Diocese catches Olympic fever
24 July 2012
THE OLYMPIC TORCH was cheered by hundreds of supporters as it was carried past Holy Trinity Church in Guildford's town centre on its way through the diocese on Friday.
An estimated 25,000 people gathered along the torch route to watch as the Olympic flame arrived at the bottom of Stag Hill in front of Guildford Cathedral and passed through Guildford's main routes.
On the steps of Holy Trinity Church, Guildford Vox Community Choir entertained a crowd which gathered on the curbside as early as two hours before the torch was scheduled to come through.
It was 19-year-old Emma Rudland who held the torch aloft past Holy Trinity. Emma was selected as a torch-bearer in recognition of her fundraising for soldiers in Afghanistan. She plans to climb Kilimanjaro in October.
The torch also passed through Shere where it passed the village's CofE school (pictured), Goldaming, Westcott and Dorking.
Prayer Baton Hand-over
But the torch relay wasn’t the only Olympic relay to pass through the diocese on Friday, with the Prayer Baton being successfully handed over from Maidstone baton bearers to a Guildford party waiting at St John’s Church.
Organised by More Than Gold, an ecumenical organisation which seeks to encourage UK churches to engage with the Games, the Prayer Relay tracks the same route and dates as the official relay, and arrived in Guildford a couple of hours prior to the Olympic Torch.
As the baton reaches each town, it is filled with new prayers for the next town and the old prayers are read out and distributed among those present.
A well-attended service was held at St John’s where prayers collected in Maidstone were read out, before being handed out to individuals to take back to their own church communities. Afterwards, the congregation enthusiastically wrote and filled with the baton with new prayers for Waltham Forest, the baton's next destination, each on different coloured paper!
Senior minister from Maidstone Baptist Church the Revd Bill Miller said receiving the baton in Maidstone the previous day from carriers in Dover had been “a fantastic experience”.
The array of prayer topics included prayers for the police, local government, and those in poverty.
Blessings from Maidstone
Bill added that he was excited about repeating the process in Guildford on day 63 of the prayer baton’s journey, providing blessings for the wider Guildford community.
On Thursday 26 July, the Prayer Baton will reach its final destinations - Westminster and Stratford.
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