Churches partner for motorcycle ride to help Epworth

CLOVER—On a beautiful Saturday morning, about 15 motorcycle riders converged on First United Methodist Church.

An assortment of men and women rode their Can Am, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian or Kawasaki machines from North and South Carolina for a purpose.

May 8 was the day before Mother’s Day. These bikers gathered on Mother’s Day weekend for their first-ever Epworth Ride for the Children.

Mother’s Day weekend is a special time as communities celebrate the nurturing love of mothers, and it’s traditionally a time of special offering for Epworth Children’s Home.

There were as many non-riding supporters of the Epworth Ride for the Children as there were riders. Everyone was encouraged to come out and enjoy fellowship, join in prayer and support the ministry and mission of Epworth Children’s Home financially.

Members of the First UMC Missions Committee greeted visitors at the registration table where supporters received their special commemorative T-shirt. The United Methodist Men provided coffee, cold beverages and snacks during registration while attendees enjoyed the music of Freon. Foran Lang, otherwise known as Freon, is a biker evangelist from North Carolina.

After a welcome and a safety briefing from ride leaders, the Rev. Alex Stevenson blessed all with a prayer just before it was time to mount the bikes and put the kickstands up for the next destination.

The bikers rode through the countryside of Western York County, meandering past views of Kings Mountain, rolling pastures, homes and churches.

About 25 miles later, the steeple of Kings Mountain Chapel UMC beckoned riders to the historic church on the outskirts of York. As they parked and dismounted our bikes, the Rev. Dan Sullivan greeted them with music playing, cold beverages and snacks. After spending time with Sullivan, they said they were were strengthened by his devotional and cloaked with prayer before they began the return trip to First UMC.

They took a different but equally beautiful route back. Upon returning to Clover, the United Methodist Men served a wonderful lunch they enjoyed outside as Freon again blessed all with his music and also gave his testimony. Freon knows the importance of qualified foster care, as his troubled youth found him in several foster homes.

Freon spoke of his rebellious years that earned him time behind bars. Nowadays, Freon is behind a different kind of bar as he leads worship at “Barstool Church” in North Carolina. They meet in an actual bar, but before the bar opens for business on Sunday. He knows how, even when he rebelled, others cared for him and planted seeds that God would later use to transform his life into one of service.

“Bridgebuilders,” the Gastonia, North Carolina, chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association, were on hand and offered bike blessings to participants. It was a great success as people gathered from different backgrounds and different denominations to join in prayer and fellowship in support of Epworth Children’s Home.

Almost $1,600 was raised that day for Epworth Children’s Home, and it will be submitted in the names of First UMC and Kings Mountain Chapel UMC to Epworth as a partnership offering.

Those who participated said they were truly blessed, and they plan to make this an annual event. If you ride, please save the date on your calendar for the day before Mother’s Day and join in.

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