Exciting! How very very exciting! I was going to work at the Park ! A really big deal for me. The long driveway and stunning grounds heralded what I expected and although still flanked by scaffolding, the enormous house still held great promise.... The reality of the buildings in which we all worked was rather the opposite. Nevertheless, they quickly became home. I was welcomed and soon put to work. So that was the start. Just the start. Even then, a young, naive and excitable girl, I felt in the depths of my spirit it was to be long-term.
My first stint was a block of I think 3 or 4 weeks. There were several of us who were volunteers. We were accommodated in the old gatehouse situated at the entrance to the grounds. The most delightful, kind and gentle older lady kept us well fed and nurtured. It was a lovely family atmosphere.... safe, easy, comfortable and so friendly. Despite a rather lumpy mattress I always slept well. But going up to work in the offices every day was what never failed to excite me. It always stirred something within me. I was a part of a small team, working on a variety of projects, but whatever each and every one of us was doing, we were doing unto the Lord. We were also an extended family, starting with prayers every morning, then always getting together again for lunch around several trestle tables pushed together. It was always a busy time working at the Park. There was always another deadline of some sort to reach, there was always something new. Challenges, blessings both fell like the rain in Britain.
During my first longer stay, Monica was in the throes of working in international church growth and missiology. I had previously financed myself through Bible college by editing, proofreading and translation, so was really pleased when she asked me to work alongside her on one special book which was particularly effective. It had been translated into several languages, including the American language. But for maximum blessing here, it needed anglicising. I was able to step in and help her meet that ever-nearing deadline for publishing. I loved doing it, but I loved even more how God’s timing was so evident. Even with us both working I particularly remember that I had had to go away for a few days just before the deadline. I took the manuscript with me, only just finishing it on the train catching the last post at Kings Cross Station.
A few months later I decided to volunteer for a few days each week. That was when I saw the true extent of Monica’s love of books and became very familiar with the catalogue of books in the BCGA library! I also met and worked with Jenny and Simon , Monica and Cliff’s daughter and son-in-law. All the time I was there was a pleasure and an honour. I loved it and I know that everyone I ever spoke to whilst I was a regular face around the place, felt likewise. Cliff and Monica have done so much, clearly willing to do and go wherever God willed. But I can truly vouch that they are also regular folk like us. I arrived on my first day in awe of them, I eventually left in God’s ‘family love’ with them. Thank you both.
Inside the Gatehouse
I recall a time when a small group of us came up to Moggerhanger from Kent to celebrate and share with you both your 50th Wedding Anniversary. I thought how special it was, that we were able to join with you and your family members on that special occasion. Having seen marriage breakdown first hand, it was a very enjoyable time and memorable, which left a good feeling inside! Thank you.
For my part I was never on the team but played an active part in the life of all the communities based at Moggerhanger in my role as catering and facilities manager for 8 years from 2002-2010.
Anyway, the garden room was empty except for one little boy looking bored out of his mind waiting for his family to return, so I went and challenged him to a game of giant Jenga, he agreed but with a shy acceptance.
So I got the game set up and he gradually got to smile and much laughter ensued and we were nearing the climax…(He didn’t know but he was always going to win)….so we were at the point where he had the winning pull…all was tense and I said to him if this falls now, I was going to do much damage to his face. Just as it fell, the Archbishop of Canterbury came to collect his child! The poor boy had just been verbally abused in front of his father, but as was the plan, he triumphed.
The first six years of many challenges were met by a deep faith and dependence upon our wonderful saviour. Then worldliness crept into the back door and the community weakened. So many testimonies and hearts left with sadness at this. But as for me, the Lord heals our sadness through His amazing love. We know we will have trouble in our lives but my goodness the pension is out of this world for those whose trust remains in The Lord.
I worked at Moggerhanger Park from November 1996 to end the of March 2008 starting as Clifford's secretary on PT magazine and PWM Ministries, also as first port of call for any visitors coming into the office, as well as answering the main telephone line. During my time there I was also Company Secretary for MHPT.
Towards the end of my time at Moggerhanger I worked personally for Cliff and Monica as their PA on C&M Ministries, dealing with finance and the database for all their supporters, including the ones who subscribed to the bi-monthly recordings providing all the data for the recording company to deal with. I also co-ordinated the Study Tour/Holiday to Alison & Peter's hotel in Austria ensuring that people around the UK could travel on suitable flights from regional airports! One of my later tasks was to help co-ordinate their Golden Wedding celebration at The Park with many supporters joining us for the day.
A Work Party Teaching 1983
I remember well how I first met Prophetic Word Ministries. It was in Bath city where there was a conference and that is where I met Clifford and David Noakes for the first time. I was already reading the magazine ‘Prophecy Today’, and that is when I found out about Moggerhanger Park. Clifford was looking for a place for his ministry along with the BCGA which was Monica’s ministry and CCM, their joint ministry, and this place was on sale for 1 pound. When they were planning for their opening day, they reached out for volunteers, and I went to help them. It was a very good time.
I was a cleaner, and I was staying at the Gate House. We had a lovely housekeeper named Amelia. She was such a kind person and a good cook. She always made us lovely puddings. Monica used to ask us to pick blackberries every so often, which she would use to make loads of jams. She used to bring the jam into the garden room, where we all met for coffee and lunch.
