FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION ONLY | transformation of our Society through Evangelisation of our Nation | | ALHAINDIA.ORG
alpha india news
VOLUME 5, ISSUE 2 | APRIL - JUNE 2014
NEWS IN BRIEF
Alpha - Catholic Context: We have compiled many inspiring stories and testimonies of the work Alpha is doing among Catholics in India. Pg. 4 - 5
THE QUARTERLY NEWSPAPER OF ALPHA INDIA
A momentous journey Tricia Neill
Interview with Tricia Neill: Tricia Neill the Global President - Alpha International has shared her thoughts and journey with Alpha. Pg. 6
Worship Central course: Read about how Worship Central is exploding all over India. Pg. 7
Relationship Central Marriage Course: Endorsements, testimonies, interviews and FAQ’s about the Alpha Marriage Course. Pg. 8 - 10
Financial Partnership: We appreciate your financial partnership. If you are inspired to support Alpha India please use the details below, or contact Josy Joseph at the Alpha India Office.
20 years ago to this month a lady from the business world was invited by Rev. Nicky Gumbel to join Alpha. On her first day at work she had to discover a table and chair for herself. A momentous journey had begun. Tricia came to taste God’s love in her life and gave herself wholeheartedly to serve His purpose for her. Her organizational skills, meticulous attention to detail, ability to purposefully relate to people, capacity to time bound activity and leadership development skills are legendary. Her exemplary commitment evokes awe and respect in all our team. Tricia Neill, Global President - Alpha International, is easily one the most travelled leaders in the world. Her story inspires us to further commit ourselves to the common vision of evangelization of the nations. Cont on pg 6
WORSHIP CENTRAL INDIA
Alpha India Account: Account Number: 911020054880929 NAME: ALPHA INDIA BANK NAME : AXIS BANK LTD IFSC CODE : UTIB0000734 BRANCH : KALYAN NAGAR BANGALORE.
Acc Type: Current Account
The work of Worship Central in India is really booming. Courses have started in many colleges, universities and churches. To read more turn to pg 7.
2 Alpha India details: National Director: Mr. J. Varadaraj Board Members: Chris Sadler, Chairman of Alpha Asia-Pacific Scott Norling, Chairman of Alpha India J. Varadaraj, National Director of Alpha India Rajeev & Perola Menon, Private Equity Consultant Jaccob Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of MPCA Mathew Antony, Secretary for Evangelisation, Archdiocese of Delhi
Church Advisory Board:
Archbishop (Emeritus) Vincent Concessao Rev. Dr. D. Mohan, Superintendant of AOG India
Alpha India Regional Offices: North West Region, Chandigarh: Rupak Nayak Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Mob : +91 90233-91414 West Region, Ahmedabad: Jimmy Harshkant Email : email@example.com Ph : +91 9825-444197 East Region, Kolkata: Prabir Mandal Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Ph : +91 96744-61951 North East Region, Shillong : P.O Ryn Jah, Shillong - 793006 Ph : +91 90851-57153
READERS STORIES & PHOTOS Thank you for the testimonies, stories and photos that were sent to us. Once again in this issue your stories have been printed throughout the newspaper, along with other encouraging stories that we have received from across the nation. Please send your stories to: Email: email@example.com Postal address:
Alpha India 219, 5th A Main Road, HRBR 2nd Block, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore - 560 043 Tel: +91 80 2542 0902 / 0899 / 0881 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.alphaindia.org
new alpha board members The Chief Executive Officer of MPCA, graduated with a B. Economics (Hons), University of Malaya and subsequently obtained his M.Sc. in Management Studies from Durham University, United Kingdom. He also holds a Corporate Finance Qualification granted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
National Coordinators: Relationship Central : Philip N David Mob : +91 98844-36364 Worship Central : Balajied N Syiem Mob : +91 87942-98633 Alpha for Women : Seema D N Mob : +91 99017 81907 Alpha in the Workplace: Santosh Chetri Mob: +91 90070-22889 Alpha for Prisons: Peace Khapai Mob: +91 9597-421832 North-East Diaspora: Rampan Muivah Mob : +91 99029-90313
Jaccob was with the Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad (BBMB) Group for a significant period where he gained wide ranging experience in both corporate finance and corporate banking.
Jaccob Thomas CEO of MPCA
At MPCA (since mid-1996), Jaccob has been primarily responsible for putting in place credits.
Rajeev Menon is currently the Senior Investment Head for Expat Group of Companies. Prior to that he was the India Head for an Asset Solution Infrastructure company based out of Sydney. He also served as Vice President â€“ Business Development of Lavasa Corporation, looking after the Corporate, Institutional, Retail and Residential side of the business. In 2001 Rajeev Menon founded N-able Solutions (India) Pvt. Ltd. an offshore software application development company based in Mumbai with offshore office in Dallas, Texas.
