THE congregation at a village church were all revved up when a heavenly host of bikers got their kiks on ‘Route 48’ by rocking up for morning worship.

More than 60 worshippers aged from six months to 84 years packed Stroat church bwteen Lydney and Chepstow to welcome members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) who had travelled from Bath, Bristol and Cheltenham to lead the service.

“It was lovely”, said 83-year-old Meg, who has been attending the tiny hamlet’s church since 2009. “I wore my leather jacket, I was so excited!”

Anne, another long-time church member meeting and greeting at the door, said: “I used to be a biker years ago. It was really wonderful to meet the CMA members. They all got a big hug as they arrived.”

The holy bikers were invited to Stroat by James Townsend, a church member who has joined the association, on Sunday, April 29.

Founded in the USA in the 1970s, CMA’s UK branches were established in the UK in 1983. They now have groups all over the world from South Africa to Europe, Australia to Canada. There is even a CMA group in Nepal.

“Our founders realised there was no Christian presence at the big motorcycle rallies and responded, at first doing the ‘dirty work’ of cleaning up after everyone”, a CMA member told Stroat Church.

“Essentially we are a mission group, offering evangelism through friendship.

“Bikers may look scary, but they are human beings with problems just like any of us. Debt, marriage and family breakdowns, addiction, unemployment – all these things affect people profoundly and we’re here to offer friendship and comfort in confidence,” a CMA speaker said.

“We give away Biker’s Bibles, and to date we’ve given over 100,000 away.”

Gleaming Yamaha and Harley Davidson machines took centre stage as CMA members clad in black leathers with white Christian crosses, told their stories and gave their testimonies.

The CMA travel with their own uitarists and singers who joined regular Stroat musicians Joy Wright on piano, Paul Greene and James Marshall on guitarsand Kester Rose on percussion.