By the Grace of God, we started as the Sheffield Chinese Christian Fellowship (SCCF) in the front room of the home of Raymond and Ivy Heng in 1972. Since then, by His faithfulness, the fellowship has grown into an established church, SCCC, with three congregations, Cantonese, English and Mandarin, worshiping on Sundays in our church building at Anns Road, Heeley.
In the early days we only had students from the University and nurses from the hospitals meeting with us for Bible study, prayer and fellowship in English. We were greatly blessed by having brothers and sisters from the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission (COCM), Birmingham Chinese Christian Fellowship, and Manchester Chinese Christian Fellowship, often visiting and encouraging us. God continued to bless the ministry and we grew rapidly.
We hosted the first COCM Interfellowship Consultation in UK in 1973 in the former YMCA buildings and had Chinese Christian Churches and Fellowships sending delegations from all over UK attending as well as COCM staff and missionaries from UK and Europe. This continues today as the COCM International Consultation With representatives of COCM Boards sent from all over the world attending.
We also hosted the first North England Easter Conference (NEEC) of all the northern England Chinese churches and fellowships at Cliff College near Sheffield in 1974. Originally organised in English, the annual conference now includes Cantonese and Mandarin speakers and participants, and include parents, youth and children in large numbers.
By the sovereignty of God, in December 1976, we were able to purchase our own property, our Church Centre, a large house near the University of Sheffield at 12 Watson Road, Broomhill. This was bought through a personal loan and regular gifts from brothers who were university students, living in the accommodation provided in the Centre. From this Centre many were blessed and today many continue to remember the warm fellowship we had, with fond memories, and continue to visit us regularly.
We then started our Sunday School to reach out to the Chinese families living in Sheffield, teaching the Chinese parents the English language, and teaching the children Cantonese according to the wishes of their parents. Our Hongkong and Malaysian students, who spoke Cantonese, were instrumental to reaching out to them and as the work grew, we hired the rooms in the previous YMCA building in Broomhall (now the Collegiate campus of Sheffield Hallam University) for this ministry.
From the Sunday School ministry outreach in the YMCA buildings, God blessed as some parents began to meet with us for prayer and Bible study, and the Cantonese fellowship was started. Many of the children are now adults, married and parents themselves.
God continued to bless the church and it multiplied and grew, and we were able to register as a charity for legal purposes in 1990. We also bought the church building at Anns Road, Heeley in March 1991 to accommodate our ministry. It is a massive church building previously used by the Methodist Christians, very well maintained, but no longer used by the large congregations that used to worship there. By the grace of God, we managed to use all the rooms for our worship services, Sunday School classes and Youth Topic ministry.
Yes, by obedience to the calling of God, what started as a little mustard seed in our home has indeed grown into a large tree – Mark 4:31&32.
Many brothers and sisters-in-Christ have come and gone since 1972, reborn and revived, and many continue to serve Him faithfully in their home countries today.
This is the very brief history of our church until now and there are many more great testimonies not possible to be recorded here. However, I believe that the best is still yet to be. By the same grace of God, one day this church will be the Bible-loving, praying, and obedient church, He wants it to be, the pure and radiant bride of the returning Christ, on that glorious day.
May all the glory be given to Him.