8/7/2019 Alpha Under the Bridge
During a season of prayer, the Spirit seeded an idea
into my heart to run an Alpha Express Course with a
group of homeless people congregating under a
concrete bridge in the Docklands, Melbourne.
This venue was known as Tent City. I came to know of
this place through an outreach project with theSalvation Army. It has no electricity or running water.
There were 12 tents, a broken table, a few plastic
chairs and a radio. It was dusty and cold.
There were six or seven men who slept there. I often
prayed for God to stir in their hearts a desire to hear
His Word. The group consisted of Ross, Patrick, Kris,
Je, Trevor, Bob, Danny, Ashley and a few who drifted
in and out of the group.
I approached the group and raised the idea of
running a ten-week Alpha Express Course with them. I
told them that I would love to hear their life stories as
well as exploring the meaning of life. They were
welcoming and open. After a brief introduction and a
description of the ow of events - a meal, a DVD
presentation and a discussion - a quick response
came of Yes followed by Youve won us at the meal.
The equipment consisted of a borrowed generator, a
projector, DVD player, cabling, Alpha guest manuals
and the cooked meal. These were ferried to the venue
The course commenced on 19 October 2010. We
started at 6.30pm with pizzas and cola. By the time
the presentation started, we were all sitting in the
dark. I realised that some of the guests were
At session one, the group was somewhat reticent
when it came to the discussion. Maybe they were
still apprehensive about my purpose. Ross proudly
announced that he was Church of England! I felt the
group had a leader for the future. I discovered that
the group had been drinking early in the day and by
the time the course started their minds lacked clarity
and they were easily distracted. Ross suggested that
they should have a little more respect for the course.
As a result, they abstained from drinking andsmoking from noon so that they were sober for the
evening. That idea was well received.
At session 2, there were many questions raised with
the topic of Jesus death. One hilarious comment
was: Did the Catholics kill Him? Puzzled, I asked for
clarication. The response was: the Catholics are
Romans arent they?. Laughter broke out under the
With session 3, How can we have faith, their
response was that they werent sure. Trevor who has
a drug addiction was beginning to ask Ross
questions. Half-way through the discussion, the
generator seized and the place was plunged into
8/7/2019 Alpha Under the Bridge
darkness. Kris mentioned that maybe God was
testing the group. We prayed for the touch of His
hand upon the supply of a replacement generator.
I announced to numerous friends what happened to
the generator and within the week, a couple of
brothers raised up money for a replacement
generator - one that was better than before.
When the new generator was delivered, the group
was made responsible for the generator. They had a
tin that was used as a bank for money for fuel.
Session 4, Why and how do I pray, was another
interesting session. One person commented, We
pray every day . . . We pray for the price of marijuana
to come down. We pray for it to be legalised. Is that
wrong?. Laughter . . .
By session 5, Why and how should I read the Bible,
the group was becoming keen on Nicky Gumbels
presentation. And by session 6, How does God
guide us, Ross shared that he has started to go back
to church. Praise God. Amen.
I had briefed the group that The Holy Spirit day
away was a special time. They would have to wash
and be clean, as we would be heading to
Monsalvat in Elthan. But last minute issues with thegroups dog, Raj, and leaving the place unattended
meant we had to stay under the bridge. They had
travelled to the Salvation Army City Temple to
wash that morning. It was great to see the group
We started with a breakfast of Krispy Kreme
doughnuts. A coee break of Nespresso followed
the completion of the rst morning session
discussion of Who is the Holy Spirit?. Recharged,
we went through with the next session What does
the Holy Spirit Do?. I sensed that Trevor was
We had lunch and the group was asked for a revisit
of previous sessions.
The third session How can I be lled with the
Spirit was impactful to Trevor and Kris. After this
session, we prayed for the Holy Spirit to ll us and
after a short time, Kris asked to be prayed for
followed by Trevor. Afterwards, they requested a
copy of a Bible each. I was so happy that I drove to
a bookstore during the afternoon coee break and
bought two Good News bibles.
The prelude to session 7 was drama-lled. Thegroup had announced that someone had stolen
the money for fuel. The guilty stood and admitted
to taking the money for his gambling addiction.
We prayed about it and the response from the
group was that if it were not for Alpha and Gods
presence in that place, there would have been a
punch-up. To see civility in a group of men lled
with Gods grace was extremely fullling. The
session ended well. The group discussed securing
their position in Gods kingdom, Jesus, forgiveness,
freedom in Christ and salvation. Questions raisedduring discussion were: Why do you think bad
things happen?, why do you think the world is
such a mess? Thats why we left it and lived under
this bridge. The encouragement they were left
with was that each one of us can make a dierence
where we are. We only have to step out.
Session 9, How can I resist evil was run on Christ-
mas day. We decided that we would complete the
module before the lunch for fear of nodding o tosleep during the presentation.
There was so much hope for the group.
BLESSED ARE THE GIVERS . . . GRATEFUL ARE THE
Christmas lunch was indeed a spread. One
comment was that if we closed our eyes, we could
8/7/2019 Alpha Under the Bridge
feel as though we were somewhere else - maybe
on the top oor of one of those high-rise
apartments in Docklands. We had 6kg of prawns,
Christmas cakes, two hams, roast pork, mince pies,
chocolates, biscuits, a carton of coca cola, wines
and a pudding.
At session 10, Why and how we should tell others,
the group discussed about the various drifterswho wander in and spend time there. By session 11
Does God heal today, the group had embraced
Gods grace, and their attitudes took on a marked
What about the church at session 12 was their
favourite. They especially liked the story Nicky tells
of a man, who turned out to be an ex-convict ,
inviting Nicky inside for a cup of tea. Their remark
was there is hope. Indeed there is.
The nal session How can I make the most of the
rest of my life gave the group a true sense of Gods
love and their desire to improve their situation. We
decided to meet up once a fortnight for fellowship
and a bible study. Ross commented that once
upon a time, they were in darkness. I replied, Even
in this darkness, there is light in each and every
one under the bridge.
Thank you to friends who kindly prepared food,donated a generator and a television. Thank you to
the Business Life group for their prayers and support
and especially the food and gifts for the Christmas