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Potomac Church Breaks Ground on Future “Lighthouse”

Story by Alexis A. Goring
Published 9/25/13

Seven years after church members began meeting in each other’s homes, leaders break ground for Restoration Praise Center’s (RPC) very own church building.

“Sometimes I felt that it wouldn’t happen, but my feeling on Sabbath at the groundbreaking was, ‘This is bigger than any pastor, this is bigger than any group of people, this is God at work,’” said Paul Graham, pastor of Potomac Conference’s  Restoration Praise Center (RPC), which rents a space in Lanham, Md.

On September 14, right after church services, members and church and conference leaders met at Old Stage Road in Bowie, Md., to break ground on their own church building. The building would be happening after all.  “I know that it is God at work simply because of how it came into fruition, how we received the land, how we paid for the land, how we acquired the land. And the people have been giving on a constant rate so I know God is in it. It was not supposed to work out and yet it has been working out,” said Graham.

Bill Miller, Potomac Conference president, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony, added, “I don’t think we’ve even begun to imagine what God wants to do, and I’m just excited to see what’s going on here, to see the possibilities. I think that what’s going to happen is once this church is developed, we’re going to find that this is going to become a seed on which we can plant a lot of other churches.”

RPC started in 2006 as a small group Bible study meeting in the homes of members and was first known as The Lanham-Bowie Project. Since November 2008, the RPC congregation has rented space from a Sunday church. More than 700 people attended the first official church service that November and since then as many as 600 people worship there every Saturday. Henry Wright, pastor of the Community Praise Center in Alexandria, Va., and Melvin Hayden III, pastor of the Mitchellville church in Largo, Md., envisioned the church and prayed for its success. The Lord revealed to both men that Graham was the man for the job. After Graham moved his family from New York to Maryland, the ministry and membership of Restoration Praise Center grew beyond their wildest dreams.

“I just want to let everyone know that this area right here,” said Hayden pointing to the ground beneath his feet during the groundbreaking ceremony “is handpicked by God. If you are a member of Restoration Praise Center, you have been handpicked by God. The only things that will hinder the future growth of this work are the people that are in here ... I challenge each and every one of you to stay connected to Christ, stay connected to each other and the sky is the limit.”

Graham added, “God is providing for us time after time, day after day so I have to say that I’m excited about what I’m seeing. The only thing I’d like to add is that there’s an old movie called Field of Dreams and the statement or the line of the movie was ‘If you build it, they will come.’ I believe that if you build it, they will come. But if you build it for the right reasons then the people, the community will find this place as [they would] a lighthouse.”

RPC’s new church home will have the capacity to hold 800 to 1,000 worshippers and 60 to 70 daycare children, four adult classrooms and administrative offices and a lobby that connects the upper floor and lower floor. The contractor estimates that the church will be completed by August 2014.

Paul Graham, RPC’s senior pastor, speaks to the crowd about the future of the church.


Paul Graham, senior pastor of RPC, and Bill Miller, Potomac Conference president, address the crowd.

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