History - Robert Young Memorial Church
The church building, located on the main road through the village of Crawcrook, was built in 1875. It is approximately 500 metres from the next nearest Methodist church and in 2009 both churches had a membership of around 50. The congregation at Robert Young had sufficient funds to keep going for a while but when no- one was willing to take on the required responsibilities within the church, they took the difficult decision to close. In the telling of the story of the Ark, it is important to note that the closing of the chapel was not an easy time and that the pain of death had to be borne before the hope of resurrection in the Ark project emerged.
The Ark - The Vision
Luke 18 v16
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
The vision for this centre is to be a venue that provides for fun and entertainment in a Christian environment that stimulates both children and adults to talk about God and learn more of the bible stories and have a safe space in which to explore and talk about matters of faith. It is a ‘seeker’ venue that will provide trained staff that can listen and engage with all the people who use it.
What is the Ark?
The Ark is a church, a soft play centre, and a cafe in the village of Crawcrook. The Ark opened it's doors in May 2013, and offers a party venue, soft play, a quality cafe, and a safe space for children and adults to explore the faith.
The Ark is a not for Profit Church Centre, with the aim of being part of the local community! The Play Centre/ Sensory room and cafe is open to the public during the week (Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri: 9:00-3:00pm, Tuesdays: 9:00am- 1:30pm). On Saturdays the Ark can be hired out for Private parties. Where possible the Ark supports local businesses/ charities and maintains an ethos of social and environmental responsibility. The Ark also supports vulnerable members of the community, by providing SNAP Play sessions (Special Needs Accessible Play) for families to enjoy and volunteering opportunities for adults with learning difficulties. We hope to expand our capacity in this area and continue to meet the needs of the community.
The Ark is a different way of doing Church! It aims to provide an environment for people who may not be linked to a congregation, to feel happy and comfortable in finding out more about Christianity. The Ark regularly host's family friendly, "praise and Play," style church services, allowing children to play and learn at the same time.
For more information go to http://www.ark.crawcrook.org.uk