Beautiful Frenchtown, NJ is a haven for tourists seeking to connect with God’s creation on the banks of the Delaware River. The 70-mile Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park winds through Frenchtown and is a haven for jogging, bicycling, fishing, canoeing and much more. Add to this the shops, art galleries and a plethora of locally owned restaurants, the atmosphere in town is nothing short of bucolic.
As part of Frenchtown United Methodist Church’s renewed effort to reach out to the community, Pastor Peter Mantell hosted Frenchtown’s first ever Blessing of the Bikes on Sunday May 26. Riders of all types of bikes were invited to come on Sunday May 26 to have their two-wheeled rides blessed in the parking lot.
Pastor Peter Mantell commented on the event, “Whether you’re riding a Harley or a Schwinn, getting out on the open road is a great feeling of liberation. I wanted to give riders the reminder that no matter what, they’re not riding alone. God is with them always. I hope that our bike blessing offered them God’s peace as they ride.”
The idea for this event came from one of the board members from Mantell’s other charge, Kingwood UMC. Will Goeckeler is an active rider and thought this would be a great way to raise the profile of the church in the community. Said Goeckeler, “Jesus invited everyone to the table and I know that if he was in Frenchtown, the motorcyclists would be the first group he’d gravitate towards.”
Frenchtown resident Adam Blackburn came to the blessing with his son Charlie to have both of their bikes blessed. “This was such a special moment for us,” said Blackburn, “I love how the congregation welcomed us into their warm fellowship.”
In addition to blessing visitors’ bikes, Mantell also included his own bicycle into the event, having one of the congregants anoint him and his ride as well. “I hope to do this again several times over the summer, but rather than having people come to the church, I’ll go down to the river by the bridge that spans the Delaware and offer blessings to the many bikers who are out enjoying this beautiful community.”