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‘Harley Hallelujahs’ – Biker priests embrace motorcycle evangelism

‘Harley Hallelujahs’ – Biker priests embrace motorcycle evangelism

Episcopal priests throughout the country are hitting the highway to minister to bikers. From Episcopal News Service:

The Rev. Steve McCarty was inspired to begin a motorcycle ministry after another biker asked about the Episcopal shield on his jacket.

“I said, yeah I’m an Episcopal priest,” recalled McCarty, a biker since age 16. “We spent an hour and a half talking about his faith and how he’d been shunned from the church he was at, how they didn’t accept him, and he didn’t think he was good enough to go there.

“He knew Scripture. He said, ‘I need someplace where I can be accepted the way I am.’ I thought, maybe I’ll do something about it,” said McCarty, vicar at St. Andrew’s Church in Clear Springs, Maryland.

After creating a biker service at his church and reaching out in other ways to the motorcyle community, McCarty recalls a biker at a local rally once told him: ” ‘I’ve got tattoos, but my soul’s not tattooed.’ He asked for a blessing and I said yeah, I can do that.” Read full story here.

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Kit Tobin

At St. Paul’s in Portsmouth RI, my mentor Fr. Aaron Usher had an annual biker blessing – one or two came to services, many others shared stories and appreciated being welcomed/blessed. Some said there was a direct effect on their lives.

When I was later at GTS there were three bikers – all of us women.

Kit Tobin+

Carole May

It’s not Episcopal, but there is a biker church not too far from where I live. So yes there is a need.

There is also a need for a church where the homeless and low income feel welcome. Since they are not what people consider “properly dressed” for church, they do not come.

Michael Russell

Could there be an emergent church community here!

I had a parish family who was involved with a biker community. In fact the only open air biker bar in Maryland was across the street from my Church. When one of the children in that family died tragically, their biker community provided an escort from the Church to the cemetery. It was the most unique funeral procession of my career. At one point as police waved the bikers and the entourage through a light the biker next to my car laughed and said that most times he sees police they are chasing him.

On my long distance cycling outings bikers have always been gracious friends along the way, sometimes riding alongside us to protect us in traffic. Usually though someone would yell “Get a Bike!” and I would yell back “Real Men ride bicycles” and we would have a great laugh.

I had friends in San Diego whose biker clubs organized massive gift giving outings into Mexico for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as a myriad of other service projects.

So a big Cheer to Steve for his newly identified ministry. Once again we see how our own passions can deliver us into ministry in unusual and needful places.

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