More than six weeks after a tornado destroyed their house of worship, members of Lighthouse Church are well on their way to rebuilding it.
The hardest-hit structure in Midlothian during the Oct. 20 tornado was Lighthouse Church on North 9th Street, near U.S. Highway 67. The church was virtually flattened by an EF-1 twister with 100-mph winds, just hours after church members had hosted a dinner in the now-demolished fellowship hall. The roof was ripped off the main auditorium, windows were shattered and debris was strewn everywhere.
In a blog post on the Lighthouse website, lead pastor Dan Cooper said the church is waiting on the engineer’s report on the main building to find out whether the structure is sound enough to be saved. The slab where the offices once stood has been cleared and repairs to the church’s Healing Center are underway.
The church’s buildings were insured, but $20,000 will need to be raised to cover the deductible. However, the church also operates Lighthouse Coffee, a not-for-profit coffee house not far from the church grounds at the corner of 9th and U.S. 67. Lighthouse Coffee’s proceeds normally benefit local causes, but the church will be able to use funds raised from sales to help rebuild the structure.
In the meantime, Sunday services are being held at J.A. Vitovsky Elementary School, a short distance to the east.
“We have met at J.A. Vitovsky Elementary twice, and both times the sense of family and most importantly, God’s Presence, have been evident. We are so grateful for this space to meet!” Cooper said.
“Lighthouse Kids,” the children’s church, is occupying a room at the front of Lighthouse Coffee.
The tornado may have taken their church building, but Lighthouse’s activities continue.
Seven from the church are currently in Rio Bravo, Mexico on a mission, and on Wednesday members were set to go to Dallas’ International Street Church to distribute food, clothing and personal care items to those who are in need. Dallas was hit especially hard by the Oct. 20 storms, with an EF-3 devastating parts of the Preston Hollow area.
“A lovely missionary from England, Tracy Jenkins, encouraged us by saying, ‘You are the church without walls, and many of us around the world are watching with anticipation as God’s plan unfolds, ‘ ” Cooper said.
“This was God’s plan all along: that we would all be a ‘church without walls.’ “