Category Archives: Life

Simple community event

This evening Syston Methodist Church hosted a second Wii Bowling evening. This time it was as part of Syston Churches Together and was raising money for a local project that brings kids from Chernobyl over for a holiday.

If you have not tried one of these then I recommend them as a very simple way to build community.

We ran this time with 4 Wii's (3 for Wii Sports, mainly bowling and 1 for Guitar Hero – all setup using data projectors). We also had an xbox 360 with Kinetic sports (on a good sized LCD TV).

Plus a cafe serving burgers, hot dogs, nachos & cake + tea, coffee & cold drinks.

We run the Wii Sports with 1 controller and up to 4 players at a time. We typically had around 12 people playing games at a time (3 on Guitar hero – the microphone for singing is not that popular), a max of 4 on each of 3 other Wii's and a couple playing Xbox sports.

We charge a flat rate of £1 per person per game (although we didn't tend to charge properly for Guitar hero or the xbox as goes are less well defined and they provide plenty of entertainment for everyone else). With the food as well we made £140 for the Chernobyl Kids from the games and food (after paying the costs).

We find this is popular from about age 4 upwards (everytime we have had at least one 90 year old). Quite a few just come and have some food, chat and enjoy watching the games. Unike many other social events people can pop-in just for a while rather than feeling they need to stay all evening.

The atmosphere is great, from outside it sounds like a real bowling ally (it is nothing like as good if you don't have sound on the Wii's). People mix, chat and enjoy themselves – as a Churches Together event it was good fun and people enjoyed getting to know each other better. We also find that we get at least 1/3 of people coming from the very outmost fringes of the Church communities – more than we manage for almost any other event.

As events go this is a really easy one to arrange. The only bits that take much work are

  • finding enough data projectors (a badminton court sized hall is large enough for about 6, this time we only managed 4 plus a big TV).
  • sorting out cable connections to get sound for the Wii's that use data projectors. The easiest is to use an iPod doc with aux input. All you need then is adaptors to convert the red and white male phono plugs from the Wii cable to a 3.5mm jack. Maplin have a variety of options.
  • finding enough projector screens (our hall walls are not white which means they are not ideal without a screen).
  • If like us you don't have many power sockets you are going to need plenty of power extension cables

It is much easier to configure and manage if you only use one controller for each Wii Sports (you will need at least 3 controllers for Guitar Hero). A guitar amp with a "clean" setting works really well for Guitar hero, easily filling a large hall.

Dance and racing games are also really popular (given these are family events and part of the Church I avoid all shoot'em up games).

We simply setup one half of the room as the cafe and the other with the bowling lanes. One small table for each projector, wii and speaker. Then use chairs to mark out all the bowling areas.

We generally offer prizes (chocolates) for the best scores (2 or 3 age groups) plus a better prize for the lowest score.

This is the 3rd time I have been part of one of these and they have all worked well.

A year on from Reflections on the Methodist People

A year ago we had just moved to Syston and the Leicester North Methodist Circuit. As we were getting ready to move I wrote 42: Reflections on the Methodist People.

This year in Syston has gone really quickly. We are so fortunate to be here in a fantastic Methodist Circuit with 3 Churches full of lovely people and in a great town to live in.


My sincere thanks to all those who have been so welcoming, loving and caring over the last year.


Now I am off to a special Holiday Club service at Syston Methodist Church which nicely illustrates the commitment and gifts of this Church. It was an excellent holiday club with lots of adults helping and great kids – and it all happened without the Minister even being there or doing any of the planning (and far better as a result).


U.S. says bin Laden unarmed when killed

As more details emerge of the killing of Osama bin Laden things look worse and worse in terms of the morals and behaviour of the US.

U.S. says bin Laden unarmed when killed | Reuters.

So he was unarmed and they knew that but still chose to kill him after wounding a woman trying to protect him.

How does shooting an unarmed man in the head serve justice?

It seems the US had known where OBL was for months, so how come they are presenting some things as of they had no time to plan? No time to plan a live capture. No time to plan what to do with the body so they just had to drop it from the helicopter when they "discovered" they could not take him to Saudi Arabia.

It is wrong for governments to ignore the rule of law when hunting terrorists. We cannot pick and choose who obeys the law. If we want to chase terrorists as criminals then we cannot behave as criminals ourselves.

A beautiful day as a reminder

Days like this are a great reminder of why I love being a Methodist Minister so much.

