Beacon Light shines beyond church walls
LAPLACE — Beacon Light Church of LaPlace has been blessed tremendously in a short period of time, growing from only 11 members in January 2016 to around 200 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The church recently celebrated its five-year anniversary during a virtual service, and Pastor Reginald D. King Sr. looks forward to Beacon Light making an even greater impact in years to come.
King spent his childhood in Reserve and his teenage years in the Cambridge subdivision in LaPlace, not far from the present-day Beacon Light Church at 625 Woodland Drive. As a native of St. John the Baptist Parish, King is passionate about providing for the members of the community and restoring the area to its former glory.
After meeting his wife, King accepted his call to the church and began to minister around the time he turned 30. He became the first assistant pastor at Beacon Light of Houma, where he served faithfully for more than a decade. Bishop Herbert Andrew decided it was time for King to become a pastor of a church of his own.
Beacon Light of LaPlace joined six other Beacon Light Church locations, including campuses in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houma, Hammond and Panama City, Florida.
The LaPlace church began in a rented space in the building that now houses Baloney Funeral Home. After three-and-a-half years, the Beacon Light family was able to purchase the entire strip at 625 Woodland Drive.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the church has consistently had services online via Facebook Live. Occasionally, services will be held in the parking lot in the open air with safety measures in place.
“We’ve been cautious. We want to make sure not to put anyone in harm’s way when it comes to COVID-19, so we’re just being patient and waiting until the vaccine is in place for more individuals,” King said. “We are individuals of faith, but we are individuals of sense and knowledge as well, so we follow doctors’ recommendations.”
According to King, Beacon Light of LaPlace is a well-rounded ministry that teaches Bible principles and essential life skills. There is a focus on sharing information about men’s health, women’s health and mental health. During the summer, church members will meet in the park on U.S. 51 in LaPlace for a “Light Fit” program where participants exercise and walk around the track.
“We want to minister to the entirety of the human being,” King said.
Church members also have opportunities to receive financial education to promote self-sufficiency and debt-free living. More educational outreach is planned for the future.
“We have a second building on the property. We want to partner with the schools in the area and employ some teachers and students from the neighboring schools to have after school tutoring,” King said.
“We want to do everything necessary for children in this community to be in a position to obtain jobs. We are planning to talk to some plants in the area. We know STEM is the future, especially on the river, and we want to make sure that the kids who decide to stay in this area are equipped to have these high-paying jobs that are available and through the industries around us. We want to make sure we put education for the youth of this community in the forefront.”
King is also looking into ACT prep courses for local student athletes. While the logistics and funding are still being worked out, some teachers have already agreed to volunteer their time.
Beacon Light of LaPlace is also dedicated to serving other areas of the community.
Shortly before Christmas 2020, the church family purchased turkeys, chickens and hams and distributed 200 food baskets to the community. It was one of King’s proudest moments as pastor.
Every Resurrection Sunday, Beacon Light of LaPlace hosts a free car wash and family fun day with food and bounce houses. The church plans to host the free car washes this year in a drive-thru format to follow COVID-19 protocols.
“We identified the fact that the community is in need of more than just worship in the sanctuary, and we are committed to reaching out and being a blessing to everyone in this community,” King said.
Bishop Ronald Frank of Milesville Memorial was the guest pastor for the recent fifth anniversary service.
“Y’all are unique. Not even other Beacon Lights are like this one,” Frank said. “A name contains a lot of good material. A beacon is commonly on a hill, tower or a pole. It is a lighthouse, a signal for guidance. A light is a genesis, the creation of the world. As a positive symbol, it is so prevalent in the Bible. It signifies redemption and justice.”
Frank said Beacon Light has lived up to its name by drawing people out of darkness and into magnificent light.