Churches prepare for 2012 Olympics

More Than Gold, the churches' 2012 Olympics and Paralympics charity, hosted its Games Engagement Conference at Wembley Stadium on Thursday/

Around 300 Christian leaders from every denomination, Christian agency and missionary organisation gathered to begin the task of working together to mobilise volunteers, hospitality, community festivals, prayer, performing arts, chaplaincy and sports mission in the lead up to and during the 2012 Games. 

The day was opened by Lord Brian Mawhinney, Chairman of both the Football League and also of More Than Gold. He spoke of More Than Gold's call to help the Christian community "reach out and serve". He clarified that More Than Gold was about "helping other organisations to do their thing", that the pathway ahead was about everyone working together in "partnership, not centralised power", that More Than Gold existed to be a "catalyst for new ideas, offering support where necessary".  He ended by challenging delegates that "we are restricted only by our imagination and willingness". 

Graham Daniels, General Director of Christians in Sport, reminded those gathered that there are around 125,000 adult sports clubs in the UK with ten million members and that the sporting world remains a place of great mission which draws together all the nations, from every language, tribe and tongue.  He challenged delegates to "serve with a compassionate heart in the power of the Spirit" at this unique event in our nation's history.

Dave Willson, CEO of More Than Gold, envisioned and excited attendees about what lies ahead.  He shared his experience, and provided an historical perspective, of the many ways in which the Christian churches' worked together to be the flame of Christ's love at previous Games in Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Salt Lake City (2002), Athens (2004), Being (2008) and preparations for the Winter Games in Vancouver (2010).

 "The role of More Than Gold," he stated, "is to cast a vision of authentic outreach and service that every church can engage with and see realised. 2012 offers an opportunity never seen before in the history of the UK for the churches to connect and to coordinate in a united mission that brings Christ's love not just to this land, but to those from every
corner of the globe."

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