Be inspired by the Share the Journey walk in Hartley

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.

Marine (left) and Rita are sharing their migrant stories during the Share the Journey walk in Hartley

Marine (left) and Rita are sharing their migrant stories during the Share the Journey walk in Hartley

“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!’

Be part of Share the Journey  

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.”

Organise a Share the Journey walk in your local community 

Testimony from others who joined the walk.

Jill Cass on the Hartley walk

Jill Cass on the Hartley 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

Hear from more volunteers on their Share the Journey walk

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!

Join a Share the Journey walk in your community

CAFOD Southwark Summer Pilgrimage 2014

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CAFOD Southwark Office Volunteer and Pilgrim, Val Westrap reflects:

The day was warm and sunny as 13 of us gathered for the start of the CAF OD Summer pilgrimage. As always parishioners from St Frances de Sales in Hartley welcomed us warmly and prepared for us delicious homemade soup for lunch before we began our walk, and tea and cake at the end.

We began the pilgrimage with our first reflection in the church. The focus of the pilgrimage was on God’s creation of the world and our part in caring for it. We began by listening to the first verses of the creation story in Genesis where The Spirit was hovering over the waters followed by a prayer that the Holy Spirit would be with us on our pilgrimage and deepen our awareness of the beauty of God’s creation and our responsibility to nurture and care for it.

Our next stop was at St Mary’s Church, Fawkham, followed by a stop in a wooded glade, then on to an open field, the final stop was All Saint’s Church, Hartley where we were encouraged to think of something we love and how it might be affected by climate change as our part in the new “For the love of…”campaign before returning to St Frances de Sales. At each stop we listened to scripture, a reflection and joined in a prayer and a song as we thought about and responded to stories of people around the world already having to cope with the affects of climate change.

This is my fourth time taking part in the CAFOD Southwark pilgrimage, and each time it has been a privilege to be able to spend time with other CAFOD supporters and meet new people, walking, chatting, praying and reflecting together. I would certainly encourage others to join us next year.

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CAFOD Southwark Summer Pilgrimage – Saturday 7 June 2014

Come and join us for a walk in the Kent countryside to pray and reflect on the beauty of God’s creation and how we can care for it.

Pilgrims walking from St Mary's to the woods

From: St Francis de Sales Church, Church Road, Hartley,  DA3 8DW

12 noon: Simple soup lunch

1pm: Set off on 3-4 mile pilgrimage* on pathways via St Mary’s Fawkham and All Saints Hartley. There will be stops for prayer and reflection along the way.

4pm: Return to St Francis de Sales for tea and cake

5:30pm: Opportunity to attend Holy Mass at St Francis de Sales

* New for 2014: There will also be a shorter route available within Our Lady of Hartley School grounds; perfect for those who have trouble walking longer distances and families with small children.

The nearest train station is Longfield, just 30 mins from London Victoria and 15 mins from Bromley South. We are happy to arrange lifts for people from the station, there are also several local buses that run from the station to close by  St Francis de Sales Church including the 433 and the 423.

If you would like to come please do get in contact with us at the Southwark office to book a place as we need to have an idea of numbers in advance for the simple lunch.

Contact CAFOD SouthwarkOffice on 020 8466 9901 or email us: southwark@cafod.org.uk