Mike Fitton, National Chairman of CMA (UK), and his latest travels.
Mike’s Travels August / September
Please note that the events listed below do not include those of a sensitive or confidential nature which cannot be shared in a public forum.
Sandy and I attended the first CMA Ireland National Rally near Dublin. I had been invited to preach on Friday evening so we travelled over on Thursday morning; as we set off we stopped at a garage for fuel and had a moments panic when the battery on my bike caught fire. Thankfully someone came to our aid with a fire extinguisher and we were able to continue. The rally was a great success particularly the Brazilian worship band who were outstanding musicians, sadly the weather was poor but we didn’t allow it to spoil the blessing. It was a great encouragement to CMA Ireland that there were CMA representatives from South Africa (including Rene Changuion the International Coordinator of CMA), Portugal and Holland as well as a large number from the UK.
o Following our last meeting I have had laser eye surgery which has been a great success, apparently I now have 20/20 vision and the best bit is I can ride without glasses steaming up on wet days.
o I accepted another invitation to speak at the luncheon club at Stockton Baptist Tabernacle (approximately 80 elderly local residents attend) my sketch board challenge of the Gospel was well received.
o I attended the Festival of a 1000 bikes at Mallory Park working with the CMA team and sharing a challenge during the Sunday morning service on site. It is evident that the CMA are held in high esteem by the organisers of the Festival, the announcer spoke positively about the morning service and encouraged people to attend. The weather was dreadful but the blessings were many….. it seems to have been a constant theme this summer.
o I attended the North East Derbyshire branch sharing a challenge and giving encouragement for their ministry.
o Sandy and I took a couple of days to attend Keswick Convention to be refreshed and relax. In years gone by I have attended the convention on numerous occassions often as the pastor of an official convention campsite so it was wonderful to be in the congregation without any responsibilities to soak up God’s Word.
o I was on site for the National Rally at Storthes Hall from Tuesday to Sunday as usual we had a very busy but blessed weekend. The speakers and worship band were excellent we also had a love gift on Sunday morning for Open Doors which amounted to £3,192.82 this will be used to purchase motorcycles for Pastors working amongst the persecuted church in an Asian country. We also presented Mike Adams of World Horizons with a gift of £5,000 to purchase motorcycles for their missionaries around the world as part of our ongoing commitment to them.
o Following the National Rally Sandy and I left on Tuesday afternoon for the ferry to Holland to ride to Bavaria to attend the European Motorcyclists For Christ Rally hosted by the CMF a small Christian bike club. The rally was in the town of Forchheim. I had met members of the club at a Leaders conference in Switzerland and invited them to attend the EMC in the UK 2010 they enjoyed the experience so much they offered to host a future EMC. The rally was a great success with a good turn out by CMA UK members and I was invited to chair two Presidents meetings (a total of five hours). We returned home the following Tuesday.
o Following the EMC Rally we took a short holiday in the Lake District to rest, we climbed mountains, went fly fishing and kayaking…did I say rest?
o I attended the ‘Thunder in the Glens’ Harley Rally working with the Forth and Tay Branch in their Holy Joes café situated in the rally camp ground. The weekend went very well with many opportunities for the team to reach out with God’s love. The Scottish midges made life interesting.
o I headed up the team at Stormin the Castle Rally Witton Park near Durham this is a large MAG Rally with approximately 6,000 bikers attending. Due to the poor weather the mud was unbelievable and had to be ploughed to one side like snow to make it safe for the rally to open. The CMA team was quite small this year but everyone worked very hard to cover the 24hr rota and we had many opportunities to share the Gospel. We estimated that over 5,000 bikers came through Holy Joes that weekend.
o I was invited to speak at Swarcliffe Road Baptist Church, Leeds. It gave me an opportunity to present the ministry of CMA to the congregation.
o Sandy and I made a trip to Durham recently to officially present the National Chairman’s Award to Claire the graphic designer who has produced all the materials for CMA, she was flabbergasted yet delighted. A fitting response!
o I attended the Gold Cup Road Races at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough and worked with a CMA team compromising of North East, North East Derbyshire, and East Yorkshire branch members in outreach and marshalling the bike parking field. Yorkshire Coast Radio interviewed me live during the racing about the ministry of CMA UK.
