There was talk of ‘sins’ and a special guidance book, we sat in rows and listened to an inspirational speaker, we confessed our failings and told stories to encourage each other. There was even an offering collected…but this was not church. It was slimming world.

The comparisons were striking. Are slimming clubs secular churches? Places where people who want change meet to be empowered and fellowship together. They work because they too harness the power of community; the commitment you put in is rewarded with life change. You need to connect but you are rewarded with a sense of belonging and a way of life to share. There’s just one snag. Here in the word of weight loss there’s no divine intervention. If you want this you have to make it happen for yourself. I’m pleased churches offer something more. The Spirit of God offers to become part of our lived experiences so that there is power to change to reinforce our will to change. I’m also relieved that the church hasn’t yet resorted to reading out lists of how well we’ve done this well and given us ‘Member of the Month’ certificates…although, come to think of it…!