Two Christ Church staff members are about to head out on adventurous journeys to support those close to their hearts. Rev. Ken Stewart, Assistant Director of Care Ministries, will hike 60 miles in the mountains to raise support for his brothers and sisters in Christ in Cuba. William Merriman, Young Adult Wesleyan Fellow, will bike 500+ miles to raise funds for cancer in honor of his coworker Stephanie Powell. Stephanie, Director of Global Missions, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Read more about their journeys below. To support Ken/Cuba, click here. To support William/West Cancer Foundation, click here.

60 Miles on the Appalachian Trail for Cuba

Rev. Ken Stewart

–by Ken Stewart
Over the past eight months, the struggles from the Coronavirus have affected all of us in difficult ways. Yet, after communication from our Cuban brothers and sisters, I realized our struggles have been but a small part of what they have been living with in these difficult days.

Will you please join with me to raise money to help feed our brothers and sisters in Cuba?

Beginning September 27, I will be hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail, 60 miles in the North Carolina mountains, raising funds to provide the basics of nourishment for the Cuban people. 100 percent of money raised will go to feed families through the Cuban Methodist Church. You can pledge so much per mile or give any amount—everything is helpful.

Thank you in advance for your generosity, and please pray for our brothers and sisters in Cuba and for the upcoming hike.

>>To support Ken on his journey for Cuba, click here.

Ride 2 Rosemary: Team cycling event to support the fight against cancer

Keith & William Merriman

–by William Merriman
On October 3, the Ride 2 Rosemary Team of more than 50 men will depart on the 10th annual five-day journey, covering over 500-miles from Memphis to Rosemary Beach, Florida. This is William’s story as posted on the team’s Facebook page.

Please welcome one of our NEW riders to the R2R team, William Merriman! William is the son of Keith and Jennifer Merriman and brother to Ben, Winston and Maddie Grace. William and his dad Keith will both be riding this year—another one of our father/son duos on the R2R team. William has been mountain biking for about 10 years now and only in the last year has he taken up road cycling —it’s all just riding a bike, right? 

What motivated you to join the R2R team? My father was one of the founders of the ride, and for the past 10 years, I have been an avid spectator, cheerleader and supporter of the ride and all the riders. I had always thought (dreamed really) of one day doing the ride, but, having played soccer all of my life including in college, I spent more time with soccer cleats on my feet rather than cycling ones. However, over the past year, I graduated from college, retired from soccer after sustaining a series of injuries and found my way back in Memphis. In the midst of navigating all these changes, none of which were easy, my dad gave me a glimpse of that old dream, and I took it heartily! I am VERY glad to be riding this year and taking on a new journey with a phenomenal group of men.

How has cancer impacted your life? I have not had any of my immediate family members, and until just recently none of my close friends, go through the battle with cancer, but when confronted with this question, I am reminded of the words of poet/priest John Donne: 

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Whenever I hear of a friend of a friend or a mother or father or cousin of a friend who has passed away or see Facebook posts asking for prayers or grieving, I am reminded of the preciousness of life, both of others and my own, and am in turn motivated to view my time on earth as not my own but as a gift from the Lord, which I hope to steward well. Honored to ride for such a cause and to play a small part in a great battle.

Stephanie, one of my good friends and coworkers, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctors do not know the full extent of the cancer, but she may have to go through chemotherapy and have procedures done. That being said, I am dedicating my ride to her this year. And just as I will be fervently riding on the bike for her, I will be praying for her just as fervently and intentionally.

>>To support William on his journey benefiting West Cancer Foundation, click here.

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