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Yeldall Manor frontAfter an initial attempt to set up a community in Coventry, it soon became clear that a larger place would have to be found to accommodate the expanding numbers. In 1973 new premises were found in the shape of an almost defunct convent, Yeldall Manor in Berkshire. It was during that same year that the community received its name, with the establishment of the Community of Celebration Christian Trust.

The Community at Yeldall Manor was a melting pot of nationalities and churches. The original core of Americans were soon augmented by British members and others from all the English speaking Commonwealth countries, plus several from Sweden. Churches ranged from Roman Catholic to Plymouth Brethren. Some came for healing; the pastoral ministry was highly effective, gaining the confidence even of the Psychiatric Department of the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Some came for the experience; the Community's policy was to train local church leaders. Some came to offer their gifts in ministry, for which there were many opportunites ranging from children's work to music in worship.

Outreach ministry from Yeldall was extensive. The Community's teams, known as the Fisherfolk, were in huge demand for conferences, cathedral and church ministry, on radio and even TV. Teams travelled throughout Britain and overseas. To keep up with demand, recordings were made of their worship. Mail order distribution proved inadequate, and CCCT was obliged to set up wholly owned subsidiary companies to deal with production and marketing.

Despite its range of churches, the Community saw itself as within the structure of the Anglican Church. It supported its local parish church, and was visited by the Bishop of Oxford, whose perception of it as a new form of religious order proved prophetic of the Community's later development.

Yeldall Manor, which housed some 120 people at its peak, was only a temporary base. In 1975-6, the process began of moving members out to other, more stable locations.

Yeldall manor backA view from the rear of Yeldall Manor, as it was when the Community of Celebration was based there. The property had extensive grounds which were overgrown, and which the Community substantially restored.


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