Pastor David Woodward and his wife, Janelle, love to hit the road.
Pastor David Woodward and his wife, Janelle, love to hit the road. JOCELYN WATTS

Door of Hope; seat of freedom

THE FEELING of freedom and release David Woodward gets from riding his motorcycle helps him improve his performance in his daily work.

Mr Woodward is the pastor at Maryborough’s Door of Hope church and he is also a member of the Fraser Coast branch of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club, a social group for mature aged riders.

Seeing a pastor decked out in leathers may not be the norm but riding is his passion – one he shares with his wife, Janelle, and is his chance to escape from stress.

It’s something he has enjoyed doing since he was 15.

“I had a motorbike before I had a car,” he said.

Mr Woodward isn’t the only pastor in the group – there are several others throughout Australia.

The Fraser Coast club holds a biker blessing service every few months and it was from another pastor, who came from a club in Brisbane, from whom Mr Woodward got the idea.

The Fraser Coast club’s next service will be held on February 7. The club has also put in a bid to hold the 2013 annual general meeting of the Ulysses club, Mr Woodward says, and should find out in March if the bid has been successful.

Mr Woodward said he never felt self-conscious about being both a pastor and a biker – “it’s just a case of you are who you are,” he said.

“It’s a lifestyle – it’s freedom. You don’t have to talk to anybody; you don’t have to listen to anybody.

“It’s a great release.”

Being involved with the Ulysses club gives Mr Woodward the chance to talk to people from many different walks of life.

He says that has expanded his horizons and, instead of spending all his time talking to people involved with the church, it has given him the chance to better relate to other people.

“I think it has definitely made me more genuine and less judgemental,” he said.

While people in the club came together because of a shared love of riding, they also shared other things in their lives as well – regardless of their differing beliefs.

“We have people in the club who have faith and people who are atheists. We can mix together without a problem,” he said.

“The club offers a real cross-section of the community.”

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