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More Than Gold, The 2012 Olympics, SS Alban & Stephen Catholic Church in St Albans
         
More than Gold is a Christian Churches initiative in response to the missionary opportunities presented by the 2012
Olympic and Paralympic Games
"The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a moment of great opportunity for us all”

During the summer, this country went go sports-crazy, families and communities were on the streets and in the parks in vast numbers.  Christian churches had already discovered that large sporting events present once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for us to be present as Christians in our communities - so before the Olympics and Paralympics, we foresaw using the event to inspire change amongst our own community and the visitors.. and indeed we did!  More than Gold unified all the Christian Churches to respond to the call for: Outreach beyond the church walls; Hospitality that gives a generous welcome in Jesus’ name; and Service by putting the love of Christ into action.

We know what our own church did with a successful torch refreshments event, faith booklet share, Olympic service and prayer network. We add our thanks to those of Fr Charles given at the time. We are gathering accounts from our own parish people so please send your stories to tim.stevens6@btinternet.com We may create a page of testimonies or hold an Olympic Celebration evening at some point in the future.

Our efforts were part of a much bigger picture as churches all over the UK served their communities, welcomed visitors and blessed people just like Jesus would. 



  


Do join us as we give God thanks that, in response to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

On a conservative estimate, 500,000 of all ages attended church-organised events, including community festivals 
   

The More Than Gold Athlete Family Homestay Programme hosted 280 guests from over 20 nations in 160 homes for 2,000 nights of free hospitality. The athletes supported won a total of 45 medals including 8 gold medals.  

300 Games Pastors provided 13,000 hours of voluntary service to travellers at 24 locations including ten major rail stations, two airports, a coach station and key tourist sites

Over 30 teams of musicians and creative artists involving over 350 individuals from over 30 nations in 40 venues. They contributed 440 hours of live performance, 233 hours of street hours and 434 days of exhibitions

More Than Gold Mission Teams involved over 2,100 volunteers from more than 40 countries, working with and in about 300 churches. They gave out over 225,000 Olympic and More Than Gold pin badges during conversations, water distribution and as a gift to travelers

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, led by the Salvation Army, 500,000 bottles of water were given to visitors, 9,100 cups of water were give out during the three marathons, 4,500 cups of water during the mountain bike events and 30,000 Traidcraft teas and coffees during the Torch Relay

Christians in Sport believe there were around 700 Sport Quiz evenings with either their live support or using their DVD


The More Than Gold Prayer Relay linked 69 communities with around 2,340 people taking part. And the Praise Bus travelled 8,500 miles over 65 days with 100 musicians and singers involved

Over 180 volunteers, including 30 from overseas, served as official Olympic and Paralympic chaplains in the Olympic village and other official venues across the UK. For the first time chaplains served in the International Broadcast centre

Over twenty Christian agencies cooperated to produce and sell more than 500,000 resources. These included sports and scripture related DVD's, Mini Mags, Gospels, Bible's, New Testaments, Magazines, and Holiday Club resources

Along with a great prayer initiative, to make this happen:

5,500 people attended More Than Gold's vision and training events

More Than Gold's website had 116,082 unique visitors, 29,977 visits to the free resources page, 10,414 visits to the prayer page, 11,309 visits to the Torch Relay page and 6,326 visits to resources/printed-information page

More Than Gold's Get Ready to Run video had 12,280 views on You Tube alone. Other videos posted on You Tube were viewed a total of 3,140 times  

More Than Gold gathered 2,500 Facebook friends - with a reach of over 10,000 during the actual Games - and 1,500 Twitter followers



So others would hear of what God was doing through the churches -

During the two weeks of the Olympic Games, More Than Gold's Media Centrereleased 14 daily bulletins for media personnel with links to stories, videos, photographs and audio reports - on average opened by 200 recipients

Media coverage included BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme, BBC Radio London, BBC World Service, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, over 15 BBC local radio stations, Yomiurishimbun - Japan (the world's largest circulation daily), Church Times, Church of England Newspaper, Press Association, Olympic Broadcasting Service and more.  

More Than Gold media partner 2K Plus International Sports Media produced a daily 30-minute radio programme heard on 21 stations in six countries.Their other reports and features were carried by over 1,100 stations in more than 20 countries. Their 64 videos had over 12,000 views on You Tube and Vimeo   

More details are available on morethangold.org.uk and worldprayer.org.uk  
 
So what's next?

 
With the 2012 Games now well and truly over, More Than Gold shuts up shop at the end of this month. But we'll be letting you know how to keep in touch with how to reach out through future major sports events like the Rugby World Cup in three years time and much more.

We have gathered a number of people within the parish with a heart for service through sporting events. We will be looking forward to see how we can use that experience to be present in faith through service.
 
The More Than Gold Team

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