Bishop Chris blessing the bicycle prayer station Photo Tom Last, Cornish Guardian

At the beginning of October, Bishop Chris broke with convention by replacing his Mitre with a cycling helmet! He did so as part of his dedication of a prayer station within Cardynham Church, making it the first cycling church in the UK.

As befits a cycling church, the prayer station is, wonderfully, a bicycle. Decorated by children from the local Cardinham Primary School, people are invited to bring their thoughts and prayers to the prayer station by tying ribbons to the bicycle or writing on and attaching luggage labels.

Wonderful legacy for passionate cyclist, Ben

Cardynham Church, which sits on the edge of Bodmin moor, wanted to make it known that it has a heart for cyclists and walkers in an area that has become a popular destination for them all year round. The idea was originally inspired by a member of their congregation who lost a great friend, Ben, who was passionate about cycling, and who sadly died while doing what he loved best.

The Cycling church is a touching legacy to Ben and is embraced by the whole community. Ann Kerridge, churchwarden said, “We want cyclists and walkers to feel welcome here, valued and recognised, just as Ben would have us do.”

Emily & Tabitha who helped to decorate the fabulous bicycle prayer station

Believing this to be the first cycle church in the country, the church family at Cardynham hope that the prayer station, by celebrating the joy of exercise, leisure and the countryside, will encourage all those who explore the area by cycling and walking.

Liz Wallace, the diocesan Parish Support Advisor, responsible for the ‘Way to Welcome’ pack was there on the day, “It was great to see how a church with a small congregation can meticulously plan and then open their doors to cyclists and walkers on the well-cycled/trodden route past the church. Offering refreshments and space to pray or remember someone close to them means no one dropping in could fail to feel welcome, reflecting how God welcomes all of us.”

Do you have a cycling, walking or welcoming story to share?

In Cornwall, we have the Walker’s Chapel in St Levan, with many other churches along the John O’Groats to Lands End route embracing cyclists and walkers at the beginning or end of their journey. If your church has a particular ministry for walkers, cyclists or tourists or travellers we would love to hear from you. We’d also love to hear from you if the Way to Welcome pack has made a difference to your church life and you have encouraging stories that you’d like to share.

The Cycling Church is open!