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COVER IMAGE Pegsdon Hills near Hitchin, by Nicola Robert

ONLINE | @HCClatest | HCC SUNDAY SERVICES 9:15am & 11:15am LOCATION Hitchin Christian Centre | Bedford Road | Hitchin | Hertfordshire | SG5 1HF CONTACT | 01462 442238 © 2013 Hitchin Christian Centre PUBLISHER Hitchin Christian Centre | Registered Charity 1005126 EDITORIAL Paul Rigby @rigbypaul, D McGhee, Kate Middleton @communik8ion DESIGN Paul Rigby CONTRIBUTORS Tracy Bengougam @TracyBengougam, Brendan Devitt, Sharon Eason, Suzy England, Tim Hallas @tim_balance, Chris Igoe @CMIgoe, D McGhee, Kate Middleton, Jen Rigby, Matt Summerfield @mattsummerfield, Gary Turner, Nora Upchurch, Paul Windo @paulwindo PHOTOGRAPHY Nat Cowan @Nat3006, Jen McGhee, Paul Rigby, Nicola Robert, David Rudeforth @DavidRudeforth, Dan Shepherd @DanielShepherd


04 editorial 05 happiness... 06 stress less!


09 foodbank, headspace in hitchin 10 food the rise of the gastro pub, recipe 12 pneumo-luminescence 13 beards good idea or hairy scary? 14 radiant year photo wall 16 film & DVD Apocalypse 18 books Great books (for kids) you may have missed 19 sounds album reviews 22 moldova casa helen 23 three great things about westmill 26 7 things you didn’t know about hitchin, tweet me 28 Don’t make history, change the future 32 was jesus an anarchist? 36 dates 38 instagram hitchin 3

L I F E C U LT U R E H I T C H I N i d e a s FA I T H fun b elie F lo c a l b u z z g o o d ne s s p o s iti v it y L I G H T


A big welcome to the first issue of Radiant, a magazine with a faith-impacted look at life and culture, a sense of place, a sense of fun and a positive vibe. Amongst an eclectic mix, in the following pages we’re taking a look at stress and how to handle it without doing less, the essential lowdown for your next beard style, the apocalypse in film and leaving a legacy you can be proud of. Please get in touch with us. Let us know what you think of the magazine or ideas for next time. Or even come and check us out at Hitchin Christian Centre sometime; we’d love to meet you. Paul Rigby


happiness... With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Max Ehrmann

Happiness is waking up, looking at the clock and finding that you still have two hours left to sleep. Charles M. Schulz

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. Charles Spurgeon

Life’s a happy song...When there’s someone by my side to sing along. The Muppets

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. Mother Teresa

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. Proverbs 17:22

aint got no cash, aint got no style, aint got no gal to make you smile but don’t worry, be happy Bobby McFerrin


stress less!

S t r e ss i s e v e ry w h e r e , And it’s getting the bl ame for all kinds of



h e a r t d i s e as e , m e n ta l h e a lt h


one report even called s t r e ss ‘ t h e b l ac k d e at h o f t h e 21 s t c e n t u ry ’. B u t i s i t r e a l ly t h at b a d ?




Dr Kate Middleton

e think of stress as an emotional thing, but it’s much more physical than we realise. Stress is about real changes in the levels of chemicals, hormones and activation in your body and brain, triggered by the demands placed on them. So, from the moment your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re dealing with stress - even if you don’t feel ‘stressed out’. Emotional stress, however, is about your brain trying to alert you and prepare you in case you might need to do something. It triggers the same physiological changes in your body, just as great as when you are actually reacting, if not greater. Emotional stress is about anticipating something happening - and of course it’s much more stressful when you know there is nothing you can actually do about it.

Stress is about real changes in the levels of chemicals, hormones and activation in your body and brain So are we more stressed now? Some people argue we’re just labelling a lot more stuff as stress than we used to, but there’s pretty good evidence that some physical health problems which are becoming increasingly common - think high blood pressure, heart problems, type two diabetes etc - are linked to increased stress. Scientists argue two things about 21st century life make it more stressful. The first is the interactive, communication-rich nature of our world. The pure complexity of our social world creates a lot more potential for stress. The second is our tendency to try

What do you do to chill out after a tough day? Is it as good for relaxing your mind and body as you think? Here’s the good and bad sides to some common chill-outs.

Video games Rough day? Shooting some

zombies sure can feel like a good way to take out some frustrations. Emotionally it will help you switch off from the things inside your head, but it’s not so relaxing physiologically. All that adrenaline means your body is as hyped as it was to start with. So shoot away - but make sure it doesn’t stop you from getting out and into the real world.

HOT BATH Sometimes there’s nothing better than to close the door on your day and soak away the tension in a nice warm bath. Or is there? Baths are great for muscle tension because the warmth of the water helps your muscles relax and unwind. But don’t just lie there worrying! Take something with you to fill your mind with worry-free distractions and let the warm water do the rest. ALCOHOL We’ve all done it - long hard day,

get home and reach for the fridge. That glass of wine or bottle of beer might feel like it’s helping, but is it? Alcohol can help you feel more relaxed and fuel an evening out with friends but watch it – long-term use of alcohol can actually increase the level of stress hormones in your body, as well as decreasing the amounts of chemicals in your brain that help you deal with emotions like anxiety. Plus alcohol changes the patterns of your sleep, meaning you’ll wake less refreshed and even more tired the next day. Not one to rely on.

