There was a buzz of excitement in the cool spring air as marquees went up and sausages sizzled, ready for the launch of Barossa Ark, a new Christian bookstore and gift shop in the heart of Nuriootpa.
The recent launch was the culmination of nine months of planning and trusting in God, and was an exciting day for the passionate working group members who got the project off the ground. The working group was formed by a small number of Christians in the community, many being members from local Lutheran congregations, who were excited to take on a new challenge after the closure of the town’s only Christian bookstore some months ago. Inspired by their collective vision to establish a new, not-for-profit and non-denominational outreach opportunity, the group of 18, began praying and planning for a new bookshop.
“We started with nothing – no money, no stock, no shop – but the one thing we had in common was a passion to see the spread of the gospel,” says working group member Brian Mibus. “Week after week we were amazed at how God was answering our prayers; we soon began to say it was God’s shop!”
Many people in the local community were moved to donate goods, time and money to the fledgling shop and God also answered prayers when it came to receiving successful government approval for incorporation, as well as in finding a suitable location for the store. The working group was very grateful to accept a generous rental offer from St Petri Lutheran Church for use of their building in Murray Street.
A team of volunteers repaired, renovated and painted the building, with the fresh interior incorporating a ‘conversation corner’ where people are welcome to relax, chat and pray. There is also a Mission Stand that displays information, objects and artefacts for sale and fundraising details from the chosen mission of each church involved, on a rotating basis. The recently renovated Bakehouse, an historic building on the same grounds as the bookstore, has also been converted into a gallery, featuring the art of local Christian artists.
“It’s more than a retail shop,” says working group member Maxine Grieger. “It’s a place to meet, to be encouraged, to ask questions – a place where the love of God is shared in and through emotional connections that come about through conversations and sharing stories of faith and life.”
Stocked and ready for the Christmas season and beyond, Barossa Ark offers not only Christian books, literature and resources but also a range of gifts made by local artisans such as jewellery, woodwork and quilted items.
Barossa Ark is located at 47 Murray Street, Nuriootpa.
Photo (supplied): Marie Mibus, Helen Harris and Maxine Grieger on opening day. The rainbow logo, reminding us that God is faithful and always keeps his promises, was designed by Ella Rothe, who at 18 years-old is the youngest member of the Barossa Ark committee.
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