There is a small dirt pathway between a cluster of big oak trees and a small ditch where a family of ducks are content to swim on the eastern border of the expanse of green where Edgcumbe Presbyterian Church is situated.
This little path has long beckoned members of Edgcumbe church to listen to the small voice inviting them to venture forth to meet their neighbors.
2010 turned out to be the year the congregation’s Outreach Committee heeded the call.
Members had noticed that students from nearby Highland Park High School would lock their bikes to the fences on adjoining properties and walk the tiny dirt path on school mornings.
One day, a student asked permission to pray in the sanctuary for the 30 minutes of his lunch hour. The permission granted led the Outreach Committee to further action.
The committee applied for a Mission & Witness Grant from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area to install a bike rack as a gesture of support and welcome to students, as well as to staff of the preschool and attendees of the Alcoholics Anonymous group both housed in the church building. The church also made the bike rack available to anyone in the community traveling on two wheels.
The bike rack was installed last winter by church volunteers and publicized through the school and community newsletters, all before the first snow.
Bikes began appearing immediately. A “Bike/Walk to Church” celebration will take place in the spring.
The bike rack has helped create a connection and tangible relationship between the church and the school for the first time.Church members are being invited to participate in school activities and faculty are walking over for meetings in Edgcumbe’s building. Plans are in place for high school students to join church members for anti-hunger projects.
Cindy Hansen is a member of Edgcumbe Presbyterian Church in St.Paul, Minn.