In preparation for the motorcycle season this spring, Bethesda United Methodist Church has once again partnered with the Christian Motorcycle Association to hold its second annual Blessing of the Bikes event April 6.
Taysie Phillips, the pastor at Bethesda United Methodist Church, read about the idea and thought that it would be interesting to introduce the motorcycle element to her church, whose members are predominantly elderly and traditional.
"Last year, many of the riders had tattoos and wore bandannas but they just blended right in and my people just loved them," Phillips said.
Nikki Barrett, a member of the Christian Motorcycle Association and a coordinator of the event, said she is excited about it because she is expecting a larger group of bikes this year.
"We had about 25 bikes last year but now we are getting more publicity," she said.
Phillips said that the event will begin as a group blessing then each bike and rider will be blessed individually. She also said that she is expecting a larger number of bikes than last year.
"We did it last year and the turnout was just wonderful," Phillips said. "But I'm anticipating more this year, maybe 60 bikes or so."
Phillips first became acquainted with the Christian biker community when she hired Barrett and her husband, Greek, who own a plumbing company, to do work for her.
"A beautiful relationship developed out of that between us," Barrett said. "She's such an amazing woman."
Phillips even went for a ride with Barrett and said she loved it.
When Phillips got the idea to hold a bike blessing at her church she thought the perfect person to plan it with would be Barrett.
Though Barrett and her husband are standing members of the Christian Motorcycle Association, they are not part of any chapter. Barrett said she decided to contact Tom Huber, the vice president of the Frederick Chapter, WON BY ONE.
Huber, who has been a member of the chapter for five years and vice president for three, said that when he heard the idea he thought it fit perfectly with the association's overall vision, which is primarily geared, but not exclusively limited, toward reaching motorcyclists.
"We go around and target the motorcycle community, from the 'one percenters' like the Hells Angels and Pagans, all the way down to the guy who just bought his first motorcycle yesterday," Huber said.
Barrett will also be a guest speaker at the church service, which is a task she performed at last year's blessing as well.
"When you bring the biker community into a church that has a traditional setting, it's beautiful to see how the two become one," Barrett said. "What we want people to know is that we are just everyday sort of people, we may look like bikers but underneath the ruggedness we are doctors, lawyers and business owners who just have a love for bikes."
Phillips said that one of the church's main goals is reaching out to Eldersburg and is always looking for other ways to service Sykesville.
"That is what Bethesda United Methodist Church is all about: making a difference in our community," she said.
Normal church service starts at 10 a.m. which will then be followed by the blessing at 11 a.m. The church will also be having a pot-luck luncheon after the event, which is open to anyone who wishes to attend.