A North Carolina pastor on a mission to defend the unborn is wrapping up an incredible trek across America — an effort he’s calling Life Ride.
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Pastor Jay Stewart, 60, of The Refuge Church has been making headlines after he decided to pedal his bike more than 3,000 miles, starting in California and concluding this week on the East Coast.
It was a mission with roots set 40 years ago when Stewart was in his 20s — an idea he thought would be fun, but one that later took on a “kingdom” purpose, with the pastor using the opportunity to defend the unborn.
“The whole thing really came into shape last year on May 17th, and now here I am just near the finish line … about to wrap this thing up,” Stewart told CBN’s Faithwire during an interview last week.
The preacher said he’s hoping his efforts, which began May 4 on the National Day of Prayer, will raise $1 million to help mothers who choose to keep their babies. He’s been joined by virtual teams all over the country in an effort to log miles and raise support.
“It’s been amazing to see the body of Christ around this as I journeyed across the nation,” he said. “We’ve held rallies in places like Phoenix and Albuquerque, in Riverside, California, in Fort Worth, Texas, and Birmingham and … Atlanta Georgia … and it’s been a great opportunity.”
Stewart described working with an organization called Love Life Ministries, a group that seeks to “engage the church across America all denominations to build a culture of love and life [and] to see an end to abortion and to the orphan crisis.”
He’s hoping to help Love Life expand from the 20 cities where the organization currently operates into a plethora of other locations. The organization works through so-called “house of refuge” churches — houses of worship that help women facing unplanned pregnancies.
Despite the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Stewart said there’s still much work to be done, with the battles shifting to each state.
“What we saw last year when Roe V. Wade was overturned was absolutely historic,” he said. “It was humongous, but … the battle did not end there. In fact, it ramped up. It went to another level now.”
Stewart said it’s time to “empower the church” to be a “voice for the voiceless.”
“We’re not going to remain silent on this,” the pastor continued. “I believe that this is not a political issue. This is a moral and a spiritual issue, and I think it’s the greatest moral dilemma of our day.”
Stewart said God has given him “supernatural strength” to pedal across the nation, and expressed gratitude to the Lord for helping him make such a positive impact.
“It’s been an epic journey,” he added. “It’s been the hardest thing physically and mentally I’ve ever done in my life, but it has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.”
Find out more about Life Ride, which concludes this week in Charleston, South Carolina.