Churches across the state submit stories to Contact about their innovative and effective ministries. On these pages, we gladly share that news, both to celebrate with them and to inspire others, when space is available. Submit news by email to firstname.lastname@example.org — digital photos need to be original sizes, JPG format — or by U.S. mail to Contact, United Methodist Ministry Center, 1501 N.W. 24th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73106. — Holly McCray, editor
The sounds of roaring motors in Kenton, in the Oklahoma Panhandle, signaled the arrival of about 500 bikers on May 11 during their annual one-day, five-state poker run.
Population is 17 in the unincorporated town, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. It no longer offers a gas station, fast food stop, or public restrooms.
But Kenton UMC welcomed the riders, extending radical hospitality. The church averages 17 people in worship, the 2013 Journal reports.
The church’s outreach was spurred when about 100 bikers unexpectedly found themselves stranded at the stop during their 2012 run.
Tom Uecker led the effort this year. Volunteer fire chief and church member Steve Sechler made available the fire station’s one restroom, and a portable toilet was rented. Containers were filled with 50 gallons of gasoline.
Rancher and feed store operator John Schumacher supplied and cooked burgers on his grill. Other church members brought more food and helped serve the hamburger lunch, including drinks and desserts.
"The disciples at Kenton United Methodist Church are intentional about looking for ways they can share the love of God with people outside their church walls," said Pastor Cindy Robertson.