But most of all, he loved to ride

By on June 13, 2018

Grace Point Motorcycle Sunday honors memory of Steven Andriani

When Steven Andriani graduated from Ephrata High School in June 2016, he was like any other high school graduate. He had a girlfriend, a fun job, big plans for his future and seemed to have his whole life ahead of him.

As his parents reminded members of Grace Point Church of the Nazarene, his home church in Ephrata this past Sunday, Andriani loved to spend time with his family, go hunting and hang out with his friends. But most of all, he loved to ride his motorcycle.

Just two weeks after graduation, however, Andriani’s life was tragically cut short from a motorcycle accident.

As the two-year anniversary of his passing approaches, the Andriani family continues to do the best they can to pick up the pieces and move on.

A close-knit family, Andriani’s parents, Tom and Jenni, spend as much time as they can with their remaining children, Becky and Kat and their families. The proud grandparents are quick to point out: they just welcomed grandchild number six.

This past Sunday, the Andrianis, along with the Grace Point Church community and the Christian Motorcyclists Association (or CMA) came together to find great victory in the face of this terrible tragedy. Grace Point held their First Annual Biker Sunday in Andriani’s honor and as a Christian evangelistic outreach to the motorcyclist community.

Lead Pastor Rocky Hambrick began the service unlike probably any service in the Nazarene Church history.

To the theme from Rocky, Pastor Hambrick, rode his own Harley-Davidson Speedster into the sanctuary, up a ramp and onto the stage wearing his full motorcycle gear. In fact, before Sunday many did not know Hambrick had been a motorcycle enthusiast.

At his former church in Florida, Hambrick had established an effective ministry within the biker community. That love of motorcycles was one of the bonds of friendship which Hambrick had with Steven Andriani. Now, in his memory, the idea of re-creating a benefit ride held in Andriani’s honor shortly after his passing with a means of sharing Andriani’s faith seemed to make sense.

Together Hambrick, the Andrianis and local leader of CMA Tom Ebersole set the wheels in motion for what would become Grace Point’s first ever Biker Sunday.

As Ebersole explains, CMA is not designed to be a club of Christian bikers, but a ministry designed to thrust Christian bikers into the adventure of spreading the light of Jesus into dark places. And while primarily designed as an outreach to the biker community, Ebersole was quick to say that their message is not exclusive to that community.

“We often participate in the first Sunday events among other things,” said Ebersole, “But often we want to be servants, helping to clean up, helping serve coffee.”

The service was very well attended with an estimated 50 bikers in attendance. While some of them chose to arrive in automobiles due to the looming rain in the forecast, the designated parking for motorcycles was full just the same.

The guest speaker for Sunday was himself a big draw among the biker community. Rick Steffy, a native of the Ephrata area, has been active in the biker ministry for over 26 years. Along with his wife, Eileen, Steffy has ridden over 750,000 miles on his motorcycle to take a very practical, hands-on message of God’s love to his community.

Steffy’s challenge to the congregation was timely, no matter if he was talking about the biker community or anyone typically rejected by the church. Speaking about Jesus’ encounter with the chief tax collector Zacchaeus at Jericho as found in the Gospel of Luke, Steffy noted how Zacchaeus probably climbed that tree partially because he was so hated, but also because he didn’t want Jesus to see him. He highlighted Jesus’ reaction: he chose to go have dinner at Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus loved him as a person. With that, Steffy’s challenge was to always look at the person.

“We always talk about John 3:16,” said Steffy. “But the next verse is even bigger. ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ ‘Look at the person. Never think that God cannot change someone. Maybe they didn’t have the same background as you but never dismiss a single person. Maybe they don’t meet ‘your’ criteria but remember: Jesus is the way.”

Against a backdrop of photos of their son, Tom and Jenni Andriani recounted the life their son had lived and how they knew with his faith in Jesus he was in Heaven.

Through CMA and the Grace Point Biker Sunday, their hope is that out of their tragic loss perhaps the victory might be someone getting to know the Lord that otherwise may never have been introduced to Jesus had it not been for Andriani.

Following the service, the church hosted a free meal for all in attendance. The spirit of fellowship between bikers and church members was such that except for biker gear it was hard to tell them apart.

A 40-mile ride was planned for this past Sunday; one of Andriani’s favorite rides with his friends through Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve. That ride was included in that planned course.

Rain, however, made it necessary to postpone the ride until Saturday, June 16. All interested bikers are still invited to participate. Those who will participate should meet at the church at 10 a.m. with kickstands up at 10:30 a.m.

For additional information on CMA, visit their website at cmausa.org. More information on Grace Point Church can be found at www.nazgp.org. Parties interested in participating in the ride this Saturday can also call the church office at 717-733-2000. Grace Point Church is located at 110 Durlach Road, Ephrata.

Gary P. Klinger is a freelance journalist for the Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com.

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