For me the most important memory was that we all sat together. Leaders, bosses, cleaners, we were all a big family. (Just as in the Bible, we sat as a family) It was my holiday. I used to visit for two weeks every year. Even after I left England and came to Cyprus, I would continue to visit.
So, I have seen Moggerhanger Park go from ruins to a mansion. I have made many friends. We continued to keep in touch with Monica and Clifford, and for a while they would visit Cyprus each year. Clifford would come to speak at our Fellowship and in others on the island. It has been a beautiful friendship for over 25 years.
I visited Moggerhanger during an open-house and worship event and supported your work and vision at that time. I cannot at the moment remember the year.
I was very interested in the Clapham group and the great move of the Holy Spirit during the 1820’s and onwards. I was able to visit the Parish church in Clapham Common where John Venn had been rector and incorporated it with attending (in the early 2000’s) a Transform UK meeting and met you all in a building which was opposite the House of Commons.
I have been getting the update messages every year and keeping in touch and giving the support accordingly.
“The other good memory was of working as a volunteer at The Park in Moggerhanger, and meeting my future husband Gordon, who was not the husband I had been expecting!.. I was there for 3 months and Gordon would come down for a few days at a time every month or so.. (There were two houses next to each other at The Gatehouse and funnily enough it was decided I should be separated from a young man also volunteering, for our protection.. but a 'romance' they hadn't expected blossomed instead within the same house!..)
Gordon had sadly lost his wife through cancer only the year before and I was able to comfort him and pray a bit with him when we met up in the evenings. I had lost my father about 7 years earlier, so I understood how grief feels for someone close. He was touched by my compassion and knew quite quickly that I was the one for him and would be his second wife. It took me longer to see this as I hadn't been expecting a widower and someone over 20 years older than me. But after many fleeces being put out I 'gave in' and about a year and a half later we were married! We had a lot in common, not least of all a great love for Israel. It wasn't easy for me as I was 41 so big adjustments, but Gordon showed me the love of God I really needed - and I then cared/prayed for him as he still had hurts from his past and I became his carer near the end of his life. His two children have always loved and accepted me too and I'm particularly close to his daughter.
There were difficult times while at the Park too and we were part of a lot of prayer as spiritual battles were happening. We both felt that perhaps they needed more prayer covering as the ministry could be a target for the enemy, with having such an important vision to bless the church in the nation.
So I'm sad about that time and the vision not being reached, but from talking to Gillian Orpin - the present owners/Trustees are carrying out much of the vision for The Park that the Hills had, so that should be an encouragement for them.
So I was there at a 'birthing time' of this ministry and it was exciting in many ways - and there was some good fellowship in the Gatehouse where we stayed.
But it's been amazing how they've made the re-start based at the Sandy office and so many new staff have joined them, all so capable! I couldn't quite keep up with them as involved in so much. Lovely memories are of the Slave ship, The Zong in London and so many of the public seeing the exhibition and understanding more of the horrors of the Slave Trade.. Also the musical production touring the land called 'Heal Our Land' (which I was involved in - in Liverpool) but not sure how much changed in the nation after it….. At least it encouraged Christians to pray together in many cities.
I've always felt Cliff & Monica are quite pastoral, so it's lovely to see them leading this growing group on Sundays during the Covid lockdown, which is encouraging so many who are feeling quite lonely at this time.
The Gatehouse in Winter
After the 1993 tour we kept in touch with Cliff and Monica and soon heard about the opportunity to purchase Moggerhanger. I well remember a letter arriving telling us how much they needed to raise in an incredibly short time and inviting us to pray about what the Lord might be calling us to contribute. We realised that if we all did what the Lord was asking us to give the necessary amount would be raised - and of course it was. In fact I seem to remember that there was a surplus. However, it was then discovered that a bungalow was also available to purchase - for the amount of the surplus funds. That was a great faith booster. This was Cliff and Monica’s home for some years.
Len and I attended the first Open Day - I can’t remember the date but it was a glorious day - which was just as well as we sat outside in fairly long grass for introductory talks, a service (I think) and our picnic lunch. The story of how they arrived there was so amazing - and the connection with the Clapham sect.
We attended many more Open Days over the years and followed the progress of the renovations. It was such an exciting story. Soon after Len retired as Vicar of Holy Trinity Ashby-de-la-Zouch, we spent a week as volunteers at Moggerhanger in preparation for the Archbishop’s visit. I was helping (or perhaps hindering) Monica‘s department dealing with the clerical side of things, while Len was helping Cliff with outdoor pursuits. It was there that I first learned the art of laminating - there were an awful lot of documents to laminate!!
I can’t remember the date, but we were present for Cliff and Monica’s Golden wedding celebrations - another glorious day. No doubt by now they are heading for 70 years.
Praying round the house
First Open Day 1983
Marquee at Moggerhanger Spiritual Opening 2004
I thought it may be an encouragement for you to know how you have influenced and blessed me with your ministry and how life’s little experiences have woven them together.
John (my husband) and I first started to follow your ministry when we took the early ‘Prophecy Today’ magazine. We also followed your time at Moggerhanger until the final years. While involved with a prayer and bible study group we invited Jo Gardner one weekend. Since then we have regularly taken your State of the Nation CDs, which have always blessed us.
We also attended your first meeting at Sandy, interestingly the church in which you held your first meeting was the church I attended Sunday School at the age of 6, when my parents lost their house through bombing in 1942.
Copper Beech at dawn
Bluebells at Moggerhanger
Snowdrops at Moggerhanger