Olympic Adventist Roundup – UK Style
05 July 2012 London, UK [Victor Hulbert/Colin Stewart] With the Olympic torch currently being carried across the UK in the run-up to the commencement of the London 2012 Games, Seventh-day Adventists are joining in the excitement and enjoying the opportunity to witness. Special books have been published, events planned and church halls opened to the public. Members are part of Olympic hosting and greeting teams.
As a diverse Church, Adventists are already pulling out their flags in crowds and communities all over the country, showing their support for the Olympic Torch Relay. On day 1 of the torch relay, LIVE: St Austell, a Cornish church plant was in town, while by the time the torch reached Scotland, the Faifley church youth choir were invited by the local council and the Church of Scotland Minister to sing gospel songs as the torch went by. In Nottingham, 16 year-old Leon Squire, carried the torch. A keen footballer and sprinter, Leon gave up a potential career with Lincoln City and in athletics in order to keep the Sabbath. He also has health issues but was delighted to represent his church and his school. Adventists are among many different denominations and churches that are maximizing the opportunity to be a part of the celebration and to share Jesus.
Although sport is the biggest aspect of the Olympic Games, the festival is much bigger than that. From as early as June, Horley-Gatwick Adventist church started a programme of community gospel singing and a cultural kitchen to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Following a great response and support from the community, they too have been invited back for the torch relay.
Youth Community Cafes have opened up in Chatham, Kent and Walthamstow, East London. Here neighbours and friends are welcome to watch the Games, engage with church members and enjoy refreshments. The Central London church will have a myriad of programmes and an open café running throughout the games.
Members will not be short of literature to share during the games. A special edition of Life.Info magazine, 30,000 'Olympic Edition' Steps to Christ, and a small book, "The Christian Race" by Croydon Pastor and Olympic Chaplain, Richard Daly are just part of the resources the church is making available.
Churches are also getting ready for the Games with sport and fitness programmes. These include a Basketball Camp in Islington, a bike ride in Edmonton, netball and football in South London; and sports days in Chelmsford, Chatham, Oxford and even down on the beach in Bournemouth!
With health being the biggest Adventist connection to the Olympic Games, organisers hope to inspire positive lifestyle changes encouraging healthy and active living. As a result many churches are organising Health Expos utilising the skills of the doctors and health professionals in their congregations.
Additional programmes have been specifically targeted for the children. In Peterborough and Cambridge Holiday Bible Schools are being planned during the summer break; while family fun days and festivals are organised for Bletchley, Dagenham, Clapton, and Plaistow.
Evangelistic teams are also in action with programmes running through the Olympic period. Adventist musicians and concerts are planned and some church members will be singing in the Olympic choir during the opening celebrations. This kind of witness is not just from inside the UK. Former Australian Youth director, Graeme Frauenfelder, an Adventist clown, is spending almost three months in the UK, sharing his creative talent to bring joy and laughter to everyone as he shares the gospel in his 'heart Olympics'. Two special Days of Fellowship on the first two Sabbaths in August will focus on 'Ignite the Flame' and 'Torch Bearers'.
Olympic drama will not just be on the field. Specially commissioned by the South England Conference of the Adventist Church, Mervyn Weir has developed an inspiring theatre performance that highlights important Gospel themes in 'Beyond Gold'.
Church members across the UK have also taken the opportunity to be involved in an Olympic Green Sabbath initiative. This promotes the idea of both being healthy and being visible in our communities. Members committed to walk at least one mile to and from church. Churches have used this opportunity to become more environmentally friendly including making clothes collections and recycling, car sharing, walking to church and much more. The aim is to produce many more 'Eco-Christians' as we care for our bodies and our environment while reaching out to our communities.
The aim of the Olympic Outreach team has always been to help the Church make this the biggest evangelistic outreach ever in the UK. However, while plans are being made for the summer, churches have also taken on the watchword 'legacy'. This summer is just the beginning of something big.
For more on Olympic Outreach programmes download the official Adventist Church Olympic Outreach app for the iPhone or visit www.live-uk.org. [tedNEWS]
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