The Games - outreach
It’s impossible to avoid any longer – the Olympic and Paralympic Games are finally upon us! Churches across the UK and in London are using the opportunity to shine for Jesus through practical outreach and evangelism. Community spirit and patriotism has been raised as the torch has been taken to every corner of the country, and now thousands of tourists are flocking to the capital to watch the Games.
Already, churches throughout the whole of the UK have been doing more in mission together in many forms, using the Olympics as an opportunity to celebrate at the heart of their communities. Many churches are organising gatherings at big screens or screening the sporting events in church premises.
Churches in Stratford
have joined together to hosting a festival (27July to 12 August) with open-air activities every day: one church is focusing on sporting events, another on hospitality; one is providing a large screen to show the Games; others are planning services, concerts (including UK bands/singers, dance groups and Saltmine Theatre company) and children’s activities.
Many Christians have opened their homes to athletes’ families through the More than Gold homestay programme. Many are volunteering during the Games, some joining the large teams of Games Pastors and Chaplains.
, a free family fun day on 14 July, brought local churches together to reveal Jesus to their district. The Olympic-themed fun day included free activities for old and young, bouncy castles, face painting and refreshments - and it happened despite heavy rain. Follow-up events include a joint-church Alpha course, a messy church event and an Olympic opening-night party. One of the organisers said: “We just want to give them a new experience of Christians working together.”
Bedford Methodist Church is organising an Olympic-based fun day in partnership with Butts Bridge Tenants and Residents Association on Saturday 4 August. This free event includes races, games, crafts, face-painting, archery, local celebrity guests and more. They hope to attract around 100 people of all ages. Linda, an event organiser, said: “We want this event to allow us to reach out into the community and show them that we are just ordinary people.”
There are hundreds of other examples of events and projects and acts of kindness happening in conjunction with London 2012. So far More than Gold
has recorded over 600 different events organised in the whole of the UK. Let us know what you have been doing with your local churches or if you plan to celebrate in a unique way in your community.
by Hannah Street.