One of the big mission opportunities in 2012 will be the London Olympics. There can be little doubt that these will impact, in some way, on most people.
The main source of resources for doing Olympic stuff is the ‘More Than Gold’ organisation. The Olympics in your own country, it is said, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, if that and, indeed, the last time the games were in the UK was in 1948. My Olympics started in September of last year when, along with representatives from each of the other Synods of the United Reformed Church, I went on a tour of the Olympic park and attended an afternoon’s consultation when we heard lots of things about the Olympics and how the church might engage. I followed that by going to a ‘More than Gold’ meeting – and we then, as a family, applied for our Olympic tickets – and, unlike many, we got some. We only applied for two lots of tickets and had a 50% success rate but, based on what I have heard, that seems pretty good – so don’t try and book me for anything on Saturday 4th August next year. I shall be watching the opening day of the show-jumping at Greenwich Park.
But the Olympics, whatever you think of them – and, as it happens, I am not a great sports fan – but the Olympics will provide lots of opportunities for engaging with all sorts of people. It is worth thinking about that – and it is also worth knowing a bit about it. For instance, it is worth knowing that it is illegal to use the Olympic symbol. That’s why ‘More than Gold’ has developed its own symbol which churches are free to use without checking it out with anyone and without any payment. The ‘More Than Gold’ website – www.morethangold.org.uk – is the best place for information and ideas but, if you don’t have and can’t get internet access, do contact us in the office and we will find a way of helping out. And it is not just the Games themselves. The seventy days leading up to the opening of the Olympics will see the torch relay running the length and breadth of the UK. In my area Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich are all places where it has already been announced that the torch relay will go. Then there is the Paralympics. All sorts of resources and ideas are and will be available. Here is an opportunity to find ways of offering something that is indeed more than gold.