Blessings, surprises, and witnesses to the Holy Spirit.
It's been an amazing journey with Alpha coming to a close at St. Augustines with plans for another in the new year - hopefully in the Spring!
The ministry has planted its' roots at St. Augustine's and grateful for the support from the parish and the team for making Alpha happen. We never imagined it would be this size and for parishioners and non-parishioners to be open to the spirit at work. I guess the Lord wanted everyone that came to receive Him and in spirit! It's also a testament of the committed team and food hospitality that made everything run so smoothly. Each person brought something very special to Alpha and when combined together provided a strong front that I know I could not pull off on my own.
Aside from our last session having projector issues, it didn't stop the spirit at work and the rest of the evening went with out a hitch. We celebrated the last session, Alpha style. We had homemade Italian pizza by Karina and Francesco which brought me back to Venice where I had the best pizza...ever! Truly talented couple and a blessing in our parish. We had Jarren Bato play a few songs before closing us off in a beautiful prayer before the Alpha team prayed an intentional prayer over each table.
Some of the stories that are coming out are beautiful and I hope some of them will share their story with the parish and with friends and family. From what I have heard so far, there are tables that have already started to form their own small groups and have created their ownwhatsapp or facebook group...which is wonderfull! There is a sense of people that came to Alpha lukewarm and have walked away with a stronger understanding of their faith and a feeling of belonging. This is the Alpha spirit - forming community and fellowship centred on Jesus Christ.
That evening was short of a miracle and similar to the Alpha Day experience. I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but Brian and I were talking about it afterwards. During the last song that Jarren was playing, "No Longer Slaves", I turned off the lights. Jarren had asked everyone to close their eyes and to listen to the words. As he was playing, I could sense a light in the room and opened my eyes. One of the ladies was looking straight across at me with a puzzled awe. Somehow the light above their table was getting brighter and shone down on them and Jarren! I looked back to see if anyone had turned on the lights and no one was there. Brian was taken aback and watched in awe as the light grew brighter and took the attached photo. It was as if God was saying, "I am here". Just like on our Alpha Day with the spirit moving through the room, with the big gust of wind, present and making himself known to all.
We close off this Alpha, grateful for receiving the Lord and to renewing our calling to do His Will and not our own. The ministry in our parish is still in its' infancy and with it comes growing pains and the need to continue receiving your prayers and support. We are now looking ahead for anyone that would like to contribute their talents, whether as an inviter, helper on a table, greeter, food contributor, or a kitchen helper. Or, we welcome monetary donations that can help support the meals. If you are interested, the only requirement is to come with no expectations and above all have FUN!
Attached group photo - missing a few people but all in all gives a great shot of the guests.
St. Augustine's Alpha Team
After three months of planning, the Alpha ministry has begun!
Over these past few weeks, it is encouraging to see guests returning each week and hearing their feedback so far. A diverse group from different backgrounds that are coming from as far as North Vancouver, White Rock, and Burnaby; growing in friendship, sharing stories, learning, and laughing together.
We walk away every Thursday evening grateful the Lord has brought us this far and trust in Him that He will continue to guide us along.
We are also amazed at how much the Holy Spirit has been stirring among the guests by their willingness to personally invite friends and family this early in the Alpha journey. This reassures us what Alpha is made to do - engage hearts and have those present draw people to Jesus through personal invitation.
Also, it has been humbling to be a part of a greater team at St. Augustine’s. All made possible by the generosity of donated desserts for the Thursday meals, the support of the Hospitality team, the great Alpha hosts and helpers at each table, and the continued prayers in our parish and from parishes across the country.
In August, we will be spending a day away from the parish resting and relaxing together, and taking what we’ve learned from our minds to our hearts. We pray this time away will bring us closer as a group and look forward to experiencing God’s presence.
Thank you for your support and please pray for us and for our church!
St. Augustine’s Alpha Team