Regional Coordinators: Andhra Pradesh: Susheel K Chattar Mob: +91 98660-99184 Bihar: George Muller Mob: +91 94310-16124 South Karnataka: Sam Victor Mob: +91 99646-98118 North Karnataka (Hubli): Abraham Vinay Mob: +91 95914-22225 Odisha: Tushar K Behera Mob: +91 93371-41600 Odisha: Jayadeep Samantroy Mob: +91 98535-03813 Rajasthan: Kamlesh Parmar Mob: +91 99830-03637 Rajasthan: Johnson James Mob: +91 98290-77374 Uttar Pradesh: Vinay P Dayal Mob: +91 93594-86843 West Bengal: Dilip Debnath Mob: 098742-07760 Tamil Nadu : John Rajan Mob : +91 98434-95572 Northeast : Rev. Ninghor Kazingmei Mob: +91 90851-57153 Northeast : Ps. Subhas Lyngdoh Mob: +91 97740-59873 Nagaland (CBCNEI) : Eyingbemo E. Ngullie Mob: +91 98566-16680 Kathmandu : Rupa Chetri Mob: 00977 98132-81683 Alpha in the Workplace, Eastern Region : Atmanand Singh, Mob: +91 90515-12161 Assoc. Coordinator, Chandigarh : Vikram Sathyarahi, Mob: +91 96467-76120 Assoc. Coordinator, Andhra Pradesh : Nanthaniel R Kodavatikanti, Mob: +91 99088-22365 Alpha Assoc. Gujarat : Rev. Uday Bhadra, Mob: +91 94085-71049 Alpha Assoc. Rajasthan : Rev. Ajay Singh, Mob: +91 98294 47835
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
Rajeev Menon Senior Investments Head for Expat Group
He has more than 25 years of experience in business and financial strategy consulting. His career spans from being a Business Executive for Nestle to a Business Strategist/Senior Account Manager and Assistant Vice President with Hong Kong Bank, Deutsche Bank and Times Bank. He lives in Mumbai with his wife and three children.
new alpha employees
Inosh Karad Regional Co-ordinator Dehradun - Uttaranchal
Priyaranjan Bag Associate Co-ordinator Kolkata - West Bengal ÂŠ Alpha India 2013, edited and published by J.V. Raj for Alpha India
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
From the desk of the National Director
The furious LOVE OF GOD
Elections are around the corner in the country. Citizens are presented with manifestos from various political parties. Manifestos are often wish lists that the parties aspire to do should they be elected. Often at the end of their period of governance, people are left without much hope. One begins to wonder if there could be salvation to the people of the country. Merely half the country remains without a proper roof on its head or pure drinking water. With the heat of the summer rising and the trees mercilessly cut down, there seems to be nowhere to go. Added to this there are many killer diseases springing up in the summer. Contrast this to the promises of the Word. The Lord says, “I have good plans for you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” How do we understand these words in the midst of the mess we are in? God prepared a garden before he created man. The garden had all that man needed. The psalmist says, “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not lack any good thing.” Paul writes, “Having given His own Son to die, will He not also give every good thing along with Him?” God planned for salvation for man even when man had rebelled against Him. Sometime it is difficult to accept the implications of such a plan of God. This plan of God for salvation is born out of strong love - even the ferocious love of God. It comes to us, like a storm overtakes us, and changes our world. Our old world crumbles before our eyes and even as we wonder, there is a newness all around us. We would have tried to improve ourselves to please God and discover that there was no need of any of our religious gymnastics to please Him. The fact is we can never do enough to satisfy God. The newness we enjoy now, we recognize is all a gift of His grace. St. Augustine famously said, “In loving me, He made me lovable.” This newness also gives us a new outlook and appreciation of life. It makes us grateful for the little things of life. Small joys delight us. We become like children. Indeed we are surprised by joy.
A new love and understanding comes to us. While we look at the people around us, we begin to appreciate their struggles of living helplessly in bondage to Self, to Sin and to Sorrow. There is a new found love to bring this message of love to all these people around. We stop judging, leave alone condemning, people. When we hear stories of women like Priya, we are encouraged. She lost her father when she was six, her mother was mentally ill. She was abused as a child. In the process of finishing her education she discovered herself in the overwhelming love of God. She decided to follow Jesus. After a short while, she had to leave her home. Stayed with a Christian “Aunty”. She goes to meet young ladies in colleges and universities in her city to bring them this wonderful love of God. She brings healing to many hurting young people. She is making a difference in the lives of many. You can be a part of and in the plan of God’s salvation in taking His goodness to a hurting world.
