Anyone Fancy a Game?

On Sunday night Paul thrust a newspaper cutting into my hand saying he thought it might interest me. In the centre was a photo of a set of bookshelves filled with boardgames, staked from floor to ceiling. Yes, this did interest me! The article was about Draughts Café, one of a number of new cafés recently opened in the country that offer alongside coffee and cake, the opportunity to try out a huge range of games (they for example have over 600). There has been, according to the industry, an increase in the sales of boardgames over the last year, with the suggestion that 20 somethings are turning to them alongside computer games. Apparently, according to the article, these boardgame cafés are not only a great place to try out a new game, but also a great place to go on a date – if you enjoy the same games and can get on even if you lose, then chances are you’re well matched…

As a child I was brought up playing boardgames, it was a regular weekend family activity. At Christmas most years, we got a new game, The London Game, Articulate, Trivial Pursuit and so on. Over University years I didn’t play so often, other than the occasional game of RISK which usually ended for me very quickly in a blaze of glory that was rapidly quelled by those around me. In recent years, however, I have rediscovered the bug, finding that in the meantime a great range of games have been developed on the Continent, offering much more fun and tactical challenge than Ludo and Monopoly. My shelves might not look quite as full as Draughts Café, but they’re getting there!

So what’s behind their recent resurge in popularity? Simple. It’s not just that they fun to play and it’s satisfying to win (not that I do so very often), but boardgaming is a very sociable hobby. In an age when so much of our time is spent in front of screens, or in our cars, or in our homes, boardgames bring us together around a table for an hour or so of face to face time. Priceless. In a fractured world, these are deliberate ways of building community and friendship.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my plan is not to convert the church to boardgaming, as much as I’d love that, but to get us thinking about what we can do to proactively build up our relationships and sense of community. This doesn’t happen on its own, we have to work at it. Only as we grow in our friendships will we learn to trust each other, open our lives to each other, be open to learn from each other and to challenge each other.

Anyone fancy a game?…

Church Newsletter article 22.06.16


In this age of emails and text messages, there’s still something special about receiving a handwritten letter. The very fact that someone has taken time to write and post it in and of itself says something, and the hand crafted words provide a level of personal contact, of intimacy, that characters on a screen can rarely provide. Such a letter is unique, between you and the sender alone. It is a shame that they are a dying breed, although in saying that I must confess my hypocrisy in that I rarely write myself.

I have in my bedside table a number of letters which I have kept; letters from Kate, from my parents, special birthday cards, friends and the like. I keep them as they are special to me because they speak of the relationship I have with these people who are important to me. With letters being such an intimate form of communication, it is no surprise that much of the New Testament is made of letters from the early church leaders to congregations and individuals – at its heart the church is simply a web of relationships between people and between them and their God. I have even heard The Bible described as a love letter from God.

Of course the most obvious examples of letters from God are the seven letters in Revelation written to the church by Jesus through the Apostle John; letters that have intrigued and challenged the church since they were written. I have been reading a book recently inspired by them, ‘Letters to a Future Church: Words of Encouragement and Prophetic Appeals’ The editor of the book invited a number of Christian leaders to prayerfully write a letter to the Church today in the hope that through them they might discern what the Spirit might be saying to the Church today. A challenging task for the writers, to see beyond their pet loves and gripes about the Church to hear what God might be saying today.

I wonder what God might write in a letter to our church today? I recently asked our leadership team to prayerfully write such a letter and to pass them on to me without talking about their content with each other. My hope is that although they will inevitably reflect their human authors, their personalities and interests, that as I read them alongside each clear patterns might emerge as the Spirit speaks. I am a firm believer that all believers have access to God through the Spirit, and so I extend this challenge to you too.

Church newsletter article for 07.10.12

Three Months

Last week at church I promised that this week I’d share with you the programme of events for the coming term and here it is. I have to say I’m really looking forward to it and what God might have in store for us in it and through it!

Our midweek course for the first half of the term is called ‘Passion for God’ and will be exploring what it means to be passionate about God and how we can become more so. If you’re excited about God and want to share why or feeling jaded and want to re-vitalise your faith, then this is the opportunity for you. Wednesdays at 8-9.30pm at the Church in Slipe Lane.

On the 25th January we have our next Church Meeting, also at 8pm at the Church. This is when we come together as a family to seek God’s will for our life and work and share our thoughts and plans. This is a really important meeting, members are expected to attend and it would be great to have as many people there as possible. You’re still welcome to come if you’re not a member of the church. The agenda for the meeting will be circulated by next Sunday. If you’re interested in becoming a member, let Ben or one of the Elders know.

After half term, the second course on offer on Wednesday nights is ‘Simply Christianity’. This is a five week introduction to Jesus and what it means to follow him. This would be ideal for inviting your friends along to who might be interested in what we believe in. Invitations will be available soon.

This leads into Easter and its celebrations of what Jesus has done for us through his death and resurrection. More about that nearer the time. Straight afterwards is the Connexional Conference – no doubt David will be popping up at a service soon to talk about it and tell us how we can be involved.

Of course, the following term also has some fantastic events lined up too with The Big Picnic, the Churches Together festival in Broxbourne on Pentecost Sunday at the beginning and our Church Weekend Away at the end of it. Incidentally, it’s not too late to sign up for this if you want to join us but haven’t booked yet – talk to Becca.

11.01.12 – Midweek service
18.01.12 – Passion for God 1: Philippians 3:1-4:1, Knowing Jesus
25.01.12 – Church Meeting
01.02.12 – Passion for God 2: Hebrews 10:19-39, Confidence for Living
08.02.12 – Passion for God 3: Mark 12:28-34, Whole Person Passion

15.02.12 – Half Term break

22.02.12 – Prayer Meeting for Simply Christianity
29.02.12 – Simply Christianity 1: Jesus, Now and Then
07.03.12 – Simply Christianity 2: In the Presence of Greatness
14.03.12 – Simply Christianity 3: Search & Rescue
21.03.12 – Simply Christianity 4: Jesus’ Death
28.03.12 – Simply Christianity 5: Jesus, Here and Now

Bertie Goes to Pray…

A ‘public announcement’ about prayer that my son and I put together for a recent all-age service at our church on this topic. We had great fun putting it together, especially the costume and effects, including the ‘jumping around’ to make it look authentic…


The music came from the royalty free music collection hosted at the website incompetech. We devised the script and created the movie with Microsoft Movie Maker.

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