Exercising in Wickline’s Family Life Center are Tate Monroe, left, worship leader, and Karen Lippe, communications director.
The Super Striders are on easy street.
The loose-knit group—primarily senior citizens in eastern Oklahoma County—met for nearly 30 years at Heritage Park Mall, Midwest City, to walk and socialize. When the mall closed in February, they no longer had access to their beloved walking space.
In July, Wickline United Methodist Church, 417 Mid America Blvd., opened the doors of its gleaming new Family Life Center three days a week for the Striders to walk to their hearts’ content.
In November, Pastor Mark Barnett reported at least 30 walkers, and as many as 60, regularly take advantage of the space.
"This is bringing the church to the community," said Rev. Barnett. "We are living out the Strategic Plan we implemented last year."
The Super Striders group was formed in 1980 by Kathy Wyatt, the mall manager’s assistant. At one time, Wyatt counted about 200 members. She said there were about 50 Striders when the mall closed.
Then the leadership at Wickline got the idea to invite the Striders to regroup at the church for walks, coffee, and socializing.
"We want the community to know they are welcome to come to our new building," said Karen Lippe, Wickline director of communications. The addition includes office space, Sunday school rooms, and a large hall.
The large space is open for walkers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 7:30 a.m. until noon. And just outside the main hall is a seating area where coffee is brewed. A designated time for fellowship and refreshments is observed every Wednesday.
Barnett said some walkers have made donations to the church to express their appreciation.
(Original story by Kelley Chambers, updated, reprinted with permission from Eastword)