Meet the Forest Gate pastor supporting athletes at Tokyo Olympics 2020
- Credit: Pr. Elly Muwanguzi Kironde
A religious leader based in Forest Gate is supporting athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Elly Muwanguzi Kironde is lead pastor at Kingdom Love Christian Centre, which is based at Durning Hall in Earlham Grove.
But Pastor Elly is currently almost 6,000 miles away in Japan having been selected as chaplain for Team Uganda at the games, supporting the African country's competitors.
He said: "I have enjoyed being around these sportsmen and women despite the Covid-19 inconveniences.
"There are times in all our lives when we need special attention from someone who is trained to listen and hear our deepest thoughts, fears and concerns."
A keen sports fan, Pastor Elly previously arranged a guest appearance at Durning Hall of Ugandan long-distance runner and London 2012 Olympic Games marathon gold medal winner Stephen Kiprotich.
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The Kingdom Love Christian Centre also runs the U-Turn Youth Project, which encourages parents to support their children to take part in sport and eat healthily. The scheme is backed by the Big Lottery Fund.
"In my life as a pastor and a sports chaplain, I seek the kind of fun that does not make me feel ashamed the next day, does not discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs, but gives me an opportunity both to serve God and enjoy the gift of life at the same time," Pastor Elly said.
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He added that part of his calling is to teach and encourage the community both at home and abroad to develop their talents through sports chaplaincy.
"My involvement with sports is geared to making a spiritual contribution and career guidance to the young generation of sportsmen and women, now and in the future, beginning with the London Borough of Newham," he explained.
Though athletes from the country have yet to appear on the medal table, Ugandan rower Kathleen Grace Noble is due to compete in the women's single sculls while Kirabo Namutebi is in heat six of the women's 50m freestyle. Both events are on Friday, July 30.