Exercise We all know we’re supposed to

exercise to stay healthy but what role does it play in overcoming stress? In the long run, exercise helps you deal with stress better - there’s even some evidence that regular exercise helps reduce your brain’s response to anxiety. The best stress busters are sports where you can pound out the frustration. Avoid those which require you to keep calm or controlled - play those when you are stressed out and it’s unlikely you’ll play well. And that probably won’t improve your mood one bit.


to pack more in. We all tend to work more, and play harder. Our boundaries between work and leisure are a lot more blurred. Work has become more fluid and portable – but that means we struggle to ever get away from it. And in our 24 hour society, genuine time for relaxation – that acts as a fire extinguisher for stress – is much harder to come by. In the midst of all this, too many people hear a de-stress message that simply tells them to do less. And that will probably help. But doing less is a killer to your potential. Managing stress is about learning to handle it well so it doesn’t limit what you can do. No one is superman - there’s a limit to how much any of us can pack in. But stress issues shouldn’t push you into becoming a couch potato.


1. Think of yourself standing in a pool.


As stresses come in, the water level rises. Everyday life throws in extra challenges, making waves.

id you know that the human body wasn’t designed to function under constant pressure? You are built to respond well to short term stresses. But long term stress can mean that the same changes, which are helpful in the short term, start to cause problems.


You’ll cope fine so long as the water level doesn’t rise too high. But if it does, there’s a point when you’ll start to feel at risk of going under.

The key to managing stress well is to make sure you build in regular and effective time when you can relax. Effective relaxation means your muscles loosen, your brain stops buzzing and your whole system gets the chance to rest. It’s easy to think you don’t have time to relax. It can be hard to stop and feel like you are not achieving anything. But relaxation could be the most important part of your week. For lots of people the thing most likely to limit how much they can do in life isn’t anything to do with ability or drive – it’s how they deal with stress. Love what you are doing? Want to still be doing it well in 5 years? Then learn how to relax well and make sure you build it into every week.

Dr Kate Middleton’s book “Stress: How to De-Stress Without Doing Less” is available at


4. Relaxation is like

pulling the plug out in the pool so that your physical stress levels fall. As your stress hormone levels fall, your body responds – allowing you to come off ‘high alert’ and get back to the more mundane ‘housekeeping’ jobs like digesting food or sleeping.

trussell trust

Food bank

It’s a bright, sunny day in Hitchin Market Square... you stop to consider how grateful you are to live in such a special place, such a wonderful town, the very best of England – but how often do you stop to wonder how many of the people walking past you are struggling to find their next meal? The Trussell Trust charity estimates that a staggering half million citizens in the UK will rely on foodbanks by 2015 to save them from starvation. Sadly, prosperous Hitchin is no exception. There’s a real danger of stigmatising the hungry as the poorest of the poor, but in today’s climate there are many seemingly “successful” households that are just one utility payment away from an empty larder and empty bellies to feed. The great news is that there is a new avenue of hope for the needy in our area. Churches Together in Hitchin is pleased to announce the launch of a Foodbank based in Hitchin. It provides a minimum of 3 days worth of food for people in crisis, via vouchers obtained from professionals such as CAB, Family Support Workers, GPs and Housing Associations. This Foodbank opens every Tuesday and Friday morning, all year round. Wholesome, sustaining, non-perishable food is donated by the public and boxed up according to the size of the family. Food boxes contain nutritionally balanced foods such as tinned fruit and veg, meat and fish, UHT milk, sauces, rice and pasta, tea and long life juice. The Hitchin Food Distribution Centre needs your help! You can do a little or a lot, and make a real difference to the hungry in our wonderful corner of the world! Please contact Suzy England at for specific ways you can help. We’re also actively looking to raise funds to operate the distribution centre and for volunteers to help out in a variety of different roles.

Headspace in hitchin

Our rundown of local places to go when your head is on overload.

1. Pegsdon Hills

Nothing beats the great outdoors for gaining a new perspective. Check out our front cover for a view of what’s on your doorstep.

2. Coffee Shop

Recent studies show the buzz here can increase productivity and creativity – and there are loads of great places to choose from in Hitchin.

3. Hitch Wood

This place is constantly changing – come for a wander at different times of the year and find new sights and sounds.

4. Hitchin Films

A good movie is sure to help get your head straight. Did you know Hitchin has its own pop-up cinema?

5. Church

Church can offer time and space to sort your thoughts and be inspired, whether through loud bands or peaceful reflection.

6. Early Morning Swim

Head to Hitchin Swimming Centre for a head-clearing workout. Make it the outdoor pool whenever it’s open, if you’re feeling hard core.



The rise of the gastro pub Tracy Bengougam


Fifteen years ago on a damp autumn Sunday, some friends and I wandered into a pub somewhere in the wilds of Wheathampsted. A quaint little place, in the middle of nowhere, with the requisite knackered benches outside and the sad remnants of a few hanging baskets. Inside, the local old-boys gang were playing dominoes and everyone froze like statues as we walked in. Suspicious eyes followed us to the bar where we were grudgingly served warm beer and a few packets of crisps. How times have changed. Some are wistful about the demise of local pubs while others have fully welcomed the rise of the gastro pub with their interior designed

ambience, plumped up silk cushions and shiny bright service. Even the ales are ‘designer’. And since when did you need to book a table at your local pub on a Sunday? The public house has changed. To be fair, it’s a massive improvement and a whole lot more welcoming – the fare on offer way more appetising than the pub grub of old. The Rusty Gun is tucked back on the London Road between Hitchin and Codicote in a beautiful countryside location surrounded by fields. They have a well-kept garden with a fire pit for chilly nights in the summer, and a paddock with piglets. Add to that a very select range of products from their farm shop and you can see why The

FOOD & DRINK Rusty Gun has gained a huge following in the area for its unique offering. Emphasis here is on local, fresh, seasonal produce including, of course, pork. All the food is created on the premises and cooked to order by head chef Ollie Blackman and his team. The menu is varied – you can opt for cosy, familiar fare with a gourmet twist, or something more adventurous – and just on the right side of gastro pub without being pretentious. Service is friendly and the welcome warm. There’s a pleasing selection of ales from The Old Cannon Brewery based in Bury St Edmunds and a wine list that’s big on New World from the Yalumba range – not my personal favourite, but the house wine is French and recent additions cater for other tastes. The shop stocks a tempting range of products, including cheeses, local chutneys, Hill-Smith wines and specialist cooks’ ingredients to name a few – we even purchased a copper

preserving pan a few months ago, brought back from France by the owner who was willing to do a deal.

