It was a double celebration at The Lighthouse on Thursday. The venue is marking its second anniversary and it was also founder and board member Tara Packer’s birthday. (Other board members include Amy Fuller, Dakota Andekin and Lori Blowers.)

Over 150 people attended a special service. The Lighthouse was standing room only, with so many people attending that they spilled over into the adjoining book, bible and gift shop Common Ground.

Packer and Fuller spoke. Guest speaker Rob Jones was alternately hilarious, moving and inspirational, so much so that many of the attendees hung around for three hours, past 10 p.m.

Also on hand were free refreshments prior to the program, thanks to the culinary skills of Tammy McClelland.

The Lighthouse, at that time known as the Ridgecrest House of Prayer, first opened its doors July 12, 2016 and had an official Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting August 17, 2016. Its original location was at 259 N. Balsam.

“We’re not a church, we just want to be here to bring unity to the community. We’re only open six days a week, and we’re not open on Sundays because we don’t want to take the place of a church,” Packer said in 2016.

The original vision was maintained as the location later moved down the street to the old Bread of Life building at 111 Balsam St. and the venue was renamed The Lighthouse. The move was a group endeavor. Dozens of volunteers took a prayer walk down Balsam Street carrying pictures and paintings, crosses and clay prayer jars from one location to the next on June 17, 2017.

The Lighthouse’s new location features a stage, instruments, prayer rooms, original art and even a fireplace. It also serves as a reading room, with bookshelves and books.

More books can be found in the adjoining store Common Ground which sells bibles, books and gifts.

Along the way the Lighthouse became aligned with Harvest International Ministries of Pasadena, which opened the way for more guest speakers.

Weekly services are held at The Lighthouse Thursdays at 7 p.m. The Lighthouse is also sponsoring a concert featuring Christian music artist Jason Gray at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds on August 18. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the concert beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 each, $30 for two, with children 10 and under free.

Tickets are available at The Lighthouse/Common Ground and Gary Charlon State Farm.