Holy Trinity Brompton is where Alpha first began, over thirty years ago. They now 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.
Week 4 - How can I have faith?
Wednesday morning rolled around again and as guests began to come in, we were surprised to still have quite a few new guests joining! We’re praying that even as they join groups, community will be able to grow between both established and new guests. The hosts and helpers are doing a brilliant job at welcoming them and making them feel at home in their groups. The diversity of the guests is so exciting to observe – from students, young professionals and mums, right through to older guests, all getting to know each other and exploring this journey together.
Are your guests enjoying the Alpha Film Series?
Guests are loving the film series so far. One of the best things about it is that it’s completely different every week. Often series follow a pattern or a similar layout, however the film series is fresh and different every week. This makes each episode interesting and engaging in a new way each time.
As our course is set in London, it’s particularly exciting when the scenes are set in places everyone recognises such as St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s amusing to people that they are sitting in Brompton Road in exactly the place where Nicky is speaking to the crowd on the screen as well!
How are you preparing for your Alpha Weekend?
We opened bookings for our Alpha Weekend Away this week, so people are beginning to think about whether or not to come along. We go to a venue down by the sea and take our morning and evening courses all together, so are looking forward to that coming up in a couple of weeks!
Week 3 - Why did Jesus die?
We were disappointed by a second week of rain at Morning Alpha, but luckily that hasn’t deterred team and guests from coming back! Week 3 is our last “official” week of registration for new guests and we had a good handful of new people join this week.
How is community growing?
Community is really beginning to build within each group now and it’s exciting to see friendships beginning to develop and honest conversations being had. The groups are now able to really establish and settle themselves with hosts, helpers and guests.
What did you think of Episode 3?
We say to our team in advance that week 3 is one of the most difficult weeks, as the topics of sin and forgiveness can be tough ones! However, the third episode provided a helpful platform to go into those conversations from.
The power of this episode really came from the stories that were used to paint the picture: Darrell Tunningley’s story, sharing his life experience as well as his time and transformation in prison, really hit home for people; Toby, sharing about his dad and the journey that he and his family went on in wrestling with the issue of God allowing suffering; Corrie ten Boom speaking about her experience of suddenly being confronted by the need to forgive after extreme trauma. Hearing people’s stories speaks to people’s hearts.
Week by week the quality of each episode continues to impress and spark exciting conversations and we’re excited to see how the rest of the series unfolds!
Week 2 - Who is Jesus?
After the success and excitement around the first week of Morning Alpha, we were looking forward to kicking off week 2! The first episode seemed to go down really well with lots of buzz around it, so we were intrigued to see if that would continue into week 2.
How was episode 2 received?
The second episode was absolutely brilliant – arguably even better than the first one! The thing that struck me most about it was the way in which it engages you right from the get go and makes the topic so accessible.
The graphics that are used to set out the facts and evidence for Jesus’ existence make it so visual. It’s like the episode brings the arguments alive! One moment you see Nicky in a court room talking, the next Toby and Gemma are walking around the sites where Jesus Himself walked, which really gets your imagination involved. Having multiple voices and different people speaking into and about the same topic gives you such a well-rounded view of it, so having a scholar like Professor Alister McGrath speaking about textual criticism was brilliant. Similarly to Francis Collins the week before, it just gives an extra amount of weight and respect to what is being said.
What conversations did your guests have?
One of the keys to Alpha that I love is that we have a chance to present what we believe, but then in the small group there is the chance for people to share what they themselves believe and think. So, the episode lay out what Christians believe about Jesus, but then the small group gives people the opportunity to discuss the facts, the evidence and just what their feelings are about Jesus. As it was the first week of “proper discussion” following on from a more “get to know you” time the week before, the conversations were more focused on the whole topic of who Jesus is and people’s honest opinions.
So far, the Alpha Film Series is working so well! It’s very easy to just introduce and play, and it looks great on the big screen we use in church. Even though we are using it in a large room, I can imagine it being brilliant for a smaller group in a home, or even just being shared on social media for people who might be interested in Alpha and Christianity.
Week 1 - Is there more to life than this?
We were so excited to kick off our morning Alpha course with the new Alpha Film Series this term after having launched it globally a couple of weeks earlier.
Where do you hold your Alpha?
We run our course at Holy Trinity Brompton. We have two courses on a Wednesday, one in the morning and one in the evening in South Kensington, London, and run it three times a year. The morning course, where we are showing the Alpha Film Series, usually attracts around 50-70 guests each term. Guests come into the main church at Brompton Road for breakfast and the weekly episode before heading downstairs to our café area for their group discussions.
Even though we have run Alpha so many times over the years, we had no idea what to expect with using the Film Series for the first time! As the guests began to arrive, grab breakfast and find their groups, we made sure everything was in place to show the first episode.
How did your guests find it?
Once the morning had kicked off, our hosts for the term introduced the course and the Film Series and we all sat back to watch it together on the big screen. The lights dimmed and the episode started. Once it was over, guests and team headed off for their discussion groups and to chat about what they thought of the first episode. They loved it!
People felt that the quality of the episode was superb and that the content was totally on target, especially for a younger and more global audience.
As we are based in London, we get a complete mix of people coming along to Alpha, from young to old and from all different ethnicities and nationalities around the world. One of the exciting pieces of feedback we had is that everyone feels they can connect with the Film Series on one level or other. One of the brilliant things about it is having different people echoing the same message, but in different ways to appeal to a cross-section of people. We even had a sight-impaired lady who said the audio quality was fantastic for her! Another guest specifically spoke about how much the first episode had really impacted them. People seemed to be particularly drawn in by Francis Collins’ story of faith and his journey of considering whether there is more to life than science.
Discussion on week 1 generally looks slightly different to the following weeks, as it is more about getting to know each other. We’re excited to see how in-depth the conversations go next week, with the second episode, “Who is Jesus?”.