Nfld. & Labrador

'We all have hurts,' says pastor who invited Outlaws motorcycles to prayer event

Pastor Robert Parsons says no one commented about feeling intimidated by the patches and vests.

Pastor says there was 'no negative feedback at all' after weekend Blessing of the Bikers

Pastor Robert Parsons says the highlight of the event was the prayer circle he had with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club members. (Windsor Pentecostal Church/Facebook)

A central Newfoundland pastor who invited a group of Outlaws motorcycle members to join the church in a charitable ride says it was a respectful event, about bringing God's love to everyone.

On Facebook this week, the Windsor Pentecostal Church posted photos of a group of Outlaws bikers attending the Blessing of the Bikers, an event that sees motorcycle riders gather in King's Point for a service and reception.

We had no negative feedback at all, it was a great ride.- Robert Parsons

Some of the bikers invited to take part wore Outlaws Motorcycle Club vests and patches. It's a group that's sometimes associated with organized criminal activity.

But Pastor Robert Parsons says the Outlaws are welcome to join in the event, and they've been doing so the last three years.

"The highlight of the trip for me as a pastor was to be able to get the Outlaws in a circle on the field and be able to pray with them," he told CBC's Central Morning Show.

"We all have hurts and we all have different backgrounds, and so it was my privilege to do that. And they were certainly respectful and they welcomed that."

Parsons says the Blessing of the Bikers raises money for the local food bank and for young people to go to St. John's to take part in an annual Youth Collective Newfoundland and Labrador event. (Windsor Pentecostal Church/Facebook)

Parsons said he knows some of the members who have grown up in his community, and when he first extended an invitation to the club a few years ago, they were surprised, telling him they "very seldom get invited to anything."

"They were very respectful of the invitation and they were very respectful of what we are about and out there during the service and participating in it," he said.

"They were certainly showing much respect and so we had no negative feedback at all. It was a great ride."

Parsons said he heard no negative feedback from anyone who found the patches intimidating.

"As a church, we're about the gospel. Our purpose, our mission is to reach people with the love of Christ. It's all about the cross, and the message of the cross is that God is pursuing people, and it makes no difference who people are," he said.

"In all groups, in all organizations, there's people probably that might be questionable or whatever, but nonetheless it makes no difference. God loves everybody, and it's our aim to share the love of Christ with everyone, whether they're bike riders or gangs or people in need of help or whatever."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from the Central Morning Show