Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alpha Conference, Kuching (Day One)

Kuching held its first ever Alpha Conference from the 16-17 April at Trinity Methodist Church. It was truly a sight to behold, with more than a thousand delegates from other parts of Malaysia as well as overseas (Indonesia, India, Australia, etc) streaming in to attend the conference. The main Alpha team leaders such as Nicky Gumble, Tim Hughes, Al Gordon and Jamie Haith also flew in all the way from the UK.

Click these links for an overview on the Alpha Course and Nicky Gumble.

There were also plenty of assistants from all churches around Kuching, wearing purple shirts helping in the running of the conference.

The bishop says that he invited Nicky Gumble six years ago to speak in Kuching. Its definitely a worthwhile wait, in my opinion.

Participants listening earnestly to the opening speeches.

Tim Hughes led most of the worship sessions just with an acoustic guitar. Popular songs that he composed were sung, such as "Here I am to worship" and "Consuming Fire".

Its lovely to see Christians from all denominations coming together in worship and praise.

Rev Nicky Gumbel and wife Pippa joining the congregation in worship.

A closer look at Tim Hughes. I was stretching the capabilities of the Olympus Image Stabilisation system by keeping shutter speeds around 1/100. It can get a little challenging to handhold an E-3 + HLD-4 + 35-100 combination which weighs around 4 kg.

Nicky Gumbel finally takes the spot light with the talk "Principles of Alpha". The seminars were clearly and coherently presented.

The church was packed to the brim, even with the addition of extra seats. Truly a magnificent sight to behold.

As the seminars were presented, the audio visual team was busy working in the background diligently recording the event on video.

With wide angle lenses, such as the 7-14 (14-28mm equivalent), it was possible to get sharp handheld shots at around 1/20 secs.

A time for ministry is essential after every seminar and its importance should not be overlooked.

After lunch, Al Gordon presented "Practicalities of Alpha"

There were several workshops in the afternoon around the premises. My dad asked me to cover the "family life" course at St Peter's church.

Mr and Mrs Yoong have been conducting marriage seminars all throughout Malaysia and actively advocate the Alpha Marriage course.

Downstairs, there was a seminar on Youth Alpha. The cushions offered a more relaxed and informal atmosphere, in my opinion.

After dinner, Nicky invited some delegates who attended the Alpha courses before to share their experiences on stage. It was indeed touching to hear some stories on how lives can be changed through Alpha.

Jamie Haith shared a Model Alpha Evening: Holy Spirit Weekend. Wikipedia states - The Alpha course has been criticised for a charismatic emphasis. A particular problem for non-charismatic evangelicals is what is seen as Gumbel's emphasis upon the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Of course, your mileage may vary, but in my opinion, what's more essential is that the teachings are focused upon aspects of the Christian faith where all denominations are in general agreement.

A session of ministry before ending the night session.

You may view more images of the event here.




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