Dream Center: Bringing New Light to Oak Cliff’s Historic Gospel Lighthouse Church

April 28, 2022

Dallas-based Merriman Anderson Architects (MAA) are beginning phase two of renovations to the Gospel Lighthouse Church in Oak Cliff. Recently named to the National Register of Historic Places, the main sanctuary building with its distinctive round shape and lighthouse on the rooftop will find new life as the home of a community support nonprofit. 

Located in the 1900 block of South Ewing Avenue, the sanctuary and a single-family home on the property are being repurposed for 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.

The sanctuary, which opened in 1950, will house Dream Center Dallas’ meeting hall, offices, a large commercial kitchen, and food services. The MAA team is working on making the historic building watertight and adding an elevator. The restrooms are being redesigned, as is the kitchen. The whole building will be refinished.

The single-family home, recently damaged in a fire, will be renovated and transformed into a coffee shop, Eleven32 Brew.

Both buildings are adjacent to the original Gospel Lighthouse Church sanctuary, built in 1941, which is currently under renovation to be used for Dream Center functions.

“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,” said MAA Principal and Team Leader Jennifer Picquet-Reyes in a statement. “Since this project is a State of Texas Historic Tax Credit Project, our team has collaborated with the Texas Historical Commission to ensure the buildings adhere to the historic building standards.”

Church’s design inspired by Lighthouse Movement

The Gospel Lighthouse Church was founded by J.C. Hibbard, who was inspired by California evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the Pentacostal Foursquare Church. The Dallas buildings’ lighthouse motifs are symbolic of McPherson’s Lighthouse Movement, according to the Texas Historical Commission. The 1950 building’s lighthouse included a blue beacon. Its Modern Classicist style resembles McPherson’s columned Angeles Temple, which will celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2023.

The connection between the Gospel Lighthouse Church and 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 nondenominational church based in Allen, with additional campuses in Wylie and Frisco.

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