KOTA KINABALU – With Sacred Heart Alpha in the Catholic Context as host, Alpha Malaysia staged the first-ever roadshow in Sabah featuring the brand new Alpha Film Series (AFS) at Sacred Heart Parish Centre here on 20 July 2016.
Alpha Malaysia was represented by National Director Winnie Heron, and Development Manager for Church Thomas Ernest. Alpha Malaysia has become the Alpha hub for Asia Pacific region, focusing mainly in India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The hundred over invited guests who were part of the exciting event was made up from a representation across the Anglican churches, the Basel churches, the Lutheran churches, GCC, SIB, GA and the Catholic churches.
The aim of the roadshow, explained Thomas Ernest, was Alpha’s campaign to invite the world to start Alpha together, instead of just in the UK. Traditionally, UK Alpha runs a campaign beginning in September each year engaging in advertising in every conceivable media… bus, TV, bill boards, internet, etc to encourage churches to start Alpha together.
The AFS roadshow outlines what you need to know all about AFS, and about Bear Grylls as Alpha’s new ambassador. Bear Grylls, popularly known as the face of adventure and outdoor survival, would become the face of Global Alpha Invitation once launched across regions, countries, cities, towns and villages all around the world on September 1.
What is the Alpha Film Series?
The AFS is an exciting new resource designed to help the audience begin life’s greatest adventure – encountering Jesus through Alpha.
Apart from Nicky Gumbel who is the sole presenter in the traditional Alpha talks, Toby Flint and Gemma Hunt are new presenters in the AFS who will walk the audience through Alpha in a way that everyone can relate to.
Repackaged for today’s audience, the AFS is emotive, engaging and epic in scale and scope.
It features inspiring interviews from around the world, visual illustrations and motion graphics. Stories include that of Bear Grylls, Jackie Pullinger, Jose Henriquez Gonzalez (one of the 33 miners trapped for 69 days at the San Jose mine in Chile), papal preacher Raniero Cantalamessa, and Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna and globally well-known for editing the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Global Alpha Invitation
Alpha’s first-ever global invitation to try Alpha will be launched across regions, countries, cities, towns and villages on 1 September 2016 and will run until 31 December 2017.
During the window period between now and Sep 1, soft copies of invitation materials like car stickers, postcards and posters, and promotion on social media would be available for downloading from August, which churches and groups could prepare for advertising and promotion to only begin on Sep 1. Churches would be invited to lend their walls and fences to display an Alpha banner, which would be available and customised free of charge, on request.
How to participate
Head to alpha.org/malaysia, register your Alpha. Once you are registered, you gain access to download the AFS, training videos, invitation materials and other useful tools to help promote and join millions of others worldwide to run a great Alpha.
A survey was run by Tabuan Jaya Anglican Church in Kuching recently, after the preliminary viewing of the first episode in April 2016, to gauge the Alpha Film Series. These are some of the comments from Alpha guests on the new branding:
AFS is fast moving, concise, attractive, and has a good sound quality; but for some, the speaking seemed too fast and heavily accented. The testimonies are good and and straight to the point; and locations, illustrations, presentations are interesting, down to earth, and creative. Subtitles helped overcome difficulties in following the English accents, while for some the fonts affect their usefulness because of size or poor contrast against background.
What is Alpha and how does it look like
Alpha is a tool, a Christian-based resource that is used to equip and assist churches to engage within their community to answer life’s most challenging questions about life, God and meaning.
It also runs in cafes, prisons, universities and schools, homes, workplaces – you name it. No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: foood, a talk and good conversation.
Today, 24 million people have attended Alpha. 66,000 Alphas worldwide are running in 169 countries, in 112 languages and all major christian denominations.
Alpha in the Catholic context
Archbishop John Wong was known to have said the Catholic Alpha Course was one programme that could be of help in encouraging people to a first encounter with Jesus and be in a serious relationship with Him.
Archbishop Emeritus John Lee on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Alpha in the archdiocese, pledged his full endorsement for such a programme that leads Catholics to a deeper joy in their faith, and the spread of Alpha in schools.
The first Alpha Course began at Sacred Heart Cathedral parish in April 2004.