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/ 27 July 2012

London Churches celebrate Olympic Torch arrival

Churches along the Torch Relay route have been opening their doors to the public, providing refreshment and shelter for those running and watching the relay as it comes through the Capital.

Some have even be taking part too, such as the Revd Bob Mayo of St Stephen’s Vicarage and Elijah Kirby, a Youth Minister of Christ Church Roxeth and Leader of Soul Survivor Harrow.

Local youth worker, Elijah Kirby, carried the Olympic Torch on Wednesday 25 July, in recognition of his work with young people in Harrow, in particular the youth ministries he has set up and run for the past eight years. He is also one of 20 torch bearers selected by Coca Cola to feature in a national poster campaign in the run up to the Games.

The Revd Bob Mayo of St Stephen’s Vicarage, Shepherd’s Bush carried the Olympic Torch through the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Thursday 26th July, after members of his congregation came together to nominate him. Despite suffering with epilepsy and experiencing daily seizures, he has done inspiring work transforming his parish, including increasing attendance by 100% and hosting a range of out-reach projects from playgroups and a cinema night to line dancing for the elderly and hospitality for the homeless.

One church that celebrated the torch’s arrival was All Saints, Edmonton. Three hundred people gathered at the church for a service to celebrate the torch as it passed by. The congregation were joined by neighbouring congregations from St John’s, St Aldhelm’s, St Peter’s and St Alphede’s. The service was led by the Bishop of Edmonton. In turn, St John West Hendon joined with St Patrick’s RC church and worked with West Hendon Baptist church to create a joint choir who sang for over 200 people who gathered to celebrate the passing of the torch though their parish.

As the weather improved, many churches provided support for those running and watching the relay by giving our water, including St Mary’s, Ealing and St John’s, Ealing. St Margaret’s, Uxbridge gave away over 750 bottles of water, complete with scripture on the back, to those watching the torch go passed the Church and worked alongside various other local churches to create a team of “Street Angels” to provide support and encouragement.

The church of St John Whetstone held a community festival to welcome the arrival of the Olympic torch on Thursday 26th, with more than 100 pupils from local school St John’s forming a choir to sing Hooray for the Olympians (the Olympic song) to greet the torch.

Photo: The Revd Bob Mayo with the Olympic torch.

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