The Alpha Course
For everyone, whether new to Christianity, wanting to investigate, or just brushing up on the basics.
Alpha at Christ Church
I had been attending church for about four weeks following an invitation from young people who lived in my area. I had come to the place where I realised that Christians were a very different sort of people from the ones I had encountered before and that I was not one of them, although I was a member of the church. A week before I was converted I found that God kept breaking in to my life in dozens of different ways so that He was always on my mind. I had chance encounters with Canadian missionaries and other events as I drew closer to the time. Then on the particular night when I gave my life to God I went down to the Youth Club and found that it was not on and it became obvious to me that all my friends were Christians and that I would be very lonely without them. Fortunately somebody came along and encouraged me to go to a film event at the local school which the Youth Club were organising. There were two films, the second of which was one called : “The Thief in the Night” which made the point very clearly that God would come back and take all His special people to be with Him and leave the rest of us behind to get on with it. This had a profound impact on me because I knew I was not one of God’s people. I then got a lift to a follow up coffee bar meeting and on the way there I leant forward in the car and said to God, “Look, I know that you’re there. I know that I’m not really one of your people. I want to be one of your people and I don’t want to be left behind”.
I was born into a Christian family, I went to Sunday school regularly as a child, and I was confirmed in our local Anglican church as a young teenager. However, during my teenage years, the church I attended seemed to be totally out of touch and irrelevant to my life, and by the time I left home at the age of eighteen, I had become somewhat disillusioned. I gradually drifted away and filled my life with other things . I never stopped believing in God, but I decided that Christianity, and indeed any kind of ‘organised religion’ was not for me. I had too many unanswered questions and for many years felt more comfortable sitting on the fence.
About 15 years ago, when life was pretty difficult (to say the least) my son suddenly announced that a friend of his sang in the local church choir and that he too would like to sing. My daughter also expressed a desire to go along to church to sing in the choir and before I realised it, I was attending church with my three children regularly every Sunday. The amazing thing is that I really felt that I had ‘come home’.
I know in my heart that I have always been a Christian … it just took a long time for me to realise it. I first began to appreciate how much God was important in my life following the death of my precious wife in February 1995, at the age of just 41. Apart from being my wife, Jocelyn was my best friend, and the major pit-prop in my life. Her death left a great big nothing in my life, which God filled with every form of pillow, mattress and other form of soft landing … although, again, I was not to realise this for a long time.
Gradually God began to show me how He was guiding me more, and ensure the hurt and loss was minimised as much as possible… After repeated attempts, six years ago on Christmas morning, God opened the door to Christ Church, and gave me the necessary push to finally allow me to enter his Kingdom. It was a magic feeling, and my whole life changed that day. I felt at home inside CCMH, and that warmth has not left me. It took me a while to realise quite how much I needed CCMH, and it seems, how much CCMH needed me.
I was born into a Christian family and grew up attending a Methodist church along with both my parents, my younger sister and two of my grandparents. I attended Sunday School and Girls’ Brigade eventually becoming both a Sunday School Teacher and a Young Leader. I am one of those people who are fortunate enough to be able to say that my faith has been a part of who I am all my life.
Through the support of those at home, at Church and then at the age of 17 those in my sixth form college Christian Union, I came to the decision that this was a way of life that I was sticking with. For me the way to mark this was through full immersion baptism and later confirmation into membership of the church.
Other Christians can be both the best and worst adverts for their faith and I was lucky enough to have one of the best adverts as a Grandad. There was a lot more to him than the little (5’2”!) old man shaking hands on the door each Sunday, and this showed me that being a Christian doesn’t weaken your personality – he was willing to accept change, even at the age of 94, and more importantly, accepted all people whoever they were.
In March 1989 my sister and I had a bad accident on the M25. A lorry went into us sending our little Renault 5 flying. We rolled over three times and my side of the car was missing! None of the emergency services could believe we had survived it. Thank God for seat belts! I thought at the time it was a complete miracle and that there must be a God.
Two people led me to church: my physiotherapist Fay, my spine had been shunted and I spent that summer on and off in traction, and she spoke about Southgate Church; Helen, my work mate on intensive care and friend, who spoke openly about Jesus. At the end of the summer I walked into Southgate Church on my own and gave my life to Jesus…