CRLN-Chicago Presbytery “Pedal the Prairie Path” Raises $2,500 for Educational Scholarships in Colombia

In 2006, CRLN partnered with the Chicago Presbytery in creating a Presbytery Mission Team to create "Congregations in Solidarity with Latin America" (CSLA).  At the invitation of Rev. Milton Mejia, then Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC), CSLA organized a Chicago Presbytery delegation to travel to Colombia for the IPC's 150th Anniversary. 

Since that time, CSLA has partnered with the IPC to introduce resolutions at the bi-annual General Assembly of Presbyterian Church (USA) calling on the U.S. to support human rights, suspend military aid, end poisonous fumigations of coca, aid displaced persons, and reject the U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement.  

Inspired by CRLN's "Pedal for Peace" each fall on Chicago's lakefront, the CSLA mission team organized its first-ever "Pedal the Prairie Path" bike-a-thon on Sunday, July 15 to raise funds for IPC educational programs and scholarships of for youth displaced by Colombia's ongoing civil war.   With over 5 million internally displaced persons - the highest in the world after Darfur - Colombia has been called by the United Nations a "humanitarian catastrophe". 

Five Presbyterian congregations fielded 13 bikers between Maywood to Wheaton on the Illinois Prairie Path raising $2,500 from over 75 individual donors!  The youngest biker, 7-year-old Nicholas Boxell of the Presbyterian Church of Western Springs, raised a whopping $191 from church parishioners on Sunday morning.

The Chicago Presbytery CSLA Mission Team is one of two denominational partnerships with CRLN.  The other is with the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church, to which CRLN was invited as an ecumenical partner in its 2007 covenant with the Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia, which is 70% indigenous peoples.