The Rusty Gun is a personal favourite, a great place to kick back and enjoy the baked Camembert for

they have a well-kept garden with a fire pit for those chilly nights, and a paddock with piglets Best value in the restaurant is the ‘Prix Fixe’ menu (available Monday to Friday 12-3pm and 5.30-7pm, and Saturday 12-6pm) with two courses at £12.95, or three at £15.95. Sunday lunch consists of a good quality carvery at £12.95 for a main plate, including seconds. It’s usually busy, so it’s best to book. Evening brings its own particular ambience, along with the slightly more sophisticated a la carte menu.

two, a gooey treat best enjoyed with a merlot – a nice French one.

The Rusty Gun, London Road, St Ippolyts, Hitchin, SG4 7PG Tel: 01462 432653

Nora’s sticky gingerbread cake

82 year old Nora has been living locally since 1931. Her cakes are almost as legendary as Nora herself.

8 inch (20cm) square baking tin, lined and greased 10 oz (280g) plain flour 4 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground mixed spice 2 tsp baking powder 6 oz (170g) butter or margerine 6 oz (170g) black treacle 6 oz (170g) golden syrup 3 oz (80g) soft brown sugar 1/4 pint (150g) milk 3 eggs, beaten 2 oz (50g) flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F or gas mark 3). Sift the flour, spices and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Melt the butter or margerine, treacle, syrup and sugar gently in a saucepan, cool slightly then add to the flour mixture. Add the milk and eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour into the lined baking tin and sprinkle with almonds. Bake in the oven for 1hr 30mins to 2 hours. Check from 1hr 15mins – insert a skewer and if it comes out clean the cake is ready. Leave in the tin to cool for 15 mins, then turn out onto a wire cake rack and leave until cold. Then place into an airtight container for several days (yes really – it gets stickier and even more delicious!) before eating.


P n e u m o - Lu m i n e s c e n c e You are the sodium chloride of the Terra Firma, chum; you are the photon particle of the third rock from the Sun; a metropolis on a geographical el-e-va-ti-on so let your light shine! Let your light shine, let your light shine, let your visible radiation incandesce like mine! Don’t camouflage your splendour beneath a concave container, but perform the following task if you are able: place your beacon on a bracket on a gantry on a stage on a counter on a platform on a table. Then you can let your light shine, let your light shine, let your visible radiation luminesce like mine! Then species Homo Sapiens will be able to observe the wonderful tasks that you carry out here, and proclaim the magnificence of your Paternal Parent who lives in the eternal celestial sphere. They will see your light shine, see your light shine, observe your visible radiation fluoresce like mine!

Gary Turner (after Harry Dixon Loes and Bob Hartman) A version of Matthew 5:13–16


beards – good idea or hairy scary? “ H e t h at h at h a b e a r d i s m o r e t h a n a yo u t h , a n d h e t h at h at h n o b e a r d i s l e ss t h a n a m a n . ” (William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing) Thinking of growing some face fuzz but not sure how far to go? Some facts worth considering…

the designer stubble

the healthy beard

Defined as what you get after about 10 days of not shaving. Rated in one study as the most attractive beard subtype.

One paper concluded that beards ‘keep your face warmer and protect your chin from danger’. We’re not really sure what that means but it sounds important.

the summer fuzz

the old man beard

The ‘I’m on holiday so I can’t be bothered to shave’ look. One to avoid. In most studies described as the least attractive. Not a time to go out on the pull. 

Clipped and neat, but full facial coverage. Increases perceptions of age, so ditch it once you really are old.

the unkempt grower

the dodgy past beard

From a study comparing guys clean shaved with the same men after a month of untrimmed beard growth. Hairy resoundingly voted less attractive. Don’t go there.

If trying to hide your identity, be aware: folklore has it that snipers can use a long beard to judge wind direction and speed, thus making them a better shot. So keep it short.

The caveman

the yoga beard

Think full and bushy. Demonstrated to increase perceptions of how aggressive you are, and make you look more scary when angered.

Long and wispy. Hair releases electromagnetic energy - beards included. So the longer your beard, the stronger your aura and spiritual vibe. Honest.

Beard growing going really well? Put it to some use. Check out Don Matis, an artist from Hudson Ohio who paints using his own beard:





h i t c h in c h ri s t i a n c e n t r e – L o v in g L if e



a P O C A L Y P SE 2 0 1 3


here’s nothing Hollywood likes better than a good ending – preferably happy and often just about moral enough to make everyone believe that they’ve learned something. It seemed that this summer, particularly, one specific ending was all the rage, too – the end of the world itself! Whether courtesy of zombies (‘World War Z’), giant monsters (‘Pacific Rim’), super-villains (‘Man of Steel’), alien clones (North Herts’ very own ‘The World’s End’) or even the Biblical apocalypse itself (‘This Is The End’), 2013 is all about global annihilation! But is this an unusual obsession or is there something here that indicates a fundamental human fascination? If you cast your mind back to previous summer blockbusters, Hollywood regularly takes us to the

