Chess Nuts Chess Club Brings in New York Neighbors

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For years, Craig Fisher taught chess and organized clubs and tournaments. When Fisher was challenged by his pastor to serve the community, he chose his favorite hobby. He started the Chess Nuts club at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

One afternoon a week, as many as 13 kids show up for a chess lesson led by Fisher. He demonstrates a few skills while students discover the solutions as they play. “Craig is great with the kids,” said Pastor Bill Hanchett. “He and his other adult helpers resist the impulse to solve problems for the kids; rather, they guide them to find their own solutions. These are great life skills for all of us!”

“The chess club provides one of many entry points into the Immanuel Church community where people see the love of Christ being lived out,” Hanchett said.

Fisher explains that the chess club is a great way to build relationships within the community In one case, a little girl adopted from China knew very little English. Chess was something she could do and use to communicate with other children.

Hanchett said the club has also provided a chance to pray for some of the members. “We’ve prayed with a mom who was going through a difficult time. I also prayed for a dad who is an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD. How God will use our prayers we do not know. But these parents are learning that we at Immanuel Church are a community that believes in the power of prayer as well as being a safe, nurturing environment for their kids.”

“To provide a service to the community, it is helpful if that service incorporates one’s gifts,” Fisher said. For seven years, he has been doing just that.

About the Author

Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.