The race is on to prepare for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, as Dianne Jensen reports.
Games fever may be two years away for most Australians, but Christians in south east Queensland are already counting down to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April 2018. Rev Dr Tim Winslade from Ashmore Uniting Church is delighted to be at ground zero for the event, which will bring together 71 teams representing the 53 members of the Commonwealth.
Tim is one of the local pastors behind Beyond Gold GC, a partnership between local churches and mission agencies aimed at maximising a Christian presence before, during and after the games. He chairs the operations team, which is coordinating a broad range of ministry areas.
“We are encouraging churches to not just see the Commonwealth Games as an event, but as an opportunity to build a legacy,” says Tim. “Some people might dream that their legacy will be 1000 souls saved; others might want their church members to be trained in new mission initiatives that have a lasting impact on the community—what potential outcomes could you dream about if churches in the region started to work together?”
Beyond Gold will have input into the official multifaith program during the games, but Tim Winslade suggests that there is a range of less formal ways for individuals and congregations to be involved.
“Momentum is already building at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation, with the current 180 staff expected to expand to 3000 paid workers. They will be calling for 15 000 volunteers at the end of this year, and this is a great opportunity to have a presence,” he says.
“There will also be a number of ‘live’ sites during the games in community spaces, with the opportunity for local groups to help facilitate those events.”
Tim is a keen sportsman who was involved with the More Than Gold committee at the Sydney Olympics and has led outreach teams at both Olympic and Commonwealth events. He wrote his Doctor of Ministry thesis, “Redeeming Sports”, about the link between sports and spirituality in Australian culture.
“Sport is something that’s closely connected to the Australian spirit—it is at the heart of what many Australians are passionate about,” says Tim. “Rather than see this as something that the church needs to compete against, I’m more inclined to say—let’s see how we can get involved in sporting activities to connect with the community and rebuild some of the bridges that the church has lost in the last 30 or 40 years.”
Beyond Gold will be launched on 24 February at Arundel Community Centre. For more information visit beyondgoldgc.com.au