About the Consortium
Evolution of Alpha in the Diocese of Columbus
In spring of 2014, Father David Sizemore, pastor of St. John Neumann Parish in Sunbury, Ohio, heard about Alpha from his good friend and former classmate in Rome, Father John Ricardo who reported that he had implemented Alpha at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, Michigan, and it was extremely successful. He told Father Dave that 1,000 of his parishioners had experienced Alpha and that it had made a tremendous impact on his parishioners. Father Dave was excited to learn more about this and asked his Director of Adult Faith Formation to explore Alpha. She invited Deacon Steve Mitchell, the Executive Director of Alpha in a Catholic Context, to come to St. John Neumann and meet with a group of interested lay leaders from a few parishes.
In May of 2014, Deacon Steve met with people from St. John Neumann, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Joan of Arc and a couple of people from other parishes who had heard about Alpha. Three parishes decided to implement Alpha in January/February 2015. To learn more, a team from St. John Neumann visited Our Lady of Good Counsel in October and met with the Alpha Leader, Mary Guilfoyle. Jacci Asbury was asked to lead a planning team that would prepare to offer 4 sessions of Alpha at St. John Neumann in January, 2015. Four hundred people were involved in these sessions. St. Joan of Arc and Our Lady of Perpetual Help also offered Alpha at their parishes. Alpha leaders from these parishes collaborated to learn from each other. St. John Neumann and St. Joan of Arc planned joint trainings of Hosts and Helpers and had their “Alpha Retreat” on each other’s campus.
As the interest from other parishes grew, Father Dave, along with Deacon Steve, asked Jacci to work with other parishes that wanted to learn about and implement Alpha. Some of the forerunners were St. Catharine of Sienna in Bexley, St. Mary’s in Delaware and Church of the Resurrection in New Albany. Simultaneously, Father Dave worked with the Catholic Foundation to support 20 parishes to attend The Amazing Parish Conference in Denver. These scholarships and this conference were the impetus for other parishes to learn about Alpha. As interest in Alpha continued to grow, Jacci invited Alpha Leaders from several parishes to meet monthly and work together as the Alpha Consortium to provide support/training to churches interested in the Alpha experience. Pastors and lay leaders were enamored with Alpha and it became contagious as parishes reported “Alpha was changing lives!”
The Consortium currently has 13 Alpha Leaders from 9 parishes who have provided trainings, materials, coaching, and prayers for numerous parishes. Over 4,500 people have been involved been involved with Alpha over the last 4 years in these 9 Consortium parishes plus there are many more people in other diocesan parishes that have experienced Alpha. The Catholic Foundation has provided funds to help support the trainings, along with several pastors from the Consortium parishes who have contributed “seed money” and offered their facilities for trainings and meetings. All of these resources have enabled the work of the Alpha Consortium to expand.
Alpha has been offered many times in the last 4 years in over 32 parishes, 1 high school and on the OSU campus. In 2017, the Consortium decided to plan and implement a Regional Conference, Alpha: Learn-Grow-Share-Lead.. This conference is being held at St. John Neumann Parish on August 11, 2018 and will be available to 300 people. This conference is for lay leaders and clergy who are interested in learning about Alpha, who want to improve their Alpha course or who are ready to expand their efforts and explore what comes after Alpha through evangelization, discipleship and mission.
LINK COMING: Register for the Alpha Regional Conference – Alpha: Learn – Grow – Share - Lead