I love this description that comes out of the combined effort during the Olympics in Vancouver back in February…
Excerpt from the official report from More Than Gold Director – Karen Reed
“For those who want the statistics, overall, More Than Gold exceeded the established objectives. The network represented 15 denominations and 37 partnering agencies, mobilizing approximately 4000 volunteers during the outreach efforts. In addition to this, MTG connected or resourced churches across the Lower Mainland and the Torch relay route, which launched 100’s of additional initiatives in their communities (many churches hosted their local community by provided hospitality around key events – like the Gold Medal hockey game – shown on their large screens).
The beverage service offered in 25 public spaces (mostly Translink stations) was a huge hit with over 600,000 cups of hot chocolate and coffee served. This was 200,000 more than was originally planned! MTG’s online system managed the 55,000 volunteer hours needed to provide this service. Four to six hour shifts went from 3am through midnight. This generous hospitality opened the door to engaging people one on one in conversations that count, and contributed positively to the general atmosphere in the city. The City of Vancouver, Translink, RCMP, the Vancouver City Police, the City of Richmond, Premier Campbell have given commendations for the ‘taking an edge’ off the crowds and contributing positively to the atmosphere. This is a huge win in our collective witness to a culture generally cynical to the institutional church.
Mike Davies, Director of YWAM Vancouver, who contributed 200 missionaries to the outreach efforts, said that the first five days of the Olympics saw ‘more fruit that they have seen in the last five years in the city’.
There were 50 gifted Christian artists from across North America that performed on 24 public stages or venues. A sports DVD with personal faith stories of current athletes (4 of the 6 featured won medals this year) was developed and distributed to 700 churches and 400 to the athlete villages.
130 chaplains – in the village and on the street – provided spiritual care, intensified after the tragic death on the first day of the Games. 28,000 hospitality bags were given away, along with over 440,000 pieces of literature (pocket guides, Prequel, Bibles etc).
13 Radical Hostesses in the Downtown Eastside served as ambassadors for their community, and modeled a new kind of positive tactic. A partnering Homestay program raised monies that went to charities working with homelessness in the DTES.
John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, said at the closing ceremonies that it was like there was a ‘magical dust sprinkled over the city”. We believe it was the massive prayer coverage that was activated (24/7 prayer at Keats Camp, YWAM prayer teams on the streets, The Burn, The Cry, OneVoice, etc).”