The Share the Journey walk which took place in Hartley on Saturday 9 June is one of many walks organised in the diocese of Southwark. Sixteen amazing volunteers attended the event and walk 60 miles altogether. Marine, one of our Community Participation Coordinator, talks about how inspiring and humbling she found taking part in a Share the Journey walk.
“Parishioners of all ages and nationalities joined together to show their solidarity with refugees and migrants. The first 30 minutes of the walk was in silence so that we could reflect and pray. It helped me focus on why I was walking, to think about how twenty people will be forced to flee their homes every minute – in the next ten minutes that shocking figure would increase to 200.
“We used CAFOD action cards to read about refugees’ stories and were encouraged to talk about our own experiences. One English lady shared how her German grandparents came to England as bakers, but when war broke out they had to leave. One man talked of his journey to arrive here from Myanmar at just ten years old. We heard how when one family first came from Ireland, signs in some Bed and Breakfasts read ‘No travellers, no dogs and no Irish!’
It is humbling to listen to people’s migration stories
“I felt very touched and inspired to listen to people’s migration stories. I thought all these people looked so English and yet I discovered that most of them had a migration story. It brought me back to my own story of migration as a French national and my previous work with refugees and that it was not “them” and “us” but only one family in Christ.
“Little things made me reflect on how fortunate we are in comparison to those fleeing their countries. We were offered tea and coffee before setting off, had plenty of food and fresh water to drink as we walked. We started on a tarmac road, then crossed a forest and field to the church with local parishioners to guide us so that we didn’t get lost. We stopped at churches with toilets and knew we were going home to warm beds. How different to the journey made by refugees, often over rough terrain. To be hungry and not to know where your next meal is; to be cold and not able to find shelter; to be uncertain where you are going and where you will sleep. It was very humbling.”
Testimony from others who joined the walk.
“At the end of the walk, on our return to the church where we had started, we were welcomed with tea and lovely home-made cake. It made me think about what sort of welcome refugees would face.” Jill Cass.
“I felt truly saddened that refugees have to flee their homes. I loved the walk but my legs are hurting now and I only walked four miles, imagine how it is for refugees.” Annabelle, aged twelve.
“I had no expectations for the walk today, but found it extremely thought provoking so to the reality of the journeys that refugees have to make to find safety and peace. – Merry God Bless and protect all refugees. Thank you” – Gere
How to get involved in a Share the Journey walk?
By following seven very simple steps, you can organise your own Share the Journey walk. Collectively, we have already walked the distance around the world – an extraordinary 24,900 miles. We have completed this incredible feat but our work does not stop there – we have decided to do a second walk to show an even stronger support. Can we walk around the world twice? With your help, we can. Organise your walk and log those miles!