For the elementary-age Sunday school students at Calvary United Methodist Church in Johnstown’s West End, the Old Testament account of the Ark of the Covenant has taken on contemporary meaning.
The Rev. Don Brauer, pastor of the church located at 159 Chandler Ave., said with adults to operate power tools, the students undertook a project to build a full-size replica of the ark.
Brauer came up with the idea to use the project as an initiative to combine biblical instruction with learning skills that can be applied to everyday life.
“The congregation hasn’t seen the ark yet because we are going to use it in the worship service at 10:45 a.m. Oct. 14,” he said.
“We are keeping it covered just as the Israelites did when they moved it from place to place.”
Brauer is eager to share a video of the ark’s construction with the congregation.
“One of our leaders, Nate Pearce, documented the project on video, which we will show during the service,” he said.
“We also will form a procession and carry the ark with wooden poles, just as the Israelites did.”
According to the Bible, the ark was not to be touched by human hands.
The making of the ark allowed the students to use practical application skills such as mathematics, measuring, estimating, pattern making, analytical thinking and decision making.
Using the Bible as a guide, the class constructed the ark using dimensions contained in Scripture.
The ark was a wooden chest, overlaid with pure gold, measuring 3.75 feet long, 2.25 feet wide and 2.25 feet high.
Along with the ark, the class also made models of the objects that were placed inside.
“We will have models of two stone tablets representing the Ten Commandments, as well as an urn holding manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded,” Brauer said.
The students also duplicated the mercy seat (lid) and the golden cherubim with wings outstretched over the mercy seat.
Scripture said it was here, from between the cherubim, that God spoke to Moses, the representative of the people of Israel.
Brauer said he is grateful to the teachers – Nate Pearce, Tom Henze, David Alwine and Monica Pearce – for assisting in the initiative.
“From the project’s inception, it shows the students how it follows through to the New Testament and how the ark relates to us today in a relationship with God.”
The project was made possible with donations of money and materials from class leaders, and other adults in the church who volunteered their time and talents.
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