brink of existence (and usually back again too) in the name of celluloid entertainment. Since I’ve been going to the cinema I can think of meteors, monsters, aliens, robots, ice, floods, fire, contagious disease, infertility and even inter-dimensional creatures bringing global peril to the big screen. The recent spate of comic book superhero movies often flirt with human annihilation and the fragility of our planet. Whatever the threat, we flock to see how mere humans cope with the end of existence – and just how far they will go to save mankind from extinction. Perhaps this apocalyptic obsession stems from wanting to speculate about how life as we know it turns out, like the urge to turn to the final page of the cosmic book? Maybe it’s the instinct to see people pull together to overcome

impossible odds? Perhaps it’s that sense that we all in some small way need a saviour? Or maybe the appeal is just that whatever we’re going through, things could always be worse?! Whatever the reason, these high-concept tales of hope amongst near-certain destruction show no signs of going out of fashion. We all need a little dose of hope against all odds now and then. We all need to put our faith in something with the power to overcome. We all need to believe in the human spirit and its capacity to work wonders when we all pull together for a good cause. These cinematic apocalypses offer an exaggerated glimpse of such moments of hope and wonder but, deep down, we all crave the chance to experience this reality in our daily lives. Just with a few less zombies or giant robots! Paul Windo


FILM & DVD CULTURE So what would you do in the final hours of life as we know it? Throughout this year a veritable apocalypse of films have spun into being which imagine end of the world scenarios - and how people might react to them. Want to spend some time thinking about the end? Here’s our sum up of the big world-enders.

M o s t li k e ly t o … Make you glad it’s all over

Make you shout ‘I’ve been there!’

This is the end

The world’s end

The end of the world – with celebrities. Will a group of stranded Hollywood celebrities survive a fiery apocalypse or their own company? Expect profanity, outrageous banter, drug use and severed heads. Are any of them worth saving at all?

Pegg & Frost finish their “cornetto trilogy” (including Shaun of the Dead & Hot Fuzz) with a reunion pub crawl that stumbles upon an apocalypse. Filmed almost entirely in nearby Letchworth and Welwyn!

Make you laugh

Make you question your politics

World war Z


Think the end of the world, with zombies. Expect lots of tumbling body towers, surprisingly faston-their-feet zombies, great snarling close ups, and an unlikely hero – that’s right, the Americans don’t save the world; this time it’s the Welsh.

It’s 2154 and things are going great for the wealthiest 1% of the world, who aren’t living there anymore. But what about the rest of us? Matt Damon looks to improve the odds in this film from the people who brought us District 9.

Make you think

Make you think differently about rail travel

Man of Steel


Superb flying action and an alien invasion. But does the world really need a saviour? And can we trust humanity at all? A film to make you ponder who you really are and what you’re here for.

An experiment to solve global warming goes badly wrong, with big consequences for a bunch of passengers on a train. Will they descend into violence or manage to work together? May change which carriage you choose in future.

Make your ears ring

Give you that sense of deja vu

Pacific Rim

Ender’s game

Aptly described by Mark Kermode as ‘massive lizards hitting massive robots’, director Guillermo del Toro weighs in with questionable science and things coming out of the sea. Oh and its VERY LOUD! What’s not to like?

The future of the world depends on one brilliant kid. Star Wars for the 21st century – watch and wonder at how Harrison Ford has gone grey whilst you haven’t aged a bit.

Kate Middleton



Great Books ( for kids ) You Might Have Missed the First Time Around Famed author C.S. Lewis once said “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Here’s a list of hidden treasures from the kids’ bookshelf that are worth a read.

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A strange and funny romp across time and space and all of England – this is a book that belongs on every reader’s list of books to dive into at Christmas-time. Young Kay Harker is entrusted with a mysterious box by an equally mysterious Punch and Judy Man and soon finds himself running for his life from the terrible Abner Brown and his gang. Many adults will remember the BBC mini-series, but John Masefield’s book has charms all its own.

Perhaps the most famous book on this list, L’Engle’s book manages to cram an epic story of intergalactic travel and deep peril into a short and breezy read. No spoilers here – if you haven’t read this one, pick it up as soon as you can. If you remember it haunting your childhood, know that it’s standing up well to the test of time.

Momo (or The Grey Gentlemen) by Michael Ende The story of an orphan girl locked in a solitary battle against the predations of The Grey Gentlemen, who are stealing people’s wasted time and burning it up in their grey cigars. It’s haunting and strange and, although it was published forty years ago, remarkably relevant in the 21st century. If you’re lucky, you’ll track down the original English translation called The Grey Gentlemen, in a lovely hardcover edition with brown-ink text. The second English translation, published as Momo, is just as fine. While author Michael Ende’s later novel The Neverending Story far outshadowed Momo’s success, the book is still an unforgettable read.


Moominvalley in November by Tove Jansson Newcomers to the entire series of Moomin books by Finnish author Tove Jansson are often surprised: on the surface these are comic, absurd stories about a family of white hippopotamus-like creatures and their friends and neighbours in a Scandinavian woodland – but underneath all the innocent fun is something affecting and bleak and deeply existential. Moominvalley in November tells the story of a group of strangers, squatting in an empty house as autumn turns to winter, and the strange inner journey each of them must complete in order to survive. The lonely child who hopes to befriend a bacterium, the mouse-like creature who cannot shake her compulsive need to clean the house, the old man who believes that his three hundred year old ancestor is hibernating in the wood-burning stove: the book is populated with unforgettable characters like these. The kids will laugh; the adults will shake their heads in wonder.

BOOKS & MUSIC CULTURE Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Celebrated Canadian naturalist and author Farley Mowat (best known for his documentary novel Never Cry Wolf) tells this funny and touching yarn of two rescued Great Horned Owls and the family that tries their best to raise them. Don’t be surprised if you shed a tear or two.

