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24 July 2014

Get set, Commonwealth, Go!

Get set, Commonwealth, Go!

The Commonwealth Games 2014 opened yesterday. Twelve major denominations and 35 ministries in Scotland are working together as More Than Gold 2014 during the Games.

From its conception at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games the More Than Gold brand has been successfully used by host city churches at all major sporting events. Now, this year the baton has passed to Glasgow.

"I've seen what happens when the Church responds to a major sporting event. In Canada the Salvation Army gave out 375,000 cups of hot chocolate to Winter Olympics spectators. In London, for the 2012 Olympics, the Church invited 1% of the UK, 600,000 people, to parties hosted by churches on the Opening Ceremony night," says Matt Oliver, CEO of More Than Gold 2014, "Now, this is our moment for the Church in Scotland to make a difference. So come on Church, let's rise up in acts of service, hospitality and mission."

Once again Christians are embracing the opportunity to work together and demonstrate love to tourists, athletes and spectators alike.

Throughout the nation churches are engaging with the vision. More than Gold begin by asking a church what they are already doing that they could give a relevant theme or link with. For example a games-themed children's holiday club, church fete or prayer meeting. Churches are taking up the challenge with over 250 requesting Fit for the King holiday club materials, or asking for the Christian in Sport quiz. There are many hosting community events and festivals.

The Bible Society have produced a penny gospel which is a special edition of Luke's gospel with inspiring stories of sporting men and women who believe their faith is worth more than gold. They were overwhelmed with orders and across the country people are giving the gospel to their neighbours.

As they did during the 2012 Olympics, More Than Gold are running homestay programmes for the official Games volunteers, the Clydesiders, and for athlete's families. Over 350 bed nights are being provided for people, demonstrating generous hospitality.

The Queen's baton has passed the door of many churches - open doors offering hospitality and a warm welcome to visitors. Churches are again choosing to put themselves at the heart of the celebrations, bringing people in the community closer together. More Than Gold hope this will help build a legacy of Christian love that will last into the future. 

Mission teams are in Scotland especially for the event. The teams partner with local churches to put on a host of community events and parties throughout Glasgow. Some offer specialist sports coaching and others creative arts. Special games pastors are ready to help in both practical and spiritual ways.