Decatur pastor blesses 1,600 bikers

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 FORSYTH - A sea of bikes stretched into the distance.

"Hundreds of bikes come together to receive a special blessing from the Lord," said Pastor Matt Samuels of Decatur's GT Church.  "It's so exciting.  It's amazing."

Motorcycle season has begun, and bikers are trying to secure their safety.

"We pray, for the bikers while they're on their motorcycles, that God will protect them," said Samuels.

The first blessing in Macon County was 23 years ago, conceived by the Christian Motorcycle Association.

"It all started back in Spitler Woods Park," said Scott McKinney, a longtime member of the association.  "Twenty five bikes the first year."

Now, it's held at Coziahr Harley-Davidson in Forsyth, and the number of bikers has grown to 1,600.  Ministers from GT Church come out every year to administer the prayers.

"A lot of times, motorists are out there and you see the stickers, 'Start Seeing Motorcycles'.  That didn't really impact me until I started riding a few years ago," said Samuels.  "They don't see us."

After all the bikes were blessed Sunday, they processed through the area in honor of GT Church's former pastor  who used to lead the blessing.  He died in a motorcycle crash years ago.

"Having lost Pastor B.G. in the way that we did, you know, it's one of those things that is so important to me, that we do pray these blessings," said Samuels.

Bikers came from every corner of Central Illinois.

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