A collection of stories and comments from some people who have done Alpha with us
From JF – Having been christened as a child, I grew up sadly not really following my faith due to my parents not being religious. When I moved away to uni I decided that I wanted to explore my faith and decided to go to church on Sundays and luckily ended up at ascension church. Everyone was so welcoming which was a huge reason that I continued to explore my faith deeper, it was one of the church leaders that suggested the Alpha course to me. At first I was unsure as I felt that I didn’t have the time for it and that I didn’t think it would be right for me – as I’m sure most people think before trying the course. However I decided to go ahead and try it and see what happens. I’m so glad that I did as I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have made! Before the first session I was nervous, I didn’t know a lot about Christianity and I was worried that I wouldn’t understand certain things or that any questions or opinions I had would be “silly”. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The videos that were included on the course informed me of so many things about Christianity that I didn’t know but the thing I liked the most is how relatable they were! The people they included in their videos were easily relatable as some of them were religious and some of them weren’t, it was refreshing as they provided different perspectives on God, Christianity and different aspects of the bible. The group that I did the alpha with were also an important part of the experience, they made sure that any questions or opinions I had were answered and were not deemed silly. They really helped me through a journey over a period of time. I have to say I’m so happy that I did the Alpha course and it has helped my relationship with God and Christianity go from strength to strength! It has further fuelled my journey as a Christian into the next steps.
From J – Jesus was a neighbor one I spoke to on occasion, in passing or because I had something to ask Him. Now He is no longer a neighbor. He is in my house living with me.
From G – Dear Chris, I really enjoyed the course but found it a bit overwhelming being the only one some weeks. I appreciate I asked some challenging question! My only feedback would be to have a few examples from you work which would demonstrate other peoples experience.
RN said – I would say that it is the best thing I have done. The journey since the end of Alpha has not gotten easier but I can hear things better knowing and understanding my faith and my Lord better. It answered questions I did not even know I needed the answers to and it has definitely brought Rob and I even closer going through it together. It has changed me for good and definitely for the better. I will never forget the weekend away.
JN said -The Alpha course has helped me to become bolder to speak the word. Previously, I very much kept what I knew to myself, afraid that I might hurt some people who are not believers. Now, I just speak the word, no more fear
For some people the time may not be right to join Alpha immediately or even continue through the entire course, you need to be ready to open yourself to God and open yourself to the idea of Christianity. But when the time is right then Alpha will always be the right thing for you.
LT said The Alpha course was an incredible experience. It was lovely to sit and ask questions in a safe and welcoming place. I was nervous to begin with but my confidence grew over the weeks, as did our friendship as a group. I really enjoyed the structure of the course with talks with Nicky Gumbel (he made me laugh and cry!) insightful discussion time and beautiful puddings. I would like to thank all the lovely people who provided yummy vegan options!
There were big gaps in my understanding of Christianity as I had very little education on the subject whilst growing up. I feel the Alpha course gave me the opportunity to really explore all the important aspects, to really understand how I could get to know God. With a solid foundation, I have since grown as a Christian and as an individual. In November 2013, I decided to get confirmed alongside my Alpha friends. It was something I had wanted to do for some time and I finally had the confidence to make that significant step. I am so thankful for the course, for the way it transformed my faith journey and for all the blessings it has since brought me.
Life before God – By Christopher Brann
I had what I thought was a full and happy life; the cafe I ran kept me in house and home, I had friends, mainly within my war games and historical hobbies, I didn’t want children or to be near them if I could help it, nor did I want to meet and talk to other people. In fact the only thing I was scared of was people, according to my wife. I had little feeling for others and didn’t want to have emotions for anyone at all. I mainly thought of myself and what I wanted from life.
How I found God
In 1995 I started to go to my local church, I don’t know why, I just did. I went occasionally for the next few months. The people at the church would try to find out who I was, etc., before I ran out at the end of the service.
April 96 – by now a few people at the church had kept hold of me long enough to talk to me and find out a bit about me. The church asked me if I would like to go on an ALPHA course. The course is one evening a week for ten weeks where you get a meal, a video on the Christian faith and then get to discuss it and ask any questions you like. This sounded like it could be fun and I was sure that they couldn’t present any facts to make me believe that there was really a living God.
The first week was on the non-biblical historical evidence for Jesus. Well this caught my attention, after all I enjoy history and had read some of the books mentioned. So I went back for the next few weeks. By now I could see that there was proof of a God and his son Jesus having existed but I could not see how people could say that he lived and talked to them.
The Alpha away day – about half way through the course we were sent on a day away to hear and learn about the Holy Spirit. After lunch we went for a walk and I sped off alone (as was normal for me). I sat down while waiting for the others to catch up and prayed to God. I asked him to forgive me for all my sins, that I wanted Jesus to be part of my life and that I would do what he wanted me to do. Later in the day we had the opportunity to have someone pray for the Holy Spirit of God to bless us. I agreed but with apprehension. Since that experience I now know that God lives as I felt him through his Spirit. The power I felt was amazing and I knew that God lives.
My new life with God
God has changed me to a loving and caring person, I now love children and want some, I care about other people and their needs and I find that I can’t get annoyed easily with people. I want to help others and help them to find out about the great love God has for them. I know that I must spread God’s word everywhere and bring his lost sheep to salvation. The change in me has been so great that my mother decided that God must be real and has given her life to Christ Jesus.