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The bike trip is less than a week away and we are all-a-flurry with preparations. This thing gets bigger every year, but this year it has gotten huge! Not only do we have more cyclists than ever before, more people are participating at every level. We are also at 55% of our goal of raising $9,000 – thanks to everyone who has contributed already!
In the past several weeks, I have made five visits to congregations, telling them about the ride and about our commitment to respond to climate change. These were inspired by a service that Dorothy Blair arranged last summer at the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Centre County. At that service, several cyclists gave testimonials about the trip and why they rode, and I realized that this was an excellent way to spread the “gospel” of the bike trip.
My visits these past few weeks have ranged from small conversations during Bible study to announcements at church services (a minute for mission!). But nothing compares with the welcome we got from Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon on April 19. At that service, rider Pam Grugan gave the children’s message (riding her bike into the sanctuary!); I spent two minutes describing the work of PA Interfaith Power & Light; and Eric Sauder (another cyclist this year) gave a wonderful sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan “Who is my neighbor in an interconnected world?” Eric noticed that Jesus reframes the lawyer’s question: “who is my neighbor” to instead ask “who acted more like a neighbor?”
This notion of acting like a neighbor in the face of climate change is exactly what this bike trip is all about. The practice rides we have done together allow us, most of all, to be neighborly to one another. Cycling down country roads is a great time to talk, to listen, and just to be silent together as we pedal the miles away. We also get to be neighborly to people along the road, as we wave, and complement them on their budding gardens.
As we begin this trip once more, we are all so very thankful for these Good people, Samaritans all, who show us the meaning of being neighbors as we start this venture. AND, we are grateful to all of you for joining us on this trip, supporting us by your thoughts, prayers, and your donations to PA IPL.
Onward to Washington!!
Jon (and the other ELEVEN cyclists)
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