The Olympic Torch relay is an unprecedented opportunity for mission - claims an organisation set up to help churches make the most of the Olympics.
More than Gold, an umbrella body that represents various denominations, say they have a host of programmes and ideas that churches and individuals can get involved in the run up to the Games.
Jane Holloway, prayer co-ordinator for More than Gold, said: "Churches should be at the heart of their community. So, with the Torch Relay covering over 1,000 communities, churches need to roll up their sleeves and see this as an opportunity for mission.
"This is a great opportunity to mobilise united and creative prayer as the flame travels."
Olympic organisers are expecting each community to put on a huge welcome when the Torch Relay reaches them. More than Gold say that churches in those places can offer hospitality, volunteer to help their local authority with the practicalities and offer their creative talents too.
They are organising a 70-day Cascade of Prayer during the Relay, and are asking for individuals, groups and churches to come up with creative ideas for prayer, such as prayer vigils, writing special prayers for their area, or organising a prayer relay.
One church in Land's End, where the Torch Relay is starting, has already organised an open top 'praise bus', which will be travelling ahead of the flame across mainland England, Wales and Scotland.
Church member and bus organiser Caroline Bonfield said she had 'a picture of a flame going up from Cornwall over the country' 18 months ago, as did others in the church, as well as 'a picture of an open top bus with Jesus standing at the top.'
She said: "I knew the flame was a spiritual flame, but it wasn't until I knew the torch was starting in Land's End that I knew God wants to do something during the Olympics. We want to send the bus around to portray the love and grace of Jesus being poured out on the country."
The praise bus is looking for churches along the route to offer musicians and hospitality.
More than Gold are also organising a Prayer Relay of Blessing, which will link the 70 locations where the torch will stop overnight. The organisation is currently contacting church leaders in each of these places.
March 18th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Claire Musters