Ocean City Today

Ocean City Worship Center breaks ground for new home

By Katie Tabeling | Nov 23, 2017
Ocean City Worship Center pastors break ground at their future church along Route 50 last Sunday. The church will be part of a 25-acre campus where families can gather for fun and worship.

(Nov. 24, 2017) The Ocean City Worship Center will have a place to call home soon, as members broke ground on their future church in Berlin on Sunday afternoon.

“It will be a place where lonely people will be found and lost children will come back to the Lord. It’s going to be a place where we pray and God will show up week after week,” Pastor Bryan Pugner told a large crowd.

The 19,000-square-foot worship space will be the congregation’s first dedicated church since its founding in 1992. For years, Pugner and other pastors preached in meeting rooms at local schools, downtown storefronts and boat warehouses before settling down in building next to Casual Designs Furniture off Route 50.

Ocean City Worship Center, a Christian church that follows Assemblies of God fellowship, started fundraising to build a permanent church seven years ago.

“When I first came to this church 14 years ago, we had $12 in the general fund and $190,000 in the building fund. We weren’t moving anytime soon,” Pugner said. “We bought 25 acres of property for $210,000. That’s a God thing.”

Through several fundraisers and capital campaigns, the Ocean City Worship Center raised and invested $1.8 million for the property. Of that total, $600,000 is invested in stormwater management and forest conversation before actual construction starts.

Pugner hopes that once the church is built it will become a place where his congregation can meet as a community, not just for Sunday worship.

In the back of the property is a pavilion, a children’s playground, a fire pit, a beach volleyball court and a three-acre pond. After the church is built, two baseball fields will also be outlined on the land.

There is also building that will serve as meeting space, such as for birthday parties or other gatherings.

The church itself will serve as a worship space, disciple space, fellowship area, offices and a nursery. Overall, the construction cost is estimated at $5 million, well beyond the $2 million the church leaders could afford. But Pugner said the community and area businesses such as Regional Builders of Seaford, Delaware, rallied to make the dream come true.

“We’re really excited to be part of this, and I know you’ve been waiting for a long time,” said Barry Neal, vice president of field operation of Regional Builders. “This is going to be in the budget you want it to be, and we look forward to coming to the first service.”

In the ceremony’s final moments, Pugner thanked his congregation and reminded members that they were still united in faith, even without a brick-and-mortar place to meet.

“This has never, ever been about the building. It’s been about God and the people,” he said. “You believed that God had something better planned for us, and you put your skin in the game through prayer and giving.

“Moving forward, our prayer is simply this: let all the praise and glory go to God for great things that he has done,” he added.

The Ocean City Worship Center’s new church is on track to open its doors by winter 2018.

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