Following our last meeting I gave some training to the North East Branch based on Safeguarding – Children and Vulnerable Adults. It was an interactive seminar covering aspects of ‘Who is vulnerable?’, ‘Occasions when CMA members may come in contact with young people?’, ‘Identifying different kinds of abuse’, ‘What do I do if I suspect abuse has taken place?’. It was well received and has stimulated conversations since. I would like to take this to other branches in the months to come.
The next day Sandy and I headed up the team in Holy Joes at The Farmyard Party Rally situated on the North Yorkshire Moors not far from our home. The MAG organisers moved us to the centre of the main arena in a huge marquee (50m long x 20m wide) that they provided. We were incredibly busy with approx. 7,000 drinks being served, we interacted with the bikers and numerous Bibles were given out. The team worked well together and certainly went the extra mile. Feedback from MAG was very complimentary. CMA members have been included in some of the MAG rally reports in the national ‘Road’ Magazine.
Shortly after the Farmyard I headed north to join the ‘Rest of Scotland’ Branch on their charity ride. We met in Edinburgh and took the coastal route to Aberdeen. It gave me a positive opportunity to spend quality time with them. After Aberdeen I headed south to Ayrshire to visit the Forth and Tay Branch who were running a Holy Joes Café at the Blue Angels Rally. This was predominantly a patch club event. It was good to see everyone and meet a few leaders from Scottish MC clubs. George and Amy have made excellent in-roads to this rally over the past five years; God Squad were present and I had chance to catch up with Howie Pickering from Manchester. I was feeling tired and hadn’t been to my own church for a couple of weeks so I decided to ride home that night rather than camp.
On the 2nd July I attended Barton Bike Night near Hull. This is an unusual event that takes place once a year in a small town – there are very few vendors or anything of major interest other than 10,000 bikers attend!! The roads are closed and bikes pour in coming from far and wide. The local branches have a good relationship with the Salvation Army and have a stand / display outside their church. The night lasts approximately four hours. I wonder if there is any other evening meet that can compare?
The following Sunday Sandy and I attended Rixton Bikers Church where I was invited to preach – the turnout was good and very encouraging. Many people said they were challenged.
In conjunction with Robert Oates and Andy Hogan I continue to support the Tyne and Wear Twig. In July we visited their meeting after Phil and Gilian Roberts have moved to Quatar following a job offer. (A week later Sandy and I attended Phil and Gilian’s farewell party). The Twig has been enthusiastically attending rallies, Bikewise, and connecting with their local bike clubs and weekly biker meets.
The National Rally seemed to go really well with great enthusiasm for Lenchwood Christian Centre. Approximately 170 registered on site, which was a decent number considering the lack of rooms available. The catering team of THREE from Carlisle Twig did an incredible job providing in excess of 350 meals. The caterer Colin is a retired professional caterer and offered his services six years ago when we met at the TT. The layout of the site kept everyone together and worked really well. The weather caused a few problems but it didn’t matter. The Lord challenged many during the meetings especially the ‘Not a fan’ DVD. I have never seen so many in tears and struggling to speak. It was good to have Mike Adams back again and the unscheduled word from Sid on Sunday morning. I felt Dan Harris did a great seminar on ‘Reaching Youth through motorcycles’, and Fred’s on ‘Fasting’ was well attended too. Our collection on behalf of ‘Open Doors’ was in excess of £2,000. A momentous occasion at the rally was our wedding anniversary! Regarding next years venue I have booked Lenchwood for 2015 and 2016. As previously discussed I had hoped we could go to Blaithwaite House near Keswick but their price per bed (not per room) is £23 per night without en suite or food! Rene Changuion (CMA International Coordinator) has agreed to attend our rally next year.
Shortly after the National Rally, Sandy and I rode to the European Motorcyclists For Christ Rally near Lisbon in Portugal. We were both invited to speak. I preached on Friday evening and Sandy spoke at a ladies breakfast meeting. Our days consisted of meetings, fellowship and private conversations with club leaders chatting over issues they faced, very successful. Considering Eddie (CMA Portugal President) and his team had to find an alternative venue four months before it was due to start they did an incredible job – the pool – (yes pool!!!) was completed a few hours before the first person jumped in. In view of the temperatures being in the 30’s the pool was essential. The numbers were low but this was the first EMC in the southern section of Europe and hopefully more people will attend in future. We had a number of new clubs represented. The EMC in 2015 is to be hosted by Gospel Riders in Finland. CMA Spain had hoped to run the EMC in 2016 but it hasn’t been possible. We had 16 people attend from the UK. Sandy and I took a couple of days to relax on the way home staying in Salamanca and the Picos De Europa mountains. Both are incredible places and a must if you find yourselves in northern Spain.
Following the EMC I attended a BMW Owners Club Rally in Kelso to assist the Borders Branch running a drop in style tent. The club had hoped for 900 to attend but sadly only 300 made it, but it was an excellent event and gave us great opportunity to share the Gospel with many. This was my first BMW event and I was amazed how God placed me in the path of various people on the rally particularly a biker from Oxford, he heard the Gospel numerous times and received a Bible. I went on the ride out with them and connected time and again at coffee stops and lunch at St. Abbs. A great event – the BMW Club have asked if CMA can do the same next year somewhere near Winchester I believe? They have a different venue each year.
