By Kelly Dickey The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Irene Silva remembers hanging out with 20 of her fellow motorcyclists on their cycles outside a church in New Castle. Some were dressed in their usual biker gear — complete with leather chaps — when two elderly women came walking out of the sanctuary.
They took one looked at the group of bikers and ran back into the church.
“They thought we must be (biker gang) Hell’s Angels,” the Anderson resident said, laughing. “They didn’t realize we’re Heaven’s Angels, because we came to pray for their church.”
It’s just one way she and other members of Prodigal Posse, East Central Indiana’s chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA), are breaking biker stereotypes.
The group combines two of its members’ greatest loves: motorcycles and God.
One way they’re doing it is with Run for the Son, a ride that raises money for the national organization. On May 3, CMA chapters across the country will host rides to raise money for three ministries: Jesus Film Project, Missionary Ventures and Open Doors.
The 2013 Run for the Son raised more than $3.9 million nationally, according to CMA’s website. Silva said Indiana ranked No. 2 in fundraising last year, behind Texas.
Prodigal Posse’s 2014 Run for the Son will start at 10 a.m. May 3 at Acceleration Power Sports, 3165 Indiana 9 N. Registration starts at 9 a.m.
The ride costs $15 per driver and $10 per passenger unless they raise $100 to donate.
It’s usually a 100-mile ride, and the group will take a break and meet up with some other motorcyclist groups at Gaither Resource Center in Alexandria for about a half hour. The ride will conclude in Muncie.
Prodigal Posse meets the third Sunday of each month, except April’s meeting is this Sunday because of Easter last week. Instead of a church, they always meet at 4:30 at Arby’s, 8989 S. Factory Shops Blvd., Daleville.
“We want people to see us,” said Jorge Silva, Prodigal Posse president and Irene’s husband. “We want people to know about us.”
Christianity and motorcycles may not seem like they go hand-in-hand, but in Prodigal Posse’s short existence, it’s breaking stereotypes.
The Silvas said within the Christian community, CMA has proven that they aren’t cliché bikers, looking to get rough with people. Within the biker community, they’ve proven that not all Christians are judgmental.
Irene said last year she traveled to Frankton for a parade and met up with some bikers at a bar. They started using foul language. They knew she was a Christian and they started apologizing.
“They look at me and I go, ‘And the problem is what?’” she said. “I just told them, ‘Guys, I don’t want you walking on eggshells. I want you to be yourselves… I want us to be friends, I don’t want there to be a wall.’”
The group isn’t about preaching. They’re about being there for the love of riding a motorcycle.
Prodigal Posse goes on most secular rides. Member Lesa Grose said instead of handing out Bibles, they hand out drinks and food. It’s their way to serve.
Grose said other bikers are often shocked when some members of the group don’t have a problem going to bars. But she said it’s important to go where other bikers visit.
By not judging and being real with people, Prodigal Posse members earn other bikers’ trust. Often, that means they’ll eventually approach the group and ask for prayers.
“They know we’re not there to judge them. They know we’re not there to condemn them because that’s not our job. That’s God’s job,” Irene said.
Their job is to show people Christ and what Christianity has done for them.
Grose said she’s been in groups where tensions were high, violence was a possibility and women weren’t treated in a high regard.
“I’ve been on both sides of the road,” Grose said. “… This one makes it better because it is family-oriented. You don’t have to worry about stepping across boundaries.”
Now Grose can use her motorcycle to share her love and respect for other people.
“It’s great that our bike is a tool we can do that with,” she said.
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