Mike’s Travels June / July 2012
o Sandy and I attended Slimbridge Sidecar Rally which is run by the Gloucester Branch, Gary and Pauline from the NE Branch travelled with us. My desire was to encourage the branch - the weekend was a great success even though the frost on Saturday morning was very cold! As usual the rally had a ride out and booked the local skittle alley on Saturday evening and we had a knock out competition this gave us a great opportunity to get alongside everyone.
o Sandy and I have visited some of the Teesside Christian Charity Forum meetings one of the main speakers was George Verwer who started Operation Mobilisation a worldwide evangelical outreach. I have met George on numerous occasions in the past and he was interested to hear how CMA is progressing.
o Keith Sanders and I had a meeting with the Director and Chaplain of the National Memorial Arboretum near Stafford to discuss the possibility of having a Biker Bible display in the Chapel. They thought the idea would benefit many of the bikers who visit the Arboretum, plans are in progress for the bibles to be arranged and Ian Cameron has agree to be the local liaison to ensure the bibles are replenished. I am attending the Ride to the Wall on the 6th October, please consider attending as a branch it would be wonderful to have a large contingent of CMA in the ride wearing crosses it is a huge event involving upwards of 15,000 bikers. If you follow this link you can register for the Ride to The Wall http://www.rttw.org/catalog/index.php?CG_ID=2
o I went on to visit the Stafford Branch meeting at Rising Brook Church the meeting was a great success. We discussed what they had been doing over the past two years and I gave them a challenge for the future. They kindly put me up in Travelodge before I returned home. The branch are doing well, we also discussed ways to find new members.
o Sandy and I rode to Devils Bridge at Kirby Lonsdale to meet up with the Northern Ireland Branch who were having a fellowship weekend in the Lake District. I had encouraged the northern branches to join us and thirty turned up, added to the twenty from Northern Ireland that made fifty a very impressive group all the more impressive as the rain was torrential!!! We had lunch together (outdoors) shared fellowship then I prayed over them before they left for a ride out led by the Lakes and Lancs branch. We were all very encouraged.
o That evening we attended Andy Hogan’s 40th birthday party with the NE Branch.
o We attended the National AGM at Worcester it went very well the church made us feel welcome and gave me an opportunity to speak in the Sunday morning service. The ride home was quite another thing we rode with Howard and Denise with gale force winds and torrential monsoon like rain we were nearly blown off the bike heading north. We shared fellowship dripping over coffee and were thankful to arrive home safely.
o We also attended the Paignton Bike Festival in Devon which was a great success the branch members really committed themselves to making a quality promotion stand and ran a helmet park on behalf of the organisers which drew in the crowds. One significant part of their display was a cross built out of old bike parts which had a sign saying that God can take our worn out lives and make them new. I preached on Sunday morning in the open air at the Festival and used the metal cross as the theme of my sermon, We had spent time chatting with members of the Blue Knights (a club made up of Police Officers, Prison Officers etc) four attended the service. During our time in Devon we stayed with Aje and Mandy past members of CMA it was good to catch up with them again.
o Sunday we rode from Paignton to Dorset to meet with the HAND Branch. The Chairman Mark arranged for me to preach at a Biker service in Christchurch with the Knights of Antioch, unfortunately I mislaid my glasses and for the first time I spoke without being able to focus on the congregation, be the time I finished my eyes were in agony. Oh that the blind would see that night!! After the service we prayed with various people including a very drunk skinhead in his forties who wandered in off the street. I talked to him amongst the gravestones for a long time very reminiscent of Matthew Ch8. I also met a young Christian couple Michael and Fiona, Michael is an up and coming racer and very interested in CMA. I have since linked him with Brian Gardner in Northern Ireland and Dave Boardman the Christian racer we are sponsoring from Preston.
o The following day we assisted on a CMA promotion stand at a fete in the New Forest with Ted and Jackie and members of the branch. It was a great event with lots of interest and not a little rain!! Plans to go to Poole Quay Bike Night were cancelled due to the continuing prospect of heavy rain so we rode home ahead of the deluge….. just!
o I attended the NABD Rally in Cheshire. I spent the majority of my time counselling, praying with and supporting members of CMA, meeting up with bikers and stall holders I know from other events. Holy Joes was very well attended and the team did a tremendous job.
o I accepted another invitation to speak to approximately eighty people at a lunch club held at Stockton Baptist tabernacle, it went very well, I gave an Easter presentation of the Gospel message.
