New Ark United Church of Christ
300 East Main Street
Newark, DE 19711
In 1979 a representative of a group of church folk looking for a denomination with which they might happily become affiliated, called the New York office of the United Church of Christ to speak with someone who could explain the process for establishing a “New Church Start.” The person receiving the call said unfortunately the appropriate official wasn’t available at the time as he was in Newark, Delaware, looking into whether it might be possible to start a UCC congregation there.
For many years Peoples’ Church in Dover and a very small congregation in Milford were the only UCC churches in Delaware. The new New Ark United Church of Christ saw as its mission concern for the needy, dispossessed, spiritual, and economic outsiders. Because this sense of mission was so strongly ingrained, the congregation decided as a matter of principle not to buy or build a place for worship but to rent or share space in order to free up more resources for needs beyond those of its congregation. A church without a visible and recognizable “home” clearly did not fit with the experienced thinking of the UCC regional leadership which in its third year assessment therefore declared the New Ark not viable as a “New Church Start.” (Later they changed their assessment.)
Initially the New Ark rented space from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. In 1980 it entered into a building-sharing relationship with Calvary Baptist Church for eight years, then for nine years rented space in the Masonic Hall next to Calvary Baptist. In 1994 the congregation, having finally acquiesced to the value of having a permanent home, embarked on its first capital campaign to buy the just-vacated Newark Senior Center.
In 1997 the former senior center (the Newark Waterworks in earlier days) became the visible - if not necessarily recognizable as a church building - home of the New Ark. Determined to make this church home an asset to its vision of ministry and a resource to the community, it provides space for many community groups.
In its 30-plus years several members of the congregation have gone on to become ordained ministers. In 1988 it voted to become a Just Peace Church and in 1990 adopted a Statement of Openness, Inclusion and Affirmation of Gay and Lesbian Persons. More recently, the New Ark became an Earthwise congregation, dedicated to responsible stewardship of the Earth. Over the years it has been consistent practice to share special event services (Easter Sunrise, Ash Wednesday, Thanksgiving) with other congregations in the community, and the church participates monthly in service to Hope Dining Room.
Created by our congregation, the circle in our symbol is left open as
visible expression of our invitation to you to join us in the fellowship of the New Ark
– a congregation that aims to fulfill the commandment to love the Lord our God
and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The congregation of this church is a caring, diverse, and exciting community of faith which strives to demonstrate its faith values by deeds rather than words.
As God is all-embracing, we are an “Open and Affirming” congregation that welcomes all worshippers regardless of age, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or physical or mental challenges. We are also a Just Peace congregation. In worship, we strive to use inclusive language and to be intergenerational. We provide Christian education for all age groups.
In actively practicing our faith, we use our resources and talents to aid and assist those in need in our local community and to seek social justice wherever we see opportunities do so. We also commit resources to wider ministries, thus providing stewardship to much broader communities.
We strive to encourage and maintain an atmosphere of worship that allows a theologically liberal and diverse congregation to come together to develop and follow independent paths to spiritual growth. Thus we are theologically alive and well, but non-creedal.
We encourage congregation members to give expression to their faith through participation in worship planning with the pastor.
Finally, we strive to
Walk humbly with our God.