“What on earth shall we do Tuesday nights when Alpha’s over?”

So many people were hooked on our first Alpha Course that they were showing withdrawal symptoms as the completion of the first course approached.

No – we are not a happy-clappy middle-class suburban evangelical parish! No, we do not have folk fall around laughing hysterically – and we don’t want them to.

What we are so excited about is that we took the Alpha Course in Basic Christian Faith which was pioneered by Holy Trinity, Brompton – and adapted it to serve the needs of Catholic evangelism and spiritual formation. And it worked!

Alpha is a method of introducing people to the objective content of the Faith in the context of a relaxed meal with strangers who quickly become friends, and in which participants are encouraged to ask difficult questions and engage in discussion of the answers.

Alpha fell into three stages: Preparation, Weekly meetings, Follow-up.

Preparation. The parish priest studied all the literature available from Holy Trinity, Brompton over several weeks and our assistant priest attended a day Conference on how to run an Alpha Course. Then the parish priest personally invited a small team of lay helpers who were to assist in preparing the meals, welcoming people as they arrived at the sessions, and leading the discussion groups that follow each talk.

Twelve Course Meetings.

7.00pm Welcome and a Hot Meal, We laid table cloths and put flowers and candles on the tables to make the evening as special as possible.

7.45pm Main talk of the evening, given by the parish priest. Each talk lasted about 45 minutes and was deliberately introduced by a joke carefully chosen to relate to the subject of that nights talk

8.00pm 15 minutes Tea break

8.15pm Participants discuss the talk after returning to their tables

9.45pm Parish priest halts discussion and ends meeting promptly on time.

For further information contact: Fr Bryan Hackney, St Francis Vicarage, Collingham Gardens, Mackworth Estate Derby DE3 4FQ