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Christian motorcycle church holds rally

Tom Jackson • Jul 14, 2014 at 8:05 PM


At Trinity Chapel Biker Church, making a joyful noise unto the Lord can involve a hard rock band whose guitarist has three crosses tattooed on his upper arm.

And normal church attire includes leather, long hair and lots of tattoos.

"This is not your granny's church," explained Bryce "Nobody" Harris of Flint, Mich., national vice president of Trinity Riders Christian Motorcycle Club, which is associated with the church.  "God called us as we are."

The church and Trinity Riders is trying to reach out to bikers and everyone else, too. It held a rally Saturday afternoon on its grounds at 9746 Barrows, offering free food, rock music from Christian rock band Looking Upward of Detroit, and fellowship.

By mid-afternoon, several dozen people were on site, munching hot dogs and burgers and listening to the band.

The church holds regular services at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday night is the regular meeting time for most motorcycle clubs — it's a meeting sometimes dubbed "club night" or "church night," Harris explained — so Trinity holds its meetings at the same time to offer an alternative.

"Most of us came from the traditional club scene, before we came to the cross," he said.

The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, a large denomination known for its conservative theological stances. And despite the unconventional attire of its members, the church adheres to Southern Baptist standards. All visitors to Saturday's rally were immediately invited to eat and drink, but the beverages were pop and water, not beer.

"There's no drinking in the club, nothing illegal, no cussing, no swearing," Harris said.

The Southern Baptist convention has "really stepped up to the plate" in supporting the church, said Pastor Neon, aka Brad Trembley, the church's founder and senior pastor. 

And in fact, a Southern Baptist state official was at Saturday's rally. Duane Floro is the ministry and evangelism strategist in Columbus for the Southern Baptist State Convention of Ohio.

"We're helping underwrite some of the event today," Floro said.

Floro helps a variety of churches across the state.

"I work with traditional and nontraditional churches," Floro explained. 

The nontraditional churches aren't just biker-themed houses of worship.

"We have some cowboy churches around the state," he said. 

In any event, Trinity's style is its own business. Southern Baptist churches are autonomous, Floro said.

Floro has a conservative haircut and wore less colorful attire than some of the other attendees, but he did wear a leather vest that officers in the club had presented to him earlier in the day. The vest had a patch that said "Born to Be Wild," perhaps an exaggeration in Floro's case. 

Ron Moccabee of West Mansfield Ohio, national guardian of Trinity Riders, said each Saturday evening service features a sermon from Pastor Neon that runs from 30 minutes to an hour.

"It's not fire and brimstone. It's more on a personal note," he said.

Pastor Neon says his big theme is redemption.

"Our motto here is our past does not define us," he said.

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