The sound of motorcycle engines revving up on Sunday was just as inspirational as any four-part harmony selection, according to members of Hope Community Church.
Their annual Biker Sunday drew hundreds of motorcycles and people to the church grounds as members attempted to demonstrate that God’s love is open to everyone.
"Everybody’s welcome here," said the Rev. Steve Weldon, the church’s pastor.
Weldon couldn’t provide an exact estimate on Sunday’s attendance but said he thought more people attended this year than in 2006, when more than 2,000 turned out.
The event drew first-timers such as Patriot Guard members Dan Hagenbuch and his wife, Millie, who called it "one of the nicest events they’ve attended" for motorcyclists.
Don and Marjorie Autrey attended last year for the first time and came back again, they said, because they loved the message the church was spreading.
"The people at Hope church are so warm and loving," Marjorie Autrey said.
The event even drew people who don’t ride motorcycles, such as Jarrod and Darcie Moseley who brought their two children — and their minivan.
They enjoyed the music and the barbecue on the church’s lush lawn underneath sunny skies.
As church members, they said Biker Sunday is a good way for the church to show people that church can be lively and entertaining.
"Church should not be about the ritual," Jarrod Moseley said. "It’s about Jesus, and people developing a personal relationship with God."