By Terry Rogers
On April 9, Lighthouse Christian Center cut the ribbon for an official opening of the much-anticipated new sanctuary just north of Milford. On Easter Sunday, the church held their official Grand Opening, an event that was attended by more than 800 people, according to Reverend Royce Andrus, pastor of the church.
“The church facility was officially completed February 26, 2017 and, at the beginning of March, we had a soft opening,” Reverend Andrus said. “On March 17 and 18, we held the ECYC Youth Convention which was attended by hundreds of young people from New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York, bringing hundreds to the Milford area.”
During the ribbon cutting and grand opening, Reverend Andrus said that the church recognized special guests, contractors, bank executives and others who helped them achieve their vision. The new church features a significant number of windows, something that Reverend Andrus’ wife envisioned when they were planning the new building. According to her son, Pastor Joel Andrus, his mother pictured a church full of light and the new church brings her vision to reality. The entrance of the church features large windows and a dome above the entrance also brings in natural light. It seats over 1,100 people and will eventually seat more than 2,000. There is a fellowship hall, coffee lounge, bookstore, Heritage Room, prayer rooms, Sunday School rooms and an executive office suite.
Reverend Andrus said that the church has come a long way since they began in 1971. Pastor Andrus and his wife came to Delaware from Louisiana that year after serving as evangelists in various parts of the world during the first two years of their marriage. They came to the state to build a church on the East Coast, beginning services in the Kiwanis Building. Reverend Andrus said that he and his wife were the pastors, the secretaries and the janitors, setting up chairs every Sunday and taking them down after service. In 1976, they moved to their former location on Milford-Harrington Highway, which has been sold.
“Our growth indicated that it was time for a new building and we purchased the land for the new sanctuary in 1999,” Reverend Andrus said. “We subdivided parts of the land for residential and commercial lots, retaining acreage for this church, a school and a youth facility. A portion was sold to the Hampton Inn and residential lots are still available for sale in our Lighthouse Estates subdivision.”
The church was paid for through donations in an effort to build the sanctuary as debt-free as possible. Reverend Andrus said that the next project on the land is to build a school and to eventually build a youth center as well. The church is available for weddings, conferences and conventions. Reverend Andrus said that the church will host a national conference for the deaf and the “Time of Harvest” conference is planned for the fall.