Bringing New Light to Oak Cliff’s Historic Gospel Lighthouse Church » Dallas Innovates

Dallas breaks new ground in the Innovative Spaces SeriesDallas-based Merriman Anderson Architects is beginning the second phase of renovations to Gospel Lighthouse Church in Oak Cliff. Recently named to the National Register of Historic Places, the main shrine building with its distinctive round shape and rooftop lighthouse will find new life as the headquarters of a nonprofit community support organization.

Located in the 1900 block of South Ewing Avenue, the sanctuary and a single-family home on the property are being repurposed to Dream Center Dallas, which, in partnership with Church Eleven32, provides resources and services to address homelessness, poverty, addiction, hunger, abuse and human trafficking in Dallas.

Sanctuary opened in 1950

The historic Gospel Lighthouse Church opened in 1950. [Photo provided by Merriman Anderson Architects]

The sanctuary, which opened in 1950, will house the Dream Center Dallas meeting hall, offices, a large commercial kitchen and catering services. The MAA team is working on waterproofing the historic building and adding an elevator. The toilets are redesigned, as is the kitchen. The whole building will be renovated.

The single-family home, recently damaged by fire, will be renovated and converted into a café, Eleven32 Brew.

Both buildings are adjacent to the original Gospel Lighthouse Church sanctuary, built in 1941, which is currently being renovated for use for Dream Center functions.

MAA collaborated with the Texas Historical Commission

A single-family home on the property will be converted into a cafe. [Rendering: Merriman Anderson Architects]

“Our team is honored to renovate these historic buildings in Dallas and provide a home for the support Dream Center Dallas provides to our community,” MAA Principal and Team Leader Jennifer Picquet-Reyes said in a statement. “Because this project is a Texas State Historic Tax Credit Project, our team worked with the Texas Historical Commission to ensure the buildings met historic building standards.”

Church design inspired by the Lighthouse Movement

Gospel Lighthouse Church was founded by JC Hibbard, inspired by California evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of Pentacostal Foursquare Church. According to the Texas Historical Commission, the lighthouse designs of Dallas buildings are symbolic of the McPherson Lighthouse Movement. The 1950 building’s lighthouse included a blue beacon. Its modern classic style resembles McPherson’s columned Temple of Angeles, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023.

The connection between the Gospel Lighthouse Church and the Angeles Temple continues today. Dream Center Dallas is affiliated with Dream Center Los Angeles, which partners with Angeles Temple Church. Dream Center Dallas partners with Church Eleven32, a non-denominational church based in Allen, with additional campuses in Wylie and Frisco.

In the 1970s, the Gospel Lighthouse Church moved to a new location overlooking Lake Mountain Creek at the intersection of Walton Walker and Illinois Avenue, where it still holds services. The buildings on Ewing Avenue were later used by the Full Gospel Holy Temple (FGHT) and later by Faith Memorial Church.

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