Hogs, helmets and God: Bucher presides over his final Blessing of the Bikes

Sam Shriver, The Lima News, Ohio
·2 min read

May 2—SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — A diverse group of people came together as one for the annual Blessing of the Bikes on Sunday at Shawnee United Methodist Church.

"I think it's really cool because a lot of people come together that wouldn't normally be going to a church service to be going all into a group, and I'm not often a group rider. I usually just ride with my dad," said 18-year-old Ashley Cover.

Mike Barnett, of Lima, attended his fifth Blessing of the Bikes.

"I love it. It's got my brother and my nephew out, just enjoying the fellowship with everybody," Barnett said.

The event attracted young and old. Some were church regulars, others not so much. The riders listened as Pastor Bryan Bucher preached outside in the parking lot prior to a group blessing.

In the past, Bucher individually blessed each rider. This year, due to COVID-19, he did a group blessing.

"May every bike here and every person who rides on those bikes, may they be blessed by the living God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — and the people said..." Bucher said.

Bucher would normally say "amen," but the amen was the sound of hundreds of motorcycles starting up together, as one.

"There's probably no day in the whole year where people assemble for a worship service where there's a more diverse crowd," Bucher said. "People from every walk of life, people from every background, and all here to just hear the message of the gospel. And I wish every church were like that every Sunday because I think the world be a much better place."

This year's Blessing of the Bikes is special for Bucher, as it will be his last one at Shawnee United Methodist Church.

"The bishop has appointed me to Westwood United Methodist Church in Cincinnati after 17 years here in Shawnee, and my time here has been an incredible blessing, and not just this service, but serving the Lima area in the Lima community," Bucher said. "I'm going to miss this very much."

Bucher says he wants to see love replace hate in our society.

"After a year where we have just seen intense division and polarization, the pendulum is going to swing the other way," he said. "It's time for people to leave behind any kind of blame and instead look to serve their brother and their sister, and I think if every single person looks to do that first, then we're going to find the peace that we're looking for."

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.