The House of Prayer in Cambridge
In 1970, Brother John Liew and his wife moved to Cambridge, but nevertheless continued to observe the Sabbath in London. An increase in the membership in Cambridge incited the establishment of a prayer house on 15th April 1972 until the present day.
From January 1960 onwards, members originally residing in Hong Kong, the New Territory and Ap Chau began to work in the UK. Initially, the majority of these migrating brethren were single brothers, living under the roofs of other people, and all worked extremely hard for a living. They were scattered in different places and did not gather together for worship as it is written in the scriptures: ‘So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them’ (Ezek 34:5-6).
In 1972, Brother Shi-Hung Hsiao (Deacon Roung-Kuang Hsiao) of Taiwan, who was continuing his studies in Germany, was invited by the International Assembly (IA) to join Brother Keith Hon (an Englishman baptized in Taiwan) to visit the members in the UK before returning to Taiwan. On Sunday 6th of August of the same year, they arrived at May Hong Restaurant in Newcastle at 12 noon. Ensuing discussions with Deacon Paul Tang and the brethren who were there highlighted important issues such as observing the Sabbath, selecting suitable leaders, worshipping venues and so on. Particular emphasis was placed upon the efficacy of Sabbath worship. Thanks to the guidance of the Lord, in mid September, Brother Liew and his family, together with Brother Hon and Brother Yau, carried out visits to the brethren in Newcastle and Sunderland. In addition, service was held for the first time in Ap Chau Restaurant. Deacon Paul Tang led the service that was attended by more than 50 members; the whole congregation, praying and singing praises to God, were deeply moved by His guidance and grace.
The House of Prayer in Sunderland was established on 12th November 1972. Deacon Paul Tang, Brother Kai-Dung Ho (Deacon Philip Ho) and Brother To-Kai Chan (Deacon Simon Chan) were then the elected church leaders. Membership at the time was over 40 in total and a hall in Green Terrace School was rented for worship. With brethren numbering more than 200, the House of Prayer in Newcastle was established on 11th February 1973 and services were held in the rented Central Methodist Church. The three elected leaders in Sunderland oversaw the affairs of both prayer houses. In August 1975, Deacon Cephas Yau who undertook pastoral care in Kowloon and the New Territory came to visit members in the UK. A large proportion of the UK members originated from Ap Chau. Before believing in God they led very difficult lives. Deacon Yau opportunely preached the gospel to them and many came to believe after experiencing God’s abundant grace or witnessing miracles and wonders. From that time forth, God’s blessings were with them both spiritually and physically. During Deacon Yau’s time in the UK, he often encouraged the members to observe the Sabbath and worship the Lord God fervently. He helped the pastoral work in different places such as Newcastle, Sunderland, and Edinburgh. In response to a need for workers in church development, 13 brothers and sisters were ordained as deacons and deaconesses in the House of Prayer in Newcastle on 21st September 1975. Thank the Lord that with His strength, the members remained steadfast in faith and in their zeal for services. Despite as many as 700 members living in the UK at the time, they still did not have their own church building. Deacon Yau, therefore, continued in his reminders to them to take positive action in acquiring a church property; spending much time considering such possibilities with more senior members.
Church in Newcastle
Thanks to the guidance of God, a secondary hall belonging to another church denomination was speedily purchased with the sum of £11,500. Thus the first True Jesus Church in the UK was established and dedicated on 12th July 1976, exalting high the name of the Lord Jesus. Believers in attendance came from not only the UK but also Sabah and Hong Kong; with numbers reaching over 400 people. This occasion resulted in the baptism of more than 70 infants and adults into the name of Jesus. May all glory be given unto our God in heaven.
Church in Edinburgh
From 1973 onwards, members in Edinburgh initially held services in the home of Sister Yee-Mui Shek (Deaconess Phoebe Shek). Under the blessing and guidance of God, many lost sheep returned to the bosom of the Lord, and the attendees for service swiftly increased from 20 to 200. Due to the rise in numbers, a secondary hall belonging to another church denomination was later rented for services and a prayer house formally set up on 1st January 1976. Not long after, an escalation of RE students and newly baptized members prompted a feeling of urgency amongst the brethren to search for a church building of their own. In 1978, God granted them an opportunity and moved the members to be united in one mind to purchase a church building for the sum of £30,007. After renovations, the church was dedicated on 7th May 1979, in the presence of over 400 members.
