From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Unicycling Pastor Ends Trip at Statue of Liberty
News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Wed, 14 Aug 2002 16:46:41 -0500
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 14, 2002
UNICYCLING PASTOR ENDS TRIP AT STATUE OF LIBERTY
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- After traveling 5,032 miles, the Rev. Lars J.
Clausen, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(ELCA), finished a cross-country trip from the Pacific coast to the
Atlantic coast riding a unicycle. The purpose of Clausen's ride,
"One Wheel -- Many Spokes," was to raise money for the Seward
Peninsula Lutheran Endowment Fund and to raise awareness of the
Inupiat Lutheran Eskimos.
The Alaska Seward Peninsula Lutheran Endowment Fund was created
to support the ministries of the six Seward Peninsula ELCA
congregations, with a goal of raising $5 million. The Seward
Peninsula is in west-central Alaska, stretching 200 miles into the
Clausen started his ride April 29 in Neah Bay, Wash., and
finished Aug. 10 at the Statue of Liberty in New York. Clausen was
accompanied by his wife, Anne, their two children, and friend Robert
Martin (riding a unicycle), Martin's wife Amy, and their two
children. The last stretch of the trip up the east coast proved to
be the most difficult, with 8 to10 percent inclines and winding
roads, Clausen said in an e-mail update.
On Aug. 9, Clausen reached the Balto Statue in New York's
Central Park. The statue had a special meaning to Clausen, because
Balto was a famous lead sled dog in Alaska who helped bring
diphtheria serum to Nome. Clausen and his family lived in Nome for
three-and-one-half years when he was pastor at Our Saviors Lutheran
Church. He is presently on leave from call.
Clausen made a stop at the site of the World Trade Center Aug.
10, the last day of the trip, where he took a "slow and wordless
walk." When he reached the Statue of Liberty supporters, friends and
family members greeted Clausen and his crew. After Sept. 11, seeing
the Statue of Liberty took on an added significance, Clausen said in
an ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod news release.
"I had already decided to have the Statue of Liberty as the
goal of my unicycle ride," said Clausen. "This has become an
American ride for me, not just a ride across the United States."
By the end of his unicycle ride, Clausen had ridden for 111
days with an estimated total of 2,819,000 pedals. The trip set a
Guiness world record for distance on a unicycle after passing the
Although the goal of raising $5 million for the Fund was not
met, Clausen said he is not discouraged. Offerings to the Fund from
the ELCA's Global Mission Events this July totaled $8,711 and the
Endowment now has $250,000.
"I had hoped that along with our goal of reaching the Statue of
Liberty, we'd be reaching the $5 million mark for the Seward
Peninsula Lutheran Endowment," Clausen said in an e-mail update.
"While the money is not all there yet, I believe that the interest
and commitment for the endowment is stronger than ever, strong enough
to make this dream come true."
Clausen was on "The Early Show" on CBS-TV Aug. 13 to talk about
Later this week, Clausen and his family will start a trip back
to California where Clausen grew up. He plans to unicycle most of
the route, going through the southern states.
"On the ride back, we'll continue to speak out for how
important the Seward Peninsula Lutheran ministry is, both on the
Seward Peninsula and what it has to offer the rest of church and
society," said Clausen.
The six ELCA congregations in Alaska's Seward Peninsula
Lutheran ministry are:
+ Alaska Native Lutheran Church, Anchorage
+ Brevig Memorial Lutheran Church, Brevig Mission
+ Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Nome
+ Shishmaref Lutheran Church, Shishmaref
+ Teller Lutheran Church, Teller
+ Thornton Memorial Lutheran Church, Wales
-- -- --
The "One Wheel -- Many Spokes" campaign maintains a site with
route and donation information at http://www.onewheel.org on the Web.
There are also pages with information about the ministry and culture
of Alaska natives.
*Amy Wineinger is a junior at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa. This
summer she is an intern with ELCA News and Media Productions.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG
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