A Brief History...
Everyone has a history. It helps us to know where we’ve come and can inspire us to face the future with confidence and hope.
Hutton Free Church has its origins over 160 years ago. Local people started meeting for worship in the woodshed of a house called Caprons, on Rayleigh Road, before moving to another house, West View, on Hanging Hill Lane. By 1860 the church had put up its first building on the corner of Hanging Hill Lane and Hall Green Lane, Hutton, next door to where it is now. It was called Hutton Mission and was established as a joint outreach project by the then Brentwood Congregational [now United Reformed] Church and Brentwood Methodist Church. Later on we changed to our present name, 'Hutton Free Church'.
By 1900 church numbers had grown so that the existing wooden structure was too small and a proper brick building was put up on next door site. It opened in 1906 and is the worship centre you see today. In the 1970s, the halls complex and a front foyer were added.
However the church is about people and not a building. For much of the first half of the twentieth century, Hutton Free had been supported by the Shenfield and Hutton Union Church but since the 1950s has been fully independent. Hutton Free is linked to the Congregational Federation and the Baptist Union but encourages worshippers of all Christian traditions to come.
In case you wondered, the “Free“ bit is not about money but indicates that the church is independent both financially and in how we manage our day to day running. Thus in order to be financially self-supporting, we do invite those who come to help with the upkeep of the ministry and buildings.
During the 1st World War, the church was used as a recreational centre for troops billeted in this area. In later years local people came along for lantern shows when people talked about their holidays and also social evenings. In the 1930s the church had a scout troop, and after the Second World War opened Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade Companies. Even today the Boys Brigade Company is still active.
In the 1950s and 1960s Hutton Free grew rapidly, as the local population expanded when all the estates were built. This enabled the church to become fully independent, a position which has been maintained to the present day. The church runs a variety of groups covering all ages and the halls are also hired out by various community organisations.
Mindful of its long history, the church continues to be in good heart and is here to welcome all who come. Hutton Free has always been a community-based church and continues to support those in need both spiritually and in their everyday lives.