Raj National Director Alpha India
NEWS FROM THE CATHOLIC WORLD
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
Introduction to Alpha in a Catholic context
A two day introduction to Alpha in a Catholic Context was conducted for the priests of the Jalandhar diocese on 3rd and 4th of March, 2014. The resource team included Caroline Soon and Fr. John Gnanaprakasam from Malaysia accompanied by Mathew Antony and Bernadette Morris from New Delhi. Around 55 priests attended the training. His Lordship, Bp. Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese was not only present throughout the two day training but also actively participated in the sessions and group sharing’s conducted. The Training at Jalandhar was followed by a two day introduction for the Priests and Religious of the Shimla - Chandigarh diocese, which was held in Chandigarh on 10th and 11th of March, 2014. More than 80 Priests and Nuns attended the program along with His Lordship, Bp. Ignatius who was deeply impressed with Alpha and encouraged the clergy to use it in their respective parishes. The resource team has proposed to run a GAT for the clergy, catechists and key leaders of the diocese in the near future.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT ALPHA Caroline Soon Alpha Asia Pacific Catholic Coordinator, Global Alpha Catholic Board Member It was the year 2005 when Alpha was introduced to the Archdiocese of New Delhi. With the support of the then archbishop, His Grace, Archbishop Vincent Concessao, the course was adopted by the archdiocese. Mathew Antony who was at the pilot run of the course was chosen to be the coordinator. Since then, Alpha in the Catholic Context has spread to numerous parts of India. The breakthrough came when the Alpha Asia Pacific Catholic team was able to present Alpha to the Bishops’ Conference of India (CCBI) in Mysore. Numerous Bishops from many dioceses took it on and we were given the opportunity to train youths, lay leaders and priests. Mathew Antony, Bernadette Morris and team have done an incredible job in evangelising and reaching out to the church in India. Our team will continue to walk this pilgrim journey with them. It seems to be that the Pope’s latest exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium is a timely document. At this particular time, Spirit filled evangelisers are what we need. The joy and the love which the Holy Father repeatedly mentions in the book is what makes Spirit filled evangelisation delightful. He asked of us to go out of ourselves and into the ‘existential peripheries’ - many are hungry for the purpose and meaning of life, yet many are distant and indifferent. We are called to be missionaries of the Lord to proclaim the Good News. We have an effective tool in Alpha.
Mathew Antony Director, Pontifical Mission Societies, Archdiocese of Delhi The uncompromising clarity with which the basic truth of the Gospel is presented is what attracted me to the Alpha course… I am convinced that Alpha is a God-given way of evangelizing and re-evangelizing in our present times. It is also a powerful tool for raising able and competent lay leaders for the Church.”
BANGALORE Alpha has been successfully running in Bangalore at St Thomas Church, HAL. A married couple Ravi and Tasneem Dasgupta have taken on the mantle of running the course in the parish.
Tasneem and Ravi Dasgupta “The Alpha course gave us a well laid out platform to be able to do what our Lord has called each one of us to do… spread His Good News… it was great to see the spirit of community build up among the participants as the weeks went by. Hosting the Alpha program and conducting sessions helped us to strengthen our faith as well.” We have also included an interview with Ravi and Tasneem on the next page.
MUMBAI Alpha has been running successfully under the guidance and patronage of Bishop Agnelo Gracias, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay. Along with him a team of lay leaders carry out the mandate for evangelization through Alpha.
Tina Trinidad “On the Holy Spirit day, my whole outlook to life changed. I got to know the Holy Spirit more intimately and my spiritual journey started. Now I am a facilitator and I help conduct Alpha in various parishes in Bandra. I do hope more people will come closer to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus through this wonderful course.”
DELHI Alpha has been conducted in 7 parishes of the Archdiocese and is presently being run twice a year at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, as an ongoing parish renewal programme. The Commission for Evangelization coordinates the Alpha course in the diocese and also serves as a liaison office for Alpha in the Catholic Context in India.
R. Nihal Pedric Parish Council President, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Delhi “I did not miss a single session. I enjoyed everything from the singing, the talks, the videos, the warm hospitality of our hosts, and of course the dinner at the end!”
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
NEWS FROM THE CATHOLIC WORLD
Dwayne Fernandes, Mumbai At the Holy Spirit session at Alpha I truly experienced the Power of the Holy Spirit. Since then I have had better self control and stronger faith. Today whenever I pray I sense God’s presence and I know Jesus is my friend. I am able to appreciate and celebrate the sacraments in a more fulfilling manner. Through Alpha I gained many insights into my Christian faith which I was not aware of.
Conversation with Tasneem and Ravi
Archita Mallick, Bangalore I am a part of the Alpha team in Bangalore and I never seem to get tired of listening to the Alpha sessions. Every time it gives me a new perspective. The best thing about Alpha is that it is not aggressively forceful. It is designed in a very smooth and lucid manner. It gently stirred me. It touched my soul and that is why I wanted to be a part of it! The fact that relationships (with God and with our fellow beings) form the fulcrum of Alpha, that we can freely talk about all the doubts that we have without feeling judged makes it very exciting and genuine. It makes me feel good when I know that I have a God who loves me unconditionally. Alpha reaffirmed and rekindled my faith In Christ.
