Micro grant makes space for cyclists atop mountain


With cyclists coming and going through the hills surrounding Mountain Home United Methodist Church, members there decided to extend a little hospitality this past year.

Using the well located on church property, members added a drinking fountain to the edge of their property near the road as a rest stop for cyclists. The church used a $500 micro grant from the Cascadia District Extension Society to pay for the project.

“We did it because we’re a rural church on top of the mountain and there are a lot of cyclists in the area,” said Rev. Benjamin Hartley. “We thought it would be an expression of hospitality.”

For a while last summer, the church had a cyclists’ prayer written on a sign and had a guest book out for people to sign. With a narrow road and cars driving on and off the property, some members have also worried about the safety of cyclists in the area, which is part of the reason the prayer was offered.

Members reported seeing a few cyclists stopping to access the fountain. But lately, construction road crews in the area have been stopping and using the water fountain, which was an unexpected blessing of the project.

In the coming year or two, the church hopes to add more signs to let cyclists know they can stop as well as adding a bike rack.

“It’s a pretty simple thing,” Hartley said. “Hopefully we can continue to think about ways to be inclusive.”

Approximately 16 churches in the Cascadia District have received micro grants since District Superintendent Tim Overton-Harris announced the project during Annual Conference 2018 in Boise.

The grants are meant to challenge and support churches to create new places for new people.

There were four stipulations to accepting the grant:

  1. The money was to be used for doing something new, something the church or ministry setting is not already doing.
  2. The money was to be used to do something which targeted people not already an active part of the faith community.
  3. The money was to be used to do something that could serve as a gateway into deeper involvement in the faith community
  4. Faith communities had to evaluate the project and what was learned from it.