On Monday, June 13, Skip Rodgers dipped the back tire of his steel-frame touring bike into the Pacific Ocean in Anacortes, Wash., 93 miles south of Vancouver, B.C., settled onto the seat, and began a trek of over 3,400 miles across the northern tier of the United States. His goal is to dip his tire in the Atlantic Ocean in Bar Harbor, Me., around August 9.
Why did 59-year-old Skip Rodgers take on this challenge which he calls the Ride for Hope and Mercy?
He just had to do something about the plight of the persecuted and displaced Christians fleeing violence in the Middle East, he explained.
The seed of the idea took root after Rodgers went to St. Rafka’s Mission of Hope and Mercy Conference at Regis University in Sept. 2015. There, Father Andre Mahanna, who was brought up in Lebanon and is pastor of St. Rafka Maronite Church in Lakewood, Colo., was part of a panel on religious persecution in the Middle East.
“I left there feeling we should something besides wearing the Nazarene pin,” Skip said. “I started thinking about doing something more. At the same time Father John Hilton at age 60 last year was riding across America to raise money to build a retreat center at his church.” He is pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Aspen, Colo. That watered the seed of inspiration for Skip.
This article continues at [NC Register] Riding Across America for Persecuted Christians in the Middle East