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Photos by Laura Bird/The Mason City Globe Gazette

MASON CITY, Iowa—Faith Baptist Church is bonding with its community around games of chess. The church was inspired with the idea after reading “Loving Your Community” in the November/December 2014 Baptist Bulletin. In that article, Pastor Steve Viars of Faith Church, Lafayette, Ind., challenged readers to find “fresh ways to make a difference for Christ.”

“As a result of reading this article during the winter, we looked for creative ways to rub shoulders with people in the community,” says Faith Baptist. On Jan. 8 the church began a 13-week Winter Chess Club for third graders through adults. About two dozen people are taking part in the weekly program on Thursday nights from 4:00 to 5:00.

“The hour-long club includes five minutes of teaching new strategies at the beginning and the participants spend the rest of the time playing opponents with a similar skill level,” reports the Globe Gazette of Mason City.

Why chess? “We play a lot as a family,” says Scott Onofrio, associate of outreach and discipleship. “We thought it would be fun to get more people involved.”

Scott’s wife, Grace, says, “We’re happy with the turnout but always want more.”