"FOR we walk by faith, not by sight," 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us.
Father Brian Schmalkuche pounded the pavement/tar/side of the road for 26 hours and 10 minutes, walking a total of 137 kilometres from Albert to Bogan Gate via Fifield.
He started training for the Walk 4 Christ on December 29, 2020 - walking 6.5km in under an hour everyday except Sunday - an impressive effort for a 73-year-old.
Prior to setting out, Brian told the Parkes Champion Post that he considered the 2021 Walk4Christ to be 90 per cent mission and 10 per cent ministry.
More specifically, the mission-related goal referred to outreach outside the church while Ministry, on the other hand, referred to leading regular worshipping parishioners - many of whom supported him on the walk.
Brian was particularly joyful at some of the mission aspects of the Walk4Christ, and the joy came from an inherently non-denominational response to his walk
"The thing I never expected was that all my small centres (Trundle, Albert, Fifield, Tullamore, Bogan Gate) were all determined, and courageous enough, to work towards maintaining a Christian presence in these villages," he said.
"In Fifield, I spoke to a couple of older gentlemen at the pub as well as some local drillers and I was blown away by these strangers and their interest in Christ - I ended up leaving the pub at 11.30pm that night despite walking first thing the next morning!"
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Apart from the mission and ministry aspects of Walk4Christ, a much more insignificant, but realistically important, part was raising money to ensure that Christian presence for the Anglican diocese - and Brian is keen to ensure he leaves this parish in a better place.
"My first call from the Lord was to take the word and sacrements to the people in these parishes; but my next call was to leave the parish in a position to continue the ministry I've already started and then expand with the next priest - who they will need a stipend for.
"The biggest thing I learned on the walk was that deep desire to have a Christian presence and any money raised is to ensure the parish can help support that," Brian said.
Father Brian's fundraiser in Tullamore on the Monday night saw about 80 locals, as well as people from Tottenham, Narromine and Parkes, attend while the Railway Hotel in Bogan Gate sold out of raffle books without Brian even knowing or asking.
He raised at least twice as much money as the previous five Walk4Christ combined, but of course that wasn't the main goal.
"It's about taking the Good News to the people," said Brian.
Whether it was the gentleman at the pub, the drillers from Fifield or Julie McRae and Lloyd and Margaret Hewett from Tottenham, who followed Brian much of the way from Albert to Bogan Gate.
It's safe to say mission accomplished.
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