A thousand of Hong Kong Christians gathered at a grand banquet to witness the development of Alpha Course in 2005, offering it to God with thanksgiving.
On Jan. 2 evening, the huge crowd of supporters of Alpha Course was presented at the well-decorated Grand Ballroom of the Regal Airport Hotel at Chek Lap Kok Airport. Famous movie director, Alfred Cheung Kin Ting and Hannah Miller, National Director of Alpha Hong Kong were the MCs respectively in Cantonese and English.
The banquet began with a prayer by Rev. Li Ping Kwong, former President of Methodist Church of Hong Kong. While the participants were sharing the meal together, a five-minute video was presented recapping the Alpha Invitation campaign in Hong Kong, which started in June 2005 together with many other countries across the world.
The video gave a very detailed account on how the basic "P"s in the Alpha Invitation campaign are completed. For "Preparation" over 2,000 Alpha team leaders are being trained in Hong Kong in 2005. Supported by a 2-month Prayer Handbook written by Fan Chan of Jireh Fund, Alpha supporters pray for the activities surrounding the Alpha Invitation. Citywide prayer meetings were also organized.
Concerning "Promotion" the Alpha Course has launched public advertising and promotional campaign for the very first time in Hong Kong. Big signboards are being posted on the street, outside landmark buildings, at the airport and even in the public transportation system. It is estimated that there are two million viewers and the attention of over 200,000 cars, buses, taxis and trucks per day.
According to official statistics, a total of 120 courses were commencing in September 2005 as a result of the promotion campaign. In 2004, there were only 36 such courses.
The achievement of the Alpha Course in relation to the growth of Hong Kong churches has been highlighted in the presentation. A recent release of an independent survey done by the Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement (HKCRM) showed that Alpha churches enjoy a higher growth rate. In 2004, the Annual Growth Rate (AGR) of Alpha churches is 10.8 percent and the median is 7.1 percent, compared to non-Alpha churches' growth of 5.4 percent and the median is 2.7 percent growth.
However, Alpha Hong Kong emphasizes that its role is like a sheep dog, and its job is to herd sheep to the sheep pens - the churches. As it presents itself as the guide for the growth of churches, it quotes the Bible verses saying, "Some planted, some watered, but God gave the growth."
The keynote speaker of the evening was Pastor Raymond Lee, Pastor of Faith Community Church; Alpha Adviser and also Chairman of Oasis Hong Kong Airlines. His wife Priscilla Lee translated the talk from Chinese to English. Lee shared the story about Barnabas in the Bible, who made a bold move in accepting Paul and through that a great history of Christianity has been opened. He encouraged all to give sacrificially so that God's Kingdom can be expanded on earth.
Hannah Miller, one of the founders of the Alpha Course in Hong Kong, has sponsored the whole Thanksgiving Dinner (HK$250,000).
Three winners were drawn to attend the Alpha Conference in London in May, 2006, was announced in the evening. They are three ladies from a local Chinese church, another from an English-speaking church and one from a Pilipino Fellowship. Alpha Course celebrates the prefect combination of the three winners that are going to represent three major types of churches in Hong Kong.
The grand finale of the evening saw many of the dinner guests joining the Alpha Hong Kong team on stage, rejoicing, praising and dancing.