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Green sees sporting chance for Church

by
14 September 2012

by a staff reporter

PA

Legacy: Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including Jessica Ennis (centre), pass St Paul's Cathedral on their parade through London on Monday

Legacy: Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including Jessica Ennis (centre), pass St Paul's Cathedral on their parade through London on Monday

THE Olympics and Paralympics have left a legacy of good will between faith groups, and great opportunities for churches that are willing to engage in sport, the head of the multifaith chaplaincy for the Games, Canon Duncan Green, has said.

The London Organising Committee provided 162 volunteer chaplains serving a wide variety of faiths and beliefs - to the athletes, staff, and 26,000 members of the media.

Canon Green has worked on the Olympics project for more than five years, and will oversee the winding-down process, which carries on throughout September.

"London will set the standard for chaplaincy at major sporting events," he said. "We had a synagogue next to a mosque next to a Hindu temple next to a Buddhist temple next to a church. Seeing faiths working side by side was a wonderful sight. The Olympics showed 204 nations living together in peace and harmony: I hope there may be a bit of legacy there, and that that mood can carry on."

He said that he believed that this summer would prove a turning point for the country. "For many, it was about belonging; belonging to a team, and being part of something that was so successful and brought the whole country together.

"At the Paralympics, so many athletes had amazing stories of what they had been through to get to London. And, in some countries, these athletes weren't even properly recognised as people because of their disability, let alone as athletes."

Some Paralympians had to borrow wheelchairs in order to compete. The Christian disability charity Wheels for the World - the overseas programme of Through the Roof - which restores and distributes wheelchairs, gave out crutches and wheelchairs to athletes and delegates from 26 countries.

The Games had also left a "massive opportunity" for churches to engage with sporting organisations, Canon Green said. "Churches have to wake up to the fact that we are nation of sports lovers."

 

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