‘You’ve got questions, we’ve got the place to ask them.’
Alpha is a fourteen session course which explores the Christian faith in a relaxed and friendly setting where no question is regarded as too basic, too silly or too ‘far out’. Participants share in fellowship, usually over a meal, and following a teaching presentation, they have ample time for discussion. Hence the new slogan ‘You’ve got questions, we’ve got the place to ask them.’
Alpha was introduced in Jamaica in the year 2000 at the St. Andrew Parish Church where the programme is now conducted annually. Most recently, the Diocese has chosen to use the Alpha course in Longville Park in Clarendon. The first course is currently in progress with some 18 persons, hosted in the home of one of the participants; and it is being supported by the Church Army, as well as, the Rector and members of the Church of St. Gabriel in May Pen.
Over the years, testimonies coming from participants and their associates have been encouraging as they have spoken of a deepening of their understanding of their faith and of their role as Christians. Educators have spoken of the significant improvement in the behaviour, discipline and work ethic of students who have done the course. In all of this, the fellowship has generated closer relationships.
The Alpha course was originally developed in an Anglican Church in London – Holy Trinity in Brompton – in response to a perceived need for Christian education among members and the need for a tool to be used in evangelism. The success of the course at Holy Trinity attracted the attention of neighbouring congregations. Today nearly twenty million people in some 200 countries and several denominations have done the course now adapted for youth, inmates in prison, university and college students, the workplace and the military. Similar courses based on the Alpha model now address pre-marital issues, marriage enrichment and parenting, both of pre-teens and teenagers.
For further information, please contact:
The Rev. Paul Sharp
Alpha Advisor – Jamaica