About the Ark
Who We Are
In 1884, a handful of parishioners who had previously held their membership at Brooks United Methodist Church (part of the Nottingham Charge) decided to build their own house of worship. The first service took place in July of 1884 at a public school house near North Keys Road. This church would serve members from the Cheltenham and Brandywine, Maryland communities. A short time later, a nearby tenant house belonging to Mr. H. H. Sasscer was presented to the members to use for services. Mr. J. Henry Gibbons, a local preacher at Immanuel Church, then offered land for building their sanctuary, and soon a little log church was erected and named in honor of Mr. Gibbons.
In 1899, the cornerstone of a larger building was laid, and in 1916, the church was remodeled and a second cornerstone was laid. This would accommodate the expanding congregation. In August 1967, under the leadership of Rev. Robert O. Johnson, a new edifice was begun and was completed in June 1968. On the 100th anniversary of the church, Rev. Johnson retired, and during an afternoon worship service, the congregation burned the mortgages to three buildings.
In 1984, Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Muse became the church’s first full-time pastor. Under his leadership the church grew quickly and the sanctuary soon had to be remodeled. In 1996, Pastor Muse and his congregation renamed the church Resurrection Prayer Worship Center. The congregation rapidly grew from some 200 to approximately 3,000 members and had more than 65 active ministries. Resurrection was recognized as the fastest-growing church among 700 churches in the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Needing more space to accommodate the growth of the church and the surrounding communities, a new edifice was built near the old church. The new building would house an additional 1,200 worshipers. During construction, services were moved to Friendly High School in Fort Washington, Maryland. In 1999, Rev. Muse expanded the church’s community outreach by opening a second facility in the heart of Oxon Hill.
In 1999, Rev. Muse and the majority of his congregation reached a crossroads. They became concerned about the church’s future, long-term stability and vision. There were doctrinal differences and concerns about the impact of the itinerant system on their church family, a system that routinely separated pastors from their congregations. After much prayer and meditation, Rev. Muse, who had grown up in the home of a United Methodist father, and who had himself spent more than 20 years as a United Methodist pastor, made a tough decision. On September 21, 1999, he along with the members of Resurrection Prayer Worship Center officially voted to withdraw from the United Methodist Church. They formed an independent church and called it the Ark of Safety Christian Church, which was officially consecrated and dedicated at 6 p.m. on November 21, 1999.
A NEW BEGINNING
Free from the constraints of tradition and denomination and in the heart of busy Oxon Hill, The Ark of Safety Christian Church quickly grew, with 50 ministries and more than 70 ministers, candidates, elders, and deacons.
Sunday, December 5, 2000, marked yet another milestone. Rev. Muse was ordained General Overseer of two new church organizations under The Ark of Safety Ministries, Inc. More than 140 ministers, deacons, elders, and pastors were ordained and consecrated during this historic service in which 50 other churches participated.
Over the next ten years, there would be a lot of outreach and soul-saving, as well as many exciting celebrations. The Ark of Safety choir recorded its first live CD entitled “He Is Able” under the direction of Minister Michael Reid. There was the first major gospel concert featuring Stellar Award Winner Jonathan Nelson and Stellar Award Nominee Patrick Lundy, the first Ark Bible College graduation and the first Debutante Cotillion. The “Real Life Drama Ministry” was born and performed an original play, “Mission Impossible,” written and directed by Bro. Dennis Jones. It was a huge hit!
In 2003, Rev. Muse was bestowed the highest honor in the Christian Church with his election to the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops, based in Cleveland, Ohio. On September 25, 2004, he was ordained Bishop and consecrated into the Episcopacy by Bishop Ralph L. Dennis of Kingdom Fellowship Covenant Ministries of Towson, MD.
On August 7, 2004, there was a groundbreaking celebration on the church’s new property in Fort Washington, and the dedication of Victory House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
On February 6th, 2005, we crossed out of Oxon Hill into “Canaan,” with a glorious caravan that stretched for miles to Upper Marlboro and our new home (formerly Melwood Mall). On September 16, 2006 at 11 a.m., the church celebrated and dedicated the new worship station.
Today, the Ark is home to some 3000 members and a host of dedicated and hardworking elders, deacons and ministers. Ministries include those for men, women, children & youth, singles, music & arts (including choirs, dance & step teams), intercessory prayer, street evangelism, the homeless, drama, speaking hands (deaf ministry), food pantry, bible study, community liaison and many more.
God has been faithful to the Ark, and we shall continue to be faithful to Him as we lovingly and fervently continue our work to strengthen and encourage believers and work to “Rescue the Perishing.”