HONG KONG- Around 2,000 Chinese pastors and believers of all denominations from over 25 countries witnessed the opening of the first ever Global Chinese Alpha Conference in Hong Kong on Monday.
At the Hong Kong International Trade & Exhibition Centre in Kowloon, the British Alpha Chaplain Rev. Nicky Gumbel, Bishop Joseph Zen of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Anglican Church Rev. Paul Kwong and many denomination representatives were presented at the grand ceremony.
It has been one of the most memorable occasions in Hong Kong Christianity where all Catholic, Anglican and Protestant leaders have united in one heart in supporting the Conference. As Chinese Christians around the world commemorate the bicentenary of the first western missionary Robert Morrison bringing the Gospel to China, the Conference has become a unique opportunity for global Chinese Christians to celebrate the grace of the Lord upon China, as well as to open up a new era of mission by putting their strength together.
Rev. Paul Kwong commented that believers from different denomination might have already experienced the benefits of Alpha Course on mass evangelism; he hopes that Alpha can help lead more Chinese non-believers to Christ.
While Alpha Invitation is based on the table fellowship setting where seekers can freely share about the concerns in their lives, Bishop Joseph Zen said that the strategy is especially suitable for the Chinese community. The Catholic Church in Hong Kong has tried to run Alpha course for training the faith of believers.
Rev. Nicky Gumbel confessed that the Alpha team loves Chinese people very much, and he wished that the team can greatly serve the Chinese Church through this Conference.
As this is a global Chinese gathering, believers from Mainland China are not excluded despite of political sensitivity. Among the attendees, there were believers from both the official church and underground church. Though the Conference’s organizer has refused to tell reporters about the number of mainland Chinese attendees and whether Alpha Course is available in Mainland China, it did mention that the Conference is open to all those who are interested in knowing about this efficient evangelism strategy.
A native missionary from China told the Gospel Herald reporter that he was very glad that he has accepted the invitation to join this Alpha Conference. The atmosphere for evangelism in Mainland China has become more opened than the past, he added.
The Global Chinese Alpha Conference will last from April 10 thru April 11. The two-day conference will include seminars, introducing how to start running Alpha Course, the theology behind the Alpha Course, Alpha Course at Workplace as well as how to promote Alpha Course among the Chinese Community.
[Editor's note: Carol U contributed reporting from Hong Kong for this article.]