Paper Round

Following on from Tuesday’s submission…

Last Thursday, the Mail published an article about David Suchet – he who plays Poirot on the telly. It was quite a nice article about how he’s become a Christian after years of atheism. It was fine apart from a rather snide comment, something like “…and in spite of claims he’s attended an Alpha course…dismissed by many as a Happy Clappy sect…he says he never has.”

I’ve blogged about the Alpha course before, so I won’t go through that again. I’m not ashamed of the term Happy-Clappy – it sums up pretty accurately the kind of church I believe in, but I don’t see why it has to be used so perjoratively. Anyway, I didn’t think Alpha deserved such a glib dismissal, so I penned the following…

I enjoyed your article about David Suchet’s journey to Christianity – with the exception of the glib off-hand dismissal of the Alpha Course as “having been dismissed by critics as a happy clappy sect”. The Alpha Course – as any of the thousands of people who’ve taken part in one will know – originated at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, part of the Anglican communion.

While the course certainly can be delivered in Charismatic style, it’s open to being presented in as staid or lively style as the host church chooses. The course has been an introduction to Christianity of all types for thousands of people across the world, not only in the “happy clappy” churches, but in youth groups, prisons and dozens of other settings.

For anyone interested in finding out about Christianity, the Alpha course is an excellent, low-pressure introduction with no obligation to ever come again. Those who dismiss it as “a happy clappy sect” could do much worse than to actually try one.

Those of you who – unlike me and Ned – subscribe to the Mail can check Tuesday’s copy and see what they actually printed :-)

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