St Peter's Brighton run a Morning Alpha and an Evening Alpha three times a year. This term they are using the Alpha Film Series in their Morning Alpha and inviting people across the city to come along.
Week 3 - Why did Jesus die?
How are friendships developing between the guests?
With the majority of guests returning to Morning Alpha for week 3, the groups, of which there are three, have really started to gel. People of similar ages and stages are getting to know each other on a deeper level as the topics of Alpha are prompting them to share more of their lives and be vulnerable about what they believe with one another.
This week was a particularly busy week in the Alpha crèche as a few of the parents already attending brought extra children along. This was well dealt with but meant that there were a few children present during the episode and the discussion time. Coupled with the fact that the main facilitator and host of Morning Alpha and leader of one of the groups, Jules, had to take her poorly son home, meant I had to step in and host Group 1 which is the slightly more chaotic of the groups.
What conversations were had?
The conversation surrounding sin and its possible antiquity in today’s society was very interesting. The notion that we have all fallen short of the glory of God was not shared by all, with one guest remarking, “Jesus may have died for other people’s sins, but not mine, because I haven’t got any”.
What's different about using the Alpha Film Series compared to live talks?
Although the quality of the live talks given here at evening alpha is excellent, there is something special about the nature of watching these presentations on film. The sensory stimulation of sound and scenery, different characters explaining different aspects, and graphic representations, all come together in a frankly stunning way. An example from week 3 would be the testimony of Darrell Tunningley, who affectionately became known as “The Prison Guy” in my group, which was captivating, inspiring and moved me to tears.
Week 2 - Who is Jesus?
What were you looking forward to in the run up to week 2?
Week 2 of Alpha always poses an interesting question: will the guests who came last week return? If they enjoyed the conversation and film as much as our leaders, then hopefully so. Fortunately the vast majority of guests returned and we also had a few new people join us too.
People waltzed in to be greeted by a slightly less impressive breakfast than the previous week, but it still got received well - you can’t go wrong with pastries, fruit, granola and yogurt. They sat in their groups and re-acquainted themselves with their leaders and the other guests in their groups. With everyone fully engaged in conversation and catching up, it was time for week 2 of the Alpha Film Series!
How did people respond to the episode?
The evidence presented in the second film really is unequivocal to the definite existence of Jesus, so the question on everyone’s mind was “Is Jesus who he said he was?”. Some guests came at it from a political standpoint, arguing that Jesus had a purely political agenda to bring harmony to the Jewish-Greco-Roman world. Others argued that he was fully human… but very good… and close to God… a kind of mosaic figure leading the population into a more profound and spiritual exodus (I may have paraphrased). Some, not at all happy with the notion of a divine being, argued that he had a more vindictive agenda; an agenda aimed at leading people astray, hell-bent on becoming eternally famous and nothing more. The conversation provoked by the Film Series was stimulating and interesting. Another successful week.
Week 1 - Is there more to life than this?
How have you launched your Alpha?
Here at St Peters Brighton we have had an incredibly exciting run up to Alpha. Our Alpha has fortunately coincided with the Festival season here in Brighton, in particular the launch of the Brighton Fringe Festival. The biggest venue for this festival happens to be right next to our church and, as a result, people will be flooding the streets surrounding the church to watch a massive firework display being launched off our very roof. What better opportunity to get in amongst these people and promote Alpha to them?
A team of us took out hot chocolates with Alpha invites on the cup sleeves, sticks of rock with the Alpha question mark running through the middle, Alpha launch invites and Ice pops to the public. We were also able to occupy the biggest advertising billboard in Brighton (which just so happens to be on our church) with an Alpha advert as well as hung Alpha advents down the side of the building. 3000 people staring up at the church waiting for the fireworks to begin were all being asked “Got questions about life?” and being handed rock. I think we quite successfully branded the fringe launch as the Alpha launch.
Who turned up for week 1?
Here at St Peters we run Alpha three times a year with our course split between an evening group and a morning group. We were very privileged to be able to use the Alpha Film series as a part of our morning course. On the first week of Alpha, we booked out a local catering company who supplied an amazing breakfast in a relaxed “coffee morning” type setting. The team arrived to pray, the crèche was set up and the guests started arriving. People from all walks of life arrived that morning. About fifteen people came in total, ate the delicious breakfast and then sat back to experience the first episode of Alpha Film Series.
What was everyone's reaction to the first episode?
The leaders and helpers in the groups, many of whom had led and helped at Alpha before, were blown away by the quality and content of the film. The guests were also impressed which was evident in the depth of conversation that emerged after: Guests sitting in groups, genuinely discussing, and some considering for the firsts time, whether there is more to life than “eat, sleep rave, repeat”; Contemplation whether everything around us exists by accident or by divine purpose; Seeing if they agree whether there is an innate hunger that exists in all of us. The first week of the Alpha film Series was an amazing success.