A ‘Lighthouse’ in Holland

Published 9:40 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

A new church in Holland has some unusual features that betray the building’s former use as a bank, but the growing congregation hopes the building will now help save souls rather than cash.

Lighthouse Ministries of Suffolk is located in the former BB&T building at the crossroads in Holland. Howard Small is the pastor and serves alongside his wife of 39 years, Hazel Small.

The pastor’s office is located in the vault, which they were unable to have removed, and they hope to transform the former drive-through window area into a baptismal. But the Smalls are unfazed by the unusual arrangement.

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“It’s humble beginnings,” Howard Small said. “But God is definitely blessing us.”

Small first felt the call to ministry in 1995. He got training and began attending Suffolk Church of God, where he taught Sunday school and music.

“I felt that God had called me to step out,” he said.

The Smalls started the church about a year ago and met at the Hilton Garden Inn for about four months. They then met in a friend’s garage for a couple of months. They have been in the BB&T building for about six months. About 20 to 40 people attend each week.

“God just opened doors,” Small said. “Every movement we’ve made so far has been an act of faith. We are still in awe of a movement of God.”

The church is called “Lighthouse Ministries” because of the many surrounding communities it can minister to.

“That’s what we hope to be, is a lighthouse in Holland and Franklin and Suffolk,” Small said. “We’re kind of sandwiched right there in the middle.

“We’re really looking forward to being a part of this community and reaching the lost with the message of salvation,” he added.

The church plans a grand opening on Sept. 10 with food and music on the grounds, and Small said everyone is welcome on that day or for a regular service.

“Our doors are open to everybody,” he said.

The church has Bible study at 9:45 a.m. on Sundays, followed by worship at 10:45 a.m. It meets for Wednesday night Bible training at 7.

The church is located at 6617 Holland Road.