After more than a decade of holding services in a 5,000-square-foot basement off Route 1 outside Rehoboth Beach, Bay Shore Community Church is looking to “Go Above Ground.”
As a whole, Bay Shore Community Church was founded in 2005 and has three campuses – Rehoboth, Millsboro and Fenwick Island. The Rehoboth campus opened in 2010 in a space under Casapulla’s Subs in Lighthouse Plaza.
It’s 23 steps down and then back up for people to go to church, said Joel Tice, campus pastor. The location has served the church well, but on Sunday mornings it can get a little crowded in the parking lot, he said.
“They’ve had to work to come here,” said Tice, laughing.
To meet growing demand, Bay Shore launched a Go Above Ground fundraising campaign in early March 2020, with a goal of raising $1.5 million, said Tice. Literally the next week everything was shut down, he said.
Despite the pandemic, the church managed to raise enough money to purchase a 4-acre parcel off Old Landing Road in December 2022. People have been very supportive, said Tide. There are members of the church who live across the country, attending only through online services and without any intention of stepping in the new facility, and they’ve donated because they believe in what the church is doing, he said.
The address for the new location is 20376 Old Landing Road – heading toward Rehoboth Bay, the land is on the right, just before Fairway Drive. The goal is to pay the land off before building the new church, said Tice, adding they’re over halfway there.
In addition to limited parking and maybe some unwanted exercise, the current space can only hold a little more than 200 people in one service, said Tice, who is a third-generation pastor – his father, Danny Tice, is church’s founding pastor.
Bay Shore is waiting to build, but it’s not waiting to design. The new space will be about 12,000 square feet with enough space for members to bring friends and family to church if they want, said Tice. The design is about 60% complete, he said.
“We want the new church to be a place for the local community and we want to have enough seats for them all,” said Tice.