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Get spiritual about Rugby during the World Cup 

Churches in Rugby help to arrange a series of events to coincide with the tournament, which begins on 18 September

EnjoyRugbyFor some people, the game of rugby is almost like a religion – and there are plenty of opportunities to get spiritual in the birthplace of the game during the Rugby World Cup.

With the support of Revive Churches, the Enjoy Rugby Festival (12 September – 6 November) will feature a variety of events with a spiritual theme that range from a sports quiz to rousing gospel performances.

Rugby's official Fanzone will be located on Old Market Place in the heart of Rugby town centre, and just a stone’s throw from Rugby station and Rugby School - the birthplace of the game.

The Fanzone will have a capacity of 2000 people, with free entry throughout Rugby World Cup 2015 for fans and families. It will feature a big screen with live coverage of matches, entertainment, food and drink and rugby-based activities.

The Convenor of Revive is the Revd Dr Michael I Bochenski, minister of Rugby Baptist Church. He said: 'It has been good to work with Chris Stanley and a highly motivated council team in helping to shape a varied and attractive Rugby Fanzone programme.

'As churches in Rugby we try not to hide behind our church walls. We believe very much in getting out into our communities and serving God and people there.

'The Fanzone programme is, we believe, a good example of this in practice.'

All the events take place at the Rugby Village, Old Market Place, on days when tournament matches aren’t being shown in the official World Cup Fanzone.

On Sunday 13 September, Revive Churches are inviting local Rugbeians and international guests to an all-faith, interactive act of worship preceded by a Family Fun Time with face-painting, games, crafts and free BBQ.

The family activities start at 4pm, followed by the Songs of Praise event at 6pm.

For those who think they know their sports trivia, Baptist Minister and Sports Chaplain the Revd David Chawner will be Master of Ceremonies for a six-round multi-media sports quiz on Wednesday 16 September.

David is the Pastoral Director for Rugby Union, Chaplain to Northamptonshire County Cricket Club and Chair of Sports Chaplaincy UK. Organised by Rugby Revive, the quiz is free to enter. To register your team, visit www.enjoyrugby.co.uk  or call Rugby Visitor Centre on (01788) 570410.

Both sport and religion have a strong connection to music, and the ACM Gospel Choir will be in town on Thursday 8 October to perform tunes you know and love as well as rousing rugby anthems including World in Union, Swing Low and Jerusalem.

A musical collective of some of the most talented singers, songwriters and performers in the UK today, with a great blend of voices from different genres, the Choir will be taking to the stage at Rugby Village at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £8 adults and £6 for under 18s, from Rugby Visitor Centre or www.enjoyrugby.co.uk

On the 29 October Children’s and Families workers from several local churches will be organising a Light Party.

Children aged 5-11 are invited to join in the party with games, activities, sweets. Early booking is advised. Come dressed in glow, neon, and bright clothes. The event runs from 3.30pm-5.30pm.

The day after the Rugby World Cup final, there will be a special Swing Low Sweet Chariot celebration on Sunday 1 November.

Music and songs from the world of rugby, personal world cup accounts and faith stories will combine for a memorable finale organised by Rugby Revive. The event is free to attend and kicks off at the Rugby Village at 4pm.

And finally… rounding off the Festival on Thursday 5 November, Elevate Music, a high impact youth event also organised by Rugby Revive, will see the Rugby Village filled with loads of live music, dance, competitions and madcap fun.

Aimed at young people aged 11-16, the event runs from 7pm-9.30pm and is completely free to attend.

More information on all the Enjoy Rugby Festival events (including free festival guide) and tickets for the ACM Gospel Choir are available from Rugby Visitor Centre on (01788) 570410 or online at www.enjoyrugby.co.uk

For more on how churches can engage with the tournament, visit http://engage2015.co.uk

Baptist Times, 08/09/2015
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