Sr Greta Robert, Calcutta Alpha is a powerful tool for evangelization, simple yet effective, suitable for any kind of set up. After attending the course, and later helping in subsequent courses, I have become convinced of its effectiveness to reach out to people of all age groups irrespective of their belief systems. I love how Alpha helps people belong before believing, accepting the way they are and letting the Holy Spirit work in them.
Mathew Thankachan, Jodhpur
I got a new dimension to my faith when I attended the Alpha course during my posting in New Delhi. Earlier, I would say, I believed more out of blind faith. Now my faith stands on evidence and experience. I believe I have discovered the Truth. And I want to make Him known to all people. That is the reason I have a keen interest in the Alpha course. It is an amazing way to make this Truth known without being pushy or preachy.
Tell us something about your self Tasneem: I was not born in a Christian home, but when I was young my parents had taught me to fold my hands at the end of each day and thank God for the grace and mercy He had blessed me with for that particular day. I discovered Christian faith 11 years ago. Ravi: Unlike what my name would suggest, I was born and raised in a Catholic family. I studied in several Jesuit institutions. I was a Sunday Christian for a large part of my life. In the last few years I have begun to teach catechism for pre university students, youth and family counselling sessions at the Divine Retreat Centre. How did you come across the Alpha course and what attracted you to it? Tasneem: I came to know about the course through a brother at our prayer meeting. What attracted me to it was its simplicity and the structure provided to spread the good news. Ravi: I had not heard of the Alpha course till about two years ago when I was invited to attend a training on Alpha being run for the Bread of Life prayer group in Bangalore which was conducted by Mathew and Bernadette from New Delhi. The content of the program appealed to my intellect and what struck me most was the format which I saw as a powerful tool for evangelization. What was your experience of running the course? How has it impacted your personal life? Tasneem: I was unsure to start with and wondered whether it was truly what I was being called to do. But I was amazed to see how He worked with us making straight every path. It was a growing experience to watch people being transformed in His grace. As we were beginning to reach the end, there was a feeling building up of, “we don’t want this to end”. Ravi: Running Alpha called for a lot of preparation to deliver the talks and do justice to the rich content. There was also a fair amount of planning and organization required in order to get a sufficiently large group of participants to register and thereafter, to organize the sessions week after week. I found the sessions very enriching and rewarding and it was great
to see the spirit of the community build up among the participants as the weeks went by. Hosting Alpha and conducting sessions helped me to strengthen my faith as well. How do you think the Alpha course will promote the New Evangelization especially within the Catholic Church? Tasneem: I think Alpha is the answer for evangelization in our Catholic Church because we as a community have our reservations in just going out and sharing Jesus with the world. Ravi : The format of Alpha is well designed to appeal to the adult Christian believers as well as those without much prior exposure to the church. The group discussions allow guests to raise questions in a non threatening environment, and the Holy Spirit ensures that these questions are appropriately answered. I have seen participants of Alpha fired up with zeal to pass on to others what they have received and this will help the New Evangelization. I have also heard guests at Alpha sharing how attending has helped them to make friends and feel a sense of belonging in the larger church community. I have seen guests come forward to share their experience of participating in Alpha during church service and for some of them it’s the first time they have ever spoken in public. Is there any memory that stands out which you would like to share with us? Tasneem: There are two actually and they came as feedbacks, one was from a 60 year old who said that this is the first course which was run over a period of time that he has completed. Second was a group that felt that they were happy with the community they had grown into where they didn’t just walk in and out of Sunday service but were excited to meet each other there. Ravi : One of the guests at Alpha once asked Tasneem and me to come over to his house as he wanted us to meet his parents and his wife. Another guest one evening after mass came and introduced his family members to us. Clearly they were speaking about the Alpha program at home and it was touching not only the lives of the guests, but also those who came in regular contact with them.
Tricia Neill global president - Alpha International
It is a delight to hear Tricia’s enthusiasm for the Alpha courses, the organisation and her vision to keep moving forwards and help new people come to meet Jesus Christ. We asked her what a normal day looked like. She said there were no normal days,but there are days that are office based near to the church home, Holy Trinity Brompton in Central London. She travels extensively visiting America six times a year as well as the other Alpha regions in Africa, Europe and Asia around once a year. She keeps in touch with the international staff in 50 offices round the world as well as spending time with ‘people with leverage’ such as Archbishops and financial partners, all of whom have a passion to change the world. She agreed to come on the course because she was asked at the right time, when she was feeling lonely and disappointed and waited to meet new people. When asked what she thought was the best bit about her job, she replied, the people she works with, who are committed and passionate. They have often given up well paid jobs because they believe in Alpha and want to extend the Kingdom of God. The number of people who have attended an Alpha course to date is more than a staggering 24 million! Tricia Neill just says she was in the right place at the right time to be used for ‘such a time like this’. Her passion and enthusiasm twenty years on from her first day at work are an inspiration!
