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News Around the World
Published on 31 July, 2012

Olympic fever wakes the Church

England (MNN) — The Olympic finals of the men's
and women's road racing passed through Dorking and put it on the map.

All eyes
were on the tiny village in Surrey as Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won gold
at the end of a rainy women's Olympic
road race Sunday, and Great Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead took the
silver.

Now, church leaders are hoping the Olympic
fever will leave a lasting legacy for them, too. Reporter Lizzy Millar caught up with church
leaders who spent Sunday morning services handing out bacon sandwiches and cups
of tea to volunteers, stewards, and spectators.

The
service project was timely for the Dorking United Reformed Church. The congregation is
celebrating its 350th anniversary by "looking to its mission" and
helping people in need.

Reverend
Peter Flint explains that their church participated in the outreach because "we
have felt for some time that we believed the churches needed to be on the
streets, out of their buildings, on the streets. This, for us, is an experiment to try and see
what it's like. We hope that we'll develop other things from it."   

Already,
plans are taking shape, says Rev. Flint. "The next thing that the churches
are looking at are street pastors. Street pastors have happened in many
other places, but Dorking is a much quieter town than other places. We
believe that street pastors will give us that opportunity to [have] a presence
on the streets."

Brian
Maidstone, pastor at Dorking Baptist Chapel, agrees. The event provided the impetus needed to get
the body of Christ in front of the community. "We hope that people will notice us and
want to know more about the church–and eventually, obviously, to know something
about the Lord Jesus Christ."

The energy generated by the Olympic excitement lends thrust to a
growing evangelism initiative. Training started in early July. Street pastors undergo an extensive training
program and then can be out on the streets at various times to help people.
They become a tangible presence of the church.

Please pray for wisdom for the church leaders as they harness the
energy generated by the Games. Pray for continued boldness and creativity as
they become the hands and feet of Christ in Dorking, Surrey.

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