Church Welcomes Dogs And Bikers And Lots More

Pat Jobe

Church Welcomes Dogs And Bikers And Lots More

Rev. Chris Mellon, new minister at The Biker Church in Forest City.

It's a church your dog can attend.

It's a church you can ride your Harley to attend, although most folks don't.

The church house at 245 Big Springs Avenue in Forest City is "come as you are," with an emphasis on the attending Holy Spirit, the promises of Jesus always coming true. They call it The Biker Church, but you don't have to be a biker to attend.

They've called a new minister.

"I turned my back on God one time when my mother died," Rev. Chris Mellon said of a spiritual journey that has brought him to be newly called by the Forest City congregation. "I thought it was wrong of Him to take her when I loved her so much. But He took her because He loved her and wanted to end her suffering."

Although he was saved at 27, the newly called preacher said he walked away over grief from losing his mother. His girlfriend begged him to get back in church. He kept making excuses to stay away.

"Finally I gave in and the preacher was preaching, guess what? The prodigal son. I said, 'Okay, God, I get it. I see what you're doing.'" There's been no more walking away since. The prodigal son is the story of a son returning to his father, just as Mellon was returning to church, to his heavenly Father. He did not take it as coincidence.

Roger Buese (rhymes with easy,) an ordained minister and part of the church's board said a new day is beginning for the church which was organized seven years ago, but now it is reorganizing for a time without Covid19. In person services have returned with masks and social distancing.

Buese said they have a big sanctuary and attendance has been as low as seven. "It's not hard to practice social distancing."

Buese, has been attending the church services for five years and especially appreciates that he can sometimes bring his dog.

Buese was ordained 52 years ago after three years at Vanderbilt's seminary. Mellon is a graduate of Fruitland Bible College and has served one Baptist Church in Virginia before coming to Forest City. He is a regional manager with Walgreens in addition to his church work.

"I'm excited about the opportunities in Forest City," Mellon said.

Buese said he has visited a number of churches locally, but finds The Biker Church congregation dresses more casually than most local churches. He also said the congregation is from a different socio-economic class.

Buese also said lunch is served after each service and food is distributed to disadvantaged people in the community. He said sometimes local teenage boys show up for lunch without attending the worship service. He said they're welcome.