Monday, October 4, 2010


Ind. Cath. News report: It is already being predicted as being the largest ever ecumenical venture the world will have ever seen. Every major denomination and over 80 Christian agencies are already on board and are working hand in hand to serve the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.With less than two years to go, every Christian is now being offered the opportunity to get involved in this historical venture and once-in-a-lifetime event. More Than Gold, the umbrella Christian charity that is serving the 2012 Games, will begin its national tour of churches across England and Wales this coming week. In total it will visit eleven cities – Birmingham, Exeter, Windsor, Cardiff, Nottingham, Sheffield, Durham, Wigan, Esher, and Ely before its final gathering in two London venues in the first week of November. The tour will mostly meet outside of church buildings in major sports venues including Aston Villa FC, Cardiff City FC, Leyton Orient FC and Nottingham's Trent Bridge.Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster is keen to see the Catholic community build upon the successful visit of Pope Benedict XVI and for Catholics to find ways of being more visibly and directly involved with Christian and public life within the UK. “With the Olympic Games less than two years away, we have a moment of opportunity and a whole process in which the aspirations of young people, the meanings of habit and routine in their lives, and the whole notion of achieving excellence can begin to be lifted up again. Within the 2012 Games there are seeds for all sorts of good ideas and good initiatives.” he said recently.Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who attended the launch of More Than Gold in September 2007 along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Tessa Jowell, then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and former Cabinet minister Lord Brian Mawhinney, said: “I see More Than Gold as a push to Christians across all the venues of the country where events will be held, to make a real contribution to the lives of those who will be our guests and our friends during the time of our Games.”The Catholic Church’s coordinator for the 2012 Games, James Parker, will be a part of the UK tour along with his ecumenical counterparts. “This face to face tour” he said “is a great way for church leaders, Christian schools, and even local sports clubs, to begin to form their own vision and to plan ahead for 2012.“If you are a Christian, a sports lover, or just someone who wants to somehow be involved with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, then come along and see what can be done to get the ball rolling in your area. We will share ideas and possibilities for those living in the city, the town and even the remotest village level to ensure the 2012 Games are the most memorable ever for everyone in the UK. However distant churches might be from Olympics cities and venues there is still a huge interest in the 2012 Games and therefore some great opportunities open to the entire Christian community.“This particular ecumenical tour is also a first for Catholics in the UK. The Catholic Church has never taken the opportunity to be involved in planning at such an early stage as this at any previous Olympic and Paralympic Games in history. Neither has it ever chosen to be a key player alongside other denominations in this way. We have the chance to become the blueprint that Catholic brothers and sisters across the globe can look to in the future.”Churches will hear of the opportunities available at the tour briefings which will include lessons learned from past Olympics including Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing. More Than Gold's CEO, David Willson, says that: “these briefings will help churches seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which is not to be missed. The UK is fast becoming the nation to gather the largest and most varied Christian response to any Olympic and Paralympic Games ever.”LOCOG’s Multi Faiths Adviser and the Church of England's Olympic and Paralympic Executive Co-ordinator, Revd Canon Duncan Green, said: “I hope every church takes the opportunity to attend. These briefings offer churches the way to see what could be done in their local situation and the resources and support available.”More Than Gold is building on the experience of churches that supported the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and seeks to serve forthcoming major sporting events before and after the 2012 Games, such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.The tour will offer a whole range of resources that churches can consider using, such as the Get Ready To Run DVD, a seven minute presentation showing what has been done by churches at past Olympics and what we can do here in the UK. These will be made available for free on tour. For more details and advance registration please visit DATESRefreshments are served from 7pm, with gatherings being from 7.30 - 9pmBirmingham: Monday 11 Oct.’10 Aston Villa F.C. (B6 6HE)Exeter: Wednesday 13 Oct.’10 Exeter City F.C. (EX4 6PX)Windsor: Thursday 14 Oct.’10 Dorney Lake, Windsor (SL4 6QP)Cardiff: Friday 15 Oct.’10 Cardiff City Stadium (CF11 8AZ)Nottingham: Tuesday 19 Oct.’10 Trent Bridge Cricket Club (NG2 6AG)Sheffield: Wednesday 20 Oct.’10 Sheffield Wednesday F.C. (S6 1SW)Durham: Thursday 21 Oct.’10 Riverside Cricket Club (DH3 3QR)Wigan: Friday 22 Oct.’10 Wigan Rugby Club (WN5 0UH)Esher: Monday 01 Nov.’10 Sandown Racecourse (KT10 9AJ)Ely: Tuesday 02 Nov.’10 The Lighthouse Centre (CB7 4EG)London/Central: Wednesday 03 Nov.’10 Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street (W1C 2DJ)London/East: Thursday 04 Nov.’10 Leyton Orient F.C. (E10 5NE)[12pm - 2pm (for ministers and church leaders, lunch inc.)]London/East: Thursday 04 Nov.’10 Leyton Orient F.C. (E10 5NE)[7:30 - 9pm (open meeting for everyone, refreshments from 7pm)]

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