We asked her about her encounter with God and she said that it came gradually at first. I had this sense of belonging before actually believing, and then I just knew. It was the Holy Spirit weekend, and I just had this absolute desire for a new life and to put behind me the mess of the past life, and I sensed the presence of God. I didn’t know that I could have a relationship with Jesus then, but now I do know that I can and so it’s very different. She also said that the growth of Alpha is all about the Holy Spirit’s leading. I’ve just spent 21 years keeping up with the Holy Spirit and Nicky Gumbel! Tricia believed that Alpha has brought people into a relationship with Jesus, it’s grown and changed the church, it’s unified the church,
and it’s bringing young leaders into the church. She says, “I believe Alpha is helping to re-focus itself for the next generation aiming everything that we do at the 24 year old male, who is the most disconnected from the church but the most connected digitally around the world.” We asked Tricia what she believed about friendship evangelism and she said, “More people come on Alpha because a friend has asked them than in any other way, and I think people want to know more if they see something in you that they want and don’t think that they’ve got. I believe it’s all about genuine friendship, not friendship just for the sake of bringing them to Jesus.
At the Governers house in Mumbai
Golden Crown College Preach the Word! Sing His Praise! Worship Central Seminar with Jied Syiem (10th March 2014)
- Mhalo, Thungyani, Joseph, and Akhoto
Getting to know Worship Central has been a real blessing for us at Golden Crown College(GCC). It was in the year 2013 when we first heard about it through a college friend, Joshua Dhar, who is the son of our Vice-Principal. After which, a few of the students attended their seminar at Dimapur. At their seminar we were all really blessed. We learned a totally different meaning and concept of worshipping God. We want to thank Jied Syiem for introducing us to the Worship Central course which is a wonderful and blessed experience. And we hope it becomes a yearly event. This is because most of us will go back to our churches and aim to include the program in our respective churches in and around Nagaland. Now, we are very excited knowing that our college has become partners with Worship Central. We are hoping to learn even more about worshipping God and deal with the practical issues in the Churches regarding music and worship ministry from Worship Central. Please continue to pray for us as our college team is planning to conduct the Worship Central course for the new students from 15th of May to 15th of June, 2014. Here’s a link to this article that was posted on the Golden Crown college website
WORSHIP CENTRAL INDIA
Encounter. Equip. Empower - Bringing the focus back to Christ
Jied Syiem India is a melting pot of religion and spirituality. Worship is an integral part of people’s life. By nature we are a people given to worshipping and it is mind boggling that there are about 330 million gods, idols and images worshipped in this nation. The question is not whether we worship or not, it is what is at the centre of our worship? In the midst of all this is a simple course designed to bring focus and meaning to the very act of worship in the context of a church. Why we do what we do.
Worship Central course is a 7 session course exploring theological and practical aspects of leading worship in the 21st century. With the printing of resources last year, Worship Central course is running in Dimapur (Nagaland), Guwahati (Assam) and Shillong (Meghalaya). In Dimapur, we have developed a partnership with Golden Crown College of Music and Theology. The principal Dr. Nzan Odyuo, a pioneer of worship music in the state, has decided to use the course in the curriculum of the college. Most graduates from here join mainline churches as a Youth or Music Director. Being trained and equipped with the Worship Central course, the graduates have a tool in hand when they take up their new roles. The Baptist churches in Manipur, under the Manipur Baptist Council, having about 1000 churches have also shown interest in training their Youth department and worship teams. In Shillong, Worship Central is running in churches and also in the North Eastern Hill University, the premier university in the region. Mr. Mang Chongloi, a masters student in the
university, is the coordinator for the course running in the campus. About 14 university students are part of the course. Worship Central is now on the move. North India was introduced to Worship Central with Delhi, Chandigarh and Amritsar paving the way for churches and teams to start using this simple yet effective tool. Worship Central has also been introduced in Hyderabad and Delhi during Chris Tomlin’s Passion India tour. With no formal course available for training in the area of praise and worship, this short course from Worship Central has been well accepted and appreciated. Interestingly, leaders from different churches and denominations agree that the Worship Central course is a tool, which can bring the churches together. It is our desire that through conducting this course and even coming together for a day of training, we will build a community of worshipers from all regions without the walls of denominations or styles of worship. Focusing on developing hubs in all the regions, our vision is to see people encounter God, worshipers equipped and the local church empowered. Our desire is to see Jesus Christ become the focus of our worship, our songs, our music and our gatherings.
The North Eastern Hill University By Mang Chongloi When I was first introduced to Worship Central by Jied Syiem I was really looking forward to it as I felt that this is the tool that I needed as a worshipper. I was down and feeling discouraged in leading worship. After I attended both the training and the 7 session course, in our church, I felt my passion for worship was re-ignited and I was greatly encouraged. It taught me why I worship and how important worship is as it is the centre of everything I do. It is indeed a great privilege to worship the one who loves me so much. The reason why I wanted to start Worship Central in the North Eastern Hill University campus was because I felt the need for effective worship teams in the university. My friend Yassmi Likha also wants to see worship explode in the campus. We want to equip worship leaders that will lead people to God, like a shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures. In February 2014 we shared the vision and plan for Worship Central. We talked to Jied and Loreni and they were both encouraging and helpful. On 16th March 14 students attened the first session on “Why is Worship central?”. It was amazing and the guests’ response was very good.
