3 pastors take 167-mile bike ride to raise money for camp scholarships

3 pastors take 167-mile bike ride to raise money for camp scholarships

Pictured left to right: Tom Hancock, Lew Kizer, Brad Stapleton and Rebecca Stapleton

By Marci Gore/ Kingsport Times News

See also: June 9 story in the Kingsport Times-News

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (June 6, 2015) -- Three pastors departed this morning for a 137-mile bike ride from east Tennessee to western North Carolina to raise money for camp scholarships.

The Rev. Tom Hancock, the Rev. Lew Kizer and the Rev. Brad Stapleton have already raised more than $11,000 for underprivileged children to attend Holston camps, “but we are working on getting a final count,” Stapleton said.

The cyclists began on Friday morning, June 6, by riding from Prospect United Methodist Church in Gate City, Va., to Kingsport, Tenn.

This morning at 7 a.m., the riders departed from Salem United Methodist Church in Blountville, Tenn.

On Sunday, June 7, they will complete their ride at Lake Junaluska, N.C., just as the Holston Annual Conference is beginning.

Supporters are calling the bike ride the “Le Tour de Annual Conference.” The Holston Methodist Federal Credit Union has had T-shirts made and will sell them at Annual Conference.

“We are raising awareness and money for children in poverty in East Tennessee,” Hancock said recently, following a 69-mile mountainous training ride. “As I was climbing today, I was thinking about the cause, specifically that those dealing with the effects of poverty are in an uphill battle.”

The Holston Annual Conference has designated its 2015 missions offering for local children in poverty. The offering will be taken on Wednesday evening, June 10, at Annual Conference in Lake Junaluska. The total offering will be equally distributed to Holston's 12 districts. Churches with ministries serving local children in poverty will be invited to apply for grants  to receive a portion of the offering.

Hancock is chair of the Holston Missions Ministry Team, as well as pastor at Cassidy United Methodist Church in Kingsport, Tenn. Kizer is pastor at Salem United Methodist Church in Blountville, Tenn. Stapleton is pastor at Prospect United Methodist Church in Gate City, Va.

To contribute to the cycling fundraiser, contact Hancock at drill_sgt007@hotmail.com.