We’re nearly there, the Olympic opening ceremony is only four weeks away. In just three weeks the torch will arrive in Tower Hamlets. Over 200 church events have been registered, and there are plenty more in the pipeline. If you’re only just waking up to the Games there is still time to plan something. But even if you’ve decided not to, there are some steps you should take to be Games-ready.
Liturgy and prayers for your church services
There are lots of options to suit a variety of styles of service – morning and evening prayer, Eucharists, informal services, all age worship, services for the Paralympics etc. Add Olympic-related collects on a day you’ve got visitors and be sure to welcome them. Visitors may arrive very late or early to a service, so be ready! Download all the service outlines from this blog.
Where is it? Today it’s in the Peak District. But in three weeks time:
- Sat 21 July Tower Hamlets and Hackney
- Tues 24 July Richmond, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Ealing
- Weds 25 July Harrow, Brent, Barnet, Enfield, Haringey
- Thurs 26 July Camden, Islington, City, K&C, H&F, Westminster, Hyde Park
- Fri 27 July Hampton Court to Olympic Park by river
If it goes past your church building or homes in your parish, you’ll be on international TV, so please acknowledge it in some way. Look at the route and ideas of how to celebrate. To join in the Prayer Relay which started on May 18th, download prayers here, or see ideas here.
Buy extra loo roll
Like it or not, we have 750,000 guests coming to our city, so there are steps we should take to welcome them. This short checklist should get you started:
- Don’t add extra traffic to the roads – cycle, order your summer reading list/deliveries now, cancel non-essential committee meetings, encourage people to work from home.
- Prepare for extra visitors – big events always get through extra bin liners, loo roll, cups etc, and inviting in visitors will mean that leaflets about your church may run low. Stock up now, and print more copies of service sheets so you don’t run out at a crucial moment!
- Spring clean your church so it looks presentable – not just the churchyard, notice board posters etc, A visual audit is an easy way to do this. This example from the Diocese of Lincoln may help you do this. Make sure to polish up your website too, so summer service times are up to date.
Publicity and advertising
Londoners are busy and time-poor. To attract them to your event will mean making it really easy to find out about it and come along. So:
- Advertise through lots of different media, with a consistent message
- Put posters where people will see them, eg supermarket, station, school or pub
- Churches often seem intimidating, so make it clear what to expect
- Make it clear whom your event is for and what it will cost them – a ‘free event for all’ may attract nobody because it aims too widely
- Register it with me – it’ll get onto a few big websites with only one form to fill in
- Put your Olympic events on your website homepage
Don’t break the law
Obvious really. Here are some ways that you could break the law without realising you’re going to.
- Putting up advertising without local authority permission
- Showing TV coverage without a TV licence for your premises
- Charging people to watch TV coverage
- Selling alcohol without a licence
- Using Games Marks inappropriately – eg Olympic rings on posters
- Using photos on your website which you don’t have the rights for
- Ambush marketing – using the Torch/a venue/an Olympic event to proselytise or to show up in matching t-shirts handing out flyers or selling things
The easiest way to get around the advertising/publicity issues is to download and use free posters from Local Leaders. Talk to your local council about what you’re planning.
Here to help
When you’re starting to plan, you’ll save yourself time and improve your event by asking for guidance. To get in touch:
- Ring the Olympic Helpdesk (Mon-Fri, 9am–5pm) on 020 7932 1251
- Email me (elizabeth.harrison (Email: elizabeth.harrison [at] london.anglican.org)) for specific enquiries, or Barney on the helpdesk (olympicmobiliser (Email: olympicmobiliser [at] london.anglican.org)) to register your events
- Follow me on twitter – @dol_olympics
- To see hard copies of resources, books, planning guides, visit us in Causton Street (1st floor).
- For information on a range of topics, either see my web pages or search blog articles which go into more depth on specific topics.