As the Church of Ireland’s two ‘Bikers on a Mission’ prepare for their epic journey around the island this summer, they are urging parishes to pledge their support.
From August 1 to 10 the Rev Nigel Kirkpatrick, rector of Gilnahirk in Belfast, and the Rev Andrew McCroskery, rector of St Bartholomew’s and Christ Church Leeson Park in Dublin, will make a motorbike run to every cathedral in the Church of Ireland in aid of the work of the United Society (formerly USPG) and in support of their work in Swaziland.
As they journey around each cathedral in this the 300th anniversary year of the United Society, Nigel and Andrew will join or lead a short service with prayers for the United Society and their work in Swaziland at each cathedral.
Their cathedral run gets underway at St Anne’s in Belfast, on Friday August 1 at 10am, and from their they head to Christ Church Cathedral in Lisburn for 12 noon, before travelling south.
Every parish in the Church of Ireland has been asked for their prayer and support for the event and for a donation to the work of the United Society in Swaziland. Parishes can send a representative to be present on the day at their cathedral to bring their parish or personal donation and to join the bikers in prayer.
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
The United Society is an Anglican missionary society that has worked in partnership with Anglican dioceses throughout the world, sharing the love of God in action and seeing lives transformed. The work is usually with communities that have often been overlooked and which face difficult problems in relation to poverty, education, medical care and social justice issues.
The Society works within already existing communities with churches that are already established to help with the development of local skills and the empowerment of communities to make a lasting change.
While the mission partners are Anglican, the United Society is ecumenical in its outlook and also works with other faith communities. In Ireland the United Society works mainly with the Diocese of Swaziland, but also supports work in Zambia and in India (with the Dublin University Mission to Chota Nagpur).
Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rates in the world and the population of 1.1million is in decline. The Anglican diocese of Swaziland is small but mighty, reaching every corner of the country and help is given to all irrespective of faith or denomination. Many parishes run feeding stations (most people in rural areas still only practice subsistence farming), home based care teams for the sick and orphan care.
Currently the Diocese of Swaziland relies on outside donors to help run its development programmes and the United Society in Ireland funds the work of the Diocesan Development Officer and work with Bishop Ellinah towards self–sufficiency.
One of the major projects supported by the United Society in Ireland is the Luyengo Farm project. Not only is Luyengo Farm an important teaching aid for local people and a source of employment, it is also an income generator for the diocese and helps to support many of the important HIV/AIDs programmes as well as the managing of 26 schools and care of the sick and orphaned.
Andrew and Nigel hope that this event will raise the profile of the work of the United Society in Ireland and their support of the Diocese of Swaziland. They also hope that as many people as possible will join them in their cathedrals during August.
Further information on the work of the United Society in Ireland can be found online at lindaatuspg.blogspot.ie. A Facebook page has also been set up for the Bikers On A Mission event (https://www.facebook.com/bikerson.amission.9) and they are on Twitter @BikersOnMission. These pages also contain the full schedule for the event in August will be updated on the journey as it happens.
Any motorcyclist who would like to join them for any part of the trip (if even only for a short while) is most welcome in exchange for a donation to the work of the United Society.
The Bikers on a Mission full itinerary is as follows:
1st August 10am: St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast
12 midday: Christ Church Cathedral, Lisburn
2.30pm: Christ the Redeemer Cathedral, Dromore
7pm: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
2nd August 11am: St Fethlimidh’s Cathedral, Kilmore
2pm: St Macartan’s Cathedral, Clogher
3.45pm: St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.
3rd August 11am: St Columb’s Cathedral, Derry
2.30pm: St Eunan’s Cathedral, Raphoe
5pm: St John & St Mary’s Cathedral, Sligo
7.30pm: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Killala
4th August 10.30am: St Mary’s Cathedral, Tuam
2pm: St Brendan’s Cathedral, Clonfert
5pm: St Fachtnan’s Cathedral, Kilfenora
8.30pm: St Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe
5th August 10.30am: Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin, Limerick
5pm: St Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery
6th August 11am: St Finn Barre’s Cathedral, Cork
2pm: St Colman’s Cathedral, Cloyne
4.30pm: St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore
7th August 11.15am: Holy Trinity, Waterford
3pm: St John’s Cathedral, Cashel
8th August 10am: St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny
12 Midday: St Laserian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin
3.30pm: St Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns
9th August 10am: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
11am: Christ Church Cathedral Dublin
2pm: St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare
5pm: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trim
10th August 11.30m: Down Cathedral, Downpatrick
3.30pm: St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast