Clarendon Road Church in Brooklyn, New York is a predominantly Caribbean congregation with representatives from more than 26 nations. When the pandemic hit in 2020, members of the congregation endured the deaths of friends and family, job losses, and struggled with isolation.
Charles Gallbreath and Donna Baptiste pastor the church, and they searched extensively for a way to bring their congregation together during such a trying time.
“As the year progressed, I felt, as a pastor, that we were just disconnected,” said Charles. “This is a congregation that values intimacy and values the family dynamic that takes place, and we really weren’t experiencing that.”
A colleague told Charles about Alpha, and he decided to try it.
Donna recalls, “People were depressed, people were locked in, they had no place to go, and they were crying out, ‘God, where are you? Why is this pandemic here?’ And here came Alpha.”
Ninety-three people attended the church’s first Alpha. Charles said, “We were 100 percent overwhelmed, not just by how it was led, but by how people leaned in.”
“People showed up with excitement. It brought healing to people,” said Donna. “They were able to talk about their pain and what they were going through in the midst of the crisis. I was very blessed by that.”
“For us, it was something we can’t go back from,” said Charles. “We see this as something that is going to continue on as part of the life of our church. It builds in a healthy framework of discipleship and leadership.”
Watch the pastors of Clarendon Road Church talk about their experience with Alpha in their own words.