A year after the cross-Canada bicycle tour, its legacy lives on in the joyful stories of cyclists and in the growth of the church that sponsored it.
More than 150 cyclists representing Christian Reformed congregations across Canada participated in the Sea to Sea with the CRC tour from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in celebration of the CRC’s 100th anniversary in Canada in 2005.
One year later, two cyclists are married, two more are engaged, and nine new ministries are getting established—all as a direct result of the tour.
Trevor Geerts of Hamilton, Ontario, and Jeff Jorritsma of Beamsville, Ontario, found more than just a beautiful province when they, together with eight other cyclists, ventured off the tour route through Prince Edward Island. They also found their future wives.
Romance blossomed quickly between Jorritsma and April Luymes, daughter of Sea to Sea cyclist Levina Luymes, and also for Geerts and April’s longtime friend Tanya Schipper. Both couples were married on PEI in August, less than one year after they first met.
For Mary Bouma of Belleville, Ontario, and Marcel Busz of Lethbridge, Alberta—who both cycled the full distance across Canada—a whole summer together gave them a chance to get to know each other well.
“We rode in the same group a number of times, and we just seemed to click,” Busz said. “In Calgary we talked that we didn’t really want to pursue a romantic relationship, but a week later in Regina we decided to take a chance and try dating.”
The couple continued a long-distance relationship for four months following the tour, before Bouma moved to Alberta. The two were engaged in January and plan to marry in December.
Cyclist Elizabeth Woudsma of Kingston, Ontario, who was paralyzed as the result of a training accident leading up to the tour, is also celebrating God’s faithfulness amid the many unexpected challenges she faces. “I’m doing very well,” she told The Banner. “God is so faithful, even when we’re not.”
In addition to celebrating and bringing the CRC in Canada together, another goal of the tour was to raise funds for planting new churches and recruiting and developing leaders.
Close to $1 million (CDN) is now available to fund new evangelism efforts across the country over the next five years.
Several new ministries will receive funding in the first year of grants from the Sea to Sea Legacy Fund, including five new church plants.
“We never could have supported all these ministries without the funds raised from the tour,” said Martin Contant, Christian Reformed Home Missions’ regional leader for western Canada. “It’s our prayer that we’ll see many lives impacted as a result for years and years to come. What a great reason to celebrate!”