In 1971 brother Lin-Heung Lai was the first member of the True Jesus Church to reside in Portsmouth. His wife and three of his children joined him in January of the following year. Shortly after their arrival, brother Tin-Po Lai also settled down in Portsmouth with his wife. By 1978 brother Mun-Yau Ho and his family had moved down from Newcastle making the total number of believers to about a dozen. Although the membership grew steadily they were only concerned about making a living and had no intention of any fellowship gathering.
Thanks be to God's wonderful arrangement, Deacon Silas Chan visited the brethren in Portsmouth after attending the Newcastle Spiritual Convocation in July 1977. Through this visit, the first Sabbath worship was held in brother Lin-Heung Lai's restaurant, marking the beginning of Sabbath worship in this area. By this time members had grown to around twenty.
In 1978 brother Yung Liu (present Deacon Mark Liu) moved to Portsmouth from Kent. However, due to transportation problems, the family could not attend the fellowship gathering in Bognor Regis. At that very moment Deacon Simon Hsu happened to be visiting the brethren in Portsmouth and he exhorted them with God's words. A congregational meeting was held shortly afterwards and the Portsmouth Prayer House was established on 7th September 1978. The number of believers had increased to 31 and the place of worship was transferred to Deacon Mark Liu's takeaway.
Since the establishment of the Prayer House, believers continued to grow gradually. Religious Education classes were set up and soon the congregation realised that the place of worship was no longer sufficient for their growing demand. Therefore the church agreed on the need to search for a suitable place of worship. However, no immediate action was taken until 1982 when the church building committee was eventually formed under the encouragement and support of ministers. The resolution to search for suitable property was made and much positive action was taken. Many buildings were viewed and applications were made to the local district council but to no avail.
However, God has his own will and time for everything. In October 1984 a suitable building (the present premises), which could be converted for ecclesiastical purposes, was found. Just then the council happen to receive an application for the conversion of a Methodist Church into residential use. The council then advised the church building members on the suitability of the building for church use. But after much negotiation the plan to purchase the Methodise Church had to be abandoned because of fierce competition for the property.
In August 1985, the proposal to purchase the present premises was passed after a church board meeting. But worries arose on learning that the property owner had already accepted the deposit of another buyer. With one heart and one mind the members prayed earnestly for this matter. Truly, the Lord hearkened to the cries of His people. In July, the property owner decided to sell the building to the True Jesus Church and so declined the original buyer's offer by refunding him the deposit. On 16th October, all legal matters were finalised.
After acquiring the building, only small portion of her was refurbished due to insufficient fund. On 25th December, the congregation moved into the new church, and a special service was held. Many were moved and touched by the grace and mercy of the Lord.
Having moved into the new building, proposals of reconstruction was passed and approved by the church. Plans were drawn up to convert the building into two storeys. The upper storey was to be used as a chapel while the lower story was to be divided into a multi-purpose hall, classrooms and kitchen. Under the blessings of the Lord and through the constant prayers of the brethren, procedures for the refurbishment were carried out smoothly and assuredly. The renovation work began in April 1988 and was completed on the 19th March 1989. Praise the Lord.