Thursday, August 3, 2017
Unfortunately, the fourth day of Week 3 of the East Coast ride started off with a rainy delay. We were hoping to get into town early. Our church in Charleston, South Carolina is in the heart of the city, right off King Street–the main artery to shopping, restaurants, and the Charleston Harbor and Waterfront Park.
The weather cleared up earlier than expected and we set off around 8:30am, evading most of the thunderstorms. We took an additional side trip to see a marsh. A fisherman was (probably) unpleasantly surprised to see a hoard of orange-shirted bike riders so we tried not to scare the fish away! On the way back to the main road, we saw a woman with eight well-behaved dogs off their leashes. When we asked if we could take pictures of the dogs, she immediately got them to line up with Bill, the Corgi, lining up first. She took a picture of us taking pictures of the dogs and posted them on her Facebook page: EarthDog – Pack Training. (link) Soon after, one of our team members had an accident and had to take a detour to the MUSC ER, where he had to have sutures placed on his cheek.
The Episcopal church, a beautiful cathedral near the College of Charleston, amazed us all as we rode up to it. We travelled around town by foot, horse-drawn carriage, or bicycle-powered carriage. Most of us had lunch in town and some of us walked to White Point Garden, the Battery, and Waterfront Park, where we could see Fort Sumter off in the distance. Grace Episcopal Church is beautiful. One of the parish priests, Rev. Caleb Lee, ate dinner with us. Charleston is a beautiful, historic city, known as the “Holy City,” for its tolerance of all religions and its numerous historic churches. Dan Sheridan and I walked over to the Emmanuel CME Church on Calhoun Street, the city’s oldest black church and the site of the shooting that killed nine parishioners on June 17, 2015. This trip has reminded me of the value of churches in the community – as places of worship but also as sanctuaries and vital centers for community help and action. Grace Church Cathedral has reached out to mend fences and ease racial tensions in association with its neighbor, Mount Zion AME Church. Some people think brick and mortar churches may become extinct but, to me, they are an essential component of any community – a living, breathing representation of Christ and His mission in the world.