Earliest records show the house
and outbuildings were a farm and the chapel of the Nativity of Nutbourne
was built in what was either a cow shed or one of the main barns. The
farm house is a listed building and dates back to Georgian (1714-1830)
although during the present renovation programme part of the house was
found to be much older and probably of Tudor origin (16th Century). A
very exciting find was that a medieval map, a cross within a hundred yards
of the present building showed that there was a church on the site several
hundred years ago. Our Lord's house has now been handed back to Him.
The Parish of St Richard acquired the
house in the 1950's, built the chapel and rented flats in the house to
young couples whilst they were saving to buy their own house. Once the
then Parish Prist, Fr Langton Fox, left, the house was left empty and
eventually, after becoming run down and derelict, was boarded up and declared
unfit for human habitation much to the relief of the animal kingdom.
Joan and Michael Le Morvan had
been searching for premises for a Bible School for some time, as the idea
had been germinating from the summer of 1985. One day Joan was driving
past Nutbourne House on the way to Mass and as she looked up she saw on
the wall in large Roman letters, the words "Catholic Bible School".
She could hardly believe what she saw and the car did a few violent manoeuvres!
Could Our Lord really intend that His Bible School should be housed in
that terrible old run down and derelict building? Well, apparently He
about everything that could be wrong existed in Nutbourne House and the
task of refurbishing the property and making it habitable was daunting.
With tremendous encouragement from our then Parish Priest, Canon Francis
Collins, the property was bought from the Diocese by Michael and Joan
in 1986. The Catholic Bible School was registered as a Charitable Trust
- The Renata Trust (which means 'reborn' or ' new birth').
The Renata Charitable Trust was
established in 1986 to sponsor the Catholic Bible School. This is an independent
centre for adult religious education in the Catholic tradition. The Catholic
Bible School does not receive any financial support from parish or diocese
and is totally dependent on offerings. New Friends always welcome. Many
international speakers are bringing their expertise to the school in a
variety of modern up-to-date courses.
The first courses started
in January 1988 - Scripture Studies for Beginners - and the Bible School
was formally opened by Bishop Cormac in May 1988. The programme now is
very full with a comprehensive range of day courses.
The Catholic Bible School is now under the Directorship
of Geoff and Gina Poulter, who have been active in Christian ministry for
over twenty-seven years working at local, national and international levels
and in a wide variety of roles. They are experienced speakers and conference
leaders with a deep passion to help others to fall in love with the word
of God and to develop an ever-deepening personal relationship with Jesus
Christ. Gina is a trained Spiritual Director and Christian Counsellor.
Geoff has a BA (Divinity) Hons degree and is a Chairman and Board member
of a number of Christian organisations.
As an educational charitable trust,
the Catholic Bible School aims to provide opportunities, to all who are
interested, to become more familiar with the Scriptures and to experience
the power of the Living Word. It also aims to equip carers with counselling
skills for pastoral use in the community and training in Spiritual Direction.
CBS seeks to cooperate with Diocesan Adult Education programmes and makes
its resources available to all.
Rt Rev Kieron Conry Bishop of
Arundel and Brighton
Rt Rev Crispian Hollis Bishop of Portsmouth
Rt Rev John Hind Bishop of Chichester
Bronwen Lady Astor
Rev Robert Faricy
Countess of March
Viscountess of Cowdray
Directors: Geoff and Gina Poulter