Belfast Telegraph

Church champions world cup

Couldn't make it to South Africa?

Well the next best thing is in east Belfast in a new community initiative launched by a group of young men from a local church.

Beersbridge Road Elim Church launched their World Cup Festival with a family fun day on Saturday June 12, that included face painting, inflatables and soccer themed activities followed by a barbecue to fuel the gathering of fanatics through the footballing marathon.

Lewis Massey, chair of the Beersbridge World Cup Festival committee said: “The World Cup is about bringing different parts of the world together to unite around football. Our World Cup festival gives us the chance to bring our local community together and attract people who would not normally come to church. We have been engaged with a range of fundraising activities over the past few months which has enabled us to put this on and provide refreshments at no cost to the local |community.”

The idea for the initiative was put forward by a group of young men in the local Elim Church who wanted to provide a safe and alcohol free environment for local families and the community to come together and enjoy the South African World Cup.

Last Saturday saw a passionate crowd of over 70 people pack into to the hall to watch English goal keeper Robert Green’s howler cost England dear in their big game against the USA on the massive 12x6ft screen. This was the first day in a programme covering a number of key fixtures throughout the World Cup, all the way to the final.

The group have also lined up a number of current and ex Irish League footballers to join with them at some of the matches, including ex-Glentoran and Distillery defender, Michael Ferguson, who attended the England game.

As well as discussing football, a number of the footballers will be sharing their christian faith and taking questions of football and faith throughout the event.

Mr Massey added: ‘The festival is about football, but is also provides us with an opportunity to show our faith in action with our community here in East Belfast. We were delighted that over 100 people joined with us over the first day, young, old and families.

“We look to welcome many more in over the next four weeks of football, although feel free to leave the vuvuzela horns at home!’

Further details can be found on the groups facebook page: Beersbridge World Cup Festival.

Next up is England v Algeria on Friday June 18. Sure to be a popular game, the advice is arrive early to get a good seat.

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