Communities celebrate Games thanks to 'no agenda' Christianity
Thousands of Britons, many of whom would not consider themselves religious, have enthusiastically celebrated with their local churches
Thousands of Britons, many of whom would not consider themselves religious, have enthusiastically celebrated with their local churches in over 200 communities.
Fusion Youth and Community co-ordinator for the 2012 events, Marty Woods (below) said: "The feedback coming in from across the nation indicates that something very significant has been happening during the Olympics.
“The Christian Church has been back where we belong, at the very heart of our communities, helping them be the kinds of places we all want them to be."
Joanna from Balham, London, wrote to the local churches after attending a festival. She said: "It felt wonderful that our local community was able to host such an inclusive event which was open to all, and had something for everyone from children through to seniors.
“It is so important to keep communities together and in harmony with each other through inclusive events such as this one, which seemed to work as a model for the ‘Big Society'."
One family wrote to their churches in Kirriemuir, Scotland to say: "Just wanted to say thank you on behalf of our family for last night’s amazing Olympic event. We had an absolutely wonderful time.
“Thank you for the brilliant organisation and for the obvious expense, also thanks to all the volunteers and the ladies who supplied endless burgers and cups of tea! Don't have much to do with religion any more, but we did think last nights’ event was a demonstration of Christianity without an agenda."
Two police officers at a festival organised by churches in another London inner city community were also impressed. They told organisers it meant a lot to them personally that the churches cared for the community enough to put on community events, not just for themselves but for everyone.
Fusion Youth and Community UK say part of the reason the response from communities has been so strong is that hundreds of churches and Christian organisations have adopted ‘Open Crowd Festivals'. These are open events for a whole community that create an environment where relationships build naturally.
Fusion Youth and Community UK is working with More Than Gold, the agency set up by all the main denominations to help churches make the most of the 2012 Games. They have provided training and support for Christian churches in over 200 communities across the UK in preparation for the games.
Marty Woods said: "A major focus in our support of churches has been preparing them for this moment. All of a sudden many churches are finding they have established a number of fruitful relationships with their neighbours and other community organisations.
“We in Fusion Youth and Community are committed to continue standing with churches who have made a start these past weeks. Our hope is that in most places, the Olympics will be the beginning of an ongoing process of community engagement."