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Toronto (RNS/ENI) As the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, open on Friday (Feb. 12) many are focused on praying for the athletes, for the community hosting the event, and, just as passionately, for snow.
The British Columbia cities of Vancouver and Whistler are hosting the winter games, but the Vancouver area has been hit recently by unseasonably warm temperatures. Hundreds of workers have spent days and nights trucking and airlifting extra snow to outdoor venues.
An Australian sports chaplain, Nett Knox, who will be at the games, said, “Please keep praying for all the athletes.”
“However, first and foremost, please pray for lots more snow for all the Winter Olympics,” Knox added.
At the same time, Vancouver’s (Anglican) Christ Church Cathedral announced it would stay open 12 hours each day of the Olympics as a sanctuary for visitors.
The Rev. Peter Elliott, dean and rector of the cathedral, said in a letter to the Vancouver Sun newspaper, “Our intention is to be a sanctuary for people to offer prayer for the peace of the world.”
The cathedral will continue its regular programs throughout the games, said Elliott, including feeding the hungry and helping the homeless.
“We are focusing neither on pleasure nor on protest but on God’s mission by expressing hospitality to visitors, compassion for those who are hungry and homeless, and providing a space for peace and prayer,” said Elliott.
While some have decried the Vancouver games, due to the expense to local taxpayers, many Christian denominations are making the best of the situation by concentrating on offering hospitality.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, the Salvation Army and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada are some of the 35 organizations and church denominations involved in an Olympics outreach called ‘More than Gold.0’ They will be staffed at locations throughout Vancouver “to extend the radical hospitality of Christ during the Games — and beyond.”
— Leanne Larmondin
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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