Mennocycle tours Pennsylvania’s Mennonite/Amish country
MOUNT PLEASANT, PA (July 24, 2012)—Sixty riders took part in the twenty-fourth annual Mennocycle weekend this July, hosted in Lancaster County’s Mennonite/Amish country.
A program of Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mennocycle takes place in different locations each summer. Local volunteers typically coordinate many of the logistics and ensure the retreat runs smoothly.
This year, participants enjoyed lodging accommodations at the Comfort Inn in Denver, Pa., where they gathered for meals, fellowship, storytelling and times of worship together.
Saturday’s routes took riders to attractions such as the Susquehanna River, Hershey’s Chocolate World and a farm equipment museum. Participants also received a glimpse of the simple life adopted by Amish and Mennonite communities throughout the region.
“This year’s retreat was an opportunity for us to show off the beauty of Lancaster County,” said Dan Hess (Lancaster, Pa.), admitting a certain level of bias. “We have some great riding routes here.”
He is one of Mennocycle’s founding members, and he teamed with his wife, Evanna, to help organize this year’s event. For Hess, the retreat has always been about more than just riding motorcycles. “I really value the relationships that have evolved over the past 24 years (of the program),” he commented. “The riding almost seems to play second fiddle to the relationships we share with one another.”
Linford and Mary Etta King (Lancaster, Pa.) guided worship throughout the weekend. Both have a strong background in spiritual direction—Mary Etta is executive director of Kairos: School of Spiritual Formation, and Linford, currently interim pastor of Alpha (N.J.) Mennonite Church, offers spiritual direction for Kairos—and their use of lectio divina and other approaches to prayer and meditation were well received during the weekend.
“Linford and Mary Etta planned very thoughtful devotionals and helped lead us into worship,” observed Phil Helmuth (Harrisonburg, Va.), who attended Mennocycle for his third consecutive year.
Helmuth said he also values the opportunities for fellowship and experiencing God’s beauty in new ways. “(Mennocycle) is all about connecting with the same group of riders year after year. It’s really special.”
Upon returning from their rides on Saturday afternoon, participants headed to Forest Hills Mennonite Church (Leola, Pa.) for a banquet catered by Hess’s Barbeque. Evening entertainment was provided by Jay Sterling, a renowned speaker and magician who has given motivational presentations around the globe.
On Sunday morning, participants spent one last time gathered in worship. They also contributed upwards of $3,000 toward Laurelville’s scholarship fund.
“Mennocycle has supported Laurelville's ministry for many years,” noted executive director John Denlinger, who was present for Friday evening’s meal and fellowship time. “We are grateful for their generous giving that makes it easier for families to send their kids to experience a week of summer camp here at Laurelville.”
The first Mennocycle retreat took place in the summer of 1989 at Laurelville, bringing together motorcycle-riding Mennonites from many different walks of life. After holding the event in Western Pennsylvania several years in a row, organizers began visiting other locations to offer riders a chance to explore different routes and attractions.
Mennocycle will mark its twenty-fifth anniversary next summer, returning to Laurelville for the celebratory occasion. The dates are yet to be determined; for more information or to view photos and a brief video from this year's program, visit Laurelville.org/mennocycle or call 800.839.1021.