Cycling Canon 2015

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undefinedThe Revd Canon John Bowers will next month pedal off for a fund-raising trip to Ireland. John's son Chris and his granddaughter Ayse will join him on the cycle ride intended to bring aid to persecuted Christians, particularly those in Syria, as well as helping girls in Kenya who are at risk of abuse.

John (pictured) is a retired clergyman in his early 80s who served his entire ministry in our diocese. Last month he and his wife Margaret celebrated their diamond wedding.

Each year John, usually accompanied by his son Chris, goes on a cycling pilgrimage to raise fund for the Barnabas Fund. Over the past eight years the money raised – £121,00 in total – has been used to help protect the Cana girls in Kenya from various forms of abuse, including female genital mutilation. The girls are rescued, fed, cared for and educated by the local Christian community.

Last year the cycle pilgrimage was to Assisi. This year it will be to Ireland. John, Chris and Ayse plan to cycle around and up Croagh Patrick, the 2,500ft mountain in County Mayo. It was from that area, 1,600 years ago that St Patrick evangelised Ireland, and his missionaries, the north of England.

This year John will ask the Barnabas Fund to use half of the sponsorship money raised from this summer’s cycle trip to help Syrian Christians, currently facing persecution and cruelty from the Islamist militants of ISIS. The other half of the money raised, he envisages, will go as usual to helping girls at risk in Kenya.

John said: “I was deeply shaken in April when I watched the BBC documentary ‘Kill Christians’ which pictured real and sustained suffering by Christians in lands where our faith first took root.”

John is asking for cheque donations. Please make any cheques payable to the Barnabas Fund and send them to: The Revd Canon John Bowers, 2 Shalford Grove, West Kirby, CH48 9XY. If you wish your donation to be gift-aided please indicate.

Importantly, this year John asks supporters to indicate, if they wish, the cause they’d like their donation to go to. So please mark your cheques ‘All for Cana’ or ‘All for Syria’ on the back. Otherwise leave the back of the cheque unmarked and John will book your gift as 50 / 50.