The focus over recent months has been on the Commonwealth Games 2014 and how Glasgow is preparing to host the biggest sporting event that Scotland has ever seen.
Last year’s, summer of sport left many inspired about the positive impact sports could have on people and communities and what could be achieved through hard work and determination.
Through the development of a Sports Ministry strategy and the initial work which is being carried out at a local level in Scotland, The Salvation Army is committed to delivering a lasting and beneficial legacy which will empower and equip it’s local churches to be able to do sports ministry in a relevant and intentional way during and well after the Commonwealth Games have ended.
The appointment of a Sports Ministry Cordinator will help encourage, support and resource Salvation Army church leaders around Scotland to find connections, to build relationships and to help people and communities to enjoy healthy lives in body and mind.
Along with the announcement of a Sports Ministry Coordinator, The Salvation Army is also investing in the creation of a sports ministry hub at it’s Laurieston Centre in Glasgow. The opening of the centre in the heart of Glasgow will create a base where best practice can be shared, resources can be created and is strategically placed to facilitate the support required for The Salvation Army’s churches across Scotland.
The Laurieston Centre will also be home to umbrella ecumenical charity More Than Gold. The Salvation Army is partnering once again with the organisation along with other churches and organisations to help facilitate and support activities surrounding the Commonwealth Games 2014.
Bobby Weir, Sports Ministry Coordinator, said: ' Scotland is by and large a ‘sports mad’ nation. Because of the enthusiasm that so many Scots have about sport, The Salvation Army is developing a strategy for sporting ministry with activities to suit all ages, backgrounds and levels of fitness. Whether it be football, rugby, tennis or athletics we will try to cater for those who may be new to an area and want to make new friends, for those in disadvantaged situations who can grow through team building, and for all who just want to make new friends, increase confidence and have a bit of fun and stay fit at the same time. There are so many good things about sport; from the physical to the social benefits.
It’s incredible to know that world-class athletes from across the Commonwealth will be coming to compete in Scotland and is something which can only inspire the next generation of sporting talent.’
At The Salvation Army, sport is about more than scoring goals, points or getting the quickest lap time. Sports Ministry activities teach valuable lessons about life. Participants learn the meaning of integrity and fair play by being a part of a team. They learn how to win graciously, and how to lose without being defeated. They also learn that there are people who care about them and who are willing to spend their time helping them to be a better sportsperson and people.
Major Russell Wyles, Divisional Leader of The Salvation Army in the West of Scotland, said: ‘As we have seen, sport has the power to create excitement, hope and passion in people’s lives. This is a fantastic day for The Salvation Army and demonstrates the belief we have that sport has a significant role to play in changing people’s lives within our communities. The appointment of a Sports Coordinator for Scotland marks an exciting new chapter in the development of our strategy and affords us an exciting opportunity to enhance the already strong ties we have with communities across Scotland.
Sports ministry has the potential to impact people’s lives regardless of gender, age, background or experience. Our approach is aimed at establishing long-term sports ministries within our churches and social centres that will extend far beyond the completion of the Commonwealth Games.’
At all international sporting events, The Salvation Army is often actively involved in the many Christian activities that surround them and provide some unique services to participants and supporters during the event itself.
During the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012, The Salvation Army was involved in a number of high profile activities, including; setting up refreshment hubs and events for the Torch Relay, being the official venue for the Mountain Bike event at its Hadleigh Farm, distributing bottles of water at key transportation hubs across London as well as hosting community sports activities and festivals across the UK.