The classic tale of sailing and adventure manages to sweep the reader up into the thrill and magic of everyday life in childhood, and captures a lost era of life in the Lake District with remarkable realism. This book and its sequels are the perfect antidote to the surfeit of wizards and vampires on every kids-lit bookshelf these days. D McGhee


The Duckworth Lewis Method

Martin Smith


Sticky Wickets

God’s Great Dance Floor (Step 1)


A second album from the side project of Neil Hannon from the Divine Comedy features another twelve songs entirely about cricket. It might seem odd to write one album entirely about a subject, let alone two, but the lyrical content – even for non-cricket fans – is pretty easy to follow. The band present songs from different perspectives, including The Umpire and that of a lousy catch, stuck all day daydreaming in Third Man. The music explores styles including folk, pop, rock and electro (Line and Length) and very much follows Hannon’s varied musical career. Great fun and thoroughly recommended.

This highly anticipated first official solo album by Martin Smith, the former front man of Delirious? is full of variety, with tracks covering a range of styles providing a great platform for Martin’s distinctive vocal sound. Centred on a seriously strong lyrical element, the songs are bursting with inspired faith content; the intention here is to make music to be sung by people rather than performed to them. Expect to hear the highlights Back To The Start, Awake My Soul and Waiting Here For You belting out in church in the near future. High quality song-writing throughout and presented with ear-pleasing production.

The debut album from Disclosure has been long awaited by those of us who were excited by their early demos on late night radio. The album features all the big singles that have been huge hits and a large number of tracks that will be new. Get hold of the deluxe version as it also includes some of those early releases, including the brilliant Tenderly. It’s great to hear many of the Lawrence brothers’ showbiz friends making an appearance, including AlunaGeorge and the brilliant Jessie Ware. The album pushes a positive vibe and comes alive as a party album, with the lyrics secondary to the pumping grooves.

(Divine Comedy Records)


(Universal Island Records)

Tim Hallas


o p e n yo ta k e a d e e celebra


our eyes e p b r e at h at e l i f e


Casa Helen Risipeni, Moldova In a small, remote village in the poorest country in Europe, a change is happening. Lives are being transformed. People are being given back their dignity. It all started back in 2008 when Hitchin resident Sharon Eason, along with Hitchin Christian Centre, responded to the call to help the people of

Moldova... and project Casa Helen, in the village of Risipeni, was born. Casa Helen is now a thriving care home, providing a loving environment for elderly women who would otherwise have been destitute and alone, as well as supplying much needed work for 7 families. One woman rescued is blind: she

was living in squalor, had no family to care for her and, in trying to get warm had twice set herself on fire. Her name is Lisa, and she now enjoys the comfort of a lovely home, three good meals a day and most importantly, good companionship from the care workers and the other residents.

adopt a granny Ana is 91 years old and has raised nine children in Risipeni. She nursed her wheelchair-bound husband until he passed away. She has no idea where her children are: as soon as they could, they flew the nest in search of work and never returned. Sadly, this is the story of so many elderly people in Moldova. Casa Helen takes care of 14 grannies just

About Moldova • Moldova is the poorest country in europe • The landscape is made up of 100’s of small villages • There is no running water in the villages and therefore no sewage system


like Ana. They are loved, cherished and more importantly, treated with dignity. Ana has found the family she longed for. Our grannies have hot and cold running water, three wholesome meals a day, a clean, warm comfortable bed and oodles of TLC! To get involved, head to and enter “adopt a granny” in the comments box.

• People still use horse and cart, especially in the villages • Village people grow their own vegetables and fruit; some may keep poultry and pigs • People cook on wood burning stoves • Extreme climate: 40+°C in the summer; -30°C in winter

3 great things about

Westmill 1

Chris I love Westmill’s back garden, Oughtonhead Common Nature Reserve. After working all week in London, it’s amazing to be able to walk two minutes from your home and be surrounded by nature, especially the deer, kingfishers and long-horn cattle.



Claudine My favourite thing about Westmill is definitely the Coffee Mill Community Centre. The first time I went was after talking to Gareth Williamson (who ran the Coffee Mill Youth Group) on the estate. I was really shy back then and didn’t know many people on the estate, but Gareth made the first week chocolate-themed, so we had to come! Now we know loads of people in Westmill, we’ve learnt about God and this year we’re going to lead a course introducing other young people to faith.

Sarah The takeaways on Redhill Road are the best in Hitchin! The shops are all friendly and convenient and it’s a bonus to have a butcher right on the estate.


B I G S U N D AY Try Church 9:15am & 11:15am 29 Sep / 27 Oct / 24 nov Hitchin Christian centre, bedford road









School years 6-8

School years 9+


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7 things you didn’t know about hitchin 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 26

Next time you’re walking down Old Tilehouse Street, keep an eye out for the slantiest house on the lane. A long-ago owner cut through one of the rafters to install the chimney, not realising he’d compromised an important structural beam in doing so. The house has been listing sideways ever since. Richard Reason Pianos, itself a venerable old business in Hitchin, was once home to Robert Newton, perhaps not as well-known as his esteemed cousin, Sir Isaac Newton. And did his cousin’s feet in ancient time, walk (scientifically) on Hitchin’s Tilehouse Street? That answer is lost to history. Older residents of Hitchin may remember a sweet shop on Bucklersbury run by an equally sweet and unassuming old lady. She was secretly a member of the French Resistance in the Second World War. Gatward Jewellers has been selling shiny things in the town square since 1760, and has been owned and run by the same family for 7 generations. Hitchin Square was home to no less than six pubs in Victorian times. Some pubs in the town centre still have extended opening hours on market days, as in centuries past. Next time you walk past St Mary’s Church, notice the modern looking red bricks included in the stonework of the tower. Those bricks are actually fantastically old, having been rescued from Roman builds on the site. The last corpse in the St. Mary’s Church graveyard to fall prey to body snatchers was stolen in 1826, probably to be sold as a cadaver to a medical school.

