Blessed are the bicyclists

CENTRAL JP—On Boston’s mean streets, bicyclists need all the help they can get. On Sunday, May 15, they got it all—from chain oil to holy water—at Boston’s first annual Blessing of the Bikes hosted by JP churches.

About 30 bicyclists sought divine assistance at the event, which began with a bike tune-up on the Centre Street lawn of the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, hosted by the Boston Cyclists Union (BCU). The cyclists then rode to Hope Central Church on Seaverns Avenue, where Hope Central and First Baptist ministers teamed up to bless them.

Inspired by similar bike blessings held in New York City and Portland, Ore., the two churches were independently planning to hold their own events. They reached out to BCU, who connected them.

“Our purpose was to promote cycling and cycling safety in the city of Boston,” said Abbi Holt, who, along with fellow congregant Laura Everett, planned Hope Central’s role in the blessing.

“Hope Central was awesome, and we collaborated to make it a larger event,” said Rev. Kathryn House, First Baptist’s minister of Christian Formation.

The joint blessing was open to “bicycles of all religious traditions,” the event’s Facebook page noted. It added with an irreverent tone, “Do you ever shout, ‘O My God’ while biking in Boston?”

“I’m not religious, but I think biking is for everybody,” said BCU Director Pete Stidman, adding with a laugh that the bike tune-up station covered them in case the blessings didn’t. “It’s just a nice thing,” he said.

The Blessing of the Bikes is intended as an annual event, and will aim to get more churches involved next year, Stidman said.