Walking for Water in the Diocese of Southwark

Ruth Sinclair-Jones is a CAFOD school volunteer in the diocese of Southwark and, along with hundreds of volunteers, has taken up the CAFOD lent Walk for Water challenge.

Feeling Gratitude for water

Ruth Sinclair Jones ready to Walk for Water for CAFOD Lent challenge

Why am I doing this?  10,000 steps a day, every day, for 40 days during Lent? I’ve taken up this challenge in solidarity with Abdella and his community in northern Ethiopia who have to walk over twice this distance, on rocky terrain, 365 days a year, just to fetch water; and I’m raising money for a community water pump for them.  Six days in, I’m becoming aware of what their daily commitment to walking means: it’s an absolute necessity – no matter what the weather, no matter how they are feeling, no matter what else is happening, they just have to do this walk, every day, or they’d have nothing to drink.  Nothing.  I’m also becoming aware of a sense of real gratitude for something I’ve taken for granted – clean, fresh water to drink, right in my own home, any time I want it, straight from the tap.

Discover Abdella’s walk on a video

So every day my walk includes a local water source, to remind me why I’m doing this. And there are so many! I’ve walked along the Thames – the biggest local water source, where my own water comes from – and I’m thankful I don’t need to fetch it home in jerrycans!  I’ve hiked along the river Wandle, now alive again and supporting fish.  I’ve tramped across our local commons – Tooting and Clapham – with their ponds that support so much wildlife. And I’ve trailed round the local streets, finishing at home with my own water source – the garden pond, where the sparrows come to drink.

Like Ruth, join the walk for Water

Being lucky enough to walk and reflect

I walk at different times of the day – I’ve had one night walk so far: a challenge after a busy day, and one cold walk in the rain and mud – but most days walking is enjoyable.  Friends and family have been generous with their donations and their encouragement, and are inspiring me to keep going: still 34 days ahead of me!  I’m feeling very positive about having a clear goal to aim for this Lent – helping a community in Ethiopia through CAFOD to have a healthier, safer, more fulfilling life with greater opportunities. And I’m enjoying the times of reflection while I walk – feeling closer to nature – turning lockdown into an opportunity to discover beautiful places in my local area – feeling grateful for water, and for life. I hope to be healthier too after 40 days’ walking – and to keep up the habit of walking after this, knowing that, unlike Abdella and his community I can walk just for leisure and reflection – and enjoy a drink of water from the tap when I come home.

Cant walk? Sponsor Ruth to show your solidarity

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruths-cafod-walk-for-water

Share a soup lunch and show you care

Sharing a soup lunch is a wonderful way to live our faith in action. As we join together for this humble meal we express our solidarity and support for our global brothers and sisters devastated by war, climate change, poverty and famine.

Soup lunches provide an opportunity for prayer and reflection and it’s a chance to give practical help by raising money to support CAFOD’s amazing work.

A simple lunch for Family Fast Days

A simple lunch at St Augustine in Tunbridge wells

A simple soup lunch at St Augustine in Tunbridge Wells

We talked to Maria Chiara, a CAFOD volunteer from Italy, about a simple soup lunch that CAFOD staff and volunteers enjoyed at Romero house as part of Family Fast Day.

“We came together to share our simple meal and reflect on the lives of those living in extreme poverty. People brought different home-cooked soups such as lentil, carrot and sweet potato.

We began our lunch with prayer and reflection. We took the opportunity to remember the women who  started Family Fast Day and then CAFOD in the early ‘60s, and to think about the supporters and volunteers who have shown incredible commitment and generosity in helping others.

It was wonderful for me to be there and show solidarity with our global neighbours, who we thought of them as we sat down to eat.  I work for Caritas Cagliari and we have many projects to put our faith in action to help and empower those living in extreme poverty, so I was very excited to discover CAFOD fast days.”

Take a look at this video to see what we were up to!

A life saved with your help

You can have a simple soup lunch anywhere and at any time to show that you care!

You can have a simple soup lunch anywhere and at any time to show that you care!

Maria told us about an inspiring film they watched about Lilian. “The lunch was a chance to stand in solidarity with women like Lilian, who was very sick with HIV. The Family Fast Day film showed us how CAFOD had nursed her back to health. They gave her support and training to stay healthy and to rebuild her and her children’s life. It showed me how by eating simply and donating to CAFOD, lives can be saved”

How can I organise a simple soup lunch?

With November and the cold weather approaching why not hold your own Family fast day soup lunch? In fact, any time is a good time to make or buy soup and share a simple meal to show spiritual and practical solidarity for our global brothers and sisters.

CAFOD has loads of great information and resources to help you Plan a soup lunch in your parish Everything from choosing a venue, posters and to promoting the lunch in your parish newsletters. There’s even a recipe for a delicious pasta and bean soup!

Looking Back on 2017 in Southwark

Lots has happened in 2017 !

In January Catherine from Whistable

In February, we learnt more about Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ examination of the many issues affecting our planet and spread the message to young people in our diocese.

In March, soup lunches were held across the diocese in aid of Lent Fast Day.

Power to Be

CAFOD supporters at the Houses of Parliament

In May, we joined other CAFOD supporters in meeting with MPs at Parliament to remind them of the importance of International aid and tackling climate change.

In July, acclaimed electronic band Ooberfuse inspired Greenwich students to take action on climate change through our Power to Be Campaign.

In August, the Archbishop Romero Trust held a mass to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Oscar Romero at St George’s Cathedral.

Fairtrade

A CAFOD supporter outside Sainsbury’s Crayford

In October, we campaigned against Sainsbury’s decision to ditch the Fairtrade scheme on some of its own-brand tea. Also, soup lunches were held across the diocese in aid of Harvest Fast Day.

In November, we celebrated the exciting news that the scheduled eviction of the Maua community in Brazil has been suspended following months of campaigning by CAFOD supporters.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all CAFOD supporters for all their hard work over the last year. We couldn’t achieve anything without you.