Coffee and Craic

Coffee and Craic

Dave Dickinson

Alpha’s been one of those things that has taught us much about how to do church

Our Alpha journey has been pretty special.

We started running Alpha at Carnmoney church about 10 years ago as we tried to reach people who weren’t engaging with the church. Some were miles away, and some were closer to home. Through the years our courses have been an incredible blessing to our church. Many have come to faith, many have been refreshed and renewed, many have been healed and many have joined the church, become members and taken their place in the mission of God.

But about 5 years ago we noticed a disconnect in that the 18-35 year olds who were flocking to our services and gatherings weren’t necessarily engaging with Alpha.

So we asked the question why?
In dreaming together, asking God to lead us, learning from the young adults we had and trial and error we started to run courses in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. And it worked.

Over the last 5 years over 300 people have done Alpha on one of our courses. We were originally in an Arts venue/club but this year we moved to @Established Coffee and started inviting our world all over again.

Established was an incredible venue. Its just been voted by @CoffeeStopsUK as the 3rd Best Coffee shop in the UK for 2015. Its an amazing space situated right on the corner of one of the busiest junctions of the thriving Cathedral Quarter and proved an easy place to invite people to.

We had over 50 guests show up every week, 75% of which were aged 18-35. We started with a gig by @SullivanandGold and amazing food. We got our groups organised the next week and played ice-breakers and everyone cringed together. We had a bake off every week in groups. And most importantly, people went on a journey.

Through Alpha, at least 8 people came to faith, many renewed a faith that they had put to one side, some experienced healing, others found new answers to their questions, some met some new friends and others stepped out in faith as hosts and helpers for the first time. We all drank too much coffee. We all ate too much cake. We all had seconds at the launch night.

We laughed together and cried together. We were honest and raw and all of us left the course changed

Most of those who did Alpha have got engaged with our church community and have continued to grow in their faith, serve and begun to dream a bit about who they’ll invite next year.

Alpha is just the most amazing journey. Every time I do Alpha I’m reminded of just how special it is to be involved with something that sees lives transformed. It’s what the church is all about after all, isn’t it? We can’t wait to go again this Autumn. 

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Xola's Story

Xola's Story

Xola grew up in a township in South Africa, and with lots of other young men he got involved with gangs, drugs and was eventually arrested.

While in prison, Xola began to realise that he could not live the life that he had previous led.  

Find out more about how Xola came to try Alpha. Learn more about Alpha and how to find one near you

I used to think that God was not for me but for other people
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Emma's Story

Emma's Story

After the death of her beloved sister, Emma was left with a huge emptiness. She began isolating herself from close relationships and the more isolated she became, the more difficult it was to re-engage. One day, her father dared her to try Alpha. She turned around, took a risk and signed up.

Find out what happened to Emma after she tried Alpha. Learn more about Alpha and how to find one near you


Within the space of a day I went from being the youngest child to an only child.
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Richard's Story

Richard's Story

By the age of 25, Richard realised he was going too far. He was losing control.  

He started coming back to church to follow a girl, but realised he may be in need something more.

Find out what happened to Richard after he tried signed up for Alpha. Learn more about Alpha and how to find one near you


The hardest part for me was just showing up the first night.
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More than Mutual // Anna and Emmanuel's Story

More than Mutual // Anna and Emmanuel's Story

From exploring London together to a trip down under for a Grandmother’s blessing, Anna and Emmanuel have been more than mutual friends for 16 years.

“Fireworks went off by chance, although I did tell her it was planned.”

With the pipes in Anna’s family words travels fast, along with recommendations to try out the Marriage Course.

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Every table was looked after… you felt like you were on a date from the moment you walked in.

After experiencing values of speaking out and listening, the Marriage Course has provided them with a new inside lingo.

Listen to their story to find out how trying the Marriage Course led to giving Alpha a go too.

If you would like to attend or run a Marriage Course, click here to find one in your community or local area.