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Niles church to aid bicylists in ride for change

Published 9:01am Friday, June 13, 2014

A local church will be aiding four bicyclists who plan on pedaling through nine states in 12 days to raise money for the prevention of malaria.

The cyclists will make a stop in Niles along their journey.

“I am glad they are coming through Niles,” said Cathi Huvaere, Pastor at Niles Wesley United Methodist Church. “It will be nice to support them and the cause they are riding for.”

The Imagine No Malaria Ride for Change begins in Brandon, South Dakota, on June 17 and ends in Port Clinton, Ohio, on June 28. It is sponsored by the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.

Three of the people making the entire 1,000-mile ride are from Michigan: Rob Nystrom (pastor of Three Rivers First and Mendon UMCs), Laurie Haller (pastor of Birmingham First UMC), and Wayne Bank (Detroit Conference Lay Leader). They are joined by the Rev. Chad Jennings from Iowa (pastor Christ Community UMC, Marion). Other part-time riders will also be active along partial sections of the route.

On the ninth day of the ride (June 25), bicyclists will roll into Niles, where they will spend the night at host homes provided by the Niles Wesley United Methodist Church.

Huvaere said hosts would provide dinner, a place to rest and breakfast for the riders before they depart for the next stop, Mendon, on day 10.

“We are happy to be able to help them on their way,” Huvaere said. “Sometimes global issues, like malaria, feel so far away. However, we can make a difference by helping out right here at the local level.”

All three of the Michigan riders are experienced with long-distance cycling.

Nystrom was the spark plug behind five previous Michigan Area Rides 4 Haiti netting over $60,000 for ministries in that Covenant nation. The first fundraiser in 2009 was a solo ride by Nystrom around Lake Michigan, a route that equaled the distance of the over-land trip this summer.

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