In 1997 the leadership of the Queen Street Bible Church (Open Brethren) decided to move away from the traditional church facility and model.
This led them to close the old church, and to plant a contemporary church with modern music, in a rented community facility, that would reach out to unchurched people with the life saving message of Jesus Christ.
Church planter Torrey Hilton, his wife Sue & their four children moved to Masterton to help establish the church in the role of Senior Pastor, along with associate and teaching Pastor Bevan Smith, his wife Audrey and their three children.
Youth Pastor Steve Adams, his wife Claire and their three children joined the team to take care of the vibrant Lighthouse Youth.
It was a small beginning as around 40 people planned for their first meeting in the now closed Harley Street School hall.
Six months after the start, we moved to Makoura College hall to make room for growth; this is where the people gathered for Sunday services and other events for the next 10 years.
The LH offices were based in the centre of town at 174 Queen St. The old Bible Church building continued to be used primarily as a youth facility until it was sold.
After a long search, much prayer and planning, and a strong desire to impact our community by loving Christ and loving others, The Lighthouse Church Charitable Trust & Harvest Trust, together purchased the Sedgely Family Centre, October 2005, at 23 Intermediate St.
This was an ideal building and location for The Lighthouse to consolidate the church’s activities to one location.
The offices moved soon after the purchase, youth activities brought the building to life and plans were developed for a new purpose built auditorium, cafe and youth hall to be added to the existing facility.
With planning underway, more capital was required to see the project through to completion. On 20th August 2006 - our people had a special Storehouse Sunday; each having prayerfully considered how and what they could contribute to building funds.
Money was pledged in many ways; selling of assets to contribute proceeds, savings donated, utilising tax refunds and rebates to name a few.
Many pledged their time and expertise - tradies gifted their professional services during the build process, while others supplied refreshments for the troops.
This service was one of thanksgiving to the Lord for His bountiful provision for us and through the prayer, vision, generosity, faith and hard work of our people, it enabled us to have the amazing facility we still enjoy today.
By November 2006, the building work commenced.
Much of the painting and finishing work was done by many of our own faithful Lighthouse people, including the late Ted Nikolaison, who regularly attended Queen St Bible Chapel, and was a well known local, for his photography business.
The finishing work in the auditorium was not completed in time unfortunately for us to celebrate The Lighthouse Church ten year anniversary and so this was celebrated by a special Sunday service held at Makoura College in March 2007.
In May 2007, it was time to say goodbye to Makoura College hall.
Here ended 10 years of weekly set ups and pack downs of music and tech gear, notice boards, mobile library, carpet rolls, kids club and coffee gear for our people. We were finally able to move our church services to our Intermediate St location.
A special grand opening service was held on 24th June 2007 at which we were privileged to have founder and former pastor Torrey Hilton return to speak on The Lighthouse beginnings and to share the gospel message.
Fast forward to the present day and we are still making improvements to the buildings and grounds as we continue to grow, not just in numbers attending Sunday services, but also in our ability and desire to serve the people of Wairarapa.
Our facilities are used during the week by several community groups and schools, such as Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Porse pre-school music group, St John’s First Aid courses, Solway Primary and Hadlow schools and is home to the Lighthouse run CAP money courses andWairarapa CAP Debt Centre.
More Than Sundays
As a church we believe that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26) and so we remain committed to Reaching the community for Christ by equipping the believers to show the love of God through service and worship.