His bike, his church

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By Makeda Baker

A Chester County native, hailing from the small hamlet of Blackstock, he’s an avid thinker, doer and maker of things happening. A graduate of Chester High School and a retired Non-commissioned officer from the U.S. Army, he is a personal trainer, motorcyclist and former ROTC instructor. And, in his own words, he engages in “thinking of ways to enhance the community.”  
So, after thinking about it, the idea was birthed and he “Immediately took it to my board of trustees and the deacons and the Pastor” of the church. The idea generated much discussion, both pro and con. Among the naysayers was the theme that since it hadn’t been done before, “It can’t be done.”
Now, this is the same guy who took raw recruits from the field and transformed them into testosterone (and estrogen where applicable), adrenaline -laden soldiers. This is the guy who makes the ‘m’ out of impossible and makes it happen, anyway. Who uses the term “Who Wah” as his personal go-get-em motivation.
Who is this person? He’s Alphonso Jerome Boyd and who is the church? It’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Highway 321. What was the idea? Motorcycle Sunday. When was it? Summer of 2014. How did it turn out? There were more than four dozen motorcycles and their motorcyclists along with numerous older cars and trucks. The people numbered more than 160. And, please don’t forget the police escort. Yes, the police escort.
The Chester County Sheriff Department served as the ‘grand marshall escort’ of this entourage as it left the Cestrian Square parking lot and made its way far down Columbia Road to Mt. Zion Church.
But, before this could happen there was much work to be done. Arrangements, phone calls, plans and organizing and lots of leg work. There were phone calls to be made, foods to be purchased, foods to be cooked, volunteers to help out and seating arrangements to be structured and did I say countless numbers of calls to be made?
He started calling fellow motorcyclists, then known and unknown motorcycle clubs and church members to sell them on this idea of a Mt. Zion Baptist Church Riders For Jesus Sunday. Not having any idea what the actual response would be, his desire was that of all things it had to be, it had to be “successful.”   
They came from near and far and perhaps more came from afar than from near. They were from as close as Chester, Edgemoor and Rock Hill and as far away as Charlotte, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina. There were three members from the South Carolina Chapter 1 Prisoner of War organization, “Rolling Thunder” which has been together since 1985 said rider, Barney Burke.   
There were the “Shades of Essence” female riders, “Mochalatta” Jones and Bridget. The “Let’s Get It Riders” of Chester/Greenville with “Pee Wee -Mr. Let’s Get it” let their presence be known. There were the Riders for Righteousness with Pastor “E” out of Charlotte. Rock Hill’s Christian Motorcycle Association was present with eight members.
Thirteen members of the Goldwine Riders Chapter out of York were there according to Tim McClanahan. Also represented from Rock Hill were the Deuce Riders with Vern Howze.
And, of course, the event organizer, Alphonso Boyd, was present with his rider, 87 years young church member, Mrs. Carrie Ola ‘Sweet’ Buckson. He often takes her riding on his built-for-two, silver on silver, raring to run-the-road  bike. Per Boyd, ‘Sweet’ talked the entire trip from Cestrian Square to the church in Blackstock. And, as it went, the event “turned out really, really nice and hopefully it will be a yearly event,” according to Boyd.
Why the police escort? “Strictly for safety,” according to the organizer, wanting the event to be “neat and orderly and you always want the authorities to know what you are doing.” He says that Chester County Sheriff Deputy Robinson was “So gracious. He went out of his way to support us.” Giving kudos to the entire sheriffs’ department, Boyd further stated that, “Law enforcement was a part of it. They showed up in force to support us.”
You should have seen the procession as it lined up in the parking lot, and one by one pulled out onto the street, led by and directed by law enforcement. It really was a sight to behold! Thanks, sheriff’s department.
After being escorted down Columbia Street and Columbia Road to Mt. Zion Church by the county’s finest, Boyd says the entry of his crowd of nearly 200 primarily motorcycle-riding-strangers caused “a total disruption of services.” For walking, marching, stepping and otherwise strolling into the church was “a multi-ethnic group of motorcycle people” dressed for riding the streets rather than sitting in the pews!  What a sight to behold!
There were even awards given out for the largest club gathered, the oldest rider and one for those coming the greatest distance which went to the “Let’s Get It Riders.” Boyd felt very “elated” that his idea, backed by his church and embraced by the motorcycle community not only materialized but was a rousing social and church success. Afterwards, the church fed everyone and the “socialization was good.” What a day.
Again, this is from the guy who takes the raw material (an idea) and bends and shapes and molds it into a workable object (productive end result). Alphonso Jerome Boyd. Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The two of them have something there.