Like many churches, we have been holding Alpha courses for decades at our church, writes Fiona Castle.
Each one has been adapted to suit the candidates.
Two very successful courses have been run for the mothers at our Mums and Tots group, Pop In. These were held in the morning over coffee and cake, and condensed to fit in with the schedule for mothers to collect their children from nursery, although crèche facilities were provided at the church.
There have been courses for guys, held at the local pub, where issues were discussed over a glass of beer and of course, the traditional ones, where a good meal is provided before the discussions.
At our most recent course, Katrina Reading, who is our Community and Family worker, commented how effective it had been. This was a ladies only course, which was appropriate as several of the ladies had been in abusive relationships.
Two came because, when asked, they had not liked to say no, even though they had been warned off by family and friends! One of these ladies has already become a strong believer and has also seen her daughter come to faith through her mother’s encouragement to also attend an Alpha course elsewhere.
Katrina said that another woman who was depressed and suicidal has now found a living faith and reads three sets of Bible notes each day and can’t stop smiling and hugging people!
Another course, set up by Holy Trinity Brompton, is Recovery from Divorce and Separation. More than ten of these courses have now been run very successfully at our church. One of the offshoots has been that people can come to an Alpha course if they are interested in following up what they have learned at the Recovery course. Apparently many of the men have found Alpha really helpful and have come to faith as a result.
We certainly have been grateful to Nicky Gumbel for this amazing initiative, which has touched more than 13 million people all around the world.
If you want to find out more about attending or running a course in your area look up www.alpha.org