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January 18, 2011 - 

The final tally for last summer’s “Sea to Sea with the CRC” cross-Canada bicycle odyssey shows that the project raised just under $1 million for planting new churches in Canada.

The 10-week, 7,125-kilometer tour celebrated the Christian Reformed Church’s 100 th birthday in Canada and featured 160 cyclists who rode all or part of the distance from Vancouver to Halifax.

Each rider committed to rai sing $1,000 per week. Collectively they raised more than $1.3 million (Canadian) in personal pledges. Though it was difficult to find corporate underwriters for tour expenses, after all bills were paid the tour still raised $942,000 for church planting.

“We were hoping to break the $1 million mark,” said Al Karsten, chair of the bike tour task force. “But this is still a remarkable amount to see God’s kingdom expand across the country.”

Most of the funds are earmarked for funding new church plants in Canada—about 12-15 new congregations over the next five years. Funds also will be used to cultivate healthy parent churches and train church planters and other staff.

The CRC Foundation-Canada is administering the funds. The first recipients may be determined this spring as Christian Reformed Home Missions (CRHM) considers proposals for church plants in the light of its plans and budget for the 2006-07 fiscal year.

Ben Vandezande, CRHM ministry team leader for eastern Canada, said the tour was an amazing achievement. “If the bike tour was the splash, then the $942,000 gathered in donations is the ripple effect.”

By the Numbers

  • Total expenses for the tour, including celebration evens, promotion, and administration: $510,000.
  • Average cost per rider: about $4,400, based on 116.3 cyclists covering the full distance. (Some rode only one leg of the tour.)
  • Forty-four percent of total expenses ($225,000) were specifically “tour-related”: food, accomodation, transportation, and so forth. Significant gifts-in-kind were received for these items.

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