Blessing of the Bicycles and Cyclists
"We have a very intimate relationship with the cycling community," offered Fr. Dennis J. Parker of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. "Our organist and a few other members are bicycle commuters, and have all had some close calls while riding." The church is the home of the Portland Bicycle Shrine, a place of reflection and meditation which honors the Madonna Del Ghisallo, the matron saint of cyclists. It is also home of the Tracey Sparling "ghost bike.” This year, a poster has been commissioned which incorporates the Bike Shrine rosette. The design combines a number of elements, the white wheel of the "ghost bike", rose petals for the City of Roses, a circle in a square which evokes a Buddhist mandala, a symbol of healing, which is a primary mission of St. Stephen's church. "We are all seekers, traveling a spiritual path" shared Mic Fleming, president of the congregation. "Our worship in the Episcopal church focuses around the healing power of God, as manifest in our sacraments, our community life, and the power of forgiveness in this broken world." The church, which was once the cathedral of the diocese of Oregon, is experiencing a renaissance. It is a multi-racial, multi-cultural parish, which is attracting a diverse group of people (and for some, their dogs as well, which are also welcome at services). The parish has a significant presence of Gay men, young and interracial couples, and others who are seeking an inclusive understanding of the Christian gospel, which is grounded in personal spirituality, not rules, guilt or shame. Every year St. Stephen's hosts a Blessing of Bicycles and Cyclists at the church. This year's blessing will be on Tuesday November 2nd, at 5:30 PM. The church is located at SW 13th and Clay, just west of PSU. The blessing of bikes and cyclists is open to all persons; a social time with refreshments will follow.