Churches make their mark on London 2012
Over two hundred parishes in the Diocese of London will be putting on a spectacle to celebrate the Games. The huge range of activities includes community festivals, hosting athlete’s families, “Faith Walks” from Olympic venues, and screening the Games for those who were unable to get tickets. The Diocese of London even has two Olympic torch bearers.
Although most of the Olympic Park is within the neighbouring Diocese of Chelmsford, throughout the Diocese of London there are fantastic examples of the Church making its own mark on London 2012.
Starting from Olympic venues, the Diocese of London has put together six Faith Walks, walking routes which take in including both internationally famous church buildings, such as St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James, Piccadilly and hidden gems. More than 40 churches are participating and will be open to the public free-of-charge all day throughout the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These sacred buildings offer visitors an opportunity to escape the crowds as they discover beautiful art and design, meet local people, or simply pause and reflect in a busy day.
Churches along the Torch Relay route are opening their doors to the public, and providing refreshment and shelter for those watching the relay as it comes through the Capital. Some will be taking part too, such as Revd Dr Bob Mayo of St Stephen & St Thomas Church, Shepherd’s Bush who is running on 26 July. Bob’s congregation nominated him for the inspiring work he has done whilst leading his parish, despite serious epilepsy. Elijah Kirby, a Youth Minister of Christ Church Roxeth and Leader of Soul Survivor Harrow will be carrying the torch through Harrow on Wednesday 25 July, after he was nominated for the work he has done with local youth groups in London. Elijah was also chosen to be one of Coca Cola’s twenty official torch bearers.
Christ Church, Turnham Green and St John’s, Hampton Wick are just two of a huge number of churches throughout London that are screening Olympic coverage for members of the community to come and enjoy the Games together.
Revd Tom Haley from All Souls Church, Clapton Park has been working with local organisations for the past 18 months to set up a week-long festival during the Olympics, in the hope of engaging the local community in the excitement of the Games. The event will include sporting activity put on by the local youth club, dance club and renowned boxing club the Pedro Club, as well as featuring kids clubs, live music, a community fête and BBQ. Local graffiti artists will also be displaying their talents on the outside of a redundant boiler house located on the estate.
Many of these local projects are being assisted by members of ‘the2012‘, a Diocese of London initiative aimed at mobilising a group of over 2,012 young people to volunteer and serve during the Olympics. 2,700 young people are now signed up to the collective from 300 different churches across London.