THE Alpha course has produced a series of documentary-style films which it hopes will inspire a new generation to learn more about the Christian faith.
The Alpha Film Series, which was launched on Thursday of last week with a screening of the first of 16 20-minute episodes, is presented by CBBC TV’s Gemma Hunt, and the Revd Toby Flint, who is an assistant curate at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in London.
The Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, the Revd Nicky Gumbel, an Alpha pioneer and author, also features in the films.
Other contributors include the adventurer, writer, and television presenter Bear Grylls; the former English international rugby union player Ugo Monye; and the RC Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.
The films — shot in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Austria, Italy, France, India, Hong Kong, Israel, the United States, Chile, and Kenya — include stories and interviews with members of the public that explore some of the questions posed in the traditional Alpha course: Who is Jesus? How can we have faith? Why and how do I pray? How does God guide us? Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Alpha course is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith over 11 weeks. Each session considers a different question around faith, and is designed to create conversation. It is run in cafés, churches, universities, homes, and bars all around the world, and is open to all. Since Alpha began in 1977, 29 million people have taken part in 169 countries and in 112 languages.
The president of Alpha International, Tricia Neill, said: “The new Alpha Film Series has the potential to reach millions worldwide with the message of God’s transforming love and grace.”
It was funded by donations, and is available free online. It will be released on DVD in Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, and Hindi by the end of the year.
Mr Flint joined the Alpha course after university. “I’d always found telling friends about my faith a bit awkward, but I decided I’d give it a shot.”
He now runs Alpha at Holy Trinity, Brompton, and was involved in planning the project: “The result is powerful. It’s compelling to hear from such a range of inspiring individuals.”
Ms Hunt said: “It takes the same incredible content that’s been put together over the years, but the delivery is so much more effective for a younger, global audience.”
Other contributors are the Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, Alister McGrath; the Sky Sports News presenter and double Guinness World Record Atlantic Ocean rower, Julia Immonen; the missionary Jackie Pullinger, based in Hong Kong; the Preacher to the Papal Household, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa; the founder of Charity: Water, Scott Harrison; and José Henriquez González, one of the 33 miners trapped for 69 days at the San José mine in Chile.
The project is separate from the Alpha Youth Film series, which launched in September 2013 for those aged 11-18.
To watch episode one, Is There More To Life Than This?, visit bit.ly/AFSE01