St Peter’s Brighton are using the Alpha Film Series to run Alpha for the street community in Brighton. They meet in the Crypt of the church with just a small group of people.
Week 2 - Who is Jesus?
Week two was a great success in that we doubled our number of guests! I think we now hold the record for the fastest growing ministry at the church. We decided to limit the talk and video time to around 10-15 minutes on the basis that many of our guests have short attention spans. We also decided to split the session in two, to make sure we gave this subject enough time and consideration. We looked at the historicity of Jesus and some of the things he said and claimed about himself. Next week we are focusing on the resurrection.
What's different about running Alpha with the street community?
I prepared a short talk using some clips from Alpha Film Series Episode 2 and it worked really well. Our guys seemed to particularly enjoy having Alistair McGrath explaining textual criticism. Again, we had a lot of interruptions. It's a lot more noticeable when it's such a small group. But it was fine. We want to go at the pace they set, so if they need a cigarette we just put the video on pause until they get back.
Conversation was good, a little more difficult to keep it on track but we even managed to pray for one of guests who had a stressful court case coming up. Our new guest was a little quiet at first but soon settled in and seemed excited to hear what Jesus could do for him. He picked up on this when Nicky was talking about the sayings of Jesus in relation to addiction. He soon told us he had a gambling addiction and would take all the help he could get, including the help Jesus gives.
We're all really excited to see where this is heading. We're hoping to double our figures again next week and have at least four guests (more would be nicer but we'll have to see how it goes). We'll just have to do a short recap. We're finding that all the people we meet and talk to from the street community are very keen to explore who Jesus is, and see if he can make a difference to their lives. It's a very small beginning, but we have total confidence in the power of God in this community.
Week 1 - Is there more to life than this?
Who are you running Alpha for?
In preparation for Safehaven Alpha at St. Peter's we met every week for a couple of months as a team of four volunteers to pray and plan. We've run Alpha a number of times at the church, but have never really done it specifically for rough sleepers in Brighton. We find that they struggle to engage in our usual Alpha which we run in term times; it just isn’t accessible. So we set it up in the crypt at St. Peter's to keep it intimate (just a small group of us) and invited guests from our Saturday night service that we run for the Street Community.
We decided as a group of volunteers, after watching Episode 1 of the Alpha Film Series, that people from the street community might not be able to focus for the 20-minute video. So one of our volunteers Rob prepared a great talk based on the content from the video as well as drawing on some of his own experiences. It worked really well. We actually only had one guest turn up on the first week. This could have felt a little disappointing, but our one guest felt really comfortable and was open to discussion, so much so that he wouldn't stop interrupting with questions and thoughts.
So after the first week, we were already discovering that it is very different running Alpha for the street community. It is very difficult to get people experiencing homelessness to remember to come; there are so many issues and so much chaos surrounding their lives that it can prove really hard to tie anyone down or get them to commit to something on a weekly basis.