Worshipers late for service at Victorious Ministries International (VMI) Church might have had a parking problem last Sunday, because the 4600 block of York Road was lined with rows of motorcycles. Nearly 100 members of biker clubs from across the nation came, for the second year, to seek God’s protection, mercy and grace for motorcyclists as an unofficial kickoff to the riding season.

Coordinated by Maghan Stallings, a biker and member of VMI, this annual bike blessing ceremony brings together clubs such as Triple Digits MC, 0-100, Street Smokas and Ladies N Motion, many of whom rode their bikes from several hundred miles away just to be covered in prayer.

The brief but moving ceremony involved a candid and often humorous exchange between Pastor Tony Smith and the bikers as he challenged them to always “…pray and clear their heads” before getting on the road and of course, to always ride safely. After a moment of silent meditation for friends and loved ones who had been hurt or killed in motorcycle accidents, Pastor Smith led the bikers who’d assembled at the altar in prayer. Certainly not your traditional scene at a Sunday morning church service, but then again, Victorious Ministries International is not a traditional church.

“If we’re going to take the message of the gospel to the streets as Christ commanded, we have to go beyond our traditional methods and meet people where they are,” said Pastor Smith. Even if where they are is on top of a Dyna Wide Glide Custom Harley.

For more information on Victorious Ministries International Church, 4617 York Rd., visit www.pastortonysmith.com or call 410-433-8066.