The Alpha Program

Alpha is a world-wide program that introduces people to the core beliefs of Christianity. It does this through great presentations by pastor Nicky Gumbel and his amazing Alpha film series. Nicky Gumbel is a pastor in England who developed the Alpha program, after his highly successful work in the parish of Holy Trinity, Brompton. Holy Trinity became such an alive place with people coming there to seek answers to life’s big questions, to seek a spiritual connection, to seek healing, to learn about the power of prayer and to form friendships in an open hearted community. The Holy Spirit was working powerfully in this community and the movement took momentum.This developed into the Alpha program which has since been experienced by over 29 million people around the world.

What is Alpha?

Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. The program typically runs over eleven weeks. The sessions are free and everyone’s welcome. Generally, Alpha programs have three things in common: food, a talk, and a good discussion. Each talk explores a different question around faith and is designed to create a conversation.

  • Increases and deepens the roots of grace that we first experienced at baptism
  • Unites us more firmly to Jesus
  • Increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us
  • Makes our bond with the Church more perfect
  • Gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Jesus, to confess His name boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross

What is its purpose?

Alpha is very effective as a means of bringing people to a “starting point of faith,” – to an encounter with the Lord Jesus. It helps introduce people to Jesus as a person -not a concept, a philosophy, or a paradigm while also teaching the foundational elements of our faith.

The Alpha Program at OLHC

Alpha can be done in a variety of ways but in our parish we have run it as a dinner conversation.

People interested in doing the course come to dinner once a week for 7 weeks and for a weekend retreat, somewhere away from the parish. We have trained volunteers (who are committed to their faith and who love Alpha) to lead small groups in conversation over dinner. The groups then watch the film presentations together and discuss it over the course of the evening. In this way, friendships are formed and people feel that they can trust their thoughts and ideas to the group. There is no judgementalism and everyone is free to explore ideas in an atmosphere of friendship and trust.

In 2016 we ran 2 Alpha programs which were very beneficial in terms of faith growth and community development. We would like to do more in 2017 and hope many of you reading this would like to join in.

As the Alpha website says: Alpha is relaxed, interactive, non-judgemental and lots of fun. It is designed to reach people and engage with them in a culturally relevant way. It enables them to ask the questions they wish to ask and doesn’t assume any level of knowledge or understanding of Christianity. Alpha creates space for genuine exploration of life’s big questions and provides the opportunity for people to form meaningful friendships with each other.

What’s Alpha doing for me?

Lynn Richards: “ALPHA gave me the opportunity to review, reflect and reconfirm my relationship with God.”
Joe Moore: “I didn’t think a discussion of my spiritual questions could be presented in such an enjoyable way. Many laughs, good company, nice food. A good night and something I looked forward to.”
Dina Delfino: “I gained so much from participating in Alpha that I want others to have this opportunity too.”
Mario Raj: “The talks and discussions really opened up my mind.”
Read Mario De Bonno’s account of the Alpha Program here

Interested in joining the Alpha program?
Talk to our Parish Priest or call the Parish Office for more information.

Catholic Resources

Watch this Promo video to understand
Alpha in a Catholic context

See what Bishop Michael Byrnes said recently about the impact that Alpha had on his parish.

Matt Maher discusses Alpha and the New Evangelization.