Walking Together, Literally
Walking with someone is a great way to get to know them and so, with that in mind, Revd Mary Moody decided to spend her sabbatical taking on a physical and spiritual challenge
On a gorgeously spring-like March day, Baptist minister Mary Moody is making the most of the sunshine by slipping on her walking shoes and venturing outside. But she isn’t just taking a stroll round the Hertfordshire village where she lives, she’s setting out on the first of many 10-mile walks to raise money for Home Mission.
From March to May, during her sabbatical, Mary is taking on the challenge of walking the Chiltern Way (159 miles including the Northern Extension and Letchworth Garden City Greenway) in 10-mile chunks.
“At a Hertfordshire Ministers’ meeting last year, Colin Pye, the Regional Minister of the Central Baptist Association, showed a map with a dot for each Baptist Church in the CBA – 156 of them – and talked about encouraging closer links between churches,” Mary explains. “I started to wonder, what if, during my sabbatical, I could get some CBA ministers to walk together literally? What if I could walk a mile for each of the CBA member churches – walking in Herts, Beds and Bucks? What if I could get sponsorship and raise money for Home Mission, funding from which has made much of the story of Bovingdon Baptist Church possible?”
Mary has led Bovingdon Baptist Church for seven years, first as Lay Pastor, then as ordained Minister – and this has only been possible thanks to a grant from Home Mission. The church, set in a busy commuter-belt village, has just 22 members. When Mary and her husband moved to the village, their two small children doubled the size of the Sunday school.
“We are a small church but we're definitely not small-minded or small-hearted,” says Mary. “We are growing – both numerically and spiritually! – and we're achieving this through being like-minded and committed to serving and caring for each other and those in the wider community.”
As Mary spends the next two months fitting her walking days around the weather, family commitments and other daily tasks, she is seeking partners to walk sections of the Chiltern Way with her. “Walking together is a commitment,” Mary explains. “It takes time (slows us down), is a great way to listen to each other, to get to know people better, to gain a new perspective on a place that you think you know well.”
Mary is hoping to raise £2 per mile for Home Mission. “Home Mission brings together big-hearted churches, some of which have deep faith but don't have the pockets to match,” says Mary as she ponders what Home Mission means to her and her church. “For me, and the folk at Bovingdon Baptist Church, it is God’s provision, enabling me to pastor the people and serve the community in a full-time capacity, facilitating outreach and growth. Home Mission is walking together in ministry and mission, literally.”
You can catch up with Mary on her blog, which she’ll be updating regularly as she continues her walk. And you can support Mary’s efforts by visiting her JustGiving page.