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The newsletter of Alpha Australia | March 2008

The Alpha Course: Explore the meaning of life

is there more to life than this?

Alpha Invitation 2008 In 2008 the annual Alpha Invitation has





campaign, with promotional and training events planned for all States and Territories of Australia. “Whether yours is an established Alpha church or you are considering running Alpha for the first time, the 2008 Alpha Invitation is an ideal opportunity. It will help you inspire your church, train up your people and raise the profile of your course”, said Jon Seeley, Alpha Australia’s National Director. “The more churches that get on board, the greater the combined impact as people see a consistent theme and invitations from multiple churches across their city.”

2008 Alpha Invitation Key Dates

This year’s campaign draws on the recent Alpha Invitation promotion from the United Kingdom. It features successful people – a mountain climber, a model and football star – all asking the question, ‘Is there more to life than this?’ In 2008, South Australia joins the Alpha Invitation through a special initiative headed by Australian Christian Churches (AOG). The joint campaign will see ACC inviting people to an Alpha Course starting in April (Term 2). In Tasmania, courses will start in June. Elsewhere, Alpha Invitation Training Days will be held in late May / early June, for Alpha Courses commencing in July (Term 3). Key dates are listed below, with further details and online registration available at There is some flexibility

with the exact date you want to start your course – as long as it’s around the suggested time, you will still get the benefit of the common



contact your Alpha State Coordinator for further information. When you register online at you will be sent a free DVD with key promotional resources. Registration for the Alpha Invitation is free of charge, although churches are encouraged to make a donation to help cover Alpha Australia’s costs. “A donation is not a condition for participating” said Jon. “Our heart is for as many churches as possible to join together inviting our communities to an Alpha Course, and introducing them to Jesus.” 




Training Day




Advertising Campaign




Alpha Dinner


Mid June

Mid July

Alpha Course Dates


(2nd Term)


(2nd Term)



(3rd Term)

a message from the

National Director

Alpha impacts Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Jon Seeley

For Alpha Australia, 2008 is off to a flying start! • The Alpha Invitation campaign is going national this year, being jump-started in South Australia in partnership with the Australian Christian Churches (AOG). • Sydney is hosting the huge international Catholic youth event, World Youth Day in July. An “Alpha Taster” and a “Live Encounter” worship evening with Tim Hughes (from HTB) have been approved as official WYD events. • Andy Watkins has joined our team full-time to coordinate Youth Alpha and Student Alpha & to update our Youth Alpha resources specifically for use in high schools. • Australian church teams are being trained and heading out to assist with Alpha training in Indonesia. • Our Caring for Ex-Offenders program is ready to roll out in other states following a strong pilot in Adelaide.

Vision 2008 Appeal God has opened some incredible doors for effective ministry in 2008. With these new opportunities comes the serious challenge of seeing them adequately resourced. We have launched our Vision 2008 Appeal specifically to invite more people with a heart for our unique ministry to stand with us in financial partnership. Please pray with us for a wonderful response, and consider donating if you can.

Can you believe it’s almost Easter? I’m delighted to announce our new “Why Easter?” booklet, written by Nicky Gumbel. It’s a great tool to share the true meaning of Easter with people in our local communities, and to help link them to an upcoming Alpha Course to find out more.

