ARC stands for ‘aceuil, recontre, communite’ which translates as ‘welcome, encounter, community which represents the core values at the heart of our work. ARC recruits volunteers aged between 18 and 30 to work as tour guides in European cathedrals during the summer months. We operate projects in cities as diverse as Florence, Paris, Bordeaux and Utrecht, with the volunteers hosted by the church community. We are currently fundraising to support new projects in the UK.
Volunteers act as English-language tour guides in cathedrals and great churches across Western Europe. As well as the history of the building, our guides aim to give an account of the people and community which it has served. The tours are designed to draw together the historical, artistic and religious aspects of the church, thereby placing it in its spiritual context. The mission of ARC throughout Europe is to “make the stones speak”.
ARC seeks out young people with a passion for history and story-telling. Throughout the projects volunteers live in a close community with tour guides from other European countries, with food and board provided by the host church. Through this ARC aims to further understanding between young people of different nationalities and Christian traditions. By living and working together, and taking time each day to reflect on their shared experiences, the volunteers gain a greater understanding and appreciation of other cultures, making valuable and lasting friendships.
ARC UK currently facilitates one UK based project at Christ Church, Oxford but we are eager to work with more churches across the country. This new fund will enable us to support new host cathedrals in their first time hosting ARC guides by providing a one-off grant to cover a percentage of the expenses incurred. Many church communities are keen to host guides but are wary of the financial burden when funds are often already stretched but once projects are running subsequent groups are generally funded by tips earned by guides the previous year. By providing a contribution towards the setup costs, ARC UK will be able to make a strong statement to new partners of our faith in the benefits for both our guides and the host community.
Our target is £1000, with the intention of offering two £500 grants representing approximately 25-33% of the costs of hosting a project. Additional funds would go towards ARC’s current drive to develop our training resources.