This is the first of the 2016 bike trip blogs, written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows. Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes. Learn more about the ride and the riders.
I write this to you on a chilly, rainy evening with a fire burning bright and a dog curled up at my feet. I’m soaking in as much heat as possible because the forecast for tomorrow’s send-off is 50 degrees and showers. I do hope it’s 50 – sounds so much better than 49! Regardless of the weather, we will leave warmed by your prayers, well-wishes, and donations. Astonishingly, we have already raised $7,000 toward our goal of $10,000 – thanks to everyone who has contributed!
PA Interfaith Power & Light has done wonderful things with the money, expanding this year to two part-time staff people by hiring Rev. Alison Cornish as executive director (Cricket Hunter is now director of program and outreach – a job that is perfect for her). With more staff we have more programs and are reaching out to more people of faith who want to respond to the challenge of climate change.
It’s heartening and so very much needed. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and the first months of 2016 were also record-breaking warm. This is not good, and I don’t think people fully realize the vast changes we need to make in order to reduce our carbon footprint by 80%. Nor do they realize the speed with which those changes must occur.
In such a world, we need our religious institutions to be the prophetic voice that speaks the unpopular truth to the world. In a small way, we hope our bike trip is part of that voice.
The riders each year certainly give me hope that change is possible. If you haven’t, please read their stories. Each one is a gem: Joyce Eveleth who rides for the second year in a row and urges on her evangelical Christian brothers and sisters; Dave Hunter who rode back in 2013 and whose daughter, Molly, rode last year; Ed Prince, family physician and president of the council at Grace Lutheran Church, where both Dave and I (Jon) go. Other repeats from last year include Dorothy Blair, retired professor of nutrition and member of the Unitarian Fellowship in town, and Karl Raynar, professional engineer who attends Trinity Lutheran Church. Karl will be joined part of the way by his granddaughter, Carina – a sixth-grader! Finally, two members from State College Presbyterian Church who are new to the ride: Spencer Curran, a graduate student in ecology, and Scott McDonald, professor of science education.
As we begin this trip once more, we are all so very thankful for our corporate donors, for all those who support us along the way. 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 (shivering) to Washington!!
—Jon (and the other cyclists)
Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders
or send a check, memo: bike 2016 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801