18 April 2012
One hundred days before the 2012 Games commence, the Church of
England has released details illustrating how hundreds of its
churches and worshippers are preparing to serve communities via
Games-themed events, hospitality, chaplaincy, sports fixtures,
prayer and exhibitions.
Canon Duncan Green, CofE Olympics Coordinator and LOCOG's Head
of Multi Faith Chaplaincy Services, said: "The Church of England is
making a massive commitment to the Games. It is very exciting to
see so many Games-related outreach projects planned throughout the
country. The Church will come into contact with many thousands of
people through these exciting initiatives."
The details are a sample of how Church of England churches are
organising or supporting community initiatives.
1) Websites resources
The Church of England has an area of its national website
encouraging churches to engage with the Games, which includes
resources, links, new prayers, and special liturgy for use during
the Games. The homepage of this area has so far been viewed more
than 3,400 times. Most CofE dioceses have their own Games-related
(containing Games news and events from Chelmsford Diocese)
2) More Than Gold
The Church of England is a sponsor of More Than Gold - an
ecumenical initiative helping churches serve their communities and
international visitors through the 2012 Games. Hundreds of Anglican
churches are working with those of other denominations to host
special events in their area and to host the families of
competitors. There are currently more than 600 More Than Gold
'champions' organising activities in CofE churches.
The Church of England has its own Olympics Co-ordinator, Canon
Duncan Green, who is also seconded to LOCOG as Head of Multi Faith
Chaplaincy Services. For the past five years, Duncan's role has
included advising the organising committee on faith matters and
recruiting and managing 193 multi-faith chaplains to serve 23,500
athletes and officials, 26,000 reporters and broadcasters and
200,000 staff and volunteers. Canon Duncan Green also supports and
resources officers in the dioceses working to promote the mission
and outreach opportunities afforded by the Olympic and Paralympic
Many churches are taking inspiration from the Olympics to focus
on prayer. In advance of 'sailing event fortnight' (29 July to 12
August), local churches are organising a 13-mile run on 28 April
from Dorchester to Easton on Portland, praying for God to touch
each neighbourhood passed through. This is being organised by the
ecumenical organisation Refresh 2012, of which the Diocese of
Salisbury is part. Also, the Olympic Torch route in the South East
will get an early run through on 17-22 June by a group of clergy
planning a prayer pilgrimage on their motorbikes. The clergy, all
from the Diocese of Chichester, plan to engage with their
communities in a fresh way and visit as many churches as possible
along the route.
5) Special services
For example: Olympicnic and service on 13 May at 12.30pm in
Dorchester's Borough Gardens with the Bishop of Sherborne, Dr
Graham Kings, Christian Aid and the Catholic Agency for Overseas
Development (CAFOD), featuring Children's activities and a live
music roadshow. Also, the Church of the Good Shephard, Maidenhead,
and St Marys, White Waltham, will hold open air services in a local
One example: Ben Dearnley brings his Avenue of Champions to
Salisbury Cathedral for three months (23 June - 16 September) to
coincide with the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. His
sculptures focus on the 'power zones' of up to 15 of some of the
UK's past and current Olympic and Paralympic champions and are
sculpted in the timeless materials of bronze and marble.
7) Torch Relay hospitality
Many churches are opening up to play music and offer
refreshments to Torch Relay on-lookers. For example, St Johns
Church, Greenhill, Weymouth, will have the church open for
coffee/tea and bacon sandwiches, which will be served in the
grounds on the morning of 13 July.
8) Welcoming the Olympic Torch
The Olympic Torch will be carried into Canterbury Cathedral
Precincts mid-afternoon on 19 July.
One of the 7,000 Olympic Torchbearers is Ted Collins from
Hugglescote, near Coalville, of St John the Baptist Church,
Hugglescote, who is planning to use the opportunity to talk about
10) Warm church welcome for spectators
Many churches are opening up their doors to offer a warm
welcome to those visiting to watch Olympic events. Some will be
offering refreshments whilst others will be providing a full
programme of different activities. For example, many Weymouth and
Portland churches are offering a warm Olympic welcome between 27
July and 12 August.
11) Event hospitality
One example: the Bedouin Tents during 'sailing event fortnight'
(29 July to 12 August) in Weymouth will provide a welcome of
hospitality where visitors will enjoy the comfort of an interior
filled with soft furnishings, rag rugs, cushions and bunting whilst
soft gentle music is played. They will be offered water, foot and
hand massage, listening ears, and prayer.
For example: a large stage, provided by Making Jesus Known, is
to be located at the Pavilion end of Weymouth beach on 24-27
August, and a fenced area, able to take up to 5,000 people, will be
the venue for various singers, bands, dancers and short speaking
13) Fun days
Many churches, including St Andrew's, Aylestone, Leicestershire,
are organising or collaborating to organise Olympic-themed fun
14) Sports events on big screens
Thanks to Church initiatives, the Games will be shown on a big
screen in various locations, including the Run the Race Café in
Coalville, Leciestershire, where refreshments will be available,
and there will be an opportunity to talk about life's big issues.
St Marys and All Saints, Beaconsfield, will be organising the
screening of the opening ceremony at a local high school.
15) Parish Olympics
Some parishes are organising their own sports competitions. A
noticeboard in the churchyard at Hoby, Leicestershire, will promote
local sports competitions such as tennis, badminton and table
tennis, and will also reveal all the results.
St Bride's, Fleet Street, London, to quote one example, is
providing a welcome and support for journalists - arranging
accommodation for those from poorer nations who can't afford
London hotels for the duration of the Games.