Zion Lutheran Church in Bay City served as the host site for the third Here We Ride Event on August 3, 2019. Here We Ride was first done in 2017 in Charlevoix as part of the Michigan District’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, and has become a popular activity each summer since then.
Under the outstanding leadership of Rev. Chris Garcia (Immanuel, Bay City), who served as event chairman, and Rev. Steve Schilke (Zion) who did the onsite coordinating at Zion, the event was carried out wonderfully. A special thank you also is extended to the pastors and congregations of the Bay City circuit for their personal participation and efforts to promote the event in their congregations and communities.
Fifty-two riders registered to participate in the event. Riders gathered on Saturday morning at Zion for check in, some morning nourishment, an opening devotion by Pastor Garcia, an orientation to the day (including safety measures and understanding the Bay County Riverwalk/Railtrail System), and then the sendoff. Long-distance riders departed earlier at 7:30 a.m. to allow time for their rides, and the majority of riders left for their day of fun, fellowship, and exercise between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Riders began returning around 11:30 a.m. and were welcomed back to a delicious cookout at the pavilion on Zion’s property. Those responsible for setting up, preparing, and serving lunch were part of a literal army of volunteers, numbering well over 30, who were involved in some aspect of the event either on Friday evening during early registration, or throughout the day on Saturday. Many were on site carrying out a variety of duties and many were off site manning one of the four volunteer “run, rest, and refreshment” stations spaced around the trail to serve event participants and anyone using the trail on Saturday. A special thank you to Rev. Kevin Jones from Immanuel for his help in many ways on Saturday, such as delivering supplies to the rest stations and being an emergency contact for anyone needing assistance on the trail.
Many attending the event asked if Here We Ride will again take place next summer, and the answer is a resounding YES! Pastor Garcia will again serve as chairperson and as details are worked for another Bay City-based event, they will be passed along by the Michigan District Communications Department.
Here We Ride is a free event to anyone who would like to participate. However, participant riders are given the opportunity to raise as many donations as they can through pledges for miles ridden, or as one-time gifts. These donations are then divided equally between the church or school of the riders’ choosing and the Michigan District’s Here We Stand campaign. Donations will continue to be received for the next two or three months as they are collected by the riders.
One rider said as she was leaving for the day, “I will be recruiting many more riders from my church and neighborhood for next year. This was a fun day.” Please consider this your early invitation to join us next summer for a day of fun and fellowship with a worthwhile purpose.
Photos by Ray Zavada/Michigan District, LCMS