Cycle of Welcome

Pastor Jonathan Schnibben of Good Shepherd, Mt. Holly, rides his bike to raise money and awareness.

August 15, 2022 |

Image credit: Jonathan Schnibben

At the 2022 NC Synod Gathering in June, Bishop Tim Smith issued a challenge to the synod’s congregations that 70% would become involved in the work of Refugee Resettlement through Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC). As a fundraiser and to raise awareness for the LSC Be The Light Campaign to resettle refugees, Pastor Jonathan Schnibben of Good Shepherd, Mt. Holly, rode his bike to and from work Monday through Friday, June 27-July 1. A one-way trip is 19 miles; multiplied by the 10 legs is 190 miles!

Congregation members pledged to support the vital, biblical work of welcoming refugees by pledging per mile or giving a one-time gift for the whole ride. Each day, Pastor Schnibben shared a brief podcast episode to talk about how the ride went, why welcoming refugees is a part of our faith, and what Lutheran Services Carolinas and the NC Synod are doing to help. Learn more about the Bishop’s Challenge.

At the end of the trip, Pastor Jonathan reported these numbers:

  • total mileage: 193
  • total feet climbed: 11,326 (that’s approximately twice the height of Grandfather Mountain!)
  • total amount raised: $5,500

An additional, beautiful bit of information also comes from Pastor Jonathan about his bike.
The manufacturer of my bike is a Spanish company called Orbea. Prior to making bikes they were a gun manufacturer but decided over a century ago to stop making guns and use their skills to make bikes instead. Often, in part, it is because of guns that refugees must flee, so it’s interesting to me that the bike I rode to help—in some small way—with refugees is made by a former gun manufacturer turned bike builder. It’s sort of a swords-beat-into-plowshares moment for me.

Way to go, Pastor Jonathan. Thank you for your witness and your perseverance!

Read Pastor Johnathan’s Facebook posts for his first-hand Cycle of Welcome notes.

Cycle of Welcome Day One ride report. Stages 1 & 2 are done and in the books! 38 miles checked off! The trip into Good Shepherd has a fair bit of downhill so it makes for a fun and relatively “easy” ride. The ride back is another story. It’s mostly uphill, in more heat, and today brought the special joy of a headwind, which while cooling is also slowing. The return trip is clearly going to be “character building.” Watch for the first podcast episode in this series tomorrow at noon!

Hi everyone. I’ve had several folks voice concern for my safety with regard to the fundraiser ride I’m doing. First, let me say thank you for your concern and for the prayers. They are much appreciated. I wanted to share some of the ways I’m ensuring my own safety this week.
1) I wear bright colors to increase my visibility to others, I also claim enough road for myself not riding completely on the shoulder. This probably sounds counterintuitive but hiding on the shoulder decreases how well others can see you; claiming some road increases visibility.
2) I’m on a smaller back road closer in to both Lincolnton and Mount Holly where congestion is higher. Hwy 27 in between the two towns is pretty safe as far as cycling goes and is a very popular route.
3) I have a few pieces of tech that help keep me safe. The first is a bright flashing light that further increases my visibility to cars on the road. The second is bike radar that works with my bike computer. It visibly and audibly alerts me when a car is approaching from behind and how fast. Lastly I have a small mirror that lets me see behind me; I check it frequently.
4) I’m choosing riding times that are lower traffic times to further increase my safety.
I have a fair amount of experience riding on roads and I know what acceptable risks are and what are not. If anything doesn’t feel right I make sure to make a change.
Thanks again to everyone for your support and for your concern. It is truly appreciated.

Pastor Jonathan Schnibben rode his bike to work at Good Shepherd, Mt. Holly this morning. Good Shepherd is calling it the Cycle of Welcome!
Pastor Jonathan will be riding his bike to work each day this week, and is challenging the congregation and community to consider a per mile pledge in support of refugee resettlement! All donations will go to the LSC Be the Light Campaign!
Look for Pastor Jonathan’s podcast to hear updates on his week-long journey.

Ride update for Day Two of the Cycle of Welcome tour; stages three and four are complete; three more days to go! This is my trusty steed carrying me along the way. It’s an Orbea Terra gravel bike and it is a trusty friend! I picked some different routes today that were longer and involved more climbing. The legs are feeling it…I won’t make that mistake again! Thanks to everyone who is supporting refugee relief. There’s still time to join in and support! #lutheranservicescarolinas #ncsynod #weareorbea

Cycle of Welcome ride report, Day Three. Tackled stages 5 & 6 today. I’ve been putting in some extra miles so really making some headway. Tough thing is I bonked on the trip home today. What’s bonking? Great question; thanks for asking! Bonking is a term endurance athletes use to describe that feeling of hitting a wall or running out of gas. It’s pretty brutal. So I made myself some tasty tacos to speed the recovery! Since I’m ahead milage-wise I’m going to do an easy spin tomorrow to recover and finish with a big day Friday!!!

Cycle of Welcome ride report, Day Four. After a big day yesterday and after bonking hard I took the day off cycling to get my legs back. I’d banked an extra stage so the last three stages will be tomorrow. It’s going to be Giant!!!

Cycle of Welcome ride report. Last day, last miles. They hurt. My legs are done. Took the XC bike out today and got off-road. Bikes can really take you to some really great places. So ride a bike, get some exercise, remember refugees and help how you can, with money, with prayer, with opening your home or business; welcome them into your community and remember the great work that Lutheran Services Carolinas does. They need your help!

Will you join the effort of this ministry of welcome?
Your congregation can actively engage in the Bishop’s Challenge anytime before December 2023 to help the synod and Lutheran Services Carolinas meet the goal of having 70% of NC Synod congregations participate.

Story Attribution:

Synod Staff/Pastor Jonathan Schnibben

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