Last weekend Sandy and I spent four days heading up the Holy Joes Outreach Team at Stormin the Castle MAG Rally. We had an excellent team of 28 from CMA and MAG were very grateful for all we did, it really felt like we took our relationship with the rally to another level – this year was my 14th or 15th Stormin The Castle.
I have managed to keep up my fitness routine of swimming and exercise. This has really helped with my energy levels for travelling and long hours.
Following our last meeting I rode to the Autumn Madness NABD Rally near Oxford to work with the Thames Valley Branch running a 24hr Holy Joes. I received a very warm welcome and had opportunity to get to know them all much better. I also met up with key people in NABD that I know from the Cheshire NABD rally. I have organised to visit the branch in November to share some training.
After NABD I stayed with Alan and Liz Robertson at Gloucester, we attended their church on Sunday night providing opportunity to connect with the Vicar that I previously met. Monday evening I had a training evening with the branch based on looking beyond the face of those we seek to reach with the Gospel. They are a branch with potential, but really need a boost of new members. I have asked Thames Valley to connect with them as they are quite close; Bristol Branch have built up a good working relationship with Gloucester particularly for Hoggin The Bridge in October.
I had a meeting with one of my key contacts at the Bible Society in Swindon. We discussed the progress of the Biker Bible – it was agreed that other than changing testimonies there wasn’t any real gain by adding any extras.
I had hoped to meet with Open Doors in Witney but Roger Faulkner couldn’t make it.
After running our local village show I began riding towards Brighton to attend the Brighton Burn Up and then spend time with Hampshire and Dorset branch, but at 8pm, three hours south, I had a nasty rear tyre blow out. There was a large hole in the tyre. Thankfully I kept the bike straight as I pulled off the motorway. Sadly I missed the events and arrived home on the back of a truck at 2.30am.
I rode to Suffolk to set up the Copdock Bike Show CMA stand at Ipswich with the local branch. We shared fellowship in the afternoon and attended a local church fundraiser for Missionary Aviation Fellowship in the evening. The show went very well considering it is a single day. It is a huge event worthy of a weekend. We had a good CMA team made up of members from Suffolk, Norfolk and MESS branches, numerous opportunities to share the Gospel, offer Biker Bibles. I spent a lot of my time counselling and praying with members.
Following our last meeting Sandy and I attended the CMA International Leaders Conference and Changing of the Colors Rally (their spelling) in Arkansas, USA. The time we spent with the other leaders and the 4,500 members of CMA USA that attended their rally was very positive and busy. We were especially blessed to meet a number of new faces from France, Bulgaria, Canada, Macedonia, Finland, Mexico and Peru. It was exciting to meet some new young leaders with passionate hearts surrendered to God’s call. We found ourselves involved in giving advice and contributing a great deal throughout the conference. During the conference we have numerous ministry times involving prayer and worship. Every day begins with a Word to focus on. Each leader is given the opportunity to share from the main stage an overview of what their country has been doing. It was very encouraging to see new opportunities opening up. We had an update on the process a new country goes through to become a chartered CMA country, a focus on Hope, Goals & Visions, Ministry to Bikers, Seasons of Refreshing (USA version of Regional style Meetings). Rene preached on Personal Growth and Discipleship. We had separate sessions on ‘Ministry to men’ and ‘Ministry to women’ - Living to stand out rather than blending in. During the initial Colors Rally we were all given opportunity to address the rally main meeting from the main stage and as usual we were given a huge warm welcome. The days are long (6am-10.30pm each day) with little down time but the blessings far outweighed the fatigue, at this stage we do not know when the next conference will take place - possibly in two years if funding allows. We had a great sense of unity throughout the team. We were asked by Lisa the Australian coordinator to visit their country one day to meet the members and ride with them one day…. God willing one day! On our return home I had a minor struggle with jet lag and eased back into my diary.
I led a seminar at the East Midlands Regional Day in Nottingham about ‘Looking beyond the outward appearance of those we are trying to reach’. The day was very well organised and we had a great sense of unity during discussions. Following that meeting I attended a presentation party night with the East Mids branch in Nottingham in relation to the Rock and Bike Fest.
It has been a huge blessing to attend our own church for four weeks running, I have led worship, preached and concentrated on CMA office work.
I organised a coach trip for 47 local bikers to the NEC International Bike Show. We had a very positive day and two new guys asked for Bikers bibles. I met some members of CMA and vendors I knew. A retired Cleveland Police inspector who comes on the coach trips has asked Sandy and I to attend the Cleveland Police Carol service. His wife wouldn’t go unless Sandy came – guess what – we are going!!
Last week I visited Carlisle to speak to the forming Twig that I have been working with for many years. We had an excellent turnout and at least two new people expressed interest in moving forward with CMA (they now have approx. 8 committed to Carlisle). They have numerous events planned and are making an in road to their local bike community. I am excited about their future.