o The following day we went to the BMF Show in Peterborough. Once again the CMA team had done a superb display with unique bikes on show that had been leant for the weekend. The crowd were amazed at a 1920’s AJS which had been found eight feet under a playing field and now fully restored. The weekend was very busy with outreach, ministering to CMA members, meeting various people from other bike organisations and preaching in our marquee Sunday morning. Gloria the Chair of the Fellowship of Christian Motorcyclists shared her testimony. The weekend was very cold but the numbers attending seemed to be unaffected.
o I had a meeting in Scarborough with Matt the leader of a worship band and booked him for the National Rally following a mix up with our usual band. Phew!! Thank you Lord.
o I continue to work on the organisation of the National Rally, things are coming together well, please encourage everyone to attend.
o As an Executive we held our meeting at the Youth Bike Event in Lincolnshire, it was good to meet the organisers of Youth bike again, sadly the numbers were down this year due to government cut backs in youth work throughout the UK.
o I spent six days at the Isle of Man TT Races, as always it was a very busy time with wonderful opportunities to get alongside those attending the races and to encourage the local Christians. I arrived on the island late Thursday evening after a rain soaked ride to Liverpool, on the M62 I passed a farm I know well without even seeing it due to the spray in amongst the lorries! Thank you to Phil and Ann Parker who gave me lunch and a chance to dry out before the ferry. At the TT I spoke at a men's breakfast which included a few bikers who wandered in off the street, one was a German who was delighted to receive a bible (I had a German copy at my lodgings but thankfully he was able to read English). I visited the new prison at Jurby and we took two chapel meetings, a prisoner called Chris appeared sincere about attending a church on his release, Des the local Elim Pastor is making arrangements for him. I was informed that someone from the island had put a Biker Bible for sale on ebay so I visited the seller Colin in Laxey and explained they were not to be sold, he said they were raising funds for The Joey Dunlop Foundation on the Isle of Man and meant no offence. Colin works for the European Commission in Eastern Europe a very interesting man, I had a wonderful time with his family and they even visited the Biker Bible stand at Ramsay Sprint to receive a personal copy of the bible. They have offered accommodation in the annex adjoining their own home to anyone from CMA attending the TT who may be struggling financially - a very kind gesture. I arranged to make a donation on behalf of CMA to the Foundation in lieu of the Biker Bible on ebay, the foundation provides accommodation for disabled bikers their website is as follows: http://www.joeydunlopfoundation.com/
I spoke at Ramsay Elim Church on Mad Sunday morning about 'passion results in compassion'. One of my priorities each time I visit the island is to keep up contact with past members of CMA and to raise our profile in the hope of re-establishing a branch one day.
Richard Lowe from YWAM was on the island training a YWAM Team, we had a lunch meeting to discuss ways in which CMA can benefit from such training, I gave the YWAM team some biker bibles and they had a very positive time sharing with bikers.
I arranged a stand for Biker Bibles at Ramsay Sprint, as a few helpers arrived so did the rain, approximately 150 bibles were taken (including German and Spanish bibles) and many good conversations were had with all ages. The event finished early due to the rain, numbers were down but it was very successful from our point of view. A local church youth worker I know brought two of her youth group to the stand so I laid a challenge before them to take a Biker Bible each and give it to a biker. I prayed for them and asked that they let me know the outcome.
Some of the best opportunities to chat were with spectators at the races those God placed alongside me, it was a great privilege.
One evening I walked into a pizza shop and in front of a large queue two local women started asking me why I wear a cross on my back and as I explained the Gospel those around us went very quiet and listened intently, they received biker bibles and my pizza was cooked, now that is a blessing!
Sadly four bikers were killed during the week in separate incidents (not racers but members of the public) and I am told the hospital was very busy with numerous bikers seriously injured. One man arrived on the island on Wednesday of practice week and within two hours had a huge crash on the mountain breaking his back, legs, arms and ribs, he was air lifted to Liverpool Hospital high dependency.
I would like to encourage more people from CMA to go to the TT the opportunities for ministering are enormous and much needed.
o As proud parents I must share with you that Emma passed her Art Degree and our eldest daughter Tiffany and her husband Dan are expecting their first child in October. Grandparents…………scary!
o As usual we organised the Holy Joes Café and outreach team for The Farmyard Party at Duncombe Park near Helmsley, this is the largest MAG rally in the country but with the poor weather numbers were low with only 6,000 attending. The weekend was exhausting as our team numbers were down, we run Holy Joes as well as marshalling the no-fires field. We had many opportunities to speak to people and spend time with bikers from other events and northern clubs, the weather was horrendous and the rally field was a quagmire.
o As we rode to the CMA Irish National Rally near Dublin, we had an interesting moment in a petrol station when a lead on my bike battery began shorting which caused smoke and flames to leap up from underneath the seat…. It was all the more scary because I had just filled up with fuel.
