26 March 2012
Christians join 7,300 carrying the Olympic flame
Christian men and women will have their “moment to shine” when they carry the Olympic flame this summer, after having been picked as torchbearers ahead of The Games.
A number of Christians are among the 115 a day who have been picked following public nomination to carry the flame during its 8,000-mile journey around the UK before arriving at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July.
Mark Blythe, who runs a football club for around 120 children in West Molesey on Saturdays, will be carrying the flame when it gets to Waltham Forest.
Mark, who also runs the website for the UK Sports Ministry Organisations, said: “My heart is to serve churches and help them reach their communities through sport.
“I’m honoured to be carrying the flame. I think I’m representing many of those Christians who work behind the scenes for their communities.”
But he urged a challenge to churches once The Olympic & Paralympic Games are over. “It’s not what we do in 2012 that matters, but what we do in 2013 – how the churches use the Olympics to set something up long-term, reaching their communities through sport.”
Steve Walton, professor of New Testament at the London School of Theology, will also be carrying the torch when it reaches Newmarket.
“I’m greatly honoured to have been nominated through Volleyball England and Sport England as a torchbearer,” he said.
“It’s lovely that a referee (in my case, a recently retired referee) is recognised in this way, and I’ll be running my section in honour of all my referee colleagues in volleyball.”
The torch relay is expected to be a time when churches really get excited about The Games, with many already having planned community events around it.
Making the journey between most of the 70 stops on the route will be an open top praise bus, organised by Escalls Chapel – a Methodist church based near Lands End.
The praise bus is part of More Than Gold’s 70-day cascade of prayer that follows the route of the torch relay, encouraging churches to pray for their communities and the nations.
Leading More Than Gold’s response to the torch relay is Sarah-Jane Alley of the Salvation Army. She said: ‘'The Olympic Torch Relay gives churches everywhere a chance to be a part of the Games and the Praise Bus is a great way to get involved through both worship and hospitality. “
Seb Coe, chair of the London 2012 organising committee LOCOG, said on announcing that 7,300 people will be carrying the torch: “Today we bring the Olympic Torch Relay to life. The flame symbolises the Olympic spirit and its journey around the UK will bring the excitement of The Games to our streets.
“Now people know the route the Olympic flame will be carried along and who is running in which community, they can start planning in detail how they will celebrate the Torch coming to them and truly make it their moment to shine.”
Have you been chosen to carry the Olympic flame? Share your story in the comment facility below.