After years of planning and preparation, the 20th Commonwealth Games are well underway, with Team Scotland already winning more medals than ever before. Featuring 17 sports, 11 days of competition and 4,500 athletes from 71 Commonwealth countries, the Games offers Glasgwegians the chance to extend their legendary hospitality on a worldwide stage and so far sell-out crowds have helped to raise the roof at every venue, encouraging individuals and teams of every nation and ability level.
For the first time in history, the opening ceremony of a major games was used as an opportunity to raise funds for charity, with Glasgow 2014 asking the expected global audience of one billion people to help UNICEF 'Put Children First'. Early reports showed that over three million pounds were raised within the first few hours of the appeal by text donations in the UK alone.
Churches throughout the city and beyond have planned a wide variety of events to welcome the nations of the Commonwealth, and to celebrate with Glaswegians and visitors. It's a unique opportunity for churches to reach a wider audience, and you'll find everything from a 'Big Red Bus' in Lenzie to a Community Carnival in Clarkston. From 'Feed the Fans' at Clincarthill to 'Welcome the Commonwealth' in Bridgeton, churches throughout the Greater Glasgow area, not just those near event venues, are preparing to share in the excitement of the Games. At Cathcart Old, a whole festival of events, 'The Celebration City', will run for the duration of the Games.
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The Church of Scotland traces its roots back to the beginnings of Christianity in Scotland, but its identity is principally shaped by the Scottish Reformation of 1560. Its current membership is about 12% of the Scottish population - although many more Scots and descendants of Scots in other countries claim some form of allegiance to it.