LONDON, MARCH 23, 2010 ( Preparations are under way for the 2012 Olympics with more than construction programs and exercise routines. An interdenominational Christian group is focusing its preparations on homelessness, human trafficking and prostitution, fairtrade and climate change.

These four areas were the focuses of a More Than Gold summit held last week in London. Some 200 Christians gathered with members of charities and other non-governmental organizations for the event. More Than Gold is a group dedicated to organizing the Christian community to collaborate for the common good, and to create spaces to extend the hospitality of Christ, before, during and after the Olympic games.

David Willson, the group's director, shared his experience of 14 years of fostering Christian collaboration surrounding the Olympics.

“The Olympics are an opportunity wherever they occur for dynamic short-term celebration and long-term regeneration for millions of people," he said. "However, for some the Games can mean further degradation and misery. It is our duty as Christ’s body here on earth to do all we can to prevent this from happening, while serving and encouraging all that is good.”

James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 Games, welcomed the broad Catholic participation in these social justice issues.

"We have the highest representation on these topics and have a strong tradition of being a voice for the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized," he said. "There is no reason why the 2012 Games in the U.K. should not make a lasting difference to everyone concerned in our land. We as Catholics will do all we can to ensure this happens.”

--- --- ---

On the Net:

More Than Gold: