DOBSON — The large wooden structure sitting in front of Salem Baptist Church is hard to miss.
Youth Pastor Michael Gentry said that’s precisely the reason for this ark, which stands about 10 feet high and 24 feet long.
If you’re looking for a ticket aboard in case of a flood, Gentry says you’re out of luck. It doesn’t float, and the church already has plans for it.
According to Gentry, the ark began as a project to catch the attention of local residents and to highlight this year’s vacation Bible school theme, which is “ocean commotion.” Originally conceived as just a small plywood structure, the design has been improved, and the ark will soon grace the playground at the Dobson church.
“When we started it was something to build interest in the community,” explained Gentry. But then, “we needed new playground equipment, so we decided to make it something children can play on.”
Gentry said he pulled a picture off the internet and the congregation went to work, including chief builder Noah Curry, who is 6 years old. The irony in his name needn’t be explained.
Noah and his father Steve Curry have been hard at work fashioning the likeness to Noah’s Ark, which will include a playhouse atop the structure, a slide and a drawbridge.
Gentry said the congregation has been paying along the way. Thus, he was unable to give an estimate as to what it will cost to complete the ark. Work started in mid-May, and Gentry expects to have it complete by the start of vacation Bible school on June 12.
He said once complete, the ark will be moved to the playground, where it will provide a place for children to play and teach important lessons from the gospel.
“It’ll be teaching the kids not just the story behind the ark, but also the history behind it,” said Gentry.
“It will teach the lesson of love from when God saved the species of earth, and it will also help send the message God wants to save us even more.”
Gentry said his church is especially looking to reach children. It already has a large contingent of youth who attend services, and the church has an Awana program which attracts 80 to 100 kids every Wednesday night.
Gentry said the church’s vacation Bible school, themed around the arc begins the evening of June 12. It will run from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. every night through June 16, and the program includes an evening meal on each day, plays, singing, crafts, recreation and more.
The Bible school is open to all, including toddlers and adults, and one needn’t be a member of the church to attend. The week of activities is free, according to Gentry.
Gentry said Salem Baptist has a large congregation of about 650 members. However, the church is always looking for new members and involvement in the community.
“We are just always trying to reach out. The ark is one other way to reach out to others in the community.”
Salem Baptist Church may be reached at 336-374-4419.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.