By Marci Gore/ Kingsport Times News
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 5, 2016) -- Last year, three area United Methodist pastors used their love of riding bicycles to make a difference in the lives of children. This year, Tom Hancock, Lew Kizer and Brad Stapleton are climbing on their bikes again and heading to the Holston Conference’s annual conference in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. This annual conference is a meeting of 2,000 leaders representing 887 United Methodist churches in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Northwest Georgia.
Hancock is the pastor at Cassidy United Methodist Church in Kingsport. Kizer is pastor at Salem United Methodist Church in Blountville and Stapleton is pastor at East Stone Gap, Virginia, in Wise County.
The trio of pastors has added a fourth rider this year. Stapleton’s wife, Rebecca, will join them on the nearly 170-mile ride. The four riders departed at noon on Friday, from East Stone Gap and rode to Salem UMC. At 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, they headed to Mars Hill, North Carolina. They will ride the rest of the way to Lake Junaluska on Sunday.