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September 25, 2004

The Bicycling Bishop

You know the saying: God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.

Or something like that.

I ain't been to Church in 20 years, so don't quote me as being acurate. :-)

Here is a wonderful, Los Angeles Times, story about one of those "Mysterious Ways".

There is apparently a growing decline in membership in the United Methodist Church, but that doesn't stop Mary Ann Swenson from using pedal power to reach out to her flock.

When United Methodists broke ground for Casa Shalom, a 30-unit affordable-housing project in Pico Union on a recent Sunday afternoon, their bishop arrived for the ceremony on a bicycle from Pasadena, 13 miles away.

Quickly changing into clerical garb, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson blessed the ground at Pico Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue where the apartments and a child-care center for 40 children will be built.

Swenson, 57, who in her capacity as bishop of the California-Pacific Conference oversees 400 United Methodist churches in Southern California, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan, is a committed environmentalist and social activist. Almost exclusively, she rides a bicycle everywhere or uses public transportation.

"When you ride the Red and Blue Line and city buses, you will see the people of Los Angeles in a way you don't see when you're in your car," she said.

Her office is in Pasadena, and she feels that her bicycle riding helps her connect with people of all walks of life, and helps bring them to her Churches

A high Poo-bah, of any Church, traveling around on a Tandem Bike ( with her Husband ) is a startling sight, I'll grant you but, hey, whatever works I say. :-)

"One of the things I want to do as bishop is to take the center to the edge and bring the edge to the center," Swenson said, "and empower them and give new meaning and new life of possibilities to them."

Using public transit and riding her bicycle help her keep in touch with "the edges."

The Swensons always rode their bikes, but she became even more avid after the couple received a tandem bicycle as their 25th wedding anniversary gift Aug. 31, 1993.

Since then they have completed many tours, including a cross-country, 4,059-mile trip that took 58 days.

You go, Girl! :-)

I agree with her sentiment that riding provides other benefits besides helping the environment:

Out on the road you are away from the cares of your everyday life, and because
of that the time spent is very special, and one of the wonderful things about Bicycling.

Bishop Committed to Her 400 Churches and Her Bike by K. Connie Kang ( Free Registration Req'd )

September 25, 2004 in Cycling News Network | Permalink


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