Sue Ottery had her own faith renewed on an Alpha Course in the United Kingdom, but could not have imagined what the Lord had in store for her in Australia. Moving to Australia in August 2000, Sue found her new church home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the northern Sydney suburb of Pymble. Her parish priest encouraged Sue to introduce Alpha to Sacred Sue Ottery outside Sacred Heart Catholic Heart – a large and vibrant Church church with a congregation of about 1,500, but Sue’s immediate response was “I don’t know anyone. How am I supposed to run Alpha?” Sue was invited to speak to various services and was amazed at the response. “It was the Holy Spirit”, said Sue. “We had about 40 people turn up to the planning meeting and all were involved as leaders and helpers in our first course in 2001”. The first Alpha Course in May 2001 attracted a total of 150 people, with guests attending through a variety of connections. “A lot of guests came through the parish, or spouses of those who attend. Some responded to signage we put up on the highway and other forms of advertising. Sacred Heart’s Alpha Courses have gone from strength to strength with 15 courses having now impacted over 800 people in the past six and a half years. Sue has witnessed the flow on effects of the ministry of Alpha with other bible studies and youth groups formed from the strong Alpha Course Foundation. “Our senior youth group Flame and junior group Jericho have both flourished with most leaders coming from the Alpha Course.” Sue has valuable advice for anyone thinking of starting Alpha, “Prayer is a key” said Sue. “It is imperative that you run Alpha the way it is intended and don’t plan to run the course just once. Plan for the course to become an ongoing part of your church.” Sue also adds that gaining the support of church leadership is vital. For those running courses, Sue encourages perseverance. “It’s easy to feel worn out, so find ways to refresh your team. Before every course, it is imperative you offer training for the whole team so that everyone is starting on the same page, every single time. Sue also encourages people to register their course with Alpha Australia. “It’s free and helps even more people find out about the course”.

Blessings, Jon

Sue is now co-ordinating some exciting Alpha events for World Youth Day in Sydney this July.

Vision 2008

Sue can be contacted at to help anyone interested in starting Alpha in a Catholic context. 

Explore the Meaning of Life

AM: What was your life like before

pages” as a rule or guide book?

doing Alpha?

Our questions were answered as

V: We were happy, content and self sufficient not really knowing why we believed what we did. Just following protocol and going to church out of duty, but with no sense of a personal relationship with Jesus. But we knew that something was missing, especially in times of crisis with our son

Vanessa Rodrigues and her family used to be ‘Sunday Christians’, and had no personal

what he requires of us. During the Holy Spirit weekend it really hit me that Jesus is real and not just a character in a book and he is here for me as a friend, father, counsellor and comforter. AM: So what difference has Jesus made to your life?

AM: How did you come to do the

V: Now I have a relationship with


Jesus, I also have the reassurance

V: Close family friends came to

that he will see us through

pray with us in times of need, and

everything. He knows how much

we witnessed God’s miraculous physical healing of our son on

tell us her story...

several occasions. We wanted to

we can bear as he created us. I have a deeper understanding of

understand more, and our friends

God and I submit my life to Him

offered to come to our home and

to do his will not mine and in his

do the Alpha Course with us in a

strength. We have been lead as a

relaxed atmosphere.

family to find a spirit-filled church

AM: What did you experience on

and have been baptised – now

the Alpha Course?

we are all actively serving God.

V: We had always had lots of questions about Christianity but never asked anyone - because they




questions that we should already

We recently led an Alpha Course in our home, and our older boys will be attending Youth Alpha this year and taking along their friends. Even though our son still

know! We knew that Jesus died

needs more surgery, things are so

but why? How was it for me? Is

much easier now that we know

the Bible true and why should we

Jesus. He is in control and he

read and follow “God’s yellow

gives us peace.

New! “Why Easter?”

of what God has done for us and

needing 23 operations.

relationship with Jesus. We asked Vanessa to

UNITE 08 is a worship & creative arts conference featuring Brenton Brown, Marina Prior, Roma Waterman and Tim Piesse. Tim recently attended Alpha’s Worship Central conference at HTB in London, and will introduce the Worship Central concept to UNITE participants. Further details on UNITE 08 are at or 03-9837 2900.

grew in faith and understanding

having a serious health condition The Rodrigues Family – Reece, Martin, Jason (front) Vanessa, Jack

“Jesus is real…”

we went through the course.We

(an Easter version of ‘Why Jesus?’)

