From the small house called “L'Arche” in the village of Trosly-Breuil, L’Arche grew into a movement that has its concrete expression in a Federation of 131 communities in more than 30 countries. The Federation does not wish to “import” L'Arche into new settings, but to ensure that its core values be lived out in culturally distinctive forms according to local customs and requirements.
Founding a community in a new cultural, religious, political and socio-economic context is not easy. On the part of the local founding group, it demands great efforts and a thorough understanding of the organisation's identity and mission. However, first and foremost, it demands a good knowledge of the local context.
On the part of L'Arche International and the other levels of the Federation, this commitment to embracing and supporting of the cultural identity of each community demands a great deal of flexibility and creativity. Concepts, attitudes and practices need to be defined, evaluated and adapted where necessary. Then again, this effort is just another sign of the importance that L'Arche gives to religious and cultural differences. This is a recurrent theme in our communications, and also in L'Arche International's policies and guidelines, such as the ecumenical and interfaith guidelines, as well as in the planning and hosting of events and meetings for its members.