400m gold medallist reads Olympic prayer 400 days ahead of 2012 Games
With just 400 days to go before the start of the London Olympics, the Church of England has released a prayer for those preparing for the 2012 Games. It asks God to be with the athletes, their supporters and families, and the thousands of churches preparing to organise Olympics-themed events in their communities, and it is read on a new podcast by GB Olympic 400m gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu MBE.
The Church of England is a member of the ecumenical organisation More Than Gold, which supports churches of all denominations around the UK with resources and ideas as they prepare to engage with the Games; the Church's own Olympics pages are available here.
The Revd Duncan Green, the Church of England's Executive Olympics Coordinator, said: "More than Gold are resourcing and equipping the Church to respond to the tremendous mission and outreach opportunities afforded by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has been wonderful to see so many attend the More Than Gold training conferences and leave excited and enthused by what they have heard. This prayer will encourage churches and all those preparing for the 2012 Games."
The prayer, composed by the Revd Christopher Woods, the Church of England's National Worship Development Officer, reads as follows:
A prayer in preparation for the 2012 Games
Giver of joy and source of all strength,
we pray for those
who prepare for the London Olympic and Paralympic games.
For the competitors training for the Games and their loved ones,
For the many thousands who will support them,
And for the Churches and others who are organising special events and who will welcome many people from many nations.
In a world where many are rejected and abused,
we pray for a spirit
of tolerance and acceptance, of humility and respect
and for the health and safety of all.
May we at the last be led towards the love of Christ who is more than gold, today and forever. Amen
The Church of England has 16,000 parish churches in England - a presence in every community. Many dioceses and parishes are planning initiatives to tie in with the 2012 Games - a snapshot is included below:
- The Diocese of Oxford is developing a whole Olympics-themed programme. It has an Olympics chaplain, the Revd Janet Binns, and a dedicated Olympics website www.racebeforeus.org.uk. It is encouraging churches to connect with people through community events, hospitality and service, particularly at the rowing Olympics venue at Eton Dorney.
- St Barnabas at Bexhill-on-Sea is one of many churches planning a big screen Olympics event - in their case for the opening ceremony.
- Weymouth and Portland are hosting the sailing Olympics and local churches are planning a number of mission initiatives over 2011-2013. They will be offering hospitality during the games in Weymouth, and there will be Bedouin tents with foot massages and drinks available along the beach, big stage events, bands, and clubs for children. The churches are launching their events with an Olympics-based festival in Portland in August, with sports activities, arts, cafe, skateboard competition, displays, barn dance, bands, as well as open air services. More information is available at www.weymouthandportlandchurch.org.