“It was a top class and I thought it was an awesome time spent with Alpha learning about Jesses [Jesus] and how we are all loved and that we can change the bad things we have done, thank you for the Alpha classes.”
– inmate, aged 25-34

In early-2023, a team of volunteers within One Heart Blacktown shared a passion for reaching the outcast wanted to start ministering to those in Parklea Correctional Centre. At the time there was no Alpha in Prison in NSW, but the governor at Parklea had a positive experience with the course when he had worked in the UK. God opened the door, and it was up to the team to decide how much and in what formats they could sustainably provide Alpha.

In April 2023 the first Alpha Course commenced with the then-Alpha in Prison ambassador, Anne O’Gorman, and three other volunteers. The team had a vision of seeing inmates returning home, following Jesus as His disciple, and bringing transformation to families – both in Blacktown and further afield.

Alpha Australia now has ongoing agreement with Parklea Correctional to run Alpha as part of the programs offered in the prison. One Heart Blacktown run a 9-week course on Thursdays, as well as a 2-day intensive run each month, which is targeted to reach inmates who may be moved soon.

JJ Bomford, Pastor at Westview Baptist Church and coordinator of the 9-week course, has seen many men transformed by the knowledge of Jesus, including Chris*.

“We have seen a real change in Chris*, who is now doing Alpha for the second time. It just so happens that he lives right near one of the team and it looks like he’ll be released next week. We were able to hang back with him and pray for him about that and for his faith, we do believe he has come to put his trust in Jesus – his countenance has changed!”

One week due to technical issues they were unable to show the Alpha video. Turns out the Lord had other plans. One of the volunteers felt led to share his story. This real-life story prompted many questions, thinking and investigating. The following week of the course looked at “why Jesus died” and the men were engaged and the interaction around what Jesus has done for us was incredible. They were all open to praying a simple prayer to God to forgive them and come into their lives.

Similarly, the 2-day intensive have had incredible results in the lives of inmates. The team goes out into the yard the day before the course and invites inmates of all faiths along to discuss big questions of faith. Tony Calman, Pastor at Blacktown Baptist Church and coordinator of the 2-day intensive, once said to the group of men in the course, “if I had a group of 25 men sitting in my church talking this openly, I would be a proud pastor”.

And the Lord’s work in Parklea Correctional Centre reaches beyond the Alpha course and its volunteers. For example, a small group of inmates has begun gathering for a weekly Bible study. The team light-heartedly called this this their first “church plant” after an inmate came to them and said, “we don’t get chaplain services so last Sunday I got the boys together and we read the Bible and prayed”.

The blessings go both ways, and the volunteers are constantly encouraged as they serve. Aiden*, one of the team members, commented, “it’s such a privilege to be with the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. I’m overwhelmed by the goodness of God and His call to be the light, show love, encourage people living in darkness and share His Gospel.”

The team seeks to influence the inmates’ lives beyond the days or weeks they are involved in the Alpha Course. All participants are gifted a personalised bookmark, block of chocolate and easy-to-read Bible, which comes with 52 lessons addressing the prison experience and issues that commonly face those in prison.

They also give their contact details to every inmate finishing the course and invite them to come and find them when they are released – telling the inmates that even if they lose the card they just have to head to the central park in Blacktown at a Friday lunchtime to meet Tony, a free lunch and be looped in to a church that can support them.

Please pray for Alpha in Prisons across NSW & ACT. Pray for the Holy Spirit to transform hearts and lives. Only He can do what is truly needed in this ministry and these men’s lives.


*Names changed for privacy reasons.


“Alpha has given me the opportunity to grow closer to God. This program has had a big impact on my relationship with God. [It] has made me understand more and more about the Good News.” – inmate, aged 19-24 

“[Alpha] made me realise the importance and attitude towards life and [I plan on] becoming a better person by getting closer to God through prayer.” – inmate, aged 35-44 


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