Sam Clear walked around the world – not to gain a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, not to prove he could, not to escape an unhappy life or a failure of some kind, not to ‘find himself’ (although I suspect he did, many times over) − but to promote Christian unity. He takes as a personal challenge the gospel of John, 17:21, “I pray…so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
In 2006 Tasmanian Sam Clear walked from the eastern-most point of Brazil, through South America, Central America and North America, across Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Railway and on foot again from Moscow to the western-most point of Spain, all for the sake of Christian unity.
His address to the Real Women audience highlighted not the challenges and privations of the walk, but the origin of his passion for Christian unity – in essence, his work as a youth minister exposed him to so much evidence of disunity amongst self-proclaimed Christians – and the many encounters he had along the way with people who changed his life.
Just one vignette: in South America, in the particularly unwelcoming and very poor town of El Higo, Sam met Adolfo, his wife and small daughter. They offered him a place to sleep, dinner and breakfast, despite having – almost literally – nothing, and few prospects. “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2).
You can read the full story in his book, Walk4One: Paving a Path to Unity but briefly, when Sam left El Higo, he was given the little girl’s toy “Dino” (remember the Flintstones?), a giveaway from a fast food restaurant. Adolfo said that his daughter hadn’t played with Dino for years and wouldn’t miss him. Adolfo handed over Dino so that Sam wouldn’t forget his little family. Sam has carried Dino ever since, and miraculously, has been able to reconnect with Adolfo, his wife and now, two daughters.
Although his degree is in mechanical engineering, Sam is now a professional speaker and facilitator. His commitment to Christian unity burns bright and his heroes include St Francis of Assisi, John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Sam’s delivery is remarkable for its honesty, eloquence and clarity of vision. If you have the opportunity to hear Sam Clear speak, take it. Meanwhile, please visit http://www.walk4one.com/
To learn more about Real Women, visit http://www.mn.catholic.org.au/news-events/news/2015/diocesan-year-in-review-view-online