Ark Playground at AMC

The following article appeared in the Arthur Graphic Clarion Newspaper regarding the Ark Playground at AMC.

By ROGER W. BONHAM – Managing Editor

The Bible tells us that Noah built an ark to save his family as well as animals from a “Great Flood.”

It’s no wonder, then, that several residents near 710 East Park Street became concerned when members of Arthur Mennonite Church began building an ark. They need not worry, for, unlike Noah, the builders had not been forewarned by God of another impending flood. They simply built an Ark Playground for the children of the community.

The playground gives children a place to play after church and during First Sunday Fellowship Meals and other special events. It came about after Glen Rhodes, minister of discipling, attended his grandfather’s funeral in Virginia.

The church had a similar playground ark (boat). Rhodes photographed the structure and showed it to the ministry team at Arthur Mennonite Church who immediately began talking about it and took it to the congregation. They liked the idea and looked into purchasing kits, but decided they had plenty of construction people in the church to build it themselves from scratch.

When Lamar Miller, minister of worship and youth, saw it; he immediately showed interest and put his construction background to work drawing plans. A construction committee was formed consisting of Miller, Oreo Otto, and Joe Gingerich.

The Ark has several levels and includes a fireman’s pole to carry youngsters from the deck to the lower level, two trapeze bars, four swings, two slides, and a huge steering wheel. The ship is anchored in water formed by blue mulch. The inside of the Ark has open windows.

Great care was taken to provide a safe ship and area for playing. The colored mulch surrounding the Ark is made of rubber for softer “landings.” The ship itself is made of treated wood with composite boards forming the deck and ramps—no splinters.

The Ark has been a project of the entire church with all ages participating in some way. Children gave their Sunday school offerings to the project. Members helped purchase or furnished building materials, and much of the material was purchased at a discount from Horizon Building Center.

Work on the project was completed late in November, and the Ark playground will be dedicated this spring.

The church sees the playground not only as a blessing for the children of the church but also as an opportunity to reach out to the children of the community and their families. It is for everyone.

“The children have needed this, a place to play, for a long time,” Rhodes said. “We also have two basketball goals on the lot between the church and our youth house. We hope the community’s youth will find this a fun and friendly place to play.”