Wednesday, 25 April 2012

London Calling

'the2012' target smashed as the Olympics inspires 2,700 young people to sign up as community volunteers

Image of news article

The Bishop of London and Team GB hopeful, Anne Wafula Strike, commission "the2012" at St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral was filled to overflowing last night as the members of "the2012" collective, a Diocese of London initiative aimed at mobilising a group of 2,012 young people to volunteer and serve during the Olympics, were formally commissioned as Ambassadors by the Bishop of London.
As they assembled at St Paul's, they were told that the2012 had in fact far exceeded its target, with 2,700 young people now signed up to the movement from 300 different churches across London.
The2012 volunteers will now be enrolled to help with the range of Olympic initiatives planned by local churches and community groups across London. The projects range from distributing water to spectators during the cycle race to operating a community cafe in East London for local people to watch the Games in company.
Wheelchair racer Anne Wafula Strike, who is a GB Paralympic World Cup Team member and in the running for Team GB, joined the service to address the2012 recruits as they prepare to serve local Olympic projects across London. As the service came to a close, a blizzard of confetti was released from the iconic whispering gallery at St Paul's as the Bishop of London led the newly commissioned Ambassadors through the Cathedral's Great West Door.
The service at St Paul's also saw the launch of the2012 messaging, which will use social networks and SMS messages to set a challenge for the volunteers each day, as a 'dispersed flash-mob' aiming to be a force for good in every postcode in London.
Members of the2012 are aged 13-35 and come from all over London and a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. One volunteer is Lidija Mavra from Bow Common. Together with fellow volunteers, Lidija has set up a social enterprise that coaches homeless people to give walking tours, providing them with an income and allowing them to share their unique perspectives on the capital's culture and history. Unseen Tours will be running during the Summer Games.
The event marked the beginning of service for the2012. Over the past seven months they have received training across London to prepare them for volunteering during the Olympics. The training has been overseen by the London Area Bishops and has focused on mobilising them for community projects and helping them to live and share their faith.
Prayers at the service were led by Pete Greig, founder of 24/7 prayer, who is helping to coordinate 70 days of prayer through 1,000 communities across the UK with the Olympic Torch Relay, starting in Lands End on Saturday 19th May.
Anne Wafula Strike, paralympian wheelchair racer and supporter of the2012, said:
"As a Paralympian, I am full of admiration for everyone who is giving up their time, energy and dedication to volunteer to support others during 2012 Paralympic and Olympic Games in London. Each one of the commissioned ambassadors with be rewarded spiritually and they deserve a Gold Medal of their own."
Lidija Mavra, a member of the2012 and founder of the social enterprise, Sock Mob, said:
"I feel really privileged to be part of the 2012 service at St Paul's - it's a wonderful way of bringing young Christians together from all across London to reflect upon and share ideas on how we can make London a better place in 2012!"
Pete Greig, of 24-7 Prayer and Alpha International, said
"'It's thrilling to see thousands of young people galvanised by the Olympics, catalysed by their faith and mobilised to make a difference in our communities this year. With so many negative headlines about looting and knife-crime, hoodies and youth unemployment, the2012 initiative celebrates the fact that most young people in our capital are fundamentally good and that Christian faith is as relevant as ever. I'm delighted to be involved."


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