Archive for Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rain or shine, pastor’s daily devotion to running carries prayers though Lawrence

The Rev. Nate Rovenstine spent virtually all of last year running every street in Lawrence. As he ran, he prayed for the people in the neighborhoods he was traversing.

The Rev. Nate Rovenstine spent virtually all of last year running every street in Lawrence. As he ran, he prayed for the people in the neighborhoods he was traversing.

January 13, 2013


Imagine running around the block. To many of us, it sounds tough, sweaty and generally unappealing. It’s hard for a lot of people, but not for the Rev. Nate Rovenstine, pastor at Lawrence Wesleyan Church. He ran around every block and on every street in Lawrence, all the while praying for the community he was running by.

It took Rovenstine all of 2012 to run around Lawrence. He started on Jan. 1 and ended on Dec. 29. He ran 10 to 15 miles every Saturday and three to seven miles during the week. He kept record of his progress by tracing the streets he covered on a map that he pinned up in his church at 3705 Clinton Parkway.

“I told my congregation I was going to do it, so I had this accountability,” Rovenstine said. “Everyone was expecting me to run by their house. That was probably the biggest thing that kept me going.”

The physically toughest part for him was running up the hills at Kansas University. He steered away from a small stretch of road that was protected by a dog. He didn’t miss any other named street on the official city map. He even ran around the cul-de-sacs and in other areas that appeared to be private. He admits he sometimes received strange looks from people.

Lawrence has 392.2 centerline miles of roadway, according to Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications manager. Rovenstine always began his runs at church or at home, so he ran many of the same streets more than once to get to more distant areas of the city.

This feat is nothing compared to running and training for a marathon, Rovenstine said; he has run six marathons in the past eight years.

Rovenstine started running eight years ago with his biggest supporter: his wife, Janet. They were hoping to shed a few pounds, and eventually he made running a habit.

“I tried to be an encouragement to him,” Janet said. “I paid attention to what he was doing and asked him about it to let him know that I do support him.”

His supporters, the community and his spirit kept him dedicated to running the city streets. During his runs, he grew closer to the community and prayed for everyone.

“I just have a burden for our community,” Rovenstine said. “There’s a lot of hurting people. Life is hard for people. Sexual abuse and physical abuse — those kinds of things are happening in our community, and as I was running by, I was thinking about if it was going on right now in these homes and just asking God to help to intervene in those types of situations.”

Sarah Houk, a member of the Lawrence Wesleyan Church, said Rovenstine’s accomplishment was more than physical; it was mental and spiritual.

“It’s obviously very inspiring,” Houk said, “and I have to say, as a member of the church, it’s really neat to be under the leadership of somebody that is personally inspiring. He’s a great role model to have out there considering our current health crisis in our nation.”


Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for this article. I have sent this article to friends in various parts of Africa and Europe!

In countries like The Gambia, where both Christian and Muslim sects get along well, Muslim imams and friends of their congregation could run as well.

Jason Graham 5 years, 4 months ago

^ I would also like to know the location of this street. I run and bike and therefore would like to avoid it.

garyr 5 years, 4 months ago

Pfft.....Loose dog. I have my CCW. A stray dog is the last thing I'd be worried about. It fits nicely in my holster during my run.

intheknow 5 years, 4 months ago

Great story! Wonderful to see a positive story about someone doing something positive and uplifting for others. Thank you for, ahem, running this article!

towniejj 5 years, 4 months ago

This is a great article about a great person. Thank you for your devotion to your community Pastor Nate!

withchild 5 years, 4 months ago

What if you do not want to be prayed for? Imagine an atheist walking the streets, contemplating the evolutionary events that led to the birds, trees and barking dogs. Would the LJW find that newsworthy? Religious people are tolerated in this country and get reported on by the press, as if it's interesting. A totally stupid, meaningless act, matched by a very poorly written story.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

Such a wonderful story and such a hateful response.

Dinker 5 years, 4 months ago

I have an interest in a humanity that includes many different beliefs. Your comment does nothing but further divide the community. Maybe you should work to unite instead of divide.

Sincerely, Proud Neighborhood Atheist

TikiLee 5 years, 4 months ago

Exactly, Dinker.

I too, choose to abide by a different belief system, but I would never be angry if a Christian chose to pray for me, just as I wouldn't be angry if someone I didn't know said "Have a nice day."

Good feelings are good feelings, and we need all we can get, no matter the source or belief.

MISTERTibbs 5 years, 4 months ago

Knowing Nate as I do, I am sure he would be the first to pray that whatever it is causing the the bitterness in your heart is healed so you may get over your hatred of those who chose to believe.

He is that type of person. He will not judge you because you have chosen to not believe or because you show disdain for those who do believe.

Left_of_Lawrence 5 years, 4 months ago

Nice story.

Running almost 400 miles in a year, that sounds pretty tough. Rev. Rovenstine said that's nothing compared to training for and running a marathon. I think he's just modest. I believe he could be ready for his next marathon in a month.

Keep on running.

jayhawks8 5 years, 4 months ago

Very Cool, I admire Rev. Rovenstine, I run but just 3 miles 3-4 times a week, so this was a an awesome story to read. On and I am a Jayhawk that lives in Seattle, WA.

Georgine McHenry 5 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Pastor Nate. I hope all of Lawrence from your ACHIEVEMENT!

Heidiartist 5 years, 4 months ago

I could round up much of the community who would drop things that are important to them to show up just to testify how Nate Rovenstine's prayers and presence has changed their lives. But more than that, he has shown up in the night, appeared when it was a sacrifice to be there for people who needed a human form of love and support. It is easy to shoot verbal bullets at someone out of the empty bitterness inside. Because of him there are less people who are bitter and empty. He has endured a lot of physical and emotional pain to love the best and worst in people. In a society where people are ready to hate Christians, it is not easy to choose to be a pastor but everyone is thankful that he gets up and makes that choice in the sun, wind, rain and verbal hail. Lives are changed because of you, thanks for your selfless choices, we pray for you too...much blessing.

intheknow 5 years, 4 months ago

Well said and I couldn't agree more! He is an inspiration to us all to quietly yet intentionally carry the Light in a hurting world. I'm sure this article was more exposure that he was ever expecting or preferred, but I'm glad to see such selfless determination highlighted in a positive way.

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