By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 August, 2014
Two Church of Ireland clergymen are stepping out of their pulpits and revving up the horsepower for a 10-day charity bike run around Ireland.
The Rev Nigel Kirkpatrick and the Rev Andrew McCroskery will don both helmets and dog collars as they set out on an epic ride to every cathedral in the Church of Ireland in aid of the work of the United Society (formerly USPG).
From 1–10 August Rev Nigel, rector of Gilnahirk in Belfast, and Rev Andrew, rector of St Bartholomew’s and Christ Church Leeson Park in Dublin, will bike it to all 30 Church of Ireland cathedrals, from Lisburn to Limerick and from Clogher to Cork.
At each cathedral, they two clergymen will join or lead a short service with prayers for the United Society and particularly their work in Swaziland.
Swaziland is a tiny African kingdom surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. Roughly 26% of adults are HIV positive, and the need for outside aid is immense.
The United Society is an Anglican organisation that began life 300 years ago to propagate the Gospel. Nowadays it partners people and communities around the world through their local churches. The Irish wing of the United Society is now known as Us and it fundraises for Swaziland projects.
Two Church of Ireland rectors, who are motor cycle enthusiasts, are using part of their annual vacation time to visit the thirty cathedrals.
They will visit between two and four cathedrals per day. At each stop they will either join in a service or lead a short prayer service.
They hope local bikers will come with them for part of the run and that people will offer donations to support the United Society’s efforts in Swaziland.
A Service of Holy Communion in St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast, at 10am today (1 August) will launch the bikers’ epic journey and Andrew and Nigel are encouraging other motorcycling enthusiasts to join them, even for a short distance, along the route and make a donation to the United Society as they do so.
Their 1,500 mile ride zig–zags across the whole island and concludes back at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast at 3.30pm on Sunday 10 August.
Rev Kirkpatrick explained why the two rectors felt inspired to organise this innovative fundraising challenge for the United Society.
“We’re both passionate about motorcycling and also about the work of the United Society among the people of Swaziland, one of the poorest countries in the world with the highest rate of HIV infection per capita.
“In this 300th anniversary year of the United Society, we felt that riding motorbikes across the country, visiting every cathedral would be a novel way to honour their work, highlight the very crucial projects in Swaziland and raise some money.
“An added bonus is that we will be drawing attention to ancient ecclesiastical places in Ireland that many people will not have heard of. Plus we get to ride motorbikes for ten days!”
Donations can be sent to Linda Chambers, Egan House, St Michan’s Church, Church Street, Dublin 7, or through the donate button on Linda’s United Society blog: lindaatuspg.blogspot.ie