In 1853 John Sutton of Islington, London, came to Southend for the benefit of his health. The story goes that having ridden over to Prittlewell one day, he enquired of the barber where the Truth was preached:
"The truth, sir,"replied the barber,
"if you are searching for the Truth you will not find it in Prittlewell! But if you go to Southchurch, about two and a half miles from here, you will find a few poor people who meet in a room and one of the brethren speaks to them".
The next Sunday Sutton, went to Southchurch and found the small congregation which was then presided over by one Anthony Smith, a thatcher and gardener, of Shopland; a self-taught man. Sutton was so impressed by what he found that he became a great supporter of the cause, and, having purchased some land in East Street, Prittlewell, built a chapel, which opened on Sunday, June 19th 1854 and so it was that the work at Providence began.
(If you are wondering what 'Providence' means, it is a word that describes the 'foreseeing care and guardianship of God'. The founders of this church felt it best suited their experience of God and his amazing provision of the land and building).
Over the following years the congregation grew, and in 1893, the original chapel was demolished and the present one was built, with further extensions in 1906 and 1912.
We are thankful to God for those who in earlier times had a vision for a work in Prittlewell and who down through the years sought to serve God faithfully. We in our own day are similarly seeking to serve God as a community of his people and trust that we shall be able to faithfully pass the baton on to following generations.