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Blessing of the Bikes in Albany Park kicks off a blessedly normal summer

6:24 PM CDT on June 21, 2021

A child heads north on Drake St. during the parade as part of the blessing of the bikes of Tabor Lutheran Church. Photo: Imelda March

On Sunday, June 13th, Tabor Lutheran Church in Albany Park held its first-ever Blessing of the Bikes event, cohosted by aldermen Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th.)

The city's Safe Routes Ambassadors were there to provide instruction on the dos and don'ts of riding on the street. Also present were police officers of the 17th district giving away stickers and trinkets to the children.

Flier for the Blessing of the Bikes at Tabor Church.
Flier for the Blessing of the Bikes at Tabor Church.

Prior to the event, a 33rd Ward representative said, "Our office is involved in this event because we are strong advocates of community-led events, especially those that promote safety and encourage the involvement of our youth. We hope this event encourages our neighbors to get to know one another. We hope it sets a welcoming and cheerful tone for the summer especially coming off such a tough year. "

Scooters, skaters, and strollers were blessed too. Photo: Imelda March
Scooters, skaters, and strollers were blessed too. Photo: Imelda March

Heather Robarge, the Tabor church's spokesperson stated, "Tabor Church has been serving the Albany Park neighborhood for over 115 years. We’ve always thought that the pet blessings that other churches do were cool, so when one of our leaders said our church should bless bikes we thought it was a great idea."

Robarge responded to a few more questions in a short interview.

Imelda March: How did you get the idea to do this?

Heather Robarge: This event developed out of our admiration of the pet blessings that surrounding churches offer. With kids getting out of school soon, one of our leaders pitched the idea to have a bike blessing because we know that summer wheels are used in greater frequency during the warmer months of the year and we care about the safety of our neighbors.

IM: What is the purpose of this event?

HR: Our church loves our community, and we believe that everyone benefits when neighbors and neighborhood organizations know each other and work together. The purpose of this event is two-fold, to gather with others in pursuit of building a strong community and to ask for God’s favor on summer modes of transportation.

The crowd blesses bikes and scooters. Photo: Imelda March
The crowd blesses bikes and scooters. Photo: Imelda March

IM: What do you think will be positive about having a blessing of bikes and other mobility devices?

HG: After such a difficult 15 months, it’s wonderful to have the ability to be outside with neighbors and other community organizations and just enjoy life. We believe sharing a blessing over our neighbors' summer wheels is another positive as we trust that God will work for the safety of those receiving the blessing."

Follow Imelda March on Twitter at @hcram1.

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