Facts About The Gospel Lighthouse

On January 23, 1940, a group of 30 people met and organized the nucleus of what became The Gospel Lighthouse Church.

A huge circus tent was rented and for almost a year members worshipped in the tent church on the very spot where the new Gospel Lighthouse Church building now stands.

The entire 1900 block of South Ewing Avenue in Dallas became property of the church, including a home on the south side where the maintenance man lived.  A square block just back of the church, from Georgia to Louisiana was purchased for a parking lot.

In April of 1943, a daily Prayer Group was organized with 200 hours of pledged prayers going before God for the hundreds of requests that came into the office each day.

The most imperative problem faced immediately after first organizing the church was locating a place to worship.


For a few weeks the 30 member congregation met in the auditorium of the Roger Q. Mills Elementary School.  Then a large circus tent with a sawdust floor was rented and erected on the exact spot where the new (1st building) was under construction.  The church met in the tent for almost one year while construction of a permanent place of worship was in progress.

Brother Hibbard was janitor, contractor, builder and preacher at that time.  The debts were large and the funds low, but they were reminded of the poem, Fight On:

   If all were easy, if all were bright,
   Where would the cross be?
   Where be the fight?
   But in the hard place, God gives to you
   Chances for proving what HE can do!

During a bitter cold night in December the workers were frantically trying to get a sub-flooring and some forms up to break the biting wind.  For several weeks the work had not ceased on the new building.

As Brother Hibbard, clad in khaki pants, high-top boots and leather gloves was hammering away, working with the rest of the men on the night shift, a frantic mother came dashing up the ladder bringing with her an only son with a twisted arm.  The child was unable to move either his hand or arm.  Brother Hibbard, together with a number of men who were working, removed their hats and prayed a simple prayer, asking the Lord to heal the boy.  Just as he turned to resume his work, shouts of joy rang and echoed through the stillness of the night.  Everyone turned around and with tears streaming down her cheeks, the mother shouted, "God has healed my boy!"  About that time the boy picked up a hammer and began pulling nails from a piece of lumber.  His arm and hand had been instantly made perfectly whole.  That was the beginning of the ministry of divine healing at the Gospel Lighthouse Church.

First Gospel Lighthouse Building

By January 23, 1941, the first church that would seat 600 people with a full basement below was completed.  The large circus tent that for several months had served as a temporary church was vacated.  A tornado that came during those desperate days with murky clouds and terrifying wind.  The lightning through the dark clouds was devastating and the strong winds worked havoc on everything in its path.  Brother Hibbard ran out into the storm in an attempt to loosen the tent ropes and secure the stakes, but the storm collapsed the tent just as he got there, tearing a huge hole that required a large repair bill.  So when the new church was completed and the tent could be taken down, they were filled with joy and praised God for what had been accomplished.  Approximately 3 years later notes were paid, clearing the church of all indebtedness.

The crowds increased and God's blessings continued.  Additional lots were purchased for church parking until finally all the lots in the 1900 block of South Ewing Avenue were purchased for church use.  As Pastor and Nell Hibbard sought the Lord, they felt impressed to believe Him for additional time on the air over radio station KSKY.

The Radio Ministry

Brother Hibbard had conducted a program on Sunday only for a couple of years, but as they prayed, they felt the assurance that God was going to give them more air time for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  On December 6, 1942, they started their first daily broadcasts, except Sunday.  The needed finance for the first week of radio time was literally paid for in pennies.  Every service the people emptied their pockets and purses of any pennies they might have, and thus the good work continued.

For the first few weeks, Nell Hibbard answered all the mail, but as time went on, one full-time stenographer was hired.  Then as the mail increased, additional secretaries were added.

In April of 1943 a daily prayer group was organized.  The war was raging at that time and many mothers, fathers, wives and others found their way to the alters of The Gospel Lighthouse Prayer Band.  God in His infinite love and mercy comforted, worked out problems, encouraged believers and healed all manner of sickness and diseases.  The Prayer Band pledged to pray for hours each day as hundreds of requests poured into the church office.  They were each placed on request sheets and the Lord was sought in earnest and sincere prayer regarding each individual prayer request.

The prayer requests mailed in for the year of 1944 numbered 88,922, in 1945 they reached 106,102, in 1946 there were 186,512, in 1947 there were 214,758, in 1948 there were 197,673 and in 1949 there were 224,315 requests for prayer sent in.


The results were very encouraging.  Thousands of testimonies were on file at the church office that had been sent in from listeners telling of miraculous deliverances from all types of sickness, malignant diseases, and various afflictions and infirmities.  Thousands of testimonies with details of miraculous deliverance from habits, such as alcohol craving and tobacco were received after the requests were prayed over.  Mail began coming from all parts of the United States and some from Canada, Central America and other areas of the world.  Every letter was answered.

