ENGLAND . Br. James Hayes chaplain at the London Olympics
A video-production and music teacher, a sports fan, in charge of pastoral of vocations.
Br. James Hayes, member of the community of Southampton, will be chaplain at the Olympics from July 16 to August 12. He explains the circumstances of this "selection" and how he feels about this ministry to athletes.
“18 months ago a friend of mine in a prayer group said that Chaplains were needed for the forthcoming London Olympics and that she felt I should apply. I did so. And thus began a year-long process during which over 300,000 potential (unpaid) volunteers applied for a variety of different jobs (transport, security, public relations, accommodation, catering, drug testing, sport administration… and chaplaincy). About 70,000 were eventually selected. I was lucky enough to be one of them. As I live within a 90 minute drive of the location of the Sailing Village in Weymouth, I was asked if I would work there instead of at the main village in London.
I will be part of a 6-person multi-faith team, working in shifts two at a time, from July 16th (11 days before the Games start) until the end of the Games on Aug. 12th. As well as organising and leading twice daily times of prayer (for the different faiths), we are asked to be available to respond to any needs that may occur during our time there, spiritual needs in particular, but not exclusively - for the other volunteers and paid workers, as well as for the sailors themselves - and thus help to create an atmosphere in the Village that is conducive to the sailors performing to the best of their ability.
It is quite likely that helping competitors to deal with disappointment and failure will be our biggest challenge: those who do not get the chance to wear a medal around their necks. I hope and pray that the Spirit may work through us and help us to know what to do or say during those moments. I also hope and pray that through my work at the Olympics I might honour Him and bring Him joy. “
1/ Br James with his Olympic equipment.
2/ Sailing Village in Weymouth.