It started with the last lent group of the year. We have had a men only group for the first time in Syston and it has worked really well. We have enjoyed the time together and not just because of the excellent Bacon or Sausage Cobs :-) It is something we will do again as the group definitely had a different way of working through the material and also it doubled the number of men doing the lent course this year.

After that I nipped next door into the Syston Methodist Church Spring Fayre (the date was changed because we were not consulted about the date of a certain Royal Wedding). I resisted the temptation to have another bacon roll but had some cake instead :-) Good way to meet people from the extended Church family as well as keep up-to-date with who can't be there. Always an interesting mix of very surface, social chat interspersed with much deeper conversations (for example about membership, how the lent course had changed someone & forgiveness). 

This afternoon was gorgeous weather so it made it a lovely ride into Leicester to visit someone in the Royal Infirmary. So often these visits are better for me than for the person in hospital and today was a good example :-) 

My bike took me home via Starbucks in the city centre which I thought was very kind of it. A bit sad to see a number of bikes in the racks with no wheels. Wish people would either use the Bike Park or a lock that is reasonable secure and actually lock the wheels on. Again a really lovely gentle ride home through Watermead Park.

Tonight we are watching the latest Harry Potter film which we just got on DVD and then I get to finish preparing worship for tomorrow evening and maybe make some progress on EasterLive

Days just don't get a lot better than this.

Good news, safe to invite friends :-)

I am pleased to announce that it is now much safer to invite your friends to Syston Methodist Church. While the Church has a reputation of being friendly to visitors we have rather let the welcome down with the quality of our coffee (summed up as yucky).

Well help is on hand. I have just had three big boxes delivered containing a fantastic professional filter machine and all the bits. We are going to have lovely Fairtrade filter coffee in a choice of both caffeinated and decaffeinated. To ensure top quality coffee along with flexibility and safety our coffee is made straight into big vacuum flasks with pumps for serving.

First airing in the Ally Cafe on Saturday 26th February between 7pm and 10pm for our Wii Bowling evening – all welcome (I couldn't wait til Sunday morning as I'll be in Birstall where sadly their coffee quality is lagging behind). Still last Sunday evening I was at Claremont Street which boasts the best biscuits in the Circuit :-)

Life segmentation

At a recent meeting of people on twitter one of the things we discussed was how connected we have our various pieces of social media.

For me there are currently five main elements to my use of social media:

  • This blog, this has now being going 7.5 years. Nowadays the content is mostly faith related with some general life, politics etc thrown in.
  • My cycling blog this is about cycling :-) A mix of experiences, campaigning, comment etc. I am writing more here in recent months having taken up the challenge to post something everyday for 2011.
  • Twitter @dave42w 
  • Facebook dave.warnock
  • Flickr for photos davew42 

Until a few minutes ago I had these pretty much automatically connected. Now I have some separation. So here is how I plan to connect them/cross post.

  • I will update twitter and facebook whenever I post to either blog. I need to check whether they will appear on facebook as full posts or just links (as quite a lot of people comment on the facebook full posts I thiuk that is worth continuing).
  • I have stopped automatically updating facebook from twitter. So facebook users won't see all the twitter oddities with # @ etc in them.
  • I will sometimes update both twitter and facebook with a status message if I think both groups of people will be interested (for the technically minded I can do this by adding a #fb to the end of the tweet or from within the Hootsuite twitter client)
  • Conversations on twitter (replies and retweets in particular) will not appear on facebook.
  • My latest photos on flickr appear in the sidebar of

If I ever have time to bother I might use the features of twitter and facebook to breakdown my followers/friends into groups (family, work, cycling, …). But I don't expect to make this a very high priority.

I guess that over time I will fine tune this.

On having less wisdom

Yesterday I had one of my wisdom teeth removed at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

As I am now very old and also as my operation was cancelled in December (a shortage of surgical sets) I was first on the list this time.

The staff were all very friendly and efficient. This was my first ever general anaesthetic and although it must cost the NHS a lot more to remove my wisdom this way, it was much ore comfortable for me. I am very glad I made that choice.

Thanks to codeine tablets I got a good nights sleep (two stretches of 4 hours, one from each tablet). However, as I was told to expect my mouth is very swollen this morning.

Sadly we have builders in today so not too much peace around. Although much kudos to the Leicester North Circuit for being efficient and thoughtful in getting jobs done. Among other things the last inspection noted that the dividing wall to next door was not complete in the loft and one of the chimneys needed re-pointing. So we have already had some jobs done and yesterday they put up scaffolding for the roof work. I have to say rather them than me, it is a very cold day and we have the most inaccessible roof hatch in the world.