Monday, June 15, 2009

The Joy of Sects Ride Report

Yesterday the Bike Temple embarked on it's highly anticipated debut event, The Joy of Sects Ride, a Pedalpolooza ride designed to teach your average citizen a little something about a religion and it's facilities that they possibly knew nothing about.

We started at Colonel Summers Park, allowing a little time for mingling and late-comers before getting started (one great practice I learned from Brad and Heather of Easy Riders is to start a ride 30 minutes after it's posted time, giving those on bike time a chance to show.) At the park The Bike Temple introduced itself and it's intentions to the group, which at it's strongest was somewhere around 40 people. We explained the ambitions and vision of the Bike Temple and answered questions from the crowd, who was very eager to learn about the great things that are coming from this group.
We left Colonel Summers and headed to our first stop, the Metanoia Peace Community, a United Methodist Church that is located in a large, beautiful house in the Irvington community. Many of the members live in the building and help to maintain the building and run the small publishing business therein, creating books that help those facing tragedy and loss. We were greeted by the Pastor, John Schwiebert, who sat us down in the living room and gave us a brief summery of their faith and practices, as well as answered questions from the group. More information on the Metanoia Peace Community can be found on their website.

After Metanoia we headed southeast to the Multnomah weekly Quaker Friends meeting at Stark and 43rd.  A representative named Lew came out to the front and told us all about the history and practices of the Quaker faith, which includes the practice of total consensus when making decisions among other things.  Lew also answered some questions from the crowd and would have taken us on a tour but sadly we ran out of time at that stop.  You can learn more about the Quaker Meeting here.

We then headed to the Dharma Rain Zen Center, where Jyoshin met with us and led us into the building.  We all took off our shoes and sat in the beautiful building while Jyoshin talked to us about the Buddhist practice of meditation and inner vision.  The Dharma Rain Center is open to the public and designed to give the everyday person a chance to envolve themselves in the teaching and practice of Buddhism.  See their website for details and schedules.

From Dharma Rain we headed downtown for a quick stop at the First Unitarian Church and the Beth Israel Jewish Congregation.  Due to some unfortunate and very last-minute events these facilities were unable to provide us with a representative to speak to the group, but we took the opportunity to explore their campuses and talk amongst ourselves about what good could be done within the cycling community by a religiously-focused group like the Bike Temple.  This sparked some great conversation and discussion by some very intelligent and forward-thinking people.  It was a great experience.

For our final stop we rode up to NE to the Lotus Seed Ashram.  The Lotus Seed is a community of residents who practice and teach yoga in a large and beautiful church building that was formerly home to Portland's first black congregation.  The leader of the community, Wren, brought us into the chapel and talked to us about what the Lotus Seed does and it's goals for the future.   It was great to sit back in a pew and take in the light from the stained glass windows.  The Lotus Seed site has more information on classes and event schedules.

It was a great pleasure to lead this ride with such an amazing group of people.  Everyone was respectful and open-minded at each stop, and the questions and discussions that stemmed from them were very inspiring.  After Wren wrapped up at the Lotus Seed many of us stood around outside talking about what could be done next, and Pasture Ted collected contact information and passed out membership forms.  If you are interested in getting involved in projects and events like this, feel free to email us.  

Thanks to everyone who came and all of the representatives at our stops.  This was a very fun and informative ride for us all.

For more (better) pics and coverage see those by here

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