Matt Summerfield, Senior Pastor at Hitchin Christian Centre, is a fun-loving, inspirationspreading, big-dreaming, life-sharing twitter user. Here’s a taste...

@mattsummerfield Dreaming new dreams. Shaking things up. If u want something new ya gotta do something new. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkegaard Note to self: NEVER try to take on @JSDanceAcademy in dance competition. She’s trained. She’s got moves. What would stretch your faith & take you out of your comfort zone? Identify it! Do it! Grow your passion #livelife123 Time to lead my 2nd funeral @ HCClatest. Prayers appreciated, especially for the family of lovely Eric who is now with the Lord. Growth question: Are there any people in your life who you may need to forgive? Discuss… #Livelife123 Advance party heads off today for @urbansaints Westbrook reloaded holiday. Gonna be a cracker. Hopefully a life changing week for 58 youth! Respect: To GET it you must GIVE it

Saturday 9th November 2013 Time: 7.30pm At Hitchin Christian Centre, Bedford Road, Hitchin, SG5 1HF Men’s Event // Tickets £5 each For more info and tickets head to




The Tricks ‘n’ Laughs Show


Matt Summerfield shares a future-shaping dream was around six years old when I became an Elvis Presley fan. That may be hard to believe, but the truth is that I thought the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was awesome. Given the opportunity I would happily break out in blasts of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” or “Teddy Bear” for anybody who would care to listen. My mum even made me an Elvis Presley costume for a fancy dress party once. Apparently, when Elvis died in 1977, there were

But the future does matter, right? Not in terms of whether we’ll all be shaking our hips singing “It’s Now Or Never”, but in terms of the world that our children are destined to inherit. ‘History Maker’ is one of the most well-known and anthemic songs written by the Christian band Delirious?. I’ve been to plenty of lively youth gigs over the years where I’ve seen hundreds of young people belting out the chorus with all their hearts…

a handful of people across the world who actually earned their living impersonating him – around 170 of them. Interestingly, by the year 2000 that number had risen to over 85,000 people. Imagine that. 85,000 people across the world who were paid to impersonate Elvis. I was 30 years old and confess to not being one of them. But here’s a scary thought. If those growth trends were to continue, by the year 2019 one in three people across the world would be Elvis impersonators. More than two billion Elves (not Elvi).

“I’m gonna be a history maker in this land!” But the truth is this: whether they intend to be history makers or not - they all will be! In fact, every single one of us will make history. The big question that we really have to grapple with is this… What kind of history are we going to make? Or maybe even that is the wrong question. Why do I say that? Because your history is someone else’s future! Let me say that again… Your history is someone else’s future! So maybe the real question is not, ‘What history will I make?’ but ‘What kind of future will I create? What legacy will I leave? What possibilities and opportunities will I have opened up for those who follow me?’ A study some years ago interviewed a group of people all aged over 95. They were asked what they would do differently if they had life to live over again. The results were pretty revealing. These wise men and women nearing the end of their lives wished that…

DON’T MAKE HISTO CH Your history is someone else’s future! Could you be one of them? Do you care? Probably not, and in the grand scheme of things I think you’re probably right to relax.


• They had risked more • They had reflected more • They had done more things that would live on after they were dead That last point is interesting. They wished that they had left a legacy. They wished that they had passed on something worthwhile. They wished that they had created a better future. Why? Because deep down we all care about what happens in the future: about the world we’ll leave behind for the generations who follow up and those still to come. At least we should, right?

ORY HANGE THE FUTURE There’s a famous story told of an old man, walking along a beach, who came across a little lad in the act of throwing a beached starfish back into the sea. The old man asked the lad, “What are you doing?” The boy turned, replying passionately: “All these starfish have been washed up on to this beach and they’re dying. I’m throwing them back in to save their lives!” The old man looked across at the hoards of starfish, now marooned on the dry, hot sand. “But there are hundreds of starfish on this beach,” he proclaimed. “You can’t possibly make a difference to all of them.” The boy reached down and picked up another starfish – flinging it back in to the safety of the sea. “I made a difference to that one,” he said. It’s a powerful reminder that the secret to changing


[ Movie Mentors ] 1. Yoda STAR WARS “There is no try. Do or do not!” 2. Charles Xavier X-MEN “We have it in us to be the better men.” 3. Mr Miyagi KARATE KID “Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.” 4. Agent K MEN IN BLACK “Don’t ever, ever touch the red button.” 5. Uncle Ben SPIDERMAN “With great power comes great responsibility.” 6. John Keating DEAD POETS SOCIETY “Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” 7. Morpheus THE MATRIX “You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.” 8. Andy Dufresne SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” 9. Gandalf LORD OF THE RINGS “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 10. Dumbledore HARRY POTTER “The time comes when you must decide between what is easy and what is right.”


[ Mentor mindset ]

the world is to do it one life at a time. And you can REALLY positively and powerfully impact the life of someone. Everyone can change the world – change the future – for somebody. Jesus Christ was a man who lived a life that shone like the sun, attracting thousands who would flock to hear him or be healed by him every day. And yet he devoted his time and energies on just a handful of people – his disciples (which means ‘apprentices’). Why? Because this was the greatest thing he could do. This was the greatest influence and impact he could bring. And the results speak for themselves. Jesus invested three years of his life encouraging, training and equipping 12 disciples… and two thousand

that way – Psalm 84 verse 5 says that life is a journey, a pilgrimage, not a meaningless series of days. But it’s not a journey we’re supposed to take alone. If we’re going to be FUTURE-CHANGERS then we need to remember three vital things… Firstly, we are learners – we need to be connected to people ahead of us who can coach, mentor and help us be the best we can be. (Some of the greatest movies remind us of the importance of having a mentor or guide!) Secondly, we are travellers – we need to be connected to close friends who journey alongside us, doing life together – people who love and accept us, crying with us in our pain, celebrating our successes and inspiring us to great things.

