A message from the Executive Director
On 24th February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and split our region and its sense of security in an instant. The invasion caused Europe’s largest displacement of refugees since WWII, with 9.1m Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the country displaced. With Alpha Offices in Ukraine and Russia, we moved our Ukraine team to the UK, based at HTB in London. In God’s grace we miraculously managed to extract our young National Coordinator on the eve of war. God is faithful. Now Andriy and Veronika Kopylash are shaping up new Alpha resources to reach Ukrainians globally, as they help their fellow countrymen settle in the UK and search for hope from the ruins of war. Alpha remains active in Russia and we would deeply value your prayers for the team and the churches who continue to reach out despite the challenges.
Read on to see how our Eastern European offices and in particular, Alpha Poland, have worked with ‘Alpha churches’, in the first instance to provide humanitarian support to the displacement of millions of people, and now to offer spiritual hope through Alpha.
After 4 years, a global pandemic and with two major wars now ongoing in our region (Syria now 11 years) we were hugely blessed to gather our whole regional and NAO staff teams and Board Chairs from 30 countries for ELG22 in London. It refreshed and blessed us, and Nicky Gumbel envisioned us for what can be by 2033. In response we dared to ask God to dream His dreams for the re-evangelisation of our nations and transformed society, through a revitalised Church. Read below for the full picture.
In spite of the battles, we saw a bounce back with course growth in Europe and MENA up approximately 30% on the same period in 2021. As the pandemic receded, our teams focused on empowering churches to restart in-person courses as well as continuing to run Alphas online. In the first 6 months, 1,663 online Alpha courses ran from Saudi Arabia to Portugal. We were delighted to welcome back 1,800 new and returning churches to run Alpha after the pandemic. This resulted in 3,177 in-person Alphas run in churches, cafes, homes and prisons in the first 6 months of 2022. Congratulations to Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden who in the first 6 months of 2022 bounced back to over 90% of their 2021 church numbers, and a huge felicidades to Spain who achieved 103%. Alpha Youth continues to grow with over a third (36%) of our 2,677 churches involved in helping teenagers to encounter Jesus through Alpha.
We remain grateful to God for the opportunity to bring faith, hope and love in our region in these challenging times through Alpha. Please pray for the Church in Europe as it rises up to serve the physical and spiritual needs of a broken continent.
Our Response to the Ukraine Crisis
The devastating Ukraine crisis, which began as war broke out in February in the heart of EMENA, has had a significant impact on our region and continues to be an important matter of prayer as well as practical action. We were so grateful that the two staff members of Alpha Ukraine were able to come to the UK safely at the beginning of the conflict, and we continue to lift Ukraine in daily prayer and position Alpha to serve the millions of displaced Ukrainian citizens.
It has subsequently been incredible to witness the generosity of European nations and churches, as well as the HTB church network stepping up to support displaced Ukrainian refugee families. Our Alpha response has been led through Alpha Poland and Alpha Romania, with several strategic Alpha churches in these countries providing humanitarian support such as food, accommodation, language courses and transport to Ukrainian families.
Alpha Poland was the key partner in a recent event to serve 5000 refugees in Kraków, Łódź, Warsaw and other places with practical love and support.
Please keep praying for the people of Ukraine and Russia, for peace and protection and for an end to the conflict. We will continue to work and take opportunities to serve these nations. We are developing new Alpha resources to meet the challenge and growing opportunities, adding Ukrainian language subtitles to our country options alongside fully dubbed Ukrainian AFS & AYFS products which are already available.
From January to June…
ELG22 – re-envisioning, looking toward the future
Without a doubt one highlight of 2022 so far has been the EMENA Leaders Gathering (ELG22), which was held in the UK from 12th-16th June.
ELG is the primary opportunity for EMENA core National Alpha Office staff and Board Chairs to come together to learn, be inspired and deepen relationships with each other and with God. The event usually takes place every two years, but with 2020’s gathering cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year felt particularly special. It was a wonderful opportunity to see each other again and to meet for the first time those who have joined over the past couple of years.
With this in mind, we began by welcoming our 150 guests ‘home’ to Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in London, spending time immersed in the culture of the church where Alpha began and hearing from speakers such as Katherine Chow, Associate Vicar of HTB, Nick Perryman, Alpha International CEO, and Nicky & Pippa Gumbel. It was also wonderful to be joined by Maximilian Oettingen, leader of Loretto, who shared with us about the Bridegroom Heart of God, helping us to focus first on what matters most. After our time at HTB, we were blessed to spend three days in Ashburnham Place, a beautiful retreat centre in East Sussex, where we continued our time together with seminars and campfire discussions.
We are grateful to our amazing speakers, including Andreas “Boppi” Boppart, lead of Campus für Christus and Archie Coates, HTB Vicar Designate, who inspired and re-envisioned us for the next season. We even found the time for some sports and activities in the sunshine!
“I’ve been blessed by these days, God has spoken so much right to my heart, by the sessions and the words, great fellowship to meet in person. I’m overwhelmed!”
“It was the first time that I could join you and it will not be the last time. To me, it was wonderful to be with all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You already feel like family to me…”
“I felt blessed, welcomed and loved. Astonished by this culture of hospitality and generosity, touched by the worship times and prayer.”
High-level approved budget and spend for AI regional team.