Former Emo minister biking across CanadaRaising money for Bible group

EMO—Although he wouldn’t call himself an avid cyclist, one of Emo’s former ministers is spending the summer cycling across the country with about 60 others from the Canadian Bible Society (CBS).
Wib Dawson, who was the minister at Knox United Church there from 1972-75, and the group of cyclists set out from Kenora early Sunday morning and made it to the Lions Park in Emo late that afternoon, where they stopped for a snack sponsored by Knox United and Guthrie United in Devlin.
“I’ve been back here a number of times, but it’s been almost 10 years since I was here last,” Dawson noted, glancing around the park which he added has changed and looks very attractive.
“It has a certain nostalgia,” he added. “It was my first parish so I got to know a lot of people here and there is a certain connection you have with those people.”
Dawson has been working for the CBS, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a “Bike for Bibles Centennial Ride.”
The group, which ranges in age from 17 to 75, began their journey in Victoria B.C. on July 2 and is set to finish in St. John’s, Nfld. on Sept. 3.
“It’s been good,” Dawson said of the trip so far. “ We’ve had three or four minor injuries, but have been very fortunate not having any major injuries.”
The cyclists hail from across Canada, as well as several from Australia and one from Great Britain. And while there have been regional “Bike for Bibles” events in some provinces in the past, the CBS has never taken on a tour from coast to coast.
They hope to raise $500,000 in donations to help them “produce resources designed to meet the needs of specialized ministries working in the inner city, prisons, First Nations, and youth.”
Each participant raised $5,000 or more to be put towards the cause and being halfway across the country, they are doing well—they are more than halfway to their goal.
“We’ve been blessed with generous hospitality in the communities as we’ve made our way across,” Dawson noted, saying they have been fed meals and snacks and offered places to stay for the night, either bunking in a church or being billeted in community homes.
They had lunch in Nestor Falls, courtesy of the United Church there, on Sunday and then stayed at the New Beginnings Church in Fort Frances for the night before heading on to Atikokan on Monday and Thunder Bay on Tuesday.
“We really appreciate all the support, donations, and everything,” echoed ride co-ordinator, Bruce Kemp, who explained this bike tour has been years in the planning.
“We had to plan the route, have places to stay, and get permission from the governments,” he noted. “But it’s been good. We had head winds coming from Kenora and we’re hoping to have the wind behind us on our way to Fort Frances.”
“The weather has co-operated,” echoed Dawson, noting while they’ve had some pretty hot days, they haven’t had a lot of rain.
“I do enjoy cycling, but I’ve never done anything like this before.”
He said some of the days are long, such as the stretch from Kenora to Fort Frances. Otherwise, they’ve been averaging about 155 km a day.
“We have a few of the long days,” he remarked, explaining those in the “easy riders” group—or rather the slower cyclists—start out first, usually at 6:30 a.m., because there is less wind and it is cooler in the morning.
The other two groups are known as the “pace setters” (the fast cyclists) and the “cruisers” (those in the middle).
And while their stay in Emo wasn’t long, Dawson did get to chat with some old friends and see the village again. He even stopped by the “Emo” sign on the outskirts for a photo.
The other cyclists enjoyed their snacks of bagels, muffins, fruit, and juice, gratefully thanking the two churches for their hospitality.
Kemp even presented church representatives Janet Loney and Freeda Carmody with a small token for their efforts.
(Fort Frances Times)