In a field along Calvary Road, ground was broken for a new sanctuary that the Lighthouse Christian Center has been working to build for 13 years.

In a field along Calvary Road, ground was broken for a new sanctuary that the Lighthouse Christian Center has been working to build for 13 years.

On Sunday, approximately 400 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate a new two-story 41,000-square-foot sanctuary that will feature a hospitality center with a bookstore, a nursery, classrooms and a large auditorium.

There will also be two additional buildings, one to be used as a youth center and the other for music and drama, as many members of the congregation of the Lighthouse Christian Center are actively involved with faith-centered arts.

The event began in a 100-car procession from the current location of Lighthouse Christian Center on Milford-Harrington Highway to the new site on Calvary Road, near the intersection of Del. Route 1 and U.S. Route 113.

During Sunday’s ceremony, as those in attendance heard speeches by local and state representatives, Senior Pastor Royce Andrus called the crowd’s attention to two large birds circling above the field. He said they were eagles, and a positive sign from God that a long-awaited project was finally underway.

Construction is slated to begin in December, Andrus said, and hopes the first building will be completed within 10 months. The second and third buildings will not be complete until a later date, he said.

So much space is needed because the congregation is growing so quickly, Andrus said.

“We have outgrown our present facilities,” he said. “We have worked on this project for 13 years and in that time our congregation has grown dramatically.”

Lighthouse Christian Center was founded in 1972 by Royce and his wife, Glenda, who moved to Milford from Louisiana and started the church in the former Kiwanis Club building. Since then, the congregation has grown to more than 600 members, Andrus said.

The Lighthouse Christian Center has put its current building on the market, the pastor said.

Royce Andrus’s son, Joel, who is also a pastor at Lighthouse Christian Center, said he hopes that the building will be a beacon for the community, as its prime location along Del. Route 1 near the Hampton Inn will allow for increased visibility for the church.

“Our hope is to become a lighthouse for all people,” Joel Andrus said before the groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday. “This is a diverse group of people coming together for one reason and this is a moment we’ve been waiting for so many years.”

Royce Andrus said the Lighthouse Christian Center has been active in the Milford community for 42 years and hopes that a new location with plenty of room will increase the church’s ability to become involved with the community.

“Our grounds are going to benefit the community by furnishing activities for youth,” Royce Andrus said. “We’re building with the fact in mind that we’re reaching our community, our city.”