In the summer of 1917, Mr Albert Williams, a Sunday School superintendant at Addlestone Baptist Church was walking to church and found some children playing in fields near Prairie Road. Mr Williams asked these children why they were not in church, and their reply was they had ‘No clothes fit to wear’ – effectively they were too poor to go to church! Mr Williams’ response was to say ‘If I come here next Sunday afternoon about this time, will you be here?’ They were, a nd so began a Sunday school in a field.
As the autumn came they began to meet in a farmer’s barn until a lady who lived in the cottages known as the barracks in Prairie Road offered the use of her front room. After a while parents started asking for a meeting too, a And the front room soon became too small. So the group moved to a room in the Church Day School which was then in Chapel Road.
By 1918 there was a need to co-ordinate the work in one place. At a similar time Mr Williams was left a legacy of money, and with vision and foresight he purchased a plot of land in Marsh Lane. God gathered people to this work, called the Prairie Mission and they began to meet in a wooden WWI army hut, which was placed on the plot of land in Marsh Lane.
Mr Williams died in 1942, and the church was then led by a group of men including Reginald Sheret, James Justice and James Waterman alongside Lillian Williams (Albert’s wife). In 1966 the wooden hut was replaced with a brick built hall, which was added to with a rear hall and side rooms being built in 1972. It was at this time, when the building was built in 1966, that the church was renamed Marsh Lane Evangelical Church – to reflect its location and type of it had become church. The church changed it’s name again in 1993 to The King’s Church, primarily because it was felt that the name ‘evangelical church’ didn’t fully express the style of the church’s worship.
Throughout the history of the church, children have remained a strong focus. With clubs, classes and even a nursery at one time being a permanent feature of church life.
More recently we felt God leading us to invest in the building in Marsh Lane and renovate it so that it would be fit for it’s purpose as a home for the church and also for a centre that served the local community. A particular emphasis in the building works plan was to enable the building to be used to reach out to the poorer and disadvantaged families in our local area. In many ways we see this as us remaining true to the foundational principals of the church! God’s blessing was with us as we raised over £75,000 in the space of about a year. The renovation work was carried out at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013. (It is also interesting to point out that during this time the church worshipped as a congregation with Addlestone Baptist Church, which was another reminder of our heritage and roots as a church.)
Now the building on Marsh lane is known as The King’s Centre, whilst the church is still called The King’s Church. The King’s Church being the people of the church, whilst The King’s Centre is the place where we meet and minister.
And so the story continues!