“I just fell in love with the feel of a Harley,” Local 3094 member David Williams said, but he doesn’t just ride his motorcycle to experience the feel of the bike; he also rides with the purpose of providing ministry to others. David has been riding motorcycles most of his life. In 2012, David and his wife Suzanne, joined The Priesthood Motorcycle Ministry.
“The Priesthood was founded by two Vietnam Veterans,” David said. He added that the Priesthood has criteria that each member must meet in order to be a member of the club. Members may not use tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. Furthermore, members must belong to a church and be committed to their religious beliefs.
“You have to be “all in” when it comes to Christianity,” David said. “The Priesthood is equal parts motorcycle club and ministry. The camaraderie really is something special.”
In early 2012, David’s wife saw a Priesthood member give a testimonial in Zwolle and was excited about the club. Also, while at a hospital for blood work, David saw some members of the Priesthood doing outreach and had a conversation with a member. He and his wife then attended a rally and officially joined the club later in 2012.
“One of our founders received a vision of our patch in his sleep,” David explained. That founding member, Frank Haven, would record that vision, and it became the patch all members wear on their vests. Haven is now deceased, but Garland Thomas, of Tahlequah, OK, is still active in leading the club as the National President. He is in the process of traveling to America with the purpose of placing a stake in each state.
“The Lord put it on his heart to go to each state and put a stake in the ground,” David said. “It is to remind us of the sacrifice our Lord made.”
The Priesthood Motorcycle Ministry was founded in 2002, by Haven and Thomas for “religious, charitable, and educational purposes.” The purposes are explained on the club’s website as follows: “to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to motorcyclists”; “training of believers in methods of evangelism to reach motorcyclists with the Gospel”; and “providing opportunities for fellowship and spiritual encouragement for motorcyclists.” The club also seeks to provide its members with opportunities for “fellowship and spiritual encouragement.”
The Priesthood is very active in various communities and has a strong commitment to charity, especially those that support our Veterans. The club raises money for food pantries and for the sick and homeless. They also attend the funerals of Veterans, carrying flags and offering comfort to the fallen hero’s family, as part of the Patriot Guard. The Priesthood also gives donations and raises money for Operation Homefront, which helps Veterans get critical assistance in the form of food, shelter, money for unexpected expenses, and other necessities.
David belongs to the Nak-a-Tosh Chapter of the Priesthood which holds a Rally every April, where veterans are celebrated for their service. “This year we honored the oldest living female World War Two veteran,” David said. She was 102 years old.
The map to David’s motorcycle enthusiasm is drawn by his faith. He travels more than an hour to his church, Living Word Mansfield, from his home in Florien, Louisiana. With the Priesthood, he also interacts a great deal with other motorcycle clubs with the purpose of spreading the Gospel.
David is also dedicated to using his faith to improve the lives of those who don’t ride motorcycles. “I just feel like everybody should be treated the same,” David said. “It helps to have faith and to pray. There is always someone who needs to hear something encouraging.”
For David, his faith also gives him a unique perspective as a union member, especially when he sees a fellow union member in need. “I can offer a ministerial effect,” he said. “It lets me be more of a brother than someone you just work with. It gives me a religious and spiritual perspective a lot of organizers don’t have.”
Whether he is working the line on the floor division at Boise-Cascade, riding with his brothers and sisters in the Priesthood Motorcycle Ministry, attending his church, or giving thoughtful council to a co-worker or friend, David Williams is guided by his faith and a higher power. As it states on the Priesthood website, the member see themselves as “biker-soldiers” and “prayer warriors,” which are principles David takes to heart in his dedication to his fellow human beings.
David put it best by stating, “I believe we serve a God of miracles.”