Bonclarken is the conference center of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is a conservative evangelical Christian denomination that has been faithfully preaching the Gospel for over 200 years. Our roots are traced to the Reformation, particularly the work of John Calvin and John Knox. Scottish immigrants who came to America in search of religious freedom brought the faith to these shores.
Bonclarkens mission is to provide and promote a Christian environment for inspiration and renewal, worship, education, fellowship, and recreation by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The peaceful, rejuvenating experience of Bonclarken is enjoyed by many denominational and non denominational Christian churches and organizations.
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church began holding a summer Bible conference in Gastonia, North Carolina in 1915. The conference was very popular and well attended. However, in 1920, the conference planners learned the facility hosting the conference was to be sold. Efforts to buy the facility were unsuccessful, so a new meeting location was needed.
Looking for a location with cooler summer temperatures, the mountains of western North Carolina were selected to begin the search. Gods providence led a realtor in Hendersonville to suggest a particular location: a beautiful sixty-three acre estate, containing a massive home and the Heidelberg Gardens, for sale in Flat Rock. The location was perfect for the conference and was purchased on August 31, 1921.
Shortly thereafter, a contest was held to select a name for the Assembly Grounds. Mrs. Sallie Miller Brice of Chester, SC offered the following:
I submit a name for our Assembly Grounds. It is Bon-clar-ken, and it has this meaning, Bon- from the Latin, bonus good, -clar from the Latin clarus clear, -ken from the Scotch vision. Bon-clar-ken Good-clear-vision.
Since 1921, Bonclarken has had a good, clear vision to serve as a Christian environment for inspiration and renewal.