Sunday, 30 May 2010

Prayers for the World Cup

The Church of England has published some prayers for the World Cup, written by the Rt Revd Nick Baines.

A prayer for all those involved:

Lord of all the nations, who played the cosmos into being, guide, guard and protect all who work or play in the World Cup. May all find in this competition a source of celebration, an experience of common humanity and a growing attitude of generous sportsmanship to others. Amen

A prayer for the host nations:

God of the nations, who has always called his people to be a blessing for the world, bless all who take part in the World Cup. Smile on South Africa in her hosting, on the nations represented in competition and on those who travel to join in the party. Amen

A prayer for those just not interested:

Lord, as all around are gripped with World Cup fever, bless us with understanding, strengthen us with patience and grant us the gift of sympathy if needed. Amen

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Got the book, bought the T-shirt!

Getting ready for world cup fever...I have just bought my Panini sticker album! Encouraged by my sister - a senior legal adviser(!) - who has been collecting football stickers for the World Cup since a child, I gave in today at the paper shop. I may well be putting out pleas for particular players over the next month or so.....but let's see how I go. For every pack of stickers purchased I am going to give the equivalent to the diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman.

I bought my t-shirt at Johannesburg airport on my way back from visiting K & K just after Easter. Not sure when I will wear it - but the last world cup I did dress in an England shirt whilst leading an all-age service on a football theme, which was followed by England's first match on a large screen! I visited the diocese with the Bishop of Oxford, the Revd Canon Nick Molony and the Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker who are both members of the diocesan link committee. It was a special trip, rekindling friendships, seeing some of the project work as well as visiting link parishes.

People are doing their best in various places to make football links with local communities, particularly as all the schools in South Africa are having extended 'World Cup' holidays. Much of the work in the Northern Cape is HIV/Aids related - using football as a way of bringing young people (particularly teenage boys) together and educating them in responsible living and teaching them what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. In Vryburg we met a couple of young men eager to use their gifts to teach others through community events and playing football - I am going to be praying for them in the coming days.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

25 days of Praying and Playing

With the focus of the world being on South Africa for the next month or so, I thought it would be appropriate to focus, for the 25 days of playing, on the Oxford Diocese link with the diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman in the Northern Cape.

Whilst a few things are happening in the Northern Cape to enthuse people about football, the reality is that the World Cup will pass many people by. There will not be any reason for people to go to the Northern Cape - there is no wine or garden route passing through, no matches will be played there and yet in an area the size of the British Isles there is vibrancy, there are people with stories to tell and much to give us, who need our love, support and prayer.

So for the 25 days of playing, I am going to post 25 aspects of Kimberley and Kuruman for this space from 11th June.