The Alpha course was introduced to Prison Fellowship International (PFI) members at a recent convention held in Hong Kong.
More than 200 PFI members from 116 countries were present at PFI's "Alpha Course Night" on Aug. 15 in the Hong Kong Royal Plaza Hotel. During the gathering, PFI President, Ronald Nikkel, explained the cooperation between the two international organizations.
According to Nikkel, the cooperation between the PFI and Alpha began in UK, where the first Alpha Course began nearly two decades ago. When Alpha program was introduced to the UK prison fellowship, prisoners who participated in it experienced great changes in their lives.
Now, the Alpha Program is also being used for Norway PFI, he added.
The HK Alpha Program's executive secretary, who also spoke at the gathering, shared with attendants the situation of Mainland China. She said that China, which has the largest population in the world, has the largest number of prisoners. She expressed her wish for the China Alpha program to be used effectively.
In ending the convention, the PFI Asia Pacific representative Director gave the closing prayer, noting that "if there were no God, we would not be able to see the beautiful partnership of the PFI and Alpha today."
"Let the two organizations become one," he prayed, "not only in sharing information, but also in sharing the love of God with prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families."
The Alpha course, which started in the UK in 1977, consists of a series of talks addressing key issues relating to the Christian faith. At the beginning of each session participants have light meal together, and then divide into small groups to discuss the topic of the evening. Participants are able to freely listen, ask, learn, discuss, and discover.
In 1997, Alpha established its "Alpha for Prisons" department to spread Alpha Prison Ministry.