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
The Alpha Marriage course team held 7 trainings across India over a period of 4 months. They were held at Chennai on the 29th of November, Bangalore on 24th & 25th January, Madurai 28th & 29th January, Mumbai on Feburary 1st, Odisha on 7th & 8th Feburary, Guwahati on 5th - 7th March and Chennai on 15th March. These events were attened by many couples who were greatly blessed; below is what they said:
On this course we learnt that as a couple we need to give attention to our relationship.
The Alpha Marriage course is a priceless tool which will help in building many broken families.
I learnt that we should never let conflict take over our love. We should always talk it out.
In this course I learnt how important it is to say I am sorry.
We learnt not to take each other for granted.
It was refreshing and it reminded me of so many forgotten principles. Learning in a systematic way was beneficial.
Power of Forgiveness & resolving conflicts, was very useful for us.
This course helped me correct my errors and have unity & oneness in our marriage – living a life pleasing to God.
What we did not see in our 21 years of marriage, we learnt through this course. Exercises helped us to apologise & forgive each other.
“Communication” & “Power of forgiveness” sessions, ministered to us in this training course.
The ‘Rhino” and “Hedgehog” lesson helped expose our hidden weaknesses*
The Alpha Marriage course is a priceless tool which will help in building many broken families.
We experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit from start to finish.
Helped us to identify areas we need help in and gave us the zeal to fix it.
* Pictures used while talking about anger- some are like Rhinos – they attack when provoked, while some are like Hedgehogs - they withdraw when threatened.
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
Journeying together Philip David, Director - Relationship Central Starting courses in your homes is one small step. But the impact of this is huge and farreaching. Some years ago, it was thought that the marriage ministry is exclusive for a few. The marriage gospel is as simple as the Gospel truth itself.
Sixty years ago a set of roles and responsibilities made a successful marriage. Today the quality of the relationship matters in a successful marriage. The quality of the relationship within a marriage requires new social skills, which neither partner is trained for, prior to marriage. Alpha- Relationship Central, through its courses, helps couples learn these skills and truths that will help marriages attain the Eden-state of well being.
When you are blessed by the Marriage course, you feel like sharing your blessing. This is a good place to start. Alpha will train you as a couple after which you can start the course in your house inviting couples you know. The tools available, especially in English will assist anyone with a desire for this ministry.The impact of this will spread to the multitudes of couples in the city. Many of them may not come to church or a Bible study, but they will happily join a marriage refreshment course. The diagram explains how attending a training and starting a course will impact multitudes in the city.
A couple in Chennai started the courses in their house. Muslims, Hindus and Christians attend and are blessed. Some marriages were saved from the brink of divorce. Many good marriages have become exciting and enriched.
1. Will the couples be required to share details of their marriage with the group attending the course? No. The rule in the marriage course is that no couple will be asked to share any personal details. In fact, all discussions in the course is just between the husband and wife and not with the others in the course The methodology adopted in this course is significantly different in at least three ways (a) The course is run with the help of DVD talks given by the founders Nicky and Sila Lee. In addition to these talks, there are street interviews, sharing of experiences by couples who benefited by these courses. Experts from different walks of life add their contributions and ‘Feature Couples’ give insights for every lesson. These DVD talks can be replaced by personal talks by qualified leaders, especially where DVDs are not available in regional languages.
An Elder of a Church said, “I thought our marriage was pretty good until we attended the marriage course. We realised how much I had taken things for granted! We were communicating only practical day to day needs and requirements. After the course, my wife and I have found a deep friendship in each other next to God!”
Yet another said, “Only after the 3rd session on Resolving conflicts, I realised that it is okay to be different. But we need to focus on matching our strides!”
FAQ – about The Marriage Course
2. How is this Marriage Course special?
Soft skill training courses are accepted as the norm. But one raises an eyebrow when we talk about going for a Marriage Course. Just as soft skill courses enhance performance at work, marriage courses enhance marriages. The objective is :If your marriage is good – make it better; If it is better, make it the best it can be! We, in Alpha are working with the church to spread the marriage gospel and promote the message that it is good and healthy for couples to do the marriage course and for parents to do the parenting course.
A pastor said, “After attending this course, I realised that my spouse is handpicked by God for me! We thought of marriage as one more blessing in our lives! But now I understand that marriage is God-planned for our togetherness and His name will be glorified through our oneness!”
Our vision is that in five years, 400,000 families across the nation will be blessed by the Marriage courses and Parenting Courses. This is not an easy task. We are in constant need of couples as leaders, trainers and even full-time staff. But with God’s leading and with the support of the churches partnering with us, we will see this happen. We welcome you to join us in this pursuit of Journeying Together.
