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23 sign up for The Alpha Course in Ipswich
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23 sign up for The Alpha Course in Ipswich

Adrian Holloway on January 21, 2024 with 0 Comments

23 people signed up for week 1 of the Hope Church Ipswich Alpha Course, when I spoke at The Hope Centre this morning. And 29 others who said they couldn’t come to week 1 on Wednesday said they’d like to come on a future course. All hugely encouraging. In total 621 people attended the service. The last time I spoke at a Sunday Alpha launch at Hope Church was 4 years ago, before Hope Church had purchased the cinema, and they had around 400 people coming each Sunday in their previous building, which they’ve since sold. So they have grown enormously in the past two years. It was my first visit to their new former cinema venue. The conversion of the cinema is spectacular with the auditorium on the top floor, a great mezzanine floor below where the Alpha Course will start on Wednesday, and several kids work rooms on the ground floor. I think the cinema had 5 screens, so it’s a big site. I think the overall cost of the conversion is around £2.5million. I went out to lunch afterwards with Pastors Tom Scrivens and Tim Virgo and. at my request, they told me the story of how and why the church has grown so much. Of course what they couldn’t tell me was that the two of them and their families have been a huge part of leading into the growth they’ve seen. For example, Tim shared a notice that it was sign up day also for the small groups which are launching this week, and they have 40 small groups! Before I came on to preach from John 4, Tim did a tremendously good interview with an ex-army soldier who told how he’d come on the Alpha Course and has now become a Christian. He’d previously had no Christian background in his own family. He said the extent of his church involvement previously was that once he’d watched Songs of Praise! I spoke to him afterwards in the Welcome Bar area and he told me that he had expected week one of Alpha to be a cold gathering around candles singing Kum-ba-yar. He told me how since he and his wife started following Jesus, they’ve been able introduce others to Jesus too, and lead Alpha Courses at Hope Church themselves. So it turns out that the church is alive and well and growing in Ipswich.

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about the author

Adrian is married to Julia. They have four daughters. He is based at Everyday Church in Wimbledon, and has written two books, "The Shock of Your Life" and "Aftershock," which tackles the strongest objections to Christianity in the form of a novel.