12 April 2022
Walking for diverse leadership
When the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly affected the whole world, its impact on the lives of people was unimaginable. This was something we were not prepared for. Being at home during lockdown was a time of new beginnings for me. I discovered new hobbies and interests, one of which was walking. When we were going through a period of lockdown during the first wave, one thing I was able to do was go outside and exercise and for many months I began walking miles and miles on a daily basis. Little did I know at that time that this was God’s idea to prepare me for something which I could never have imagined, walking from Cardiff all the way to London.
When I started my year as the Youth President, one thing I was passionate about was seeing culturally diverse people take up the torch and step up into leadership roles. The experiences I have picked up throughout my life growing up as a culturally diverse young person in a country as diverse as the UK have inspired me to encourage other young people to come forward as future leaders.
The challenge was a tough one but myself and my father, Revd Irfan John, the Synod Enabler for Culturally Diverse Congregations in Wales, managed to walk 167 miles over seven days. This was no easy feat to achieve. The first day began full of sunshine as we left Rumney Methodist Church in Cardiff after a wonderful and truly moving service. The next few days were filled with heavy rain and strong winds. We were determined to finish the walk in London and had prepared for all weather conditions with a positive mindset and warm, waterproof clothing.
As you can imagine on such a long walk, blisters and sprains were bound to happen, and mine began to appear by the end of the second day but we carried on with the walk. Having my father by my side was a huge encouragement having his passion, dedication and support throughout our journey. He had been training for this for some time so it was no surprise to see how full of energy from the start of the walk and, every day from the early hours of the morning until we reached our destination each evening. This was a huge motivation for me alongside all the inspiring phone calls, messages and comments we were receiving on social media from people who were tuning into our videos and live streams.
The final stretch of our journey was from Uxbridge to Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission in the City of London . THat day seemed to go by so much quicker than expected due to the excitement and joy at how far we had walked in the past few days.
The two of us had walked the entire distance and throughout the week, we had made short stops in local Methodist Churches and met many friends, church members and colleagues who joined us in fellowship and prayer. For the last mile through the City of London we were joined by a dozen people before reaching Wesley’s Chapel where we were welcomed with a celebration service organised and led by The Revd Canon Dr Jennifer Smith.
I would like to thank all those who were such a huge support for us throughout the walk and helped myself and my father to complete this huge target that we had set out to achieve.