New Castle News

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April 29, 2013

Photo Gallery, Story: Motorcyclists gather for bike blessing

NEW CASTLE — In the Old Testament book of Eziekel, God promises showers of blessing.

You might say he delivered a few of them yesterday.

Despite conditions that were anything but ideal motorcycle weather, dozens of bikers gathered near the fountain on Kennedy Square to have their vehicles blessed amid a steady drizzle.

The event was the first Blessing on the Diamond, a joint effort of Family Worship Center and the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association.

Franklin Padilla of New Castle rode in through the rain on a Honda Rebel 250 that isn’t even his. A co-worker bought it for his own daughter, and asked Padilla to take it to have it blessed.

Padilla was happy to accomodate him.

“Out there, a lot of people don’t pay attention,” he said. “When you got God on your side, in a tight situation, he might just put his hand in there.

“This is about God, it’s about goodness, it’s about good people getting together and making sure we’re safe out there.”

The event evolved from a series of dinners that local bike enthusiasts held in the basement of Family Worship Center on the square. Those dinners, explained Chuck Quinn, president of the New Castle-based O-Penn chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, were aimed at raising money for the homeless.

Rich Shira, one of the event organizers, added that the blessing event was something that the bikers had talked about for years, and “this year, it was just laid on my heart to have a bike blessing.”

The Rev. Kris Kauffman, pastor of Family Worship Center, offered a blessing in the church basement for first responders and veterans before the gathering adjourned to the square for individual bike blessings offered by Quinn, New Castle’s Jim Nestasi and other Christian Motorcyclists Association members.

It was Shira who originally came to Kauffman with the idea of a biker fellowship, and Kauffman has been thrilled to meet and get to know the participants.

“I can say this from someone who’s been outside of it, who never was a biker, who never was part of until I got connected with somebody who was,” he said. “I saw that there was a world that I wasn’t part of, but it’s going on and it’s strong and there’s more than I ever imagined.

“I could not believe what a community of bikers there was. And you realize, wow, here’s a group that we can touch and be involved with in our community. Sometimes you do your own thing, and you’re part of you’re own little world, then you realize there are other worlds outside your world.”

In addition to the blessings, yesterday’s event included food and music by the bluegrass gospel band Lifegate from Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Butler.

Quinn, a North Sewickley Township resident, is a big believer in motorcyclists getting their bikes blessed, even though he concedes bikers aren’t exactly on their own without it.

“You don’t have to bless your bikes,” he said. “God will take care of you without that sticker on your bike. But it doesn’t hurt. I don’t want to say it’s all in that sticker, but it can’t hurt to have that sticker on your bike.

“The bikes are dangerous. I know God has saved my life a couple of times on the motorcycle. It just helps to have the bike blessed. God’s the best mechanic in the world. He’s given me my bike. I’m trying to use it to glorify him.”

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)

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