A commissary was maintained to help the under-privileged and destitute.  Clothes, shoes, bedding and other necessities were supplied so far as possible.  The welfare workers donated their time and all calls were investigated.  The most needful things were supplied first.  During Christmas an extra effort was made to supply more needs and many bulging baskets filled with nutritious food were delivered to poverty-stricken families.  Inadequate space greatly hindered the work in this department, but in the new Gospel Lighthouse more room would be provided.

The New Gospel Lighthouse Building

After months of prayer seeking God's guidance and hours each day of planning, Rev. J.C. Hibbard designed the new Gospel Lighthouse building and then took his simple basic sketches on plain writing paper to a professional architect to draw plans.  However, after going over his sketches and after speaking with Rev. Hibbard about his  intensions for the structure, the architect said that it couldn't be done.  Well, this was the wrong thing to say to J.C. Hibbard, only because he knew he had been given exact instructions from the Lord.  One of his favorite poems was called It Couldn't Be Done:

   Somebody said it couldn't be done
   But he with a chuckle replied,
   Maybe it couldn't but I wouldn't be the one to say so till I tried.
   So he buckled right in with a bit of a grin, and if he worried, he hid it
   And he started to sing as he tackled the thing
   That couldn't be done, and he did it.

   There's thousands to tell you it cannot be done
   There's thousands to prophecy failure,
   There's thousands to tell you one by one the dangers that await to assail you.
   But with a lift of the chin and a bit of a grin, if he doubted he quit it.
   And he started to sings as he tackled the thing,
   That couldn't be done and he did it.

Up until 1948 the "Self-Supporting Dome" was only a theory in the schools of architecture and engineering throughout the world.  At that time in our architectural history, spans over large areas more than 30 feet or so were made by large, bulky wood or steel beams supported by interior columns.  There was a theory that larger spans could be made by mathematically calculated domes or elliptical structures that could support their own weight without collapsing, provided they were made with the right materials.  These "Self-Supporting Domes" at that time in our history were possible in theory only since nothing like this had ever been done before.

J.C. Hibbard had exceedingly strong faith in God and knew that he had been given these instructions from Him personally.  In fact, there weren't even any plans such as these available in any textbook or engineering manuals anywhere in the world at that time.  So this young preacher, knowing that God never does anything second class, set out to do what was only theory or "impossible" to design since there were no city, county or state codes available to use as construction guidelines and procedures.

After extensive research, meetings and discussions with other architects, designers and engineers, his architect eventually told him that he could indeed draw the plans and obtain the permits, but he would need $10,000.00 to accomplish this task.  That was a lot of money at that time.  Rev. Hibbard told him to design and draw up the plans, and when he was finished, he would have the $10,000.00. 


It took several months, but when the plans had finally been drawn, Rev. Hibbard handed the architect the money and immediately launched the building program.

In 1948, approximately 4,000 people were present for the ground breaking ceremony for the new Gospel Lighthouse Church.  With every branch and department of the current church overcrowded, the construction of the new building soon began.  The general structure was to be unique and made round in the shape of a lighthouse.  It was the only type of construction if its kind anywhere in the United States.  Three main entrances with three double-doors made of heavy plate aluminum and brass were planned.  The tower would be covered with aluminum and have a revolving effect neon tubing enveloping it.

A full basement was planned for large assembly halls and approximately 50 Sunday School rooms in addition to commissary space and a prayer room 24 feet wide and 60 feet long where an unbroken prayer chain would be going 24/7 for all the thousands of requests mailed and phoned in.  After several months of construction, the new Gospel Lighthouse building was completed.




● From the ground to the top of the tower is 79 feet and 2 inches high plus a full-size basement below.

● A wall 10 feet high, one foot thick and 3,241 feet long could be made from the amount of concrete used in the construction of the Gospel Lighthouse.

● Alter space occupies 2,568 feet in various parts of the building.

● There are 5,341 feet of cold cathode neon tubing in the building.

● Five large rooms were set aside exclusively for prayer and supplication to the Lord.

● 110 tons of iced air furnishes air conditioning for the summer and steam heat is provided for the winter.

● 30,366 square feet of floor space was utilized for comfort and a spiritual atmosphere.

● The Civil Defense Department in Dallas designated and classified the building as an effective bomb shelter during the "Cold War" in case of air raids.


The main auditorium was round with a balcony and mezzanine floor.  The large circular dome of the main auditorium was self-supporting and equipped with circular coves for indirect lighting.  The 30,266 square foot building cost nearly a half-million dollars to complete and was fully paid for prior to the dedication service.  There was a record-breaking crowd of 2,973 in Sunday School that morning.  With extra seats the main auditorium would seat approximately 2,000 people.

What all the experts said couldn't be done was now a reality and changed engineering textbooks and design manuals worldwide.  Was it strong?  It was so strong, so well designed and constructed that soon after city inspections the Civil Defense Department in Dallas designated and classified the building as an effective bomb shelter during the "Cold War" in case of air raids.



