The Laestadian revival came to Esse in the early 1870s. It gained its strongest foothold in Ytteresse. It got there via people from Kokkola, who visited their relatives at Punsar farm groups. Services were held first in the homes, but as the number of believers grew, the homes became too crowded and they decided to build their own prayer house. The house, a log building, was purchased in Evijärvi, and had an area of 170 m2. The prayer house was built in 1909, which is why the congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary on November 22, 2009.
The number of believers in Esse was at the same level for quite some time, but from the 1960s the crowd began to grow again, which is why the old prayer house became too tiny. A new and larger prayer house was taken into use in 1996. The new prayer house is 836 m2 and has 505 seats.
A history of Punsar prayer house and the Laestadian revival in Esse, was published in book form in connection with the 100th anniversary.
Listen, my people, to my teaching; tilt your ears toward the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a proverb. I’ll declaire riddles from days long gone – ones that we’ve heard and learned about, ones that our ancestors told us. We won’t hide them from their descendants; we’ll tell the next generation all about the praise due the LORD and his strength – the wondrous works God has done. He established a law for Jacob and set up Instruction for Israel, ordering our ancestors to teach them to their children. This is so that the next generation and children not yet born will know these things, and so they can rise up and tell their children.