Breakwater Community Church was born on June 20, 2017, when a group of twelve individuals met with two officials of the San Diego Southern Baptist Association (SDSBA) to discuss the possibility of a church plant. At the meeting, Associational leadership gave the green light to proceed, and Roger VanDerWerken agreed to serve as the founding Pastor.
Prior to the June 20 meeting, VanDerWerken had been approached by about twenty individuals to consider the possibility of starting a new work that would meet in the historic church building located at 701 West Street in downtown Oceanside, a church formerly owned by St. Anne’s Parish, an Episcopalian communion. In December 2015, St. Anne’s held its final service, and the building was sold to a secular investment firm. The proposal was intriguing, but VanDerWerken suggested coming under the auspices of a larger organization rather than pursue an independent route. The group agreed to consider the SDSBA and negotiations began.
By June 2017, the former St. Anne’s Parish church building, which had been used for worship purposes since 1905, was now being leased to a parachurch organization known as “Daily Disciples.” Daily Disciples agreed to sub-lease part of the facility to Breakwater Community Church. Planning meetings were held on Monday evenings throughout the months of June and July, and the first worship service of the Breakwater Community Church was held on Saturday evening, August 5. 92 adults were in attendance.
The first Sunday morning service was held at 10:00 a.m. on September 10, 2017. Donations have been sufficient to hire a pastor and three part-time staff: treasurer, admin assistant, and music leader. We are looking forward to a great future bringing the gospel message to downtown Oceanside.
In June 2018, at about the same time as our sub-lease with Daily Disciples ended, a golden opportunity came our way: a vacant church property located at 506 South Nevada Street – just five blocks from our previous location – was offered to us for full-time use by owners Carlos Betancourt and Barabara Paschal. The church, formerly called Hope Chapel – a member of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel – was built in 1947, and was in continuous use until 2017. A one-year lease was signed on July 5, 2018, and our first worship service was held on Sunday, August 5 – exactly one year to the day of our founding.
The church was filled to capacity at its opening service at the new site. Brian Smith led the worship team. Cathy Ellis brought announcements. Pastor Johnny Martinez, and Neva Kaiser led prayers for communion. Pastor Thom and Maureen Fleming and Dawn Taylor were welcomed into membership; and Pam Clarke facilitated a special deacon’s fund collection benefitting the “Got Your Back” program, an organization dedicated to helping children who may not get enough food to eat during weekends.
Pastor Roger VanDerWerken gave a message on Nehemiah, the Governor of ancient Judea. In his message, VanDerWerken pointed out some very interesting parallels between Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah and Breakwater Community Church. Nehemiah was tasked by the Persian King to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. The second Temple was built 515 BC; Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem in 444 BC – 71 years after the Temple was rebuilt. Breakwater Community Church moved into its new home exactly 71 years after the church was built. It took Nehemiah 52 days to complete his work (Neh. 6:15). It took exactly 52 days for five different committees – under the leadership of George Batchelder – to refurbish our own new home. Hmmm … strange coincidence? Or Providential sign of great things to come? In either case, we are still committed to a great future of bringing the gospel message to downtown Oceanside.