All aboard the Ark! A safe haven in the heart of London

Worshiping congregation at St Mary & Archangel Michael Church

All aboard the Ark! A safe haven in the heart of London

Published: 07 April 2021
£40,000 funding from Benefact Trust is supporting St Mary & Archangel Michael Church to create an innovative, multi-functional space for the church and community.
Project Ark is an exciting initiative which will provide an abundance of opportunity and resources for all. The idea, which began in the mind of St Mary & Archangel Michael’s Late Father Mikhail, was to replicate the Biblical safe haven that is the Ark in the heart of the community, and inspire and shelter people seeking refuge.
The Ark is designed with multifunctional levels dedicated to services, entertainment and to establish community both locally and across the Coptic Orthodox Diocese. The building will include Sunday school classrooms, state of the art sports facilities, a nursery for the local community, fully equipped meeting rooms, and much more. 
The Ark will enable continued communal worship for cross-diocese events, as well as facilitating seasonal conferences. It will also extend a keen hand to invite non-parish members to use the facilities and truly unite under one roof.
Following the request for planning permission, members across the local parish have worked tirelessly and creatively to get the project off the ground, with every member committed to board the Ark.
One by one members of the congregation from all ages have tended to the decks, working hand in hand, actively participating and bringing forward their talents, resources and knowledge in preparation for the Ark’s assembly. 
The endeavour to maintain normal services during the Ark’s construction has been aided with the conversion of the church courtyard into a temporary community space, with a marquee and kitchenette facilities. The unprecedented events of the year gone by have limited the congregation gathering, but the community has retained a motivated spirit towards the Ark and what it will offer local people.
Benefact Trust funding has been significant in pushing the project forward and brings the Ark a step closer to its completion date, ready to open its doors to the public – hopefully more than two by two!
Chloe Ewen, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “Delighted that our funding can support the development of this exciting new community space, which will not only give the church more room to grow, but will offer local people a place to rest, enjoy, and come together.”
To find out more and get involved in the project, email and register to receive Project Ark updates.

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