In a few months, Paris will be at the center of international attention with the organization of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 15 million visitors to France and billions of viewers are expected. But what results for the local church in France? What legacy can the church benefit from this unprecedented mobilization in France? The Christian sports movement in France, Go + France, has already been working on this for several years.
The notion of legacy is essential for the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (COJOP) is committed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to offer Parisians a legacy in several areas: environment, sports and social infrastructures (transport, housing, etc.) or even culture and technology.
A legacy for churches
With a focus on sustainability, social inclusion and urban development, Paris seeks to create a long-term positive impact well beyond the Games period. The legacy of the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 could also have implications for the church in France, particularly in highlighting its role in society and fostering interfaith dialogue.
For several years Go + France works with churches, associations and Christian leaders to make these Games not a one-off and ephemeral event but an opportunity to anchor the culture of sport and leisure within the church. Since the beginning, the vision of the Christian sports movement has gone beyond July 2024.
How can the church make a long-term commitment?
Thanks to Set 2024, the possibilities are varied! First of all, through sport. By inviting the church to question the place of athletes in their ranks: their challenges or subjects of prayer. Offer sporting events that engage the whole family or tournaments involving church teams. A model of worship with a sports and leisure theme is offered to churches to include testimonies, biblical sharing or specific activities in Sunday worship.
Churches in France could also take advantage of the excitement of the Games to strengthen their community involvement. Not only through sport, but also with social initiatives (help programs for the poor through marauding or for people exploited in human trafficking, etc.). Through events promoting the inclusion of people with reduced mobility or in favor of the environment…
The church is thus invited to seize the opportunity offered by the Olympic Games/JPO to get involved and respond to the needs of society in terms of participation in community well-being. For example, churches which will open their doors to tourists for access to toilets or a bench, offering a corner of shade or a glass of water in order to show the hospitality and generosity of Christians.
It is also about encouraging interreligious dialogue. Several events and projects aimed at promoting mutual understanding between the different religious communities will in fact bring together the different Christian sensibilities (united Protestants and evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox): edition of a new testament with testimonies from Christian Olympic athletes, organization of a sports festival next May...
It is also on the artistic and cultural scene that the church can contribute to the Olympic Games through concerts or exhibitions by Christian artists.
For a sustainable and committed future!
The Paris 2024 Olympic Games are not simply a fleeting event, but rather an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy that will benefit the city, its citizens and the environment.
With a focus on sustainability, culture, sport and innovation, the Christian sports movement aspires to create a legacy that will last far beyond the Olympic flame. The church's involvement in different areas of society portends a sustainable and committed future, making the 2024 Olympics a pivotal moment in its history.
Fred Menigoz, President Go+ France