Eight years after the 2005 Sea to Sea bicycle tour across Canada, some of the funds raised are still bringing love and hope to the inner city neighborhoods of Hamilton, Ontario.
New Hope Christian Reformed Church began in 2008 in partnership with First CRC in Hamilton. It was sponsored by funds from that first cycling tour. Alida van Dijk, a cyclist on that tour, joined the church plant after moving to Hamilton. She is excited to have cycled across Canada in 2005 and to be part of New Hope Church.
The church initiated New Hope Community Bikes, a program that refurbishes and sells donated bikes at a reasonable price. This bike co-op, often the first place of contact for New Hope Church, offers repair courses and free after-school youth mountain bike programs. It also provides employment and training opportunities for young people.
New Hope member Tim Brand partners with the Crown Point Community planning team to run an affordable soccer league in the summer in Gage Park. This past summer, 80 families participated in this program.
Tyler Gorr came to New Hope Church in 2008 and was baptized in 2012. He first resisted the idea of church. When he finally attended, Gorr was amazed at sense of community and positivity. “They were the first people in my life who genuinely loved me as Christ loves the church,” he said.
New Hope’s place of worship also tells a story of redemption. Once a bar and a brothel, it has been transformed into the Perkins Centre, a multi-purpose space. From a place of darkness, it has now become “a great light in the community,” Gorr said.
“One can’t put a price tag on a church’s presence in a neighborhood or the ripple effects on their streets,” said van Dijk, “but the funds raised through the Sea to Sea bike tour have definitely had an impact on East Hamilton. I am thrilled that I get to be a part of this adventure—both the cycling and the church planting.”