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Bicycles blessed at St. Stephens annual ceremony

Have a two-wheeled friend you want blessed?

St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish in Portland can handle that for you. The church will host its third annual Blessing of Bicycles at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the parish, 1432 S.W. 13th Ave.

The church is the home of the Portland Bicycle Shrine, a place of reflection and meditation, which honors the Madonna Del Ghisallo, the matron saint of cyclists. It is also home of the ghost bike and a memorial plaque honoring the memory of 19-year-old Tracey Sparling, the Pacific Northwest College of Art student whose death in October 2007 led to the installation of the green bike safety boxes at city intersections.

The church invites participants to come in their riding gear and bring their bikes into the church. The service will be presided over by The Rev. Dennis J. Parker, rector of St. Stephen's, and Rev. Brian Heron, pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Portland's bicycle harpist Halley Weaver will provide music for the blessing.

'Because of our location we are very connected to the bicycle community,' Parker said. 'The purpose of the annual blessing is to promote respect for the safety of everyone on our streets, to celebrate the joy of cycling and to remember those who have fallen in bike accidents.'

A social gathering with refreshments follows the blessing.