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Olympics: Honoring pastor team volunteers

August 12, 2012

Oregon Faith News Note:

The Olympics does not officially have a pastor team. Instead it is a team of several hundred volunteers from diverse denominations that work together to meet the spiritual needs of the mass agthering of people brought on by the Olympics. The Corvallis Gazette Reports:

Roaming London’s transport network in blue baseball caps are 300 volunteer “games pastors” from a range of Christian denominations. Deployed at airports and train stations, they are ready to step in for the most minor or most serious situation, from a lost contact lens to a potential suicide.They say they are there to offer a listening ear and a helping hand, not to shove religion down anyone’s throat. “They’re not giving out tracts and Bibles,” said pastors organizer Mike Freeman. “They’re giving out a listening ear.”


Religions of all stripes have a strong presence at the Olympics, where Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish clerics are on hand around the clock to minister to athletes’ spiritual needs. Around the Olympic Park, Christian volunteers _ not employed by games organizers _ chat with Olympic volunteers and games-goers. They say they are struck by how many people want to talk. Alan Ratliff, an American pastor with International Sports Chaplains, said Olympic visitors “are in an open mood.”

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