The Beginning of Leicester Church
In 1971 a few members from Ap Chau, Hong Kong moved to Leicester from other parts of the UK, they are Sau-Sing Chan, Yee-Pui Chan (Deacon Luke Chan), Chau Kwok (Deacon Daniel Kwok) and Ah-Tim Shek together with their families. At the time these members did not have a sound knowledge of the Word and their faith was not firmly established. However thanks be to God’s arrangement that in 1973, a fervent sister Kiu Tai Shek & Sui Kam Chan (Dn. Luke’s wife & sister) who had some experience of divine work in Kowloon Church migrated to Leicester to join the family. She began to lead her family in prayer, reading the Bible and singing praises to the Lord. During that same period, a few brothers & family from other parts of the UK moved to Leicester. As a result there were almost 20 members, however they did not gather together to worship God. The Sabbath was only remembered by two or three sisters who did so by hymn singing and praying in their own homes.
The Observance of Sabbath
It was not until October 1975, when Deacon Silas Chan, the former Chairman of the Kowloon Youth Class, visited the members in Leicester. During a conversation, he mentioned that Prayer Houses had been set up both in Newcastle and Sunderland, and there was also a family gathering in Edinburgh. He encouraged the members by saying, as there were almost twenty members in that vicinity, they should gather together to observe the Sabbath. The members agreed with him and by the end of that year, a family service was established. They observed the Sabbath and met in the take away shop of brother Ah-Tim Shek at 19 Welford Road.
From then on, worship services continued. Under the guidance of God, together with the constant care of the deacons from Newcastle Church and the preachers, the faith of the members and their love for the Lord grew. Between 1976 and 1978 membership rose to over 40, as more members moved to Leicester from Ap-Chau and other areas, and those working in towns near-by were also contacted to attend services.
Establishment of the Church
Religious Education Classes were started in 1977 and with the continual increase in membership; the members were encouraged to set up a Prayer House in May 1978, electing officers to take up the different duties. A church hall in Regent Road was rented for services in 1979 and the membership then was over 60. A Church Meeting Committee was elected to be responsible for looking for suitable premises, as continual meeting in a rented hall was inconvenient. In 1983, the membership grew to over 100. After seeing an advertisement in the newspaper that a church building on Humberstone Road was up for sale, the building was subsequently purchased and refurbishment works commenced. During a Spiritual Convocation 16th – 18th April 1984, the Church in Leicester was established and dedicated for the Lord's use. A place of gathering was later set up for the members in Peterborough, and regular visits were scheduled to pastor the members in Great Yarmouth.
As the number of RE students and members continued to grow, the existing building did not provide sufficient space for all the church activity. In addition, the building was over 100 years old and needed frequent maintenance, therefore the Church Board decided to search for new premises. The search proved to be a lengthy process. For over 10 years, the Leicester Church members viewed a number of buildings, and even made offers to purchase ones which were deemed suitable, but they were not successful. The idea of renovating and extending the existing building was also considered. However, the members persevered in prayer and continued to raise funds with the faith that God would provide the best for us in His time.
Thank God, in 2010, a four-storey office building located in Leicester city centre came onto the market and after raising funds through offerings and loans from members and UK churches, the present church building was purchased in February 2011. The size of the building together with its own car park means there is sufficient space for the church to grow. The church building is located close to Leicester train station and the University of Leicester making it not only convenient for members to travel to church but also giving the church a more prominent location for evangelism. In order to keep costs down, a large portion of the refurbishment work was carried out by the members, who tirelessly and willingly gave up their free time in order to complete the work. The first Sabbath day worship was held on 13th October 2012 and all the members offered up their heartfelt thanksgiving to God for His great blessing.
With this new church building, God has given us the opportunity to serve Him more, in both pastoral and evangelical work. With the size of the building it is possible for Leicester Church to help assist in holding large national events. The Church continues to hold R.E. classes, fellowships, services and spiritual convocations and also assists in the divine work in Peterborough, Great Yarmouth and Birmingham. At the end of 09/2013, Leicester has a membership of approx. 180. There are 5 deacons and 1 deaconess. The Church Board is made up of 9 members. There are 7 classes in Religious Education with 33 students and 29 Teachers.
We ask God to continue to guide and bless us so that we may lift up and give glory to His name in Leicester.