Church sponsors bike day for locals

Published 1:09 am Monday, October 12, 2009

Vidalia — First Assembly of God in Vidalia is putting out the welcome mat.

The church, with their inaugural Bike Day celebration on Saturday, is hoping to begin a new ministry centered around the plentiful motorcycle community in the Miss-Lou.

Church pastor the Rev. Greg Fain said his congregation wants to be known as “a motorcycle friendly church.”

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“Really what we want is to make sure Vidalia and the surrounding area know they are welcome at our church,” Fain said. “Not that others churches aren’t welcoming, but we want to make a connection with that community and spread the mission of our church.”

Fain said he and several members of the First Assembly congregation are avid riders and hope to combine their two passions — God and motorcycles.

“We have more in common than just liking to ride bikes,” Fain said. “What some people don’t understand is that the majority of riders are Christians.”

The ministry got a kick start Saturday with a day dedicated to the motorcycle community. Joseph Thornton, church member and Bike Day organizer, said he saw the day as a way to draw the motorcycle community to First Assembly.

“Bikers do a lot of fundraising and charity work for the needy,” Thornton said. “Our event was a way to show our appreciation for them and also invite them into our church.”

Thornton said there are approximately 10 riders already in the church congregation.

“As a church, we are hoping to minister to the local community and welcome them to worship with us,” he said. “If they are looking for a place to go to church, we want to fill that need. If they are interested in learning about the Bible and God, then we will help with that.”

Fain said the church is hoping to make the Bike Day an annual event and also add a biker Sunday event in the spring.

“We hope this opens the doors to new people and additional events and ways to serve the community,” Fain said.

Saturday’s event included a two-hour ride, a gumbo dinner, bike games and a blessing of the motorcycles.

“For our church, this is just part of our mission of ministry,” Thornton said. “We are trying to reach as many groups in the community as possible and let them know they are welcome to worship with us at our church.

“And if our church isn’t the place for them, we want to help them find a church that is right for them.”