VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/9/12)—In the latest installment of American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ “Faces and Places of Hope” weekly podcast series, the Rev. Steve Bils describes a unique 12-year-old ministry that takes place at the Sturgis (S.D.) Motorcycle Rally each August.
Because the 72-year-old rally can attract 500,000 motorcyclists and more to South Dakota’s Black Hills, American Baptist Churches (ABC) of the Dakotas and ABC of Nebraska recognized the mission opportunity to cooperatively provide emergency services.
“When that many people descend on the Black Hills, there are always needs that arise, and so the ministry that we’ve created is a ministry of presence and a ministry of help,” says Bils, who is currently executive minister of ABC of Oregon but helped to found the emergency services ministry at the rally in 2000 when he worked in Nebraska. “We do things for folks that, regardless of their station in life—whether they can afford to pay for it back home or not—there just isn’t the infrastructure in the Black Hills to handle the kind of help that people sometimes discover they need while they’re at the rally.”
In the ministry’s first year, volunteers were surprised to discover that many individuals requiring aid at the rally are women with children. The ministry partners with hospitals, first responders and law enforcement.
The Faces and Places of Hope podcast series offers good-news stories that showcase discipleship, community-building and social justice ministries across the United States and Puerto Rico.
For more information about ABHMS, visit www.abhms.org or phone 800-ABC-3USA, x2394.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA)—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.