Friday, 08 June 2018 10:29

Anglican bishop cycling across Canada on a prayer pilgrimage stops in Swift

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Bishop Rob Hardwick arrived in Swift Current on June 3 on his cross-Canada cycling trip. Standing with him is Rev. Chris Dowdeswell of St. Stephen's Anglican Church and Lorraine Hardwick. Bishop Rob Hardwick arrived in Swift Current on June 3 on his cross-Canada cycling trip. Standing with him is Rev. Chris Dowdeswell of St. Stephen's Anglican Church and Lorraine Hardwick.

Bishop Rob Hardwick of the Anglican Church Diocese of Qu'Appelle is cycling across Canada on a pilgrimage of prayer.
He arrived in Swift Current on June 3 after cycling 136 kilometres from Maple Creek.


“I’m praying every kilometre I’m travelling,” he said. “I’m praying for various people that are going through difficulties or situations that we know need some divine help. I’m praying specifically for three things. For unity, for healing and reconciliation across Canada. They’re the main things, but each day has its own theme for prayer. People from all across Canada are joining me in praying for specific things.”
He was welcomed on the outskirts of Swift Current by Rev. Chris Dowdeswell and other parish members who cycled with Hardwick to St. Stephen's Anglican Church.
Hardwick was the parish priest at St. Stephen's from 2001 to 2008, after which he was appointed executive archdeacon for the diocese in Regina and in 2012 he was elected as bishop.
“It’s wonderful,” he said about being back in Swift Current. “I’ve missed this place. It very much feels like home. I was here for eight wonderful years and so it’s always nice to be back.”
His cycling trip started on May 19 in Victoria, B.C. He is accompanied by his wife Lorraine, who drives the support vehicle with a camper in tow.
“It’s been a wonderful trip, seeing parts of Canada I’ve never seen before,” he said. “Cycling over the mountains was a thrill, a great adventure; and so meeting people along the way. The generosity of so many people has been truly wonderful, but also seeing some answers to prayers as we’ve gone along as well. It’s been wonderful in that regard too.”
He will celebrate his 62nd birthday on the road during this cycling trip and he has therefore planned the trip to last for 62 cycling days. He is scheduled to arrive in St. John's, Newfoundland, on Aug. 1 after covering a total distance of 7,877 kilometres.
He is originally from England, where he was a police officer before he felt a calling to become a priest.
“When I was a police officer in England, we did some cycling events that raised money for local hospitals, so non-stop cycle rides from Nottingham to Paris for example,” he recalled.
“I did that in my thirties but then never did any more. I remember four years ago buying a cycle. I rode for five kilometres and had to get off. Everything ached and so I rode a bit further the next day and then the next day and here I am today, I just cycled 136 kilometres.”
He will be raising funds for various causes during this cross-Canada cycling trip.
Every Anglican diocese has been asked to raise funds for indigenous ministry or the Anglican Healing Fund.
“We’re hoping to raise about $800,000 which is going to help people to do suicide prevention courses, pastoral leadership in isolated communities that brings help to people and so we need that seed money to get it going,” he said.
He is also using this journey as a way to raise money for different initiatives within the Diocese of Qu'Appelle.
“We’re raising money for a Habitat for Humanity home in Regina for our refugee family there,” he noted. “We’re also building a medical centre in Muyinga, Burundi, which is on the border of Rwanda. We have the walls done, the roof’s done. We just need US$15,000 to complete the project. So we’re thrilled that we’re at this stage. And then we have various regional initiatives across southern Saskatchewan that we’re raising funds for as well – a youth ministry and also a mission and ministry school.”
To follow his journey across Canada, go to the Living the Mission – Bishop's Ride Facebook page (@DoQMission).
Anyone who wished to make a donation can go to the Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle website page, where there is a donate button o the Bishop's Ride page.

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Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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