“It was just a wacky idea I dreamed up in my cubicle” said a cheerful Suzanne Rumsey, who returned to work in Toronto after biking 1,600 km from Halifax, N.S. to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que. She pedaled the 18-day tour to raise money for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)—not a bad way to start her new job as the fund’s public engagement program coordinator.
On Saturday June 26, Ms. Rumsey cruised through a finish line at St. George’s in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, escorted by parishioners on bikes and an archdeacon on a vintage motorcycle. “I felt like Lance Armstrong going through the finish line at the Champs Élysées,” she said.
Ms. Rumsey and her bike Olive began “Le Tour de PWRDF” at General Synod in Halifax, but the symbolic starting point was Springhill, N.S., where PWRDF first galvanized support around the Springhill mine disaster. Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue was where PWRDF was first created by General Synod in 1959.
Between these historic sites, Ms. Rumsey biked through four dioceses and dozens of small towns. She battled wind and the steep hills, but the weather was good and the bike stayed intact. At day’s end Ms. Rumsey was welcomed by local church communities, where she would share the story of PWRDF.
“In these rural places, the Anglican church is small and in many instances struggling, but there are vibrant groups of folks in those places who are doing good stuff locally and really trying to be church in the place where they are,” said Ms. Rumsey. “They are also trying to understand how they can connect with the wider world through the Primate’s fund and through the wider church.”
Now back in Toronto, the energetic Ms. Rumsey hasn’t ruled out another tour. “I was joking about how I just felt like I’d like to keep going,” she laughs. A cross-Canada trip may still be in the cards, or a trek along the historic underground railway route, from the southern U.S. to Canada.
For now, she is delighted that the tour has raised close to $13,000 and has increased the profile of PWRDF, the Canadian Anglican response for emergency relief, refugees, development, and justice.
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