On a cloudy Sunday morning in downtown Hereford, TX, the morning stillness is broken by the roar of Harley Davidson motorcycles echoing off the walls of Main street businesses. Motorcylists from the area are making their way to First United Methodist Church for the annual Blessing of the Bikes. What began as an idea "borrowed" from another congregation, has grown into an event that area motorcyclists look forward to each spring. May is Motorcycle awareness month and FUMC Hereford, as part of its mission of planting seeds of faith, reaches out to the community through Christian hospitality by inviting riders for a hot breakfast followed by a brief devotional and an individual prayer for each rider and their machine.
When we began the event in 2010, it was done in conjunction with an area motorcycle rally. Through the years that event dissipated but the blessing of the Bikes continued on. Lay member of FUMC, Randy Laing, an avid rider and well known in the biker community, pushed me each year to keep it going. One year we missed the event due to scheduling conflicts and we heard from many sources about how it was missed. So, we have carried on.
The United Methodist Men provide breakfast. A gift is purchased for each rider. In the past we have given out pins, hats, Pocket New Testaments, and this year each rider received a pocket coin with a prayer printed on it. About two years ago, the church began including first responders from the area: Fire, EMS and Police departments have been included. Because they are the first ones to respond in a tragedy or emergency situation, the church believes it is good to include them as well. Attendance has more than doubled through the years.
This year's event drew 32 motorcyclists, 1 bicyclist, 2 ambulances, 9 police vehicles and about 70 people. Along with the bikers there were representatives from Hereford PD, EMS and Deaf Smith County Sheriff's office. Both the county Sheriff and Hereford Police Chief were in attendance as well. FUMC is known in the community as a church that ministers beyond its walls. An annual breakfast for hunters, a street fair in the fall and support of numerous area missions. Kings Manor, Ceta Canyon, WTAMU Wesley Foundation, Boys and Girls clubs, and financial assistance are just some of the ways the congregation extends itself. The church believes it can make an impact in many areas of the community.
The Blessing of the Bikes is just one more way to fulfill the churches mission statement: Planting seeds of Faith, Cultivating eternal relationships, Growing lives of Joy!
Written by Kevin Bushart
Pastor at FUMC Hereford