Welcome and Celebrate the London Olympics - Archbishop's Call to Churches
Monday 26th February 2007The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams called for Churches to welcome and celebrate the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games, at the launch of 'More Than Gold'.
'More Than Gold' is an interdenominational initiative for Christians seeking to provide a positive and affirming Christian contribution to the 2012 Olympics.
A transcript of the Archbishop's speech follows:
"People sometimes say that one of the marks of a really healthy church is that it has open doors. It grows by welcoming, it grows by being the place of hospitality, it discovers what it's really about as it begins to draw other people in. Now part of what we're looking forward to in welcoming the Olympics here is of course opportunities for ourselves as Christians to show that welcome which demonstrates our own depth of commitment. But can't we also say that a healthy city, a growing city, is one that's capable of exercising that kind of welcome? I think that's the challenge that we've been hearing about; this is not just about putting a few chaplaincy provisions in place for a few exotic visitors, this is about discovering the city itself afresh, discovering what this community in East London can be, and discovering it through the exercise of welcome. And because the churches are supposed to know something about that, that's why our presence in this process matters so much.
As part of the preparation for that here, we are a very, very diverse group of people prepared to be open towards one another in this process of prayer and planning, so that we can help the whole community open up. So that's one thing to bear in mind, growing by welcoming - for the Church and for the community. The second thing is really just to underline the title of this program itself 'More than Gold'. What we're doing as Christians engaging with this process is to say that we aim to meet human beings, not just in their need, in their poverty (though we do), but also in their hopes and in their excellence. When human beings are literally flexing their muscles (physically, spiritually, imaginatively) to the fullest extent - then too they are open to what God has to give them. 'More than Gold', more than just achievement, but that celebration of endless love and endless joy, which is what the Gospel promises. And that is more precious than anything we can imagine, and that is something, which grows out of the encouragement and the celebration of human excellence in all its forms.
So as well as remembering our call to welcome let's remember that call to affirm and celebrate human excellence, and lead people from that pinnacle of human achievement to a sense of joyful celebration of what the Maker and Saviour gives. I'm supporting this because I am confident that through this collaboration of Christian communities, with the local community, all will benefit, all will grow. I wish it every blessing and promise to keep it in my prayers."