On the back of thousands of Australians participating in its programs this year, Alpha Australia is spreading the joy this Christmas.
The ground-breaking Christian education group has released a digital storybook filled with participants’ testimonials about their encounters with spirituality.
Alpha creates a space, online or in person, where people can engage in an “honest, open, and non-judgemental conversation about faith”.
“Everyday” people facilitate Alpha programs in settings such as schools, churches and prisons.
Founded in an Anglican Church in London, Alpha is a free service.
“Over 76,000 people across Australia explored faith this year by trying Alpha,” Murray Averill, the Executive Director of Alpha Australia, said.
“Over 76,000 people across Australia explored faith this year by trying Alpha,” – Executive Director of Alpha Australia Murray Averill
“To share the joy, we have put together a digital storybook filled with just some of the stories from Alpha leaders and participants from this year.”
In one of the stories from the book, Alpha facilitators Frank and Meryl reveal that they run the program in a retirement village.
“The ages range from 70 to 98 and [the people] are loving it,” the couple said.
The Newman Catholic Society ran the program for students at the University of Queensland.
“It was gradual but so natural to discuss, to listen, to grow in connection through this program which helped break down each participant’s walls in unique ways,” the school said in a statement.
“By the end, we had formed some beautiful friendships with people and have been able to hear some amazing stories along the way.”
More than a prisoner
In a unique and inspiring story, Cherise undertook Alpha while in prison.
“At this moment I’m a prisoner, but this does not define me,” she said. “Being a prisoner, I still got the opportunity to open my doors for God to show me that he is unjudging, kind and most of all, forgiving. It’s because of Alpha that I am willing to pursue my faith in God further.”
“Being a prisoner, I still got the opportunity to open my doors for God to show me that he is unjudging, kind and most of all, forgiving,” – Cherise undertook Alpha while in prison
Mr Averill told Hope 103.2 that it was “exciting” to see the growth of Alpha in Australian prisons.
“One of the key strengths of Alpha is its adaptability,” he said.
“Alpha can be run to suit the needs of each particular circumstance.”
Alpha also inspired Mary, who is in her mid-60s, to have conversations about religion.
“Alpha has been a very worthwhile experience for me,” she said.
“For a short commitment of time each week I have gained so much.”
Mr Averill hopes such gains are experienced by more Australians.
“Our vision is to see one million Australians explore faith at Alpha by 2025,” he told Hope 103.2.
“Everyone is welcome at Alpha, and you can say exactly what you think,” – Executive Director of Alpha Australia Murray Averill
“Everyone is welcome at Alpha, and you can say exactly what you think.”
For more information visit Alpha.