Shannon had always considered herself to be religious, but when it came to conversations about God, she admits that she would often avoid them.
After Shannon’s mother passed away, her father, John, struggled with heavy drinking and spent a lot of time alone. “I had a problem after my wife passed away,” he says. “I fell in love again…with Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker and Captain Morgan. I went to church every Sunday and sometimes during the week. I was in a routine, but not really knowing Jesus in any way.”
Shannon suggested that her father join Alpha at Saint Benedict Parish in Halifax, where the family was attending church at the time. She thought the community and social interaction would be a positive experience for him. Shannon soon saw this amazing transformation in him, particularly after the Alpha Weekend. “I prayed for the Holy Spirit,” John says. “I was looking for courage, for the Spirit to help me with this problem. Ever since the Alpha Weekend, I haven’t had any more of that stuff,” he says.
Shannon and her husband, David, were thrilled to see the changes in John, but didn’t immediately see the need for themselves. Yet they continued to hear dozens of stories from others who had a similar Alpha experience. Even with some skepticism, they decided to try Alpha. “There were just too many stories for it to have been a set up! These people really had been having an amazing experience,” says Shannon. “This wasn’t staged,” says David. “We began to think that maybe there was something to this.”
From week-to-week Shannon and David formed new friendships while hearing more about the Christian faith, and began to realize what John had experienced on Alpha. “Through Alpha I came to understand that I have a relationship with Jesus, with God and with the Holy Spirit,” says Shannon. “I’m kind of annoyed that for so many years of going to church I didn’t. I went to church so faithfully and yet I never had these amazing relationships.”
Shannon and David’s son, Jacob, saw the changes in his parents and it made a big difference for him. “My dad didn’t really want to go to church before,” he says. “He’d go grocery shopping instead and so I wanted to go with him, but my mom would make me go to church! After my mom and dad went to Alpha, they both want to go to church and I want to go, too. I want to be just like my dad.”
Shannon’s daughter Gemma was also impacted by Alpha. “My daughter said Alpha changed her life,” says Shannon. “She runs Alpha for other teens so they can have a similar experience.”
The Postill family now lives in Toronto, ON, and both Shannon and David love sharing their story and their faith with others. “We are called to bring the Good News to people,” David says. “It’s our primary mission and that can seem scary. But thanks to Alpha, our part is really quite simple. We just have to say ‘come and see’ and God does all the rest.” “I now live my faith every day,” says Shannon. “The Sacraments have new meaning for me. I see people differently. I’m delighted to talk about religion whereas I used to steer clear of conversations about God.”
Shannon says that through Alpha, God transformed each family member individually and her family as a whole. “God went from being on the sidelines of our lives to being front-and-centre in our family,” she says. “We love to going to church because it brings us closer to Jesus and to each other.”
Alpha is an opportunity to explore life, faith and God in a friendly, open and informal environment.