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The Prayery Bikers: Ministers in round Ireland challenge to aid Swaziland work

Forget the Hairy Bikers – here come the Prayery Bikers!

Two clergymen are to take to the road next month for an epic cycle around Ireland – as they raise money for those living in atrocious conditions in Swaziland.

And the ‘Bikers on a Mission’ will be stopping in Armagh – at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral – during the first day of their 10-day trek.

Between Friday, August 1 and Sunday, August 10, the Rev Nigel Kirkpatrick, rector of Gilnahirk in Belfast, and the Rev Andrew McCroskery, rector of St Bartholomew’s and Christ Church Leeson Park in Dublin, will make a motorbike run to every cathedral in the Church of Ireland in aid of the work of the United Society – formerly USPG – in support of their work in Swaziland.

As they journey around each cathedral in this, the 300th anniversary year of the United Society, Nigel and Andrew will join or lead a short service with prayers for the United Society in each.

They will be seeking the support of parishioners and the general public as they pass along their way.

The motorbike-mad ministers will kick-start their charity challenge at 11am on Friday, August 1, at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, before travelling to Christ Church Cathedral in Lisburn, for 12 noon, and Christ the Redeemer Cathedral in Dromore at 2.30pm.

That evening, at 7pm, Nigel and Andrew will arrive at St Patrick’s CofI Cathedral in Armagh.

It is a journey that will take the two across all four Provinces, arriving back in Belfast on Sunday, August 10.

Every parish in the Church of Ireland has been written to, asking for their prayer and support for the event and for a donation to the work of the United Society in Swaziland.

Parishes can send a representative to be present on the day at their cathedral, to bring their parish or personal donation, and to join in prayer. If you cannot come along and would still like to make a donation, it can be sent to Linda Chambers, Egan House, St Michan’s Church, Church Street, Dublin 7, or through the donate button on Linda’s United Society blog: lindaatuspg.blogspot.ie

The United Society is an Anglican missionary society that has worked in partnership with Anglican dioceses throughout the world to help transform lives.

The work is usually with communities that have often been overlooked and which face difficult problems in relation to poverty, education, medical care and social justice issues. They work within already existing communities with churches that are already established to help with the development of local skills and the empowerment of communities to make a lasting change.

While the mission partners are Anglican, the United Society is ecumenical in its outlook and also works with other faith communities.

In Ireland, the United Society works mainly with the Diocese of Swaziland, but also supports work in Zambia and in India, with the Dublin University Mission to Chota Nagpur.

Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rates in the world and the population of 1.1 million is in decline. The Anglican diocese of Swaziland is small but mighty, reaching every corner of the country and help is given to all, irrespective of faith or denomination.

Many parishes run feeding stations – most people in rural areas still only practice subsistence farming – home-based care teams for the sick and orphan care.

Currently the Diocese of Swaziland relies on outside donors to help run its development programmes and the United Society in Ireland funds the work of the Diocesan Development Officer and works with Bishop Ellinah towards self–sufficiency.

One of the major projects supported by the United Society in Ireland is the Luyengo Farm project. Not only is it an important teaching aid for local people and a source of employment, it is also an income generator for the diocese and helps to support many of the important HIV/AIDS programmes, as well as the managing of 26 schools and care of the sick and orphaned.

Andrew and Nigel hope that this event will raise the profile of the work of the United Society in Ireland and their support of the Diocese of Swaziland.

They also hope that as many people as possible will join them in their cathedrals during August.

Further information on the work of the United Society in Ireland can be found online at lindaatuspg.blogspot.ie. A Facebook page has also been set up for the Bikers On A Mission event (www.facebook.com/bikerson.amission.9) and they are on Twitter @BikersOnMission.

These pages also contain the full schedule for the event in August and will be updated on the journey as it happens.

Meanwhile, any motorcyclist who would like to join clerics for any part of the trip – if even only for a short while – is most welcome, in exchange for a donation to the work of the United Society.

Donations, again, can be sent to: Linda Chambers, Egan House, St Michan’s Church, Church Street, Dublin 7, or through the donate button on Linda’s United Society blog: lindaatuspg.blogspot.ie

The full itinery for the Bikers on a Mission event is as follows:

1st August 10am: St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast 12 midday: Christ Church Cathedral, Lisburn 2.30pm: Christ the Redeemer Cathedral, Dromore 7pm: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh

2nd August 11am: St Fethlimidh’s Cathedral, Kilmore 2pm: St Macartan’s Cathedral, Clogher 3.45pm: St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.

3rd August 11am: St Columb’s Cathedral, Derry 2.30pm: St Eunan’s Cathedral, Raphoe 5pm: St John & St Mary’s Cathedral, Sligo 7.30pm: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Killala

4th August 10.30am: St Mary’s Cathedral, Tuam 2pm: St Brendan’s Cathedral, Clonfert 5pm: St Fachtnan’s Cathedral, Kilfenora 8.30pm: St Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe

5th August 10.30am: Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin, Limerick 5pm: St Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery

6th August 11am: St Finn Barre’s Cathedral, Cork 2pm: St Colman’s Cathedral, Cloyne 4.30pm: St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore

7th August 11.15am: Holy Trinity, Waterford 3pm: St John’s Cathedral, Cashel

8th August 10am: St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny 12 Midday: St Laserian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin 3.30pm: St Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns

9th August 10am: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin 11am: Christ Church Cathedral Dublin 2pm: St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare 5pm: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trim

10th August 11.30m: Down Cathedral, Downpatrick 3.30pm: St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.

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