Prayers of blessing were given over the More Than Gold Prayer Batons which will travel from community to community. Jane Holloway of the World Prayer Centre (left), read out a prayer which had been sent from Greece to bless our journey and nation. The 70-day prayer relay will mirror the journey of the Olympic Torch through over 1,000 communities with a prayer baton being handed over from community to community. It is being organised by More Than Gold, an agency set up by all the main denominations to help churches make the most of the Games. From left to right, Jane Holloway of the World Prayer Centre, Matt Brown, More Than Gold, The Bishop of Truro, the Right Rev Tim Thornton, Rev Steve Wild, Chair of the Methodist Church in Cornwall, Rev Stephen Poxon, Chair of the Methodist Church in Lancashire and Steve Ward, More Than Gold. (C) More Than Gold UK

CHURCHES in Oxford are preparing prayers of blessing for Reading … while Reading is preparing prayers for Salisbury.

The prayers are part of the Cascade of Prayer, a More Than Gold initiative. Organisers have arranged for a prayer relay to link the 70 locations where the Olympic Torch will stop overnight. The chain started at Lands End on Saturday, May 19, where Christian leaders in Cornwall travelled on to Plymouth to hand over a symbolic prayer baton.The baton will arrive in Reading on Tuesday, July 10. Although it comes from Oxford, its route to the town is via Henley, Bisham, Maidenhead, Eton, Slough, Windsor, Ascot and Bracknell. An evening celebration takes place at the Madejski Stadium. Then, on Wednesday, July 11, it will leave Caversham Court Gardens at 8.04am, travelling to Theale, Thatcham and Newbury as it heads to Salisbury. Later that day, church leaders from Reading will accompany the prayer baton to its next destination in Salisbury. With the baton will be prayers from Reading Christians.

The Revd Jeremy Tear, who chairs the Churches Together Caversham Olympics steering group, said: “These are prayers of blessing. It would be really good to take lots of prayers of blessing to Salisbury.”