Sandy and I pushed the bike clear of the petrol pumps and the fire was quickly put out with minimal damage. The bike and I were covered in extinguisher powder but after I brushed most of it off Andy Hogan suggested I try and start the bike. To my amazement it started first time and we continued to Dublin. The CMA Ireland President Graham Stephenson kindly asked me to preach at the opening meeting on the Friday evening, the Brazilian worship band were incredibly gifted. There was a good turn out from the UK together with CMA friends from Holland, South Africa and Portugal. The weather was poor but it didn’t spoil the fellowship.
o I joined the CMA team at Mallory Park for the Festival of a 1000 Bikes a superb event involving classic and vintage bikes of all shapes and sizes, there were many of the big names in the race world including Randy Mamola, Kevin Schwantz, Carl Fogarty and Neil Hodgson. Our role was to run a helmet park, sell programmes for the organisers and of course get alongside the bikers. As I rode to Mallory the weather was torrential rain and I had to take shelter three times in cafes so I worked on my ipad to clear emails and dripped everywhere but I am sure the staff loved me. The campsite was a quagmire but the spectators still came. We had a wonderful short service in the helmet park marquee on Sunday morning. I would highly recommend this event it was a great success and we received a very positive response from the bikers and organisers, well done team!
o I visited the North East Derbyshire Branch and gave an encouraging word it was good to hear reports of their outreach at Matlock Bath. The branch always attend Matlock on the first Sunday of each month from 10am to 3pm, why not take a ride out and join them sometime?
o Following our CMA UK National Rally at Storthes Hall Huddersfield Sandy and I shall be riding to the European Motorcyclists For Christ Rally in Germany, the organisers have asked me to run the Presidents meeting this year.
Mike’s Travels 21st February 2012
CMA UK National Chairman’s
Report to Executive
25th February 2012
• Following our last Executive meeting I gave a presentation of CMA’s ministry at St Mary’s Church Scarborough in conjunction with members / leaders from West Yorkshire, East and Lincs branches, it was received very positively. It has been over thirteen years since I last preached at this church.
• Phil Parker and I had a meeting in York to continue planning the National Rally, it is coming together nicely. The booking forms have been posted out.
• Sandy and I attended the funeral of CMA Member Carolyn Falconer at the Faith Mission Conference Centre Edinburgh it was very well attended by the Borders / Forth and Tay Branches together with many local bikers particularly the breast cancer riders. Carolyn had clearly made a positive impression for the Gospel on their lives.
• The morning after the funeral I drove to Guildford and met with the SW London branch, I gave evangelism training. It was a wonderful evening and I believe they were encouraged.
• The next morning I moved on to the World Evangelisation Headquarters at Gerrards Cross to have lunch with some of the staff. This is the mission organisation that CT Studd began many years ago.
• I then drove to Oxford and met up with the Thames Valley Branch that evening at a member’s home and shared a challenge, it was a very positive meeting.
• The next day I drove to Gloucester to stay with Alan and Liz Robertson, the branch met for dinner at their home, we had a good time together with a reflection on what they have achieved and future plans. I gave a word of encouragement and confirmed my intention to assist at the Sidecar Rally the branch runs in April.
• Next morning I left early for home to get back in time for my mother in laws 70th birthday on Sunday.
• I had hoped that Larry Hartland’s funeral might have been held during my time in the London area but it was planned for Monday afternoon, so I travelled part way down on Sunday evening, then arrived in Ruislip midday on Monday. The funeral was well attended by friends from church, the Knights of Antioch and local bikers. Nine including myself attended from CMA, Marianne and her son Brian were very grateful that we attended. I returned home that afternoon.
• Thirsk Family Life Church invited me to preach, this is the church run by Naomi and Andy Hogan’s family and the base for the new NORTY Twig (Northallerton, Thirsk and York) We had a great time with a full house and the challenge I brought was well received. I am excited to see how this twig will progress.
• I met with three friends (we are all leaders from our church) for a day aside of prayer and reflection near Whitby, it was a blessing to sit in the quiet with our bibles and listen to God for a few hours.
