What do all these have in common?
A Sunday Morning Service to mark the end of the Alpha Course, which has been running since January in Tavira, took place last weekend at Christ The King Anglican Church in Almancil.
Over 50 members of the Congregation, attendees of the Alpha Course, their families and friends packed the Church in the Park at Jardim das Comunidades to celebrate and congratulate all the Alpha attendees who completed the 15-week course.
This Alpha had been organised primarily for the Nepalese community in Tavira and the Church was overflowing with people wearing the traditional Saris of Nepal, hymns were sung in Nepalese and the Bible Reading and prayer were led by the Nepalese Alpha members.
This Alpha Course was multi-ethnic, multi-generational and was held in two languages, English and Nepalese. It was attended by four generations, from eight to 80 years of age.
The Alpha Course is growing in popularity across the Algarve, and has been attended by over 28 million people worldwide in the past 20 years. It has been translated into over 100 languages and dialects.
As the Almancil church explains, “Alpha is a Christian Outreach programme which allows for people of all ages and faiths to get together for open, frank and questioning discussions about Christianity in an easy, friendly environment.
“Often these programmes are held in secular places away from the constraints of a traditional church building.
“The basis of the weekly programme is a series of video presentations which pose a number of questions which then open up to discussions, which can lead to challenging questions such as ‘What is life all about?’ and ‘Is this all there is – what happens next?’”
Following the service, coffee and cake were served in the local café, the cake featuring a huge red question mark, the logo for Alpha.
Speaking after the service, Terry Blackman, one of the leaders, said: “The full impact of this outreach has yet to be realised, but the warmth of the affection both communities hold for each other was fully present today and we look forward to further developing these ties.”