Noel Brooks, one time leader in the British Conference of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, compiled some facts related to the origins and history of the conference. The following was probably written between 1977 and 1983.
In 1952 Dr. W. H. Turner attended the World Pentecostal Conference in London where he met the Rev. Howard Wallis of Bristol. As a result the Bristol Church of which Mr. Wallis was pastor became organized as a P.H. Church.
In 1954, as a result of ground work by Chaplain Jake Till, the Rev. R.L. Rex, and Thurance York held evangelistic services in several cities and created wider interest in the P.H.C. During that summer the Rev. and Mrs. Noel Brooks were preaching in the U.S.A. where they made their first contacts with P.H. Churches.
In October if the same year Bishop J.A. Synan organized the British Conference. There was one church (Bristol) and several ministers of independent churches. The first Superintendent was the Rev. H. Wallis.
From the very beginning progress was slow and difficult. There was resentment from existing Pentecostal bodies. Some pastors and churches joined the conference but left almost as soon as they came. Independents found a centralized organization unacceptable. Some found Wesleyan theology a problem. In the first ten years ten churches came into being, some as a result of pioneer work, others from independent backgrounds. Lack of trained workers and of money impeded progress. At the present time there are only five organized churches.
In 1960 a Bible College was founded in an effort to overcome this deficiency. At first, only evening classes were conducted, then in 1963 both day and evening classes were opened. Noel Brooks was President, and he and L.J. Harding were the main instructors. About 100 students passed through the school the twelve years of its existence (1960-1973). Only 20 of these were full-time students. The small churches were unable to provide sufficient young people as students, and most of the enrollees, came from other church backgrounds. Eventually in 1973 the school was forced to close. However, several excellent workers entered Christian work from this school.
The following have served as Conference Supertendents -
1954-1955 Howard Wallis
1955-1962 Noel Brooks
1962-1963 William Sherrod (died October 1963)
1963-1966 Noel Brooks
1967-1969 Howard Wallis
1969-1977 Charles Hopla (died March 1977)
1977 - Arthur Coleman
|Bristol Bible College, 1960-1973|
Throughout it brief existence the British Conference has kept a lively interest in mission, although it is itself under the authority of the world's Mission Board. Three Britishers are missionaries, although they were not send out by the British Conference but joined the P.H.Church while they were on the mission field. They are the Rev. and Mrs. K.G. Donald of India and Mrs. Adrienne Chapman (nee Holdsworth) of South Africa. All of these are doing great work for God in their respective spheres.
Since 1972 Noel Brooks has traveled extensively and contributed to the P.H.C. in several lands: South African and Rhodesia (1972); Canada (1972-1974); Mexico (1974); USA (1974-1976); Argentina (1976). He has also visited North American on several occasions for special ministry.
Though there is much to discourage in the British Conference, the youth work is full of promise. Under the leadership of the Rev. Arthur Coleman the Lifeliners work was organized and has grown in numbers and interest from the start. An annual Youth Camp is held, as well as periodic rallies and competitions. Several young people have taken out Mission Workers License and plan to proceed with the Ministers Course.
Brethren pray for us! Britain is a sick country. Only about 5% of our people go to church. There is great industrial unrest and political strife..."
---Noel Brooks, "Facts about the British Conference of the Pentecostal Holiness Church" , undated manuscript, Noel Brooks Collection, Southwestern Christian University Archives. Used by permission. Transcribed by Marilyn A. Hudson, 2011.