• I was invited by a Methodist Church on the North Yorkshire Moors to give a presentation of CMA and to share about my trip to Sudan with Open Doors.
• Sandy and I travelled by ferry across to Northern Ireland to spend three days with the branch, I took a supply of bibles and leaflets for them. Saturday morning we met with the branch over brunch then moved to Roy’s church nearby for our Regional meeting, the issues they wanted to tackle were predominantly about the route to Membership, Workbooks etc. I gave a comprehensive response and I was delighted that it removed all their concerns. On Sunday I preached at Roy’s Church in the morning and again in the evening. The branch was well represented in the evening with standing room only. We then had supper together. We left Belfast Monday morning and arrived home Monday evening shattered but elated.
• I have been asked to preach at the CMA European Leaders Conference in Germany 9th-11th March on ‘Our personal response to the Great Commission’ your prayer support would be much appreciated.
• I have arranged a North East Regional Meeting to take place on Saturday 17th March at Boston Spa just off the A! near Wetherby. It will incorporate the North East, West Yorksire, NORTY Twig, East Yorks/Lincs Branches.
• I have been invited to speak at St Paul’s Church York on Sunday evening 4th March, it will be attended by the NORTY Twig.
Mike’s Travels 21st January 2012
Following our last Exec meeting Sandy and I attended the wedding of Dan and Tess from the North Cheshire Branch, it was a wonderful day and good to be involved in the lives of the younger adults of CMA. Sid and John Finan are rather good dancers; there maybe a workshop at the next National rally who knows?
Due to the Christmas celebrations my visits are few and far between in December and early January so I spent a great deal of time in my office working through issues, emails and plans for 2012. I fought valiantly against man flu for a couple of days in December and sadly had to cancel a preaching engagement at a Carol Service.
In January I attended the Teesside Christian Charities Forum organised by Albert Dicken at his church in Stockton on Tees, this has become very successful drawing in over 60 charities to share resources, ideas for fund raising and to encourage each other. Where possible I shall attend in the future.
I made a prison visit in Bedfordshire in mid January
I met with the Bedford Branch now headed up by Graham Penfold at Bedford’s Salvation Army Church and gave evangelism training. It was very well received with a good turn out.
I am booked to attend the European CMA Leaders Conference in Germany between the 9-12th March I have been asked to speak on the subject of 'Taking personal responsibility for the Great Commission'.
I have confirmed bookings to see the following branches in early February:
I am booked to visit the Northern Ireland Branch 17th-20th February to hold a Regional meeting and preach Sunday morning and evening to support their work.
I am booked to attend the BMF Show in May to assist in the outreach and preach at the Sunday morning service
I gave a presentation of the ministry of CMA at St Marys Church, Scarborough in conjunction with the East Yorkshire Twig, a great event and many good contacts were made. I last preached there 13 years ago.
I continue to work on the National Rally plans with Phil Parker, I have completed the development and printing of 500 rally booking forms which will be posted out shortly.
Following our last Exec meeting Sandy and I visited the Towcester Branch, we were very grateful for the hospitality of Malcolm and Fiona. The branch meets at Jacks Hill Café on the A5 near Towcester, the same venue used by the local MAG group. They have made excellent in roads to the local bike community please pray for them as they share the Love of God.
I spoke at a Men’s Dinner meeting at Carlisle Christian Fellowship, the evening went VERY well, thirty men attended many with issues they are struggling to deal with but it was obvious that God was moving amongst us. One leader told me “You will never know the relevance of what you have shared here tonight.” Praise God.
Sandy and I travelled to the Rhondda Valley to visit the South Wales Branch. We had a good meeting and I had the opportunity to present a challenge for their future development, the meeting ended with a time of prayer. We stayed with Debbie who made us very welcome……. What a breakfast!
In November I organised another coach trip to the NEC International Motorcycle Show, it involved 44 not yet Christian Bikers and considering many have biker bibles I was thrilled that nine people asked for them this year. During the show I had the chance to meet various people particularly Sam Manicom the round the world rider that asked me to review his book a year ago. Good to catch up with him.
Sandy and I visited the Devon and Cornwall Branch I gave evangelism training on the Saturday together with a challenging look at the past successes. The response was very positive we all ended the day with a meal in a local pub. Sunday morning we took part in a church service at St Austell where I shared a presentation of CMA and my testimony. We had a wonderful time staying with Tony and Jill.