Blogger: Nathan Martin
After being graciously hosted by members of the Churchville Presbyterian community on Saturday night thanks to the tireless efforts of Fawn Palmer and the Church’s Peace and Justice committee, our riders gathered on Sunday morning to spend time with the community.
We spent the first part of the morning writing and sharing prayers for the earth, a powerful exercise to elicit people’s concerns and passions around climate change. Here is a prayer that Ardon, a 13-year old wrote during the 10-minute exercise:
It’s where humanity lives
But we take for granted what it gives
We’re polluting its air and water
while making it hotter and hotter
We must take action, start working now
But the question is where and the question is how.
Renewable energy, safe and clean
Traveling in nature and sharing what we’ve seen.
The earth is our planet, and it we must protectBe dealing with climate change, humanity’s defect
We then joined the community for Sunday worship where we were given special blessings for the journey, including a blessing for the bicycles, by Pastor Stephen Melton. We could not have asked for a more welcoming community of faith that supported our work and mission. We hope to continue our connection with the community in the future.
The theme of the rest of the day was water. We contended with a regular rain and cold for the first couple of hours of our ride towards Baltimore, but thankfully the rain let up a bit by the time we entered our 7-mile stretch of the Torrey C Brown rail trail. Because of the significant rainfall from the night before and the morning, the rivers were full and as the trail intersected Big Gunpowder Falls creek we were humbled by the power of nature.
Jess Ballenger also shared a piece of the story of the Jones Falls river and watershed which we road through heading into Baltimore which became tremendously polluted in the 1800’s with the urbanization of Baltimore and then later became an underground conduit for for storm water and sewer drainage. More recently through the efforts of non-profits working with the city more of the river is being shifted back to above ground and being rehabilitated.
We continue to be humbled by the generosity of our hosts; after a long hard day of riding we were welcomed and well taken care of by Sister Helene Cooke at the Mennonite owned Reservoir Hill House of Peace for our evening rest. We hope to carry the many blessings we received today for strength and perseverance into the halls of congress when we arrive in Washington, DC.