The Alpha National Initiative: Inviting Canada to dinner!
Written by Tony Copple
This article was published in the Kanata Kourier-Standard on 12 September, 2003.
Amalie Muncaster was hanging on the edge of a 45-metre rockface - about the height of a 13-storey building - when she found the Lord.
The 21-year-old Christian was in the middle of an unharnessed
free-climb when she got stuck on the side of the rock. She was
hanging on with her fingers and there was no one at the top or bottom to help
I was crying - bawling my head off, actually. I was
begging to make it, and then all of a sudden I felt really calm and I figured
out what to do to get past the groove. I can't explain it - it's something you
have to experience for yourself, but I just really felt that God was with
Immediately, she went from being a
eye-rolling teen to an active Christian. She shared her story at
at WorshipFest, while discussing the Alpha course with the Ottawa Citizen’s
Jennifer Campbell and it was published September 1.
Have you seen advertising for the Alpha course recently on buses and billboards and churches? Alpha has come of age in Canada, with 2,200 courses and around 450,000 participants. If you wonder what 450,000 people would look like all in one place, the Rolling Stones attracted that number for the Toronto Rocks concert. While that was a worthy cause – saving Toronto from SARS – Alpha people believe their course is worthy of The Lord, and indeed, blessed by Him. So this month of September, Alpha has taken the initiative to invite 30 million Canadians to hundreds of dinners across Canada. These dinners are part of every Alpha evening, and the introductory dinners allow people to sample the format of the course and decide if it is for them, now. At the very least, a lot of people will eat well, but at the most, thousands will begin 10 weekly sessions that have changed the lives of many participants, showing them that Jesus spoke truth, that He is relevant to our lives today, and that He is certainly not boring.
Alpha has grown from 4 courses in London in 1991 to 25,000 in 134 countries today and 6M alumni. It grew because every course graduate learns enough to start a new course in their church or community. Alpha works in homes, churches, boardrooms, prisons, community centres, pubs – anywhere that people can gather to debate the really important questions, such as Why am I here?; Where am I going when I die?; Is Jesus God?; Who is the Holy Spirit?; How do I find joy and contentment in life? Alpha is used by more than 50 denominations in Canada, concentrating on the vast majority of aspects of faith common to them all. The Canadian Alpha Initiative will make it easier for Alpha graduates to invite their friends on the next course. More importantly it will boost the evangelization of the Nation, counteracting the fall in church attendance and introducing thousands to a personal relationship with Christ.
If your interest is piqued, call the Alpha Hotline for Eastern Ontario, 1-866-92-ALPHA (592-5310 in Kanata) and inquire about your nearest dinner venue. Alternatively check alpha.ncf.ca and click Courses on the menu. Alpha had a major presence at WorshipFest 29-31 August and many inquiries were made and questions answered. The 110 ft. graffiti wall at WorshipFest Camp Alpha, covered with letters to God, has been submitted to Guinness World Records. You may hear TV and radio spots, or come across an Alpha booth in a mall. These local promotions have been organized by the extremely hardworking Alpha Initiative for Eastern Ontario, under the leadership of Helen Lenthall. The introductory evening is free. The course is also free but contributions are normally requested to offset the cost of food. The meal is an important part of an Alpha evening and the place where friendships are made and trust created. Alpha also includes music, the presentation of the subject for the night, and small group discussion. Often the participants do not want to leave.
Do you know whether God should occupy a more significant part of your life? If you don’t know, you will find out on Alpha. If He isn’t important to you, you be making a terrible mistake. Would it not be worth attending a free dinner to begin to sort out these questions?