Bishop Michael Ingham leads cyclists to St. Edward's in Richmond. Cyclists are the Rev. Paul Borthistle, the Rev. Mavis Brownlee, Thomas Seagrave (in front), Valerie Borthistle, and Paige Dampier. Watching are Suzanne Seagrave and daughter Sarah

Our choices for personal transportation – how we get from point A to point B – are important! Often, it is a matter of convenience or of habit that we jump into our private vehicle to satisfy our transportation needs.

When asked, on the other hand, we are often quite aware that these decisions have broader implications – they affect the quality of our surrounding environment; they affect the livability of our neighbourhoods; and, when we choose vehicles that require us to fill up at the pump, we are using up a resource that will not be available to future generations.

Throughout the month of June, as part of a campaign called “Consider the Journey: What Would Jesus Ride?,” Anglicans in the Diocese of New Westminster are being asked to consider these broader implications.

Although a private car may sometimes be the most appropriate form of transportation for a given trip, often we have alternatives. This campaign is a chance to explore these alternatives in light of issues of social justice. It will allow us to explore, as the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams recently urged, how our transportation decisions affect our ability to share the resources of God’s planet.

A working group of the Anglican Environmental Task Force made up of both Anglicans and Lutherans representing the Lutheran Committee for Faith and Society is organizing this campaign, and we are asking for your participation.

The month of June is Bike Month throughout the Lower Mainland. Organized by Better Environmentally Sound Transportation, Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the bicycle, the benefits of using it and the opportunities for incorporating it into our daily life.

In a similar vein, the Diocese is encouraging as many parishioners as possible to dust off their bikes and go for a ride! To make it easier, and to pick up on the interest in Bike Month, we are organizing several events.

The biggest and most public event will be a blessing of the bicycles on Friday June 24 in front of Christ Church Cathedral. The blessing will take place at 5 pm, allowing the blessed bikes and cyclists the opportunity to participate in the monthly Critical Mass ride from in front of the nearby Vancouver Art Gallery.

Obviously, it is not possible for everyone who might wish to participate to make it to downtown Vancouver on a Friday afternoon. To facilitate more bicycle blessings we are also distributing an example of a bicycle blessing text to parish priests throughout the Diocese.

Paige Dampier

Priests are being asked to consider taking some time on a Sunday in June to bless the bicycles of parishioners. In several locations throughout the Diocese, this will be followed in the early afternoon by an organized bike ride involving nearby Anglican and Lutheran communities.

If you are interested in having your bike blessed, or in participating in an organized ride – let your parish priest know.

For those who are not the least bit interested in cycling, we will also be distributing a series of bulletin inserts to parishes for inclusion in your Sunday morning leaflet. Please take the time to read through them and to use it as a tool for considering alternatives to the private automobile in your transportation choices.

Whether you ride your bike in June or not, we certainly hope that this campaign is a useful resource in considering transportation as an issue of social justice.

Paige Dampier, a member St. Mark’s, Vancouver, sits on the diocesan Environmental Task Force, and can be reached for more information at paige-dampier@hotmail. com, or by phone at 604-708-0777.Ride well, ride safe, ride in peace