This easy to read 24 page booklet answers some of the following questions: † What’s so important about Easter? † Why is there so much interest in a person born 2,000 years ago? † Why are so many people excited about Jesus? † Why did he die? † Why do we need him? Why did he come? Why Easter is a perfect outreach tool to hand out to visitors at Church services or at Easter events in your communities and Churches. Order on line at - $1.95 rrp, bulk discounts available

Explore the Meaning of Life

GAT Update The first Global Alpha Training Teams from Australian churches are gearing up to take Alpha to Indonesia! Two teams from Melbourne churches and one from Sydney have been matched with local training events in Medan and Bali over the next few months. Final training for the Melbourne

“I am looking forward to encouraging

teams took place in February and the

our Indonesian Christian brothers and

Sydney training will take place in April.

sisters in sharing their faith through

The first team, from Parkdale Uniting

Alpha. I have a great deal of peace and certainty that the Lord has put this

Church in Melbourne, is heading off to

team together and that we are called

Medan, accompanied by John Graham

to do this.”

from Alpha Victoria. Scheduled for February 28–1 March, this Alpha Training is being hosted by the Wesley Methodist

There is still time for you to organise a Global Alpha Training team from your church to visit Indonesia later this year.

Church in Medan, with around 25 other

If you would like to join us in this

Methodist Churches from the region

exciting ministry opportunity, please

also participating. Paul Davis, one of

contact Fiona Hall (

the Parkdale team, says

for more information. 

Alpha Asia Pacific Conference with Nicky Gumbel and team from HTB will be held in Singapore in April

Welcome Andy Watkins! We are delighted to welcome Andy Watkins to the Alpha staff team. Back in 2005, Andy played a leading role with the team from Australia which launched Youth Alpha in Japan. Previously a school teacher and worship leader, Andy is still buzzing from his recent 3-month internship at Holy Trinity Brompton, the church in London where Alpha originated. “There were so many highlights”, says Andy. • “Helping Jamie Haith run StudentAlpha with 200 university students at TigerTiger, a nightclub in central London; • Participating in a WorshipCentral weekend with Tim Hughes and Al Gordon; • Seeing a bunch of high-schoolers sharing their faith with their friends through Youth Alpha at HTB; • Getting a deeper understanding of Alpha’s DNA and how it can be used by the local church to reach lost people.” Andy is taking on the leadership of Youth Alpha, as Sally Irwin transitions out of this role after more than a decade of faithful and inspired service. Andy will also be reinvigorating our StudentAlpha ministry, and supporting the introduction of Worship Central over the coming year. You can contact Andy at or 0423 810 209. 

Contact us National Alpha Office Jon Seeley – National Director Cate Shore – National Operations PO Box 10 Kerrimuir VIC 3129 t. 03 9899 8050 1800 811 903 e. New South Wales & ACT Revd John & Maggie Saddington PO Box 6011 Lake Munmorah NSW 2259 t. 02 4358 1913 e. Queensland Jon Seeley C/ – National Alpha Office PO Box 10 Kerrimuir VIC 3129 t. 0417 144 589 e.

South Australia Luke Chant Todd Street Business Centre, 6 Todd Street Port Adelaide SA 5015 t. 08 8440 2427 e. Victoria & Tasmania John Graham PO Box 547 Diamond Creek VIC 3089 t. 0423 165 320 e. Western Australia & NT Joy Thacker PO Box 417 Scarborough WA 6922 t. 0434 973 278 e. Alpha for Prisons National Coordinator Revd John Clarke PO Box 2059 East Grovedale VIC 3216 t. 0430 388 774 e.

Business Alpha National Coordinator Tony McLennan t. 0419 483 096 e. Youth Alpha/Student Alpha National Coordinator Andy Watkins PO Box 10 Kerrimuir VIC 3129 t. 0423 810 209 e. Marriage Course National Coordinators Dennis & Ann Outred PO Box 780 Pymble BC NSW 2073 t. 02 9499 2025 e.

Andy Watkins – coming soon to a Youth Group near you!

Alpha Newsletter Mar 2008  

Alpha Newsletter Mar 2008

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