What kind of future will I create? years later there are over two BILLION people across the world who claim to be followers of Jesus. Pretty sizeable legacy, eh? That’s changing the future! Most of us see life as a bit of a journey. For one thing, we don’t end where we started. And along the way, we’re shaped not only by circumstances but by other people. The Bible also tells it

Finally, we are teachers – we all have wisdom and encouragement to share with those who will follow us in life. We want to be a positive influence and impact on other people. Remember, you change the world one life at a time – so who can you help today?! Are you up for embracing a life that changes the future, for millions of people, but starting with one life?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Passion Compassion Humility Honesty Teachability Commitment Servant-heart Patience Courage Reliability

[ Tool up ] Get equipped to be a future-changer on our special 6-week Sunday morning series “Don’t Make History, Change The Future”, from Sunday 3 November to Sunday 8 December 2013, supported by daily inspiring thoughts and tools to help you get started. Everyone gets a FREE copy of Matt Summerfield’s book “Don’t Make History, Change The Future”.

Matt Summerfield is Senior Pastor at Hitchin Christian Centre and Chief Executive of national youth organisation Urban Saints


was Jesus an

? T S I H C R A N A


Dr Brendan Devitt istory is full of inspirational leaders with radical ideas – people who spread discontent within the political system of their time – idealists who were dissatisfied with the status quo, many of whom were executed for what they believed. One theory suggests a perhaps unlikely addition to their hall of fame – Jesus of Nazareth, put to death over 2000 years ago. But was he really a political REVOLUTIONARY? At his trial, Jesus was accused of threatening to destroy the temple in Jerusalem and of claiming to be the King of the Jews. Under Roman law these claims were political crimes punishable by death. At heart they undermined Caesar’s right to be Emperor. Jesus’ threats and claims therefore were political DYNAMITE. But was Jesus really intent on lighting a powder keg at the very heart of Jewish society and blowing it to smithereens? One well-known religious scholar has argued that Jesus was sympathetic to the cause of a violent Jewish revolutionary group called the Zealots. The Zealots had set out to TERRORISE supporters of Roman rule in Palestine, with the eventual aim of driving the Romans out of Jewish territory so that they could govern Israel as a holy people devoted to the Jewish God, Yahweh.

God’s rule. At the last supper Jesus encouraged his disciples to purchase a sword, even if it meant selling their clothes to acquire one. In his teaching moreover he had said that he had not come to bring peace but a sword. Was Jesus an anarchist, then, bent on overthrowing Roman rule in Palestine? The majority of scholars would argue not. Jesus may have clashed with the political rulers of his day, but it seems unlikely that he was a Zealot or even sympathised with their cause. In fact historical evidence suggests the Zealots may not even have existed as a ‘terrorist’ network until forty or so years after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ teachings

what had he done to deserve the DEATH PENALTY? His ministry must have had very serious political implications, as the Romans reserved crucifixion for criminals and political agitators. The answer to this question can be found in statements attributed to the religious leaders in Jerusalem shortly before Jesus’ arrest. As Jesus’ popularity grew, these rulers were concerned that the Romans might think they were incapable of either controlling or governing the Jewish population. This was because Jesus had recently created a scene in the temple by driving out those who were offering a currencyexchange service. This would immediately have rung alarm bells for the Roman governor Pontius Pilate because the priestly authorities were supposed to enforce law and order and maintain the peace in the Jewish capital. A loose CANNON like Jesus therefore could not be allowed to demolish the foundations of Jewish society by his raging against injustice and religious hypocrisy. History tells us that the Roman authorities adopted a harsh policy towards native rulers who failed to keep their house in order. This usually took the form of a BRUTAL REPRISAL against the native population in general, plus the political demotion of its leaders. In other words, Rome might take away what little POWER the Jews already had under imperial rule. It is against this backdrop that the Jewish High Priest, Caiaphas, uttered the following words: ‘It is necessary that one man should die for the people rather than that the whole nation should

Anarchist (noun) a person who promotes disorder or excites revolt against any established rule, law, or custom. (OED)

The theory argues that Jesus, coming to the fore as a leader of a new politically aware religious movement, also anticipated the use of PHYSICAL FORCE to achieve

also frequently undermined the political aims of the Zealots. When interrogated by Pilate at his trial, Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this earth – which seems to suggest that Jesus attached little significance to political authority. He also instructed people to pay taxes to Caesar – which is hardly the kind of advice you would expect from a Jewish FREEDOM FIGHTER. On one occasion he turned away from the crowds when they wanted to politicise his ministry and make him a king. In short, Jesus lights up the stage of history as a pacifist. In his teaching he constantly urges his followers to love their enemies, to do good to those who hate them, to forgive unconditionally – a radical reversal of every accepted norm. So – if Jesus promoted peace,

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21


perish.’ Put simply: if Jesus was going to continue to challenge and undermine the way the priests were running the religious show in Jerusalem, then he would have to die lest Rome intervened to punish the whole population. Jews and Romans had every reason to fear REBELS, troublemakers and wouldbe Messiahs. They created political and social instability in the Roman world and usually brought BLOODSHED in their wake. CRUCIFIXION was the Roman answer to this problem. In the case of Jesus therefore, the quick response of the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman

political authorities put paid to any plans on Jesus’ part to overthrow Roman rule or call down God from heaven. It transpired that Jesus’ plans were nothing of the kind. His EXECUTION wasn’t the end of the story - it was part of perhaps the most dramatic twist in history. Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus’ followers claimed that he ROSE FROM THE DEAD, fulfilling his own predictions and prophecies recorded centuries before. It seems that those in power had quite the wrong idea about what Jesus of Nazareth was aiming for. Right to the present day, Jesus has

become a source of both inspiration and controversy. His style of revolution, far from being rooted in violence, was to radically challenge accepted norms of the culture and religion of that day. Jesus brought a message of love and peace: a way to live that transformed societies and eventually spread across the globe, even becoming adopted by the very people who crucified him – the Romans. History cannot ignore Jesus: it may wish to question or challenge the claims he and his followers made, but there’s no doubting his place as a significant, surprising and influential leader.

