Some time in 1967, without knowing who the proprietors were, Pastor Simpson, as he now was, dropped a letter in the mailbox of Clapham Youth Centre. For many weeks he received no reply but then a letter arrived from Mr Maurice Smith (later OBE), stating that if he was still interested in the use of the youth club he should reply.
An appointment was made and a meeting arranged on 28 September 1967 at the venue. Will Humphreys was the caretaker and his home was a stones throw from the hall. Pastor Simpson and the then Deacon J Hope, met with Mr Smith and Mr Humphreys. The gentlemen agreed to rent the hall on a trial basis for three months.
Three months turned into sixteen years and we became the first black-led Pentecostal group to use the Clapham Youth Centre building at Lyham Road, which at the time was only three years old.
At Lyham Road many memorable activities kept the group together such as Sunday School programmes, Sunday School outings, youth convention, general convention, birthday celebrations, social evenings and so on. Watching the growth of the ministry and in particular the children’s ministry, it presented us with a problem. We wanted to expand on the number of meetings but could not use the Youth Club further due to their own programme. This spurred us on to look for a building.
Whilst fighting the fight of faith and looking for a building, a doctrinal issue arose within the Fellowship to which we were affiliated. Although intense negotiations took place over the period of a year, the dispute could not be resolved and we sadly but respectfully withdrew our membership from the Fellowship. We were offered the privilege of entering other registered Fellowships but we felt the move to allow a cooling off period first. During that time, our Committee agreed to draft a constitution for the group and with the help of a dear friend and brother, an international evangelist, G. Osbourne, we compiled and printed the articles which formed the basis of our Constitution.
The document was lodged with the Charity Commission and HM Revenue and Customs. Having come thus far we decided to register the group and so the title of THE LIGHT & LIFE FULL GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP was agreed upon.
In September 1980 a formal adoption of the title took place and the official inauguration was presented on 9 January 1981; a snowy but memorable Saturday evening.
Following this our main task was to find a suitable building which we would be able to manage. In 1983, one of our committee members located 105-111 Landor Road having a ‘for sale’ sign up. The ground floor was formally used as a Calor Gas showroom with four one bedroom flats on the first floor. Also a parking area at the rear for five vehicles. Taking into account the experiences we had previously when we organised fundraising meetings we decided not to take that line. The bank was sympathetic to our cause and approved the loan. With a local grant, the loan and five thousand pounds of our savings, the purchase of 105-111 Landor Road went ahead. The Lambeth council Planning Officer’s recommendation was to reject the building as a place of worship. However, when the planning meeting took place, with the support of the tenants, and the absence of the planning officer, the permission was granted and we commenced work.
30+ years later God is still honouring the fruit of our labour and all thanks and praise go to Him for His bountiful care.