A modern tiny tot nursery with baby beds, water fountain, loudspeakers and other conveniences for both mother and baby was on the south side of the building so that mothers could enjoy the service even when their baby was crying.


In the basement of the church is one of five Prayer Rooms located in various parts of the building.

One of the first bands at the Gospel Lighthouse

Left to right are J.C. Hibbard, Jr., Walter Powell, Bobby Fallis,
Clarence Powers, Archie Lewis, J.D. Fallis and E.L. Musgrave
 

The Hibbard Family

Left to right are J.C. "Sonny" Hibbard, Jr., Delores "Dee" Hibbard-Hutcheson,
J.C. Hibbard, Sr., Nell Hibbard, June Marie Hibbard-Underwood,
Darlene Hibbard-Walker and Jaynell Hibbard-Songstad

Visit The Hibbard Family web page and hear recorded music by The Hibbard Family, old Gospel Lighthouse radio broadcasts and recorded sermons by Rev. J.C. Hibbard, Sr.

November 1972

Since January, 1940, the Gospel Lighthouse has been instrumental in bringing people to Christ and an outlet for God's ability.  In 1972, relocation was needed to make the Lighthouse more accessible to the hundreds of people coming from various parts of the metroplex.  So Pastor J.C. Hibbard, Sr. led the move by Divine direction to West Illinois and Loop 12.  From the procurement of the property and to the completion of the facilities, one miracle after another proved God's involvement.  Debt-free, the 4.5 million-dollar Lighthouse was as a monument of God's power working then as in the many previous years.

After several months of unsuccessful searching, one Saturday morning when seeking God's Divine guidance for a church site, Rev. Hibbard remembered that in the Bible lots were cast to ascertain God's will.  So he prayed for God to direct the movement of a coin he proposed to toss on a Dallas aerial map.

The previous night, unknown to Rev. Hibbard, both his daughters, Jaynell and Darlene, and his wife, Mrs. Hibbard had admired the picturesque property overlooking beautiful Mountain Creek Lake and remarked to each other its marvelous potential for a new church home.  The tossed coin had landed on exactly the same property at the intersection of Illinois and Loop 12 (Walton Walker).

The following Monday, Pastor and Mrs. Hibbard stood on the proposed building site and by faith claimed the location for the new Gospel Lighthouse Church.  In November of 1972 the sale for the tract of approximately seven acres of land was finalized.

The late R.F. Walker worked for several weeks with a large bulldozer to clear the land.  He and several others marked the beginning of thousands of hours of skilled and unskilled donated labor, which made a large contribution toward the financially miraculous building.  The first service in the new Gospel Lighthouse was in March, 1975.

Located on Loop 12 and Illinois, the Gospel Lighthouse is easily accessible from anywhere in the metroplex.  Its highest elevation in the city of Dallas enables the 85-foot lighted tower to be seen for many miles.

1975

In 1961 the Full Gospel Holy Temple was established.  In 1963, Apostle & Evangelist Shirley Murray aired "Broadcast of Deliverance" over radio station KHVN and was heard throughout the United States and around the globe.

Due to the increase in membership, in March of 1975,  Apostle & Evangelist Murray led the congregation to the former Gospel Lighthouse Church building at 1900 South Ewing Avenue in Dallas.

In 1979 another milestone with the FGHT ministry unfolded when the doors of Lobias Murray Christian Academy were opened to the public.

FGHT "Broadcast of Deliverance" is currently telecast on the Daystar Television Network and Word Network.

Today

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached today in this unique and historical building.  It is now the home of Faith Memorial Church under the ministry of Pastor Larry and Sister Rosetta Jefferson.

In July 1990, the Lord led Pastor and Sister Jefferson to move His people from 3822 Boulder Drive in Dallas to a larger place to worship and March 9, 2003, they were led by the Lord to move to the previous Gospel Lighthouse Church at 1900 South Ewing Avenue.

Vision Regeneration, CEO Minister Omar Jahwar, was formed in 1997 through the Faith Memorial Church ministry.  It serves at risk youth while socially transforming ex-offenders into the mainstream of society through ministry, mentoring and hands on intervention and is currently providing employment for at risk youth and ex-gang members.

Women Of Color In Crisis, CEO, Evangelist Carolyn Loud, provides gender-specific and culturally sensitive HIV prevention programs to modify at-risk behavior and the health of racial and ethnic minority women, youth and adolescent girls in underserved communities.

Operation H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Excel) is a ministry of Sister Rosetta Jefferson created to eliminate hunger and poverty.  This ministry consists of an information and referral center, educational scholarships, holiday baskets and back to school supplies for those that are in need.

With the foundation laid and with the help of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Faith Memorial C.O.G.I.C. is serving the community.

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Rev. J.C. "Jay" Hibbard, Jr.

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