Every time I leave the parish hall after an Alpha session on a Tuesday evening I feel a perceptible sense of wellbeing and contentment. This is no exaggeration. As I reflect on this I come to the conclusion as to why I feel this way.

In its simplest form, approximately eighty people have been coming each week to share a meal, watch a presentation video and then discuss in a very informal way the issues raised.

When I speak of contentment, I am not expressing self satisfaction and smugness but something akin to peace of mind and joy. Apart from everything else, I may have planted a very small seed, but the hard working and conscientious Alpha Team must take all the credit.

The contentment I feel is due to all the positives I see during the one and a half hours that we spend together. There are many examples of group leaders stepping out in faith as they endeavour to break the ice and draw others into discussion. Indeed, so many participants who would normally shy away from any sort of expression about the joys and the struggles of their faith journey, have experienced new found courage to open up and speak.

May I also take this opportunity to thank those who have prepared the excellent food and those who have served and waited on all those who come. What an irresistible combination: food for the body and food for the soul – all in one evening. This has all been made possible because parishioners have stepped forward and used their gifts and talents to make things happen. So, well done to the organisers, the leaders, the welcomers, the technical advisers, the caterers and indeed all who come along.

We have now completed five of eleven sessions but I encourage you to keep on coming so that you will benefit, as you share views and evangelise one another.

So thank you and well done to everyone.

But remember, this is a stepping stone to stronger faith, deeper love, greater enlightenment and a desire to build up the kingdom in the parish of St Edmund’s.