BERLIN – Members of Ocean City Worship Center celebrated the start of construction of their new church with a groundbreaking this week.
More than a decade after purchasing property on Route 50 behind Atlantic Aquatech, the church has now raised enough money to begin construction of a 19,000 square foot worship space and children’s discipleship center. A groundbreaking ceremony held on the site Sunday marked the start of the project.
“We feel blessed and thankful for this opportunity,” said Bryan Pugner, pastor at Ocean City Worship Center.
According to Pugner, when Ocean City Worship Center was created 26 years ago members met in storefronts, schools and other public spaces. The church eventually moved to its current 9,000 square foot space on Route 50 and in 2005 was able to purchase 25 acres slightly further east on the highway.
“We were looking for something in Berlin close to where we’re currently at,” he said, “and we didn’t just want a church. We wanted a campus.”
He said that for years church members had wanted a place where they could worship but also spend time together.
“We wanted a facility that was going to be great for young families, where kids could run around and be safe,” Pugner said. “We wanted a place for families to have fun and for kids to run. This piece of property was perfect for us.”
He said that the property had a pond and that the church had erected a fire pit and a small storage space on the site in recent years.
“All the while we’ve been making plans and saving for this building,” he said.
Sunday’s groundbreaking marked the start of construction of the property’s centerpiece, the worship center.
Pugner said the 19,000 square foot building would house a large worship center–able to seat about 100 more people than the church’s existing space–as well as offices, a nursery, a fellowship area and space for children’s discipleship. The project, which is being handled by Regional Builders of Seaford, Del., is expected to take 10 months to a year to complete.
“Our church has looked forward to this for a long time,” Pugner said. “It’s going to be a really great place for the church family.”
In addition to the new building, the church also has plans to build softball fields, a basketball court and other recreation features on the site. Pugner said that while the church hasn’t yet raised all of the $3 million the project will cost, members have consistently supported the fundraising effort.
“Most of it has come from average people giving faithfully,” he said. “It added up over the years.”
Ocean City Worship Center currently has about 450 members who attend its three Sunday services. Pugner says the congregation will be able to grow as the new campus is developed.
“We’re making more space for people looking for a great church,” he said.