Bikes and Bibles – An Executive Summary, 2015
262 bikes, 282 bibles and 11 motorcycles presented in 2015.
The primary objective of Bikes and Bibles is to provide utilitarian bicycles and native-language bibles to the poorest pastors in the United Methodist connection, those in Africa’s poorest areas.
This program began in the Sierra Leone Episcopal Area in March 2014 with the distribution of 40 bicycles and bibles, followed by a distribution of 200 bicycles and bibles in four of the five annual conferences of the Southern Congo Episcopal Area.
The objective is also to energize an Annual Conference by a visible affirmation of the pastor’s important work in the provision of these ministry tools expressing appreciation and support.
Method of distribution:
The bicycles are presented at their annual conference to those pastors identified by the Bishop and District Superintendents based on the location of the appointment and the pastor’s level of need. Typically here are 40 bicycles and bibles allocated to an Annual Conference.
Accountability for the Bikes and Bibles:
The Annual Conference provides a list of the selected pastors and their appointments, which will allow Bikes and Bibles to make subsequent contact to help ensure that the bicycles and bibles are used by the pastor at the appointment. The announcements, presentations, and distribution at the Annual Conference are visible events providing excellent transparency helping to ensure accountability, provide publicity for the program, plus vital support and strong encouragement for the pastors.
2015 Program Distributions
Funds were distributed in 2015 in support the following distributions:
- Liberia, 40 bikes and bibles
- Sierra Leone, 10 bikes, 30 bibles, 3 Honda motorcycles
- Zambia; Southern Congo, 24 bikes and bibles
- Southwest Annual Conference; Southern Congo, 16 bikes and bibles, 3 motorcycles
- Tanzania; North Katanga, 24 bikes and bibles, one motorcycle
- Tanganyika; North Katanga, 24 bikes and bibles, one motorcycle
- North Katanga; 60 bikes and bibles, three motorcycles
- Congo Central Episcopal Area; 32 bikes and bibles
- Northeast Congo Episcopal Area; 32 bikes and bibles
This is a total of 262 bikes, 282 bibles and 11 motorcycles presented in 2015.
Mission Costs in Africa– a typical annual conference budget
Bicycles are expected to cost $100 to $125 each and are available from local retailers and distributors. They are often packaged 4 bikes to a box (200 lbs) unassembled. Many pastors will have the skills to assemble their own bike, but the costs otherwise would be less than $5 locally. The native language bibles are available locally through a national Bible Society at prices from $15 to $25 per copy. Shipping may cost $25 per box of 4.
- Bicycles (40 bicycles, $120/each, freight included) $4,800
- Bibles (40 at $25, freight included)$1,000
- Indigenous Supervisor and Conference costs$1,200
- Budgeted African Expenses/annually$7,000
The people of Bikes and Bibles:
Local Coordinator: It is important to have a skilled local person in each Episcopal Area to be the Coordinator of this ministry. The person must be well connected in the Episcopal area with a strong knowledge of the Bishop’s cabinet in the annual conference and an ability to manage the funds, purchase the bikes and bibles, and ensure their timely delivery to the annual conference location. The Coordinator must be able to explain the program to the Superintendents and obtain the appropriate adherence to policy and accountability from them. The Coordinator will be compensated. We expect to pay a stipend of about $1,000 and to pay $400 for the expenses of the Episcopal office. The Coordinator will be selected in consultation with the Bishop and compensated from the Bikes and Bibles funds.
In the United States, Joe Wesley Kilpatrick leads the work of Bikes and Bibles. Joe is a semi-retired Certified Public Accountant, a life-time UM with long service within the North Georgia Annual Conference, having served over 10 years as Conference President of UM Men and as a delegate to General Conferences since 1988. Joe is a trustee at Asbury Theological Seminary, a director of the United Methodist Publishing House, and a member of Tucker First UMC. Joe has traveled to Africa since 2006 and taught seminars on UM polity and financial accountability to UM leaders in many Episcopal areas. He serves Bikes and Bibles as an uncompensated volunteer, one who has seen the needs of some of God’s ministers in Africa.
There is an Advisory Board guiding Joe Kilpatrick’s work with Bikes and Bibles. These volunteers, including Rev. Rurel Ausley, senior pastor of Crosspoint UMC in Niceville, Florida, USA provide knowledge, accountability, and financial underwriting of the USA costs of operations. They support publicity, public relations, fund-raising, website, accounting, administration and the preparation and distribution of literature. Other Board members include Dr. Kimba Evariste of North Katanga Episcopal Area and Dr. Kasap Owan of Southern Congo Episcopal Area. Dr. Jerry Kulah of Liberia and Rev. Francis Charley of Sierra Leone.
North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
Bikes and Bibles is approved as an advance special of The North Georgia Annual Conference. North Georgia’s Connectional Ministries provided an initial grant of $3,850 covering start-up administrative costs. UMC congregations usually make donations to the North Georgia Annual Conference designated for Bikes and Bibles.