Playbox Preschool is a fun, friendly and educational preschool for children aged two to three years. Our experienced childcare team offer quality care and education in a safe, fun and stimulating environment where all our children are recognised as being unique and individual.

Playbox Toddlers runs every Friday morning 9:30am to 11:30am during term time – a chance to relax and enjoy a couple of hours with other mums, dads and their babies and toddlers. We take care of making coffee and tea, so you can chat, unwind and relax!


Thursday nights 5:30-7:15pm School years 1-5

CSI:Hitchin Christian Spirituality Investigated 01 OCT

Choosing your faith?

08 OCT

How can you be sure of anything at all?

15 OCT

Does the bible matter?

22 OCT

What’s the big deal about Jesus?

05 NOV

Dead people don’t come back to life, right?

12 NOV

What about suffering?

19 NOV

Putting it all together

26 NOV

What do you believe?

Everything you wanted to ask about Christianity but never had the chance. Great coffee, scrumptious desserts and thoughtprovoking conversation.

Tuesdays, 7:45pm - 9:30pm | Hitchin Christian Centre | FREE


Converstions with Dr Brendan Devitt




Imam Abdur Rahman

Rabbi Natan Levy

Rev Steve Chalke





some dates At hitchin christian centre - you’re always welcome, consider yourself invited!

woMEN (www)

MEN (iron) Mondays

5-a-side football (PRIORY SCH.) 8pm-9pm

Sat 14 Sep Armoury Breakfast


Sat 12 Oct Armoury Breakfast


Sat 12 Oct Laser clay pigeon shoot

Times TBC

Sat 09 Nov tricks n laughs tour


Sat 07 Dec men’s creche

From 9am

Sat 11 Jan Armoury Breakfast


Sat 08 Feb Armoury Breakfast


Fri 28 Feb quiz night


Sat 08 Mar Armoury Breakfast


Sat 12 Apr Armoury Breakfast


Sat 26 Apr Meal with LINVOY PRIMUS


under 5s Playbox Preschool Weekday sessions Playbox TODDLERS Fridays 9:30-11:30am (term time) LITTLE Stars Sundays during the 9:15am service










Sat 22 Mar dinner with philippa hanna



COFFEE @ The sun hotel Tue 10 Sep / 08 Oct / 12 Nov / 14 Jan / 11 Feb - 10am-12pm CHRISTMAS LUNCH Tue 10 Dec - Times TBC



Thu 19 Sep Urban saints launch

Fri 27 Sep Urban saints launch

URBAN SAINTS JUNIORS Thursdays 5:30-7:15pm School years 1 to 5

URBAN SAINTS one Fridays 6:45-8:15pm School years 6 to 8

Super Stars Sundays during the 9:15am service

URBAN SAINTS TWO Fridays 8:00-9:30pm School years 9+ APPRENTICE Sundays during the 9:15am service BREAkfast bar Mon-Tues-Wed before school 7:30-8:30am


Special Thursdays

ID Kit


Fri 06 Sep

Late night lock-in prayer


Wed 10 Sep leaders night


Sun 15 Sep Which Jesus? Muslim Jesus


Tue 01 Oct

CSI (faith explored) launch


Fri 04 Oct

Late night lock-in prayer


Tue 08 Oct

leaders night


Sat 12 Oct

tearfund stall in market sq


Sun 13 Oct

Hi tea - get to know us


Sun 13 Oct

Which Jesus? jewish Jesus


Sun 20 Oct

choirs night @st mary’s


Wed 23 Oct Playbox christmas market


Fri 01 Nov

Late night lock-in prayer


Tue 12 Nov

leaders night


Sun 24 Nov Which Jesus? christian jesus Fri 06 Dec

Late night lock-in prayer

Sun 08 Dec king’s chamber orchestra Tue 10 Dec

leaders night

Sat 14 Dec

10pm-12am 3pm & 7:30pm


Christmas celebration




Wed 11 Dec playbox nativity



CHURCH SERVICES EVERY WEEK 9:15am (with youth & children’s programme) 11:15am

Sun 15 Dec Christmas celebration

3pm & 7pm

15 Sept - 27 Oct jesus: Prophet, priest, king, lord, christ, son of god, saviour

Sun 22 Dec candlelight carols


29 Sept

Wed 25 Dec christmas day service


03 Nov - 08 Dec Don’t make history change the future (42 day series)

Fri 03 Jan

Late night lock-in prayer


Tue 07 Jan

theology cafe launch


Sun 12 Jan the crypt launch


Sun 26 Jan Hi tea - get to know us


15 Dec

harvest festival (Go Global)

(No morning service)

Communion: 2nd Sunday of each month BIG SUNDAY big invite day: last Sunday of each month

Sun 02 Feb discipleship training courses 3-7pm Fri 07 Feb

now that’s what i call talent


c h o o s e l i g h t – j o h n 3 : 19 - 21






















LIFE CULTURE HITCHIN i d e a s FAITH f u n b e l i e F lo c a l buzz goodness p o s i t i v i t y LIGHT

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Radiant Magazine (Autumn 2013)  

A faith-impacted look at life and culture, a sense of place, a sense of fun and a positive vibe.

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