Last Thursday (4 November) there were two meetings at Leyton Orient Football Club organised by the Christian organisation More Than Gold for church leaders and representatives across the London and South East area. These events were part of their Nationwide Vision Tour.

Tim Harrold went on behalf of Transformation Thurrock to the lunchtime event. Jonathan Oloyede of Global Day of Prayer London was present to lead prayer, as was Matthew Porter of Transform Newham, who made a short address about what how church in his borough is responding to the challenge and opportunity of being hosts to the Olympics.

The BBC were present and on Tuesday 9 November a short piece appeared on the evening London local news. It showed everyone praying out of the venue’s windows towards the Olympic Park, and the back of Tim’s head made a brief appearance.

STOP PRESS: sent from Jane Holloway at For England Together – BBC London local TV news ran a great piece on More Than Gold yesterday at 6.30.  Here’s the link to it – which is available to everyone – and the blog of the journalist responsible:

During the 90 minute briefing, Tim was able to:

  • Hear how churches responded at past Games through outreach, hospitality and service
  • Learn of the tested programmes and resources for all ages, to be available through More Than Gold
  • Find out how to identify the best way for the church to be involved– and dream a little of what could be done

PICT1789More Than Gold has now been involved in the Olympic and Paralympic events at Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), as well as Winter Olympics’ events too.

After the presentation, Tim was able to join a tour of the Olympic site, viewing the park from the so-called View Tube at Pudding Mill Lane.

Thurrock is of course just up the road or a short train ride from the London 2012 Olympics.  There will be official training camps in Basildon and Brentwood, and the mountain biking events are being held at Hadleigh Castle (the Langdon Hills were considered).

PICT1796Whilst Thurrock itself is not hosting any of the Olympic events, the collective church of our borough can engage fully in what will be the greatest opportunity to reach the nation and nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ in a lifetime.

This includes the historical, independent and ethnic expressions of the Christian faith – as people will be coming to the UK from across the entire globe. The Olympics provide a unique opportunity for the church across the country in every city, borough, town and village to work as one on local-appropriate Holy Spirit-inspired ideas. These can be incorporated into existing and currently emerging borough-wide initiatives such as UNITE 30/31, Thurrock Epicentre, and the proposed community festivals on the Pentecost Sundays – also Global Days of Prayer – this year and next.

2012 is also significant for being the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Jubilee – now there’s a good, solid Biblical word, heavy with meaning, accompanied by national celebration.

There are three main strands to the London 2012 Olympics which can be provide this inspiration for local activities…

The London 2012 Olympics Torch Relay

It’s just 555 days until the Olympic Torch lands on UK territory and begins its journey around the nation (starting 18 May 2012). The flame will have been kindled on Mount Olympus in Greece – home to the ‘gods’ – and will be displayed at key locations as a symbol of world peace. This is an Olympic ‘tradition’ that goes all the way back to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin – yes, the original Olympic torch run was a Nazi idea.

imagesThe Torch Relay will take 70 days to go around the UK, involving 8000 Torchbearers. It’s claimed by organisers that 95% of the nation will be within a one hour journey time of the Torch Relay. The route of the Relay isn’t yet published.

What can Thurrock do?
We can link in with the accompanying Prayer Relay that will follow the torch as it travels around the UK, taking in all the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way. Thurrock can set up an Olympic Prayer Room for the duration, praying with other parts of the nation that the torch will pass through.

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad

It’s 589 days until the start of the “Festival 2012” on 21 June 2012. This will last from Midsummer’s Day until the final night of the London 2012 Paralympics on 9 September.

PICT1787It’s a 12-week celebration across the whole of the UK – a once-in-a-lifetime festival which will together leading artists from all over the world. Special taster events will be taking place in early 2012.

Organisers say that, “at the heart of the festival will be a programme of commissions by some of the finest artists in the world in events ranging from pop to film, from visual arts and fashion to theatre, from circus to carnival, from opera to digital innovation.”

What can Thurrock do?
We can put on a whole host of creative events over the 12-week period in every part of the borough. Their are many creatives in our local churches – so let’s permission them to come up with dramas, art shows, ethical fashion shows, films, expressive dances, classical music, pop and jazz. Already mentioned is perhaps linking this into a community festival for the borough run by the church in collaboration with others. But events can be as big or as little as needs be.

PICT1795The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics

And it’s 625 days until the beginning of the London 2012 Olympics itself, from 27 July to 12 August. The Paralympics is from 29 August until 9 September.

At the Olympics there’ll be 20,000 athletes competing in 26 Olympic sports; 6000 coaches and officials; served by a restaurant seating 12,000 people. The Paralympics will see 4000 athletes compete in 20 events. Behind the scenes there’ll be 20,000 people working for the media.

What can Thurrock do?
During the Games, churches can have live showings of major events. There could be a big screen at an outside event in tandem with the cultural aspect. More Than Gold provide loads of other ideas – sports days; sports quizzes; kids and youth events. And there’s the whole aspect of hospitality.

Other stuff…

Become a More Than Gold representative – or ‘Gold Champion’ – for your church. Your role is to –

  • Be the channel for information from More Than Gold to your church
  • Link with other Gold Champions in their area to share ideas, plans and opportunities
  • Help plan their church’s own More Than Gold Weekend

Gold Champions receive their own dedicated eNewsupdate and invitations to special briefings so they are always in touch and can share ideas and information with each other. See more at:

PICT1793Weblinks – Why MTG exist, how MTG work, its history, its people, latest news and how to contact MTG – Reaching out through sports, Community Festivals, guest events, creative arts and mission teams – Hosting the families of athletes and mission team members, offering care through hospitality centres and one million cups of water – Volunteering for More Than Gold and the Games, welcoming the Torch Relay and providing chaplains – ‘Get Ready To Run’ DVD available. Coming soon – publications, publicity and merchandise

More Than Gold on YouTube – 3 videos:

  • Get Ready To Run for Leaders
  • Get Ready To Run for Churches
  • More Than Gold – is your church in the running?

Olympic Torch Relay –
Olympic Festival –
Official Olympic Training Camps at Basildon and Brentwood –

Other helpful websites – official London 2012 Olympic website – accessible, informative and impartial


Transformation Thurrock is promoting More Than Gold and is the Gold Champion for the whole borough.

At this week’s Grays Leaders Prayer Breakfast on Friday, the More Than Gold promotional video will be shown.

Christian organisations supporting More Than Gold and working in unity:

  • Alpha
  • Baptist Union
  • Bible Society
  • Catholic Mission Conference of England & Wales
  • Christians In Sport
  • PICT1805Church of England
  • Compassion
  • CPO
  • Deo Gloria Trust
  • Jerusalem Trust
  • London City Mission
  • The Methodist Church
  • The Salvation Army
  • Stewardship
  • Traidcraft
  • Youth With A Mission
  • UCB

Pictures, top to bottom:

  • The More Than Gold logo
  • At the meeting at Leyton Orient FC
  • The Olympic Stadium
  • Dr Jonathan Oloyede of GDOP London at a previous MTG presentation
  • Watching the MTG Powerpoint presentation
  • Delegates at the Olympic site’s View Tube
  • The River Lea – former division between the Saxons and Vikings – with the ‘iconic’ swimming venue
  • Poser!