Biographical Sketch of David G. Fountain
Written on the occasion of Spring Road Evangelical Church's 25th Anniversary
David Guy Fountain was born in 1929 in London. His father and mother, Guy and Elsie Fountain, were very wealthy and lived, during David's early years, at Tudor Lodge, a large house in College Road, Dulwich. This prosperity was derived from the Tannoy Group of Companies, famous for its public address systems, which Guy Fountain founded when a young man. David has a brother, Michael, and sister Jean, both older. David received his early education at Dulwich College Preparatory School and Dulwich College. Apart from his academic studies, he enjoyed sport, representing the College at boxing and squash. He became both a prefect and a house captain. The enthusiasm with which he carried out this latter responsibility, together with the way he looked after the members of his house, brought success to the house and useful experience for his future work as a pastor. At this time, he attended Dulwich "Crusader" Class, a Bible class for boys. During a "Crusader" Camp at the age of 14, he made a profession of Christian conversion, but later, realised that he had not been truly converted - he had not been 'born again'. However, this was not the only Christian influence during these early years for David became friendly with a direct, un-educated man named Waghorn, who ran a toy wholesale business near Dulwich. This man regularly took a group of boys, including David, to a famous Congregational church in London, Westminster Chapel. There he heard the preaching of Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, one of the most well-known Evangelical preachers of recent years. Later, Dr. Lloyd-Jones gave considerable assistance to David during his preparation for his work as a pastor.
After leaving Dulwich College David taught for a short time before being called up for National Service. He was soon taken into an Army hospital at Oswestry, for whilst teaching he had contracted mumps. But this was clearly in the providence of God, because he suddenly had time for reading and meditation. It gradually became apparent that though he believed he was a Christian, he had no love for God's wod, the Bible. He realised in a way he had not done before how great his sin was in the sight of a great and holy God; he asked, on the basis of Christ's death on the cross, for forgiveness and became a new person, forgiven, knowing and at peace with, God: a Christian. Altogether he spent six months in the Oswestry Army Camp, finding that life in the barrack room was very different to the quiet, sheltered, life he had known. However, it was a good test spiritually and demonstrated the genuineness of his love for his Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1950 David was posted to Derby and there he met a young lady, Frances Smith. For some time he had prayed that he would be guided by God concerning his life partner. After much prayer, he knoew that this was God's choice, and in 1953 he married Frances. Since that time she has been a true 'help meet for him'. David and Frances have five children, Andrew, Paul, Ruth, Stephen and Anne.
In 1951 David went up to St. Peter's Hall, Oxford, to read History. Initially he believed he would, after graduation, either become a teacher, or a minister of the Gospel, but as time went on it became increasingly clear that God was carefully preparing him for the ministry. At first he attended a Baptist church. The ministry initially was helpful spiritually, but the church called a minister who had just completed his studies at the London Bible College and delivered his sermons as academic lectures. David realised that this young man's studies had not affected his heart, and resolved that he would not seek college training as his preparation for the ministry. During his first long vacation from Oxford, David visited the United States of America. This was a special help to him. Not only was he given many opportunities for preaching, but he had a deep and beneficial experience of the love of God. Further useful experience in pastoral care and organisation came during a period when he was Secretary of the Oxford University Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. In his final year David attended St. Johns Free Church, Summertown. In contrast to the young college graduate, Sidney Norton, the minister, believed deeply the warm Calvinistic doctrines of God's grace to sinners and his ministry, under God, had a profound influence upon him. At this period of his life David was deeply impressed by all he learnt about the Puritan divines. He was one of a group of about 25 men, mainly ministers, who launched the 'Puritan Conference'. He was its Secretary from 1951 to 1960.
The Conference gave impetus to David's study of these godly men, their books and, above all, their lives. Here were men who knew and loved God in a way he had not met before. So David was further assisted in preparation for his life's work. After graduation in 1954 he spent some time at home reading and praying. In June 1954, in God's providence, he was brought in touch with Spring Road Evangelical Church. As a result, David was invited to preach at the Church. The Church called him to be their pastor, and on Sunday, 10th July, 1955, following a 'Welcome Tea' on 2nd July, preached his first sermon. After a year the church confirmed its call to David 'for an indefinite period' as Pastor. From the outset he wanted to be as close as possible to the church members and to encourage real spiritual fellowship. Regular 'After-meetings' following Sunday evening services, an annual 'Houseparty' or 'Camp', monthly meetings for the young people associated with the church and Bank Holiday church outings were all early and continuing features of David's ministry. Amongst the changes made during the first few years, arising from a concern to organise the church in accordance with New Testament practice, was the replacement of the Church Committee by Deacons (1955) and then, in addition, Elders (1959). The church has grown steadily over the years both numerically and spiritually. It has called a number of Assistant Pastors:
- Thomas Watson 1959-60
- Paul Brown 1961-66
- Henry Sant 1973-79
- Richard Davies 1976-78
In 1963 Spring Road Evangelical Church took over responsibility for the Strict Baptist church known as Hedge End Baptist Chapel. The work had closed for 6 months. Jean Small (nee Warren) worked at Hedge End as a missionary from 1966 to 1969 and the work progressed fruitfully. Both Paul Brown and Henry Sant had special responsibilities for Hedge End, and in 1978 Hedge End Baptist Chapel became an independent church, calling Henry Sant as its Pastor.
Another venture, The Mayflower Christian Bookshop, was commenced in October 1976, under the spiritual oversight of the church, and continues to expand its work. As with the work at Hedge End and the Bookshop, David initiated 'Mayflower Tracts' and the publishing of regular church Bulletins for use by about 25 other churches, carrying out most of the writing himself. Besides the work of the pastorate he has also written a number of books and articles, a list of which is given below. By playing a leading part in a campaign against a 1976 Southampton City Counsil decision to host a homosexual conference and, more recently, speaking out against proposals by the same council to involve itself in the legalisation and regulation of prostitution in the city, David has become well-known in Southampton for his strongly-held views on moral issues and has been interviewed by national and local press, radio and television.
Spring Road Evangelical Church continues to grow, in the goodness of God, under the ministry of its pastor, David Fountain. The members are deeply thankful to God for both David and Frances, his wife, and wish them a truly HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY.