Where we meet in unity.... and faith.
- Welcome to the Ark
We are an independent, non-denominational, congregation of Christians, who believe the Bible is the Word of God and His plan for our lives. We aim to provide an environment where a person can grow in biblical faith, and personal commitment.
My church is a small church, indeed you can see most of it in the picture above. I say 'my' church but in fact I am simply a member of the congregation, and although I was involved at and with it's foundation, I hold no position in the body except as a member, and I am content with that.
At various times I have been in leadership, rebellion, exclusion, isolation and then back into submission.
So I can relate to most of the folk who travel through our 'railroad station' church, which transports people from one spiritual platform to another in order for them to make the connection to their next Christian journey.
I was 'away' from this body for about six years after a difference of opinion and relative exclusion, and only returned by 'accident' (Yeah, like God uses accidents!) since which I have again become involved with the body.
We are a church that uses people if they are available for use, I guess that's much like God works as well, and it works well for us, though less so for those who volunteer to help out.
So if someone is willing, they will be used to the full.
This means that some people end up doing most of the things that need to be done, and most people just watch and hope that they are not asked to do things. They rarely are.
In this way some people feel overworked and used, whereas others feel out of the 'loop' as they are never asked to take part.
No matter how many times people are told, they never seem to understand that the 'inner circle' does not exist.
The people 'they' believe to be the 'inner circle' are simply those who ask "Can I do that for you" when they see a 75 year old man carrying the church 'A' board down the ramp to put it out on a Sunday, or make sure the coffee machines are full and ready to go when the service ends, who turn up to help feed, clothe and show some love to the homeless guys we feed, or help out in the Charity or Coffee shops, where we see most of our non tithe or offerings income arises.
Nobody is excluded from helping out and all those who do are equal in Gods eyes.
If you notice that the toilets need cleaning, don't tell one of the 'inner circle' ..... ask them where the cleaning materials are kept and get stuck in.
One of the best improvements that I noted when I returned to this body was that it had truly become multi cultural and international.
I have counted 27 nationalities in the service at some times, and we are integrated totally with regards to race and languages, we have Russians translating next to Spanish translators, and a health mix of African and East European voices being heard all the time.
The body of Christ was intended to be multicultural, as evidenced by Collosians 3 9:11 ...since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
I now find it odd that there are African or Spanish churches, or indeed any separated churches of believers.
OK language plays a part in this, and we can thank Babel for that, and it's fair to say that most of our brothers and sisters share English as a common language, but there are churches who stay aloof for cultural differences, whereas we make provision for people having differing cultures and aspirations, and try to accommodate them.
Our faith meals are an international food festival!
AS stated above, we are a rail road station in effect, as many people come to us as visitors on holiday, then join us when they move down here.
We have regular 'visitors' who are with us for a few months each year, and many who just pass through.
Being close to Morocco we also have the 'Christian Secret Service' in residence, otherwise known as Y.W.A.M. (Youth With A Mission) and their house is the base for their excursions into Morocco to spread the word in what is a hostile environment, for an evangelist carrying bibles in Arabic!
We help support various missions, including the Village of Hope orphanage in Morocco which cares for abandoned children.
Moroccan families tend to get big, and with no social security system in the country, children who are surplus to requirements can just be dumped on the street.
23rd March 2010. Update.
Since being first written, the orphanage has been closed down by the Morrocan authorities and the children seperated from the families they lived with.
Please watch the following video for more details.
These folk take them in and live with them as family, effectively adopting them and raising them as their own.
This year we got the Ark School children to prepare and put together 'shoe boxes' for each child in care.
For these children it may be the only toys they receive, for the funding does not run to luxuries when more children could be fed and housed with the same funds.
Of course there is more to being a body of believers than having good fellowship over faith meals, though that's pleasant, the real work is summed up in Matthew 25....
- I was hungry and you gave me meat.
- I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.
- I was a stranger, and you took me in.
- I was naked and you clothed me.
- I was sick, and you visited me.
- I was in prison, and you came to me.
Every body of believers needs a vision, without a vision, we perish, so what is our official vision:
- To offer pastoral care as a family church, for resident Christian believers
- To reach the Ex-Pat. community in Spain
- To offer "Intensive Care" in LOVE, and spiritual care and help to whoever needs it.
- To lead people to the Lord and into discipleship.
- To prepare people for service in churches or ministries that the Lord directs them into.
- To provide a resources centre and to promote unity within the body of believers in Spain.
You may find it off that to lead people to the Lord and into discipleship is at number four in our vision, and perhaps it reflects our pastors heart that spiritual and pastoral care, and love rank higher, however we recently passed the 1000 salvations mark, so leading folk to Christ is not in the background, it just takes time to do that properly!
We all know that faith without works is dead, and we also support various missions overseas:
Metro Ministries, where we have two full time missionary's working with them in Brooklyn, New York, helping to care for some of the 20,000 children who they minister to, children who come from dysfunctional families and need guidance, care and most of all, love.
We also support ICCM (International Child Care Ministries) a Methodist charity that cares for 20,000 children in Haiti, from their 54 schools that they run. Methodists have always opened schools in any area they operate in, and these children get eductaed and fed, and again for some of these children it is the only meal they recieve.
We have been supporting the Haitian street children for eight years, which is why it seemed odd that when discussing the recent earthquake on the forums, many atheists attacked my position that this disaster was an act of God.... literally.
The country has a long association with voodoo, which, contrary to the insistence of the non believers, is NOT a branch of Christianity! and is in fact a satanic cult.
This does not mean that God cause the earthquake, but that the involvement with Satan in an official capacity (voodoo is the countries official religion) means that God will allow Satan to control the country, as Satan controls all others who reject God.
Currently we are organising a fund raiser in conjunction with a local radio station, which could raise a large amount of money, and ICCM have undertaken to use 100% of the funds raised to feed the children who have no other food.
Abandoned or orphaned children tend to be low in the pecking order of a country that has been decimated by Satan.
Locally we feed between 35 to 50 homeless folk who turn up on our door weekly, give them showers and clean clothes and deal with the miriad of problems that homelessness presents.
Recently there were two attacks on homeless folk sleeping rough on the street, killing one and seriously wounding another.
We have petitioned for a night shelter, especially essential in winter, but our local council insists that there is no problem, a fact which they are finding harder to profess since the attacks happened.
So we have a busy little church, but a relatively happy one where we try to live by Matthew 25, which is our Rhema scripture, and administer the love of Christ with a modicum of practical assistance.
Tell us about your church, if you have one, and let's share our experiences and maybe put to rest the constant whinge from atheists concerning what God does for the starving and lost.
I will tell you, God helps those who will be helped, and tries to reach those who will not.
So just a small outline of who we are and maybe other churches will also put their details on the hub, you never know, we may be visiting each other one day?