God's Ark of Safety
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God's Ark of Safety is a non-denominational Christian ministry in Frostburg, Maryland, led by Pastor Richard Greene. On Easter, 1976, Greene began building a replica of Noah's Ark atop a prominent hillside along Interstate 68 featuring a sign that announces to passing travelers: "Noah's Ark Being Rebuilt Here!" Ground was broken for the ark in September 1976 with over 3,000 tons of concrete. It was built to biblical proportions, around 450 by 75 by 45 feet, which is about one and a half football fields long.
Pastor Greene's main inspiration for building the ark came from a three-part dream highlighting Noah's Ark and his vision of salvation for the people of this Earth. The vision began in the spring of 1974. The vision was to buy three acres of land from the farmer who owned it and build the ark. The three acres of land would not be enough to build the Ark so he was told by God to not ask the farmer to buy more land, but; instead ask the farmer to give it to him. The pastor currently owns the four acres where the structure still stands along with the church as well. Pastor Greene claims that the land itself has curative and restorative powers. It took the pastor and the church fifteen years to save up $200,000 to start the project.
The pastor has been to 32 countries across the world; spreading the word of God and his vision for him to build an Ark on the land and potentially raise money and accept donations for his vision. The story of the rebuilding of the Ark has been spread all across the world and reporters and visitors have come from as far as China to witness what was taking place. It has been in People magazine, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, China, BBC in London, England, and NBC news.
As of 2013[update], the structure is still just a frame, but the incomplete Ark has drawn attention from foreign film crews and national publications, and Pastor Greene has promoted the ministry on worldwide tours, his own radio and television show, and The 700 Club. The 700 Club is an evangelical Christian television show. It has even appeared in People, as well as other widely read magazines. According to Greene, God's Ark of Safety supports 20 missionaries worldwide.
The completed ark will hold anywhere from 1,500-1,700 people with a gymnasium and theatre. The ark will also contain a Christian grade school, high school, and bible college. Pastor Greene believes that the ark today would require 30-50 million dollars to complete. The church today is still receiving donations which are funneled into a building fund supported by the church and surrounding community.
Although funding for the church has been continuous for the past 25 years the pastor still remains committed to the project, saying "If you wait on the lord it will renew your strength."
The Ark is featured on the front cover and chapter 4 of Timothy Beal's book Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith. In the book Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Frostburg writer Brad Barkley, there is a reference to the Ark in the pre-chapter section listing places that one should see when traveling across the country. It is also mentioned in Barkley's story "The Way It's Lasted."
- Cleary, Caitlin (2006-04-16). "If the flood comes too soon, this ark won't be quite ready". Local News (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Archived from the original on 2009-01-17. Retrieved 2006-04-16.
- Beal, Timothy (2005). Nowaday Noah. Beacon Press.
- Greene, Richard (2011-04-04). Personal Interview with Pastor Greene.
- Hiaasen, Rob (7 August 2007), "Hope Floats", The Baltimore Sun, retrieved 29 June 2010
- Beal, Timothy K. (2005), "Nowaday Noah", Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith, Beacon Press, pp. 88–101, ISBN 0-8070-1063-4
- Steelhammer, Rick (7 November 1999), "'As God Provides, We Build': Modern-day Noah fills ark with hope", The Charleston Gazette: P01A, Factiva cgaz000020010826dvb7014u3
- Fisher, Marc (6 September 1987), "Roll Over, Noah", The Washington Post: w24, Factiva wp00000020011118dj9602gix