The predecessors of the Church members came to acquaintance at meetings organised by the Portsmouth Polytechnic Christian Fellowship. At that time, none of them had any thought of setting up other Christian activities as this group of freshly arrived foreign students was just settling in Portsmouth, busy adapting themselves to the British way of life and the new studying environment. It was not until around early 1974 when two Christian lecturers of the Portsmouth Polytechnic organized country walks and international evenings for foreign students. It was during these activities and meetings that the idea of forming a Chinese Christian Fellowship was suggested. The Portsmouth Christian Fellowship (PCCF) came into being in October 1974. The numbers that attended varied from 10 to as many as 20 or more. The numbers met to study the Bible and to listen to Scripture Expositions by guest speakers. By October 1976, numbers attending the meetings grew substantially, sometimes numbering as many as 30. Speakers were invited from the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission to speak and to counsel the members and non Christian friends.
Fellowship Committees were formed by brothers and sisters who willingly volunteered their time and energy to ensure the smooth running of the fellowship.
In early 1977, the Fellowship returned to the student flat where they had met previously. Meetings were held on the premises regularly until the end of summer 1978.
At the end of 1983, the PCCF started to meet in the upper hall of Eastney Evangelical Free Church.
It was sometime in 1990 that the Fellowship moved to St. Luke’s Church, located at the city centre close to the main railway station and students’ halls of residence.
The composition of the members had been changing gradually since the change in venue. The majority was no longer overseas students as some ex-students settled in Portsmouth and more local Chinese joined the Fellowship. The number of local Chinese members increased significantly in 1995 and this also increased the number of children who came to the meetings.
In 1996, the Fellowship became bi-lingual to meet the needs of the different groups.
The work of evangelism among the students was going strong through what has become the annual Student Gospel Camp at Isle of Wight since 1990.
Similarly, outreach to the local Chinese was encouraged by short-term mission teams with the Deepwell Emmanuel Church in Hong Kong who pledged to support us as partners in the gospel for three years from 1997-1999.
As the number of local Chinese members continued to increase, the Sunday School ministry began in 1996. We also started regular meetings for the Lord’s Supper and held annual retreat camps. In order to provide a spiritual home for the Chinese Speaking Christians in Portsmouth, striving to offer opportunity for those Christians who wished to serve in the Church, the Fellowship started to pray for God’s guidance in its future direction and the move towards becoming a church was slowly coming together .
By 1998 it became clear that the time had come to take the step of faith to become a Church. By God’s grace, this became a reality on 1 August 1999 when the Portsmouth Chinese Christian Fellowship officially became the Portsmouth Chinese Christian Church.
2000 and beyond
The work of evangelism and discipleship to students and the local Chinese continues as God graciously provided the church with a short term missionary for six months and He continues to support and encourage the church through a network of speakers and helpers both locally and nationally.
Meetings continued to take place at St Luke’s Church throughout most of the 2000’s. By about 2008, we started praying for God’s guidance about purchasing our own premises. Between 2008 and 2010, there were opportunities to view several potential properties but none were suitable.
We began to see an increase of young immigrant families from mainland China and the opportunities of sharing the gospel of Christ with them. At the same time, God revealed to us further the need to find a place of our own that was more suitable.
By the summer of 2010 the Wesley Centre located in Fratton, very close to the city centre of Portsmouth, became available on the property market. Through prayer and faith, our offer for this property was accepted and although the legal paperwork would take many months to complete, God was gracious and opened the door for us to start using this property in January 2011, just two months after the offer was accepted!
We can only testify to God’s gracious provision for His people. We have never lacked any good things from our Lord to whom we give our thanks and praise. There will be many challenges which we will face as a Church, but we will fix our eyes on Jesus and remain faithful and obedient to the work that He has called us into.
We value your prayer support.