Church in Sunderland
In 1977, members of the House of Prayer in Sunderland acquired a four-storey building for £6,000; the dedication of which was held on 16th July 1979 following refurbishment. The Church in Sunderland was thereby established greatly strengthening the work of Religious Education (RE).
In July 1977, the IA sent Deacon Simon Hsu to the UK for six months of practical training. The members were greatly encouraged as a result and became not only zealous in attending worship but also active in their service to the Church. At the time, youths who had previously participated in the work of RE in the Church in Kowloon also assisted the divine work. Under the guidance of God, each Church made plan for further advancement. A National Conference for Ministers and Church Board Members was held in Newcastle in the same year. A resolution reached at the Conference was to request that the IA send a preacher to assist the divine work in the UK. Thank God, the IA dispatched Deacon Hsu to pastor the UK churches for a period of one year.
Church in London
After the House of Prayer in London was set up in 1977, a need for a larger place of worship arose from the increase of membership. A proposal to purchase a church building from the Salvation Army was approved in 1982; and services at that site began in November of the same year. Subsequent to renovation work, a Dedication cum Spiritual and Evangelical Convocation held on 17th July 1983, marked the establishment of the Church in London. Various divine works such as the training of divine workers, RE, and personal evangelism henceforth progressed.
Church in Leicester
In the year of 1975, following a visit from Deacon Silas Chan and his words of exhortation to the brethren in Leciester, services began to be held in the Wai Kee Take Away Shop. God blessed them with a steady growth in both their faith and love. RE was established in 1977 and membership rapidly increased to over 60. Thank God, an old building which once belonged to another church denomination was acquired in 1983. After remodelling, the Church in Leicester was established at a Dedication cum Spiritual Convocation conducted on 16th April 1984.
Church in Elgin
Having attended the dedication of Newcastle Church in 1976, the brothers and sisters in Elgin were impelled to stir up their own zeal towards services. Frequent visits from members in the Church in Edinburgh, alongside their show of love and concern, led to the return of many stray sheep back into the bosom of God. All of these repented bitterly and resolved to love the Lord. At the time, services were temporarily held in the basement of the Oriental Take Away Shop. Strengthened by God and moved by the Holy Spirit, membership rose from 40 to over 90, and RE classes were also set up. On 3rd February 1982, a piece of land worth £10,000 was finally acquired for the building of a church premises. Under His guidance, the construction of the building was smoothly completed and dedicated for the Lord’s use on 14th May 1985.The Convocation was well participated by over 300 brethren, and more than 70 Caucasian truth-seekers attended the Evangelical Service. May all glory be given unto the holy name of the Lord Jesus.
Church in Portsmouth
In July 1977, Deacon Silas Chan visited members in Portsmouth and encouraged them to gather together to hold services of worship. Thank God, they began observing the Sabbath in the Lantern House Restaurant in Bognor Regis. Later on, Deacon Simon Hsu was sent there for a pastoral visit. Under his encouragement and guidance, the House of Prayer in Portsmouth was established on 7th September 1978, and RE also successfully instituted. The worshipping venue was subsequently moved to the Canton Take Away Shop in Portsmouth. As the brethren became zealous in attending services and membership gradually increased, so began the search for a suitable premises for the purpose of worship. The present building was eventually bought in 1985. Financial shortages and complications in the application procedure delayed the restructuring of the building into two storeys until April 1988. The Church in Portsmouth was established at a Dedication cum Spiritual Convocation on 19th September 1989.
In November 1983, in light of the need of the Churches in Newcastle and Sunderland for a resident preacher, Preacher En-Quek Chin, recommended by Deacon Apollos Lee of Malaysia, arrived in the UK to facilitate a post in pastoral work. In 1984, Deacon Joseph Shek, the Religious Affairs Officer of the Church in Edinburgh, being motivated by the love of God went to assist the evangelical work in Africa. God, working with him, imparted upon him a sense of how while the work was plenty, the workers were yet few. Thus, he determined to dedicate himself to lifelong path of service.
General Assembly of the United Kingdom
On 24th October 1989, a National Church Delegates Conference was conducted in the Church in Newcastle; the main proposal of which being the establishment of a General Assembly (GA). After the delegates voted in favour of the proposal, 13 members were elected to serve on the General Assembly Board, and a committee to draft the by-laws, rules and regulations was also elected. Following lengthy discussions by the 1st Term GA Board a formal set of rules and regulations were adopted and dispatched for observance by all the UK churches. The Youth Theological Training Course was initiated in July 1991 in accordance with these to train potential workers in preparation for future church development.