The interesting thing about these courses is that, they are not meant only for couples or parents within the church. The courses can be a blessing to our friends of all religions living in the neighbourhood, since marriage is common to all. In China, these courses have become popular. In fact the Chinese government has approved printing of The Marriage Book and related Alpha Marriage Course resources in Chinese languages for the common good of the Chinese people. They have not removed Bible verses and have approved printing it in its current form. A time will come when those blessed by these marriage courses will flock back into the local church seeking the God behind this marriage blessing.
(b) The biggest difference is seen in the ‘exercises’ in every lesson. Doing the exercises honestly, brings out many issues that are normally not dealt with during a teaching session. Scores for different lessons give your rating for the aspects of marriage evaluated. The good thing is that scores drastically improve after the lesson, when delegates honestly apply the principles to their lives. (c) Homework requires less than 30 minutes for most lessons and this helps the lessons learnt during the course to be practiced during the week that follows 3. How does one get the leaders in their church to run these courses? Alpha organises one-day training for such leaders. We require pastors to identify prospective couples and send them to these training events. After which, these leaders will be ready to start the courses. Alpha will extend the needed support by way of resources and guidance to the course leaders.
INTERVIEW & Endorsement
What I like the most about this course is that it is gentle, subtle and witty. The exercises are not very hard but they deal with core issues in a marriage. I feel it is the need of the hour; where marriages are falling apart all over. Especially with the sudden influx of money and materialism and the pressures from the media world suggesting a pseudo life; the institution of marriage needs help.
Pr. Victor D’Monte from Adonai Church Bangalore How did you get involved in Alpha? When I first heard about Alpha I thought that maybe only people in the UK could relate with the topics. So I just brushed it aside. This year (2014) I’ve been thinking about how we can mobilize people to be more evangelistic and get them involved in reaching out and this was when I thought that Alpha would be a good course to look at. After this I met a pastor from Dehradun who told me how nonChristian have come to faith through Alpha and how they enjoyed and loved it. I asked if Alpha was relevant and he said that it was very relevant. I felt that it was in God’s plan for us to do Alpha. Another pastor in Bangalore told me that he runs Alpha as home groups and as a result 2 churches have come out of it and I thought this really was a success story. So we watched Nicky Gumbel’s talks, liked it and decided to introduce Alpha. The evangelistic team in our church goes around distributing flyers and creating an awareness of how people can make use of this tool. So, it was a journey and not something that happened in one day. One thing I really like about Alpha is that it’s not about reaching the lost it’s about disciplining them. With relation to the Great Commission God never called us to make converts He called us to make disciples. I felt this is what Alpha was about, it’s about discipline people from the word go. You have run the Marriage course for a while now, any testimonies that you would like to share? We first ran the Alpha Marriage course for 8 couples and they all found it nonthreatening. I think each couple had their space and privacy as it was not overbearing. We had enough time to talk to one another and so it proved to be very good. For my wife and I sometimes think we have been married for 27 years and we know it all, but we realized that we go through transitions in life; our perspectives have changed and we have grown as a couple in our outlook. We felt this course gave us the time to look at our relationship and life from a different point of view. I suggest the marriage course should be done twice; once during the early stages of being married and again in the later stages of marriage. I say this because when you look at the same thing from a different perspective it helps a lot. A couple in our church who were married for 7 years and have a child just couldn’t understand one another. Part of it had to do with work and prioritising. So during the marriage course they learnt to prioritise
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
Marriage is an institution originated, ordained and orchestrated by God, in the Garden of Eden. This course helps one to get back to that Eden experience. I believe that it is a must for every couple, young and old. and spend time with each other; this was a highlight for many as they learnt that they could either just hang around each other or spend 1 hour of quality time. And they found that this quality time meant more. Apart from this they felt that they both came from different cultural backgrounds and families that lived and spoke differently; during this course for the first time they took this into consideration. This led to less tension and fights. They were able to understand each other and work things out from a different perspective. Another testimony is of a couple that have been married for 3 years. They said that living in a place where marriages are breaking and people are having affairs leads to vulnerability building up. They were questioning how secure their marriage was; they said they never had many issues but there were unspoken fears in their heart. So, the marriage course gave them space to talk things through, share their fears and lay down guidelines and structure for them to clearly state what they do and don’t do. The marriage course helped them in terms of defining things clearly. How do you see the Marriage Course helping couples in the city? The way I see it is that we tend to wait for people to have a problem and then we try to solve the problem. Today marriages are breaking just because they have rushed into marriage with no idea or foundations and they expect it to work. I feel that having the marriage course running in any church is of great importance because you are laying the foundation so that when the storm comes they will be able to stand. Rather than wait for the storm and then try to build the foundation. The Alpha marriage course has been very helpful in this respect.
