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Christian Bikers Roll In to Rev Up the Reverent

The Soldiers for Jesus motorcycle club joins thousands of men attending an Anaheim worship conference.

October 27, 2002|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

The Soldiers for Jesus motorcycle club rumbled to the Anaheim Convention Center Saturday, searching for spirituality at a religious conference attended by thousands of men.

Dingy bikers -- some wearing camouflage, others in leather and bandanas -- joined their conservatively dressed brethren to hear speakers talk about using biblical principles to solve everyday problems.

The secretary-treasurer for the club's Los Angeles-Orange County chapter, who wanted to be known only as Jim, said he and his men were there to strengthen "our pretty neat ministry," which works to save the souls of bikers from the more renegade clubs.

"Jesus loves bikers. All bikers. Our purpose is to spread the Gospel to any and all outlaw motorcycle clubs.

Soldiers for Jesus is a place where outlaw bikers can go to be saved and still be in an outlaw club," said Jim, a 33-year-old Chino Hills resident and father of two young children.

The club has chapters throughout the United States and South Africa.

On Saturday, the bikers somehow blended in with about 11,000 other men who attended the 14th annual men's conference sponsored by Calvary Chapel.

Terry Reynolds, associate pastor at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, said participants came from various Christian denominations to boost attendance at the one-day conference to a record.

He said that speakers used the conference theme "The Armor of God" to "show how life is a battle to stand up and be men of God, committed to God, family and community."

Scott Rogers, 52, said this year's theme is especially relevant, given what he and others at the conference said was society's continued slide to secularism and its belief that men are less spiritual than women.

"Our primary desire is that men become good Christian fathers and husbands and lead their homes in a way that God has asked," said Rogers, a Costa Mesa resident who said his son is a pastor and his daughter is married to one.

Zach Martinez, 54, of Huntington Beach was in the prayer room clutching a Bible and reflecting on his life, which he said had been caught in the grip of schizophrenia before escaping to the bliss of spiritual har- mony.

"I was nuts as heck until I was saved by spirituality. Some people do yoga to find inner peace. Christians use spirituality," Martinez said.

The conference ended early enough for the faithful to head home and pray for an Angels victory in the sixth game of the World Series.

But does God really favor a baseball team with a heavenly mascot?

"I'll pray for a win tonight," said a man standing with a group discussing the World Series.

"God's too busy to hear Giants' prayers," said a friend, who was obviously an Angels fan.

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