personally I am very much against censorship.”
“I prefer to be known as pro-Jesus Christ rather than anti anything. We don’t want to condemn other people. We want to share our faith.
The Northampton beacon may well have been the first of 300 to be fired. Because of the rain and to accommodate the waiting television cameraman it went up 15 minutes early at 8.45.
Beforehand there had been singing and a short address by Mr. Stanton and afterwards as the rain eased to a drizzle there was a barbecue th a firework display.