Pr. Charles S. Dawson The Alpha Marriage course has had an indelible impact in my life for many reasons. The night it began in our church my mother went home to be with the Lord and words cannot express how this course was a blessing for the next 7 weeks. When the course started I as the pastor had to officiate it but slowly I was compelled to participate and my wife, Premini, and I were greatly blessed.
Rev. Chadwick Mohan, Lead pastor, NLAG
God has made the Alpha Marriage course a blessing to the New Life ministries of God Church. In early 2007 we stared our first batch of Alpha Marriage course with young and old couples together. The design that we follow is to have 1 or 2 older couples and a set of younger couples coming together every Sunday. Through this many families have been strengthened in the church; for the church of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures needs to be a family of families. If the family is not put into order the church cannot be put into order. The Marriage course has been instrumental in making sure that God would set right families. In fact it is not only about the couples that go through difficult times; it is about every family relationship being strengthened in the word of God. The husband loving his wife, the wife submitting to her husband and parents helping children cope with the complexities of the world and teaching them the word of God to transfer faith from one generation to the next. While they go through this course there is always a time and season when the Holy Spirit breaks through to them and they share their stories. Not just stories that are between husband and wife, but stories about how inlaws have or have not treated them. Stories of forgiveness. Some people may even say “God, please help our marriage” or “we are not able to manage our children”. Stories of how teenage children have come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. A relationship grows between these couples and several marriages have been put in order, set right, enhanced, enriched and God has made this Alpha Marriage course a blessing. I would recommend it to be a part of every church. If you are not taking care of families this is the place to start; this will really help you.
ALPHA INDIA NEWS APRIL-JUNE 2014
FroM THE FIELD
WORSHIP INDIA Womens meeting atCENTRAL Delhi
1. How do I get started running Alpha?
Prayer is vital to the planning, preparation and effectiveness of your Alpha course. Find a group of people who will pray for every aspect of your Alpha course.
Step 1 - Pray Step 2 - Participate Step 3 - Plan your course Step 4 - Prepare your team Step 5 - Procure your resources Step 6 - Persevere Step 7 - Pass on the vision
Following the wonderful regional conferences we had last year the main resource women from different regions met at Delhi on the 6th and 7th of March 2014. The meeting started with worship after which Mr. J. Varadaraj, National Director of Alpha India, emphasized on the need to work together and to hear God as a community. Some of the other points he spoke on were: • Each person contacting 10 people • Forming a curriculum for the course • Leadership development training
• Becoming self-sufficient and developing financial participation • Requested women leaders to take responsibility for their region to create awareness and explore possible areas for developing women’s work. He also shared few encouraging stories. There were also talks on “Leadership of women” and “Economic empowerment of women” Finally, Pr. Victor Nazareth commissioned the women challenging them to share the good news.
Graduate students using Alpha
Pray for Alpha India
2. How do I run the Alpha course outside of my church?
Using the same Alpha course content and structure, you can run an Alpha course at school, colleges, workplace, prisons, hospitals, homeless shelters, army bases, slums, among eunuchs and in red light districts.
3. What resources and training opportunities are available to me? • Access to Alpha’s national training conferences and local training events • Access to a full array of products through the Alpha India website to promote, run and augment your Alpha course • Access to a network of Alpha coordinators and Alpha advisors 4. How do I contact Alpha India?
Your first point of contact is:
• Your local state coordinator, then • The Regional Office and finally
Praise GOD FOR: - His provision all through the last quarter - The new partnerships that emerged during last quarter I, Abie George am the Academic Dean at the Calvary International Biblical Academy (CIBA) at CICM in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh. I am very happy that Vinay who is an Alpha coordinator came to visit us and trained 40 of our students in using Alpha to evangelise the unreached areas of India and to do church planting ministry. All 40 of our graduate students are following the same method in their mission work and are doing wonderful ministry. We really appreciate the hard work and cooperation that went into training our students to evangelise India.
Q U I Z
- Our financial supporters Prayer Points: - Pray for lives to be transformed and changed wherever Alpha is run - Pray for God’s provision for this quarter - Pray that new staff will be added to the family of Alpha - Pray for the good health of the Alpha volunteers and their families
• The Alpha India National Office They can all help you locate a training event happening near you. Please find contact details on Pg. 2
ALPHA RESOURCES Alpha resources are available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese and Urdu.
Dear Readers, We at Alpha India would like to hear from you. We have come up with a few simple questions based on this newsletter that you can answer and send back to us. We encourage you to answer these questions, cut out this strip and mail it to us. You could also scan this section and email it to email@example.com 1. 2. 3. 4.
How many people were interviewed in this issue ? Which are all the places in which Worship Central course is happening? Who are the founders of the Marriage course? Which was your favourite article?
attactive gift for firsilts 50 ma
$ Name : Address :
To ALPHA INDIA 219, 5th A Main Road, HRBR 2nd Block, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore - 560 043, India Tel: + 91 80 2542 0902