Saturday, August 29, 2009

Alpha Course (Mandarin)

The Chinese Apostolate of Visitation has introduced the Alpha Course for Catholics for the Mandarin speaking community. This is the first time the Alpha Course has been conducted in Mandarin in this parish. Previously, the Alpha Course had been conducted in English for two years consecutively.

The Alpha course is a course on the basics of the Christian faith, described as "an opportunity to explore the meaning of life," currently running in churches, homes, workplaces, prisons, universities and a wide variety of other locations. The course is being run around the world by all major Christian denominations.

Alpha was started by the Revd Charles Marnham, a curate at Holy Trinity, Brompton, a Church of England parish in London. The name 'Alpha' was suggested by Tricia Marnham, Charles' wife. It started as a course for church members on the basics of the Christian faith but then began to be used as an introduction for those interested in the faith. In 1990 the Revd Nicky Gumbel, at that time a curate at Holy Trinity, took over the running of the course at the invitation of the Revd Sandy Millar, the then vicar, and oversaw its revision and expansion.

In 2008, over 33,500 courses were offered in 163 countries by Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, British New Church Movement and Orthodox [2] denominations. By 2009 proponents claimed over 13 million people worldwide had attended an Alpha course (two million in the UK).

This Mandarin version of the course was made possible through the dedication and enthusiasm of a group of young working adults from Kuala Lumpur, under the leadership of Mark Tan. They have been travelling to Seremban every week for the last two months in order to share with the parishioners and friends of the Church of Visitation.

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