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Gerard Long Steps Down as Executive Director of Alpha in Obedience to a Fresh Call from God
Contact: Wayne Kriemelmeyer,
Aplha USA,
224-588-8531

CHICAGO, Oct. 30, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- It's with considerable sadness, but also gratitude, that the Alpha USA Board recently accepted the resignation of Executive Director, Gerard Long, effective December 31st 2014.

Gerard has served Alpha for the last eight years and in this time the ministry has seen a fourfold increase in the number of churches using Alpha. Also, he has led the establishment of a strong infrastructure including, over 50 regional and specialty teams that are served by a very strong and talented Central Support Team, and a broad and sustainable base of partners providing prayer, service and finances for the ministry.

Alpha USA Chairman, Mark Emery, commented, "On behalf of all the Board, I want to express our deep gratitude to Gerard for the fantastic job he has done to lead the growth of Alpha across America and to establish an amazing infrastructure for further increase in the years ahead. We recognize God's fresh call on Gerard and Jeannie's life and, although we'll miss him, we hope and pray he will be richly blessed in all that he does."

While the Board has begun a search for a longer term replacement for Gerard, it's excited to announce that Sam Wolgemuth has been appointed as the interim Executive Director. Sam has many years of experience of the Alpha ministry and has helped to lead a wide range of organizations. He was President and CEO of Freedom Communications, at the time an $800 million privately owned Irvine California based publisher of the Orange County Register and 30 other daily newspapers as well as 8 television stations. Also, he recently filled the role of interim CEO for World Relief. Working with an excellent management team, we have every confidence that Sam will continue the great work that Gerard has done to grow Alpha across America.

Gerard commented, "it's been a tremendous privilege to serve with a fantastic group of people within Alpha. I'm going to miss them so much but I am sure we will be able to partner together in the new ministry God is clearly calling us in to. Sam is a good friend and I will do all I can to support him in the transition period and going forward. I have every confidence that he will surpass the work I have done in Alpha." He went on to say, "As many of you know, Jeannie and I have experienced the deepest grief and suffering in the recent passing of two of our three children (and, in the same time period, two of my three siblings). The most recent being our precious Rebecca, who went to be with the Lord on May 8th of this year. What we have experienced on our journey of brokenness is God's glorious grace and we believe the Lord is going to use our story to help other people. In particular, there are thousands of people inside and outside of the Church who are broken by something that has happened in their life, such as the loss of a loved one, abuse, the loss of health, finances etc. or because of the consequences of their bad decisions. Through various media, such as books, internet, TV and film, we believe the Lord is going to use the story He has built into our lives to help to set these people free to know and serve Him – 'to the praise of His glorious grace.'"

Alpha is a ministry based on relationships and it's going to be a sad and difficult parting between Gerard and his friends on the Board, the staff and the many partners who serve God in Alpha. Gerard's closing message to his friends was, "it's been a wonderful privilege and pleasure to have served with you in Alpha and I so appreciate all of your love, support and prayers, following the recent death of Rebecca. I would love to stay in touch and partner together going forward. In particular, let's continue to do all we can to see millions more people come to faith in Jesus Christ and turn the world upside down with His love and grace!"

Gerard Long is available for national interviews; contact Wayne Kriemelmeyer at waynekriemelmeyer@alphausa.org or 224.588.8531

About Alpha USA
Alpha USA is part of a global ministry that serves and supports churches and ministries to share the good news about Jesus Christ. Alpha provides an opportunity to ask questions and freely explore the Christian faith in a relaxed and friendly setting. It’s run by all the major denominations in 169 countries and over 24 million people have now experienced Alpha. Alpha has recently launched a new Youth Film Series that is spreading rapidly across America with an average 26% of the 13-18 year old attendees making a first time commitment to Jesus Christ. Further information is available at
www.alphausa.org

About Gerard Long
Gerard Long is a minister, evangelist, author, motivational speaker, and former banking executive, who is passionate about Jesus Christ. In 2006, Gerard retired from a highly paid banking career and joined Alpha USA full-time to help more people explore the meaning of life. As the executive director of Alpha USA for the past 8 years, he led the organization whose mission is to serve local churches in presenting the gospel to their communities through the Alpha course. A widely used introduction to Christianity, Alpha is supported by multidenominational churches and now operates in more than 169 countries. More than 3 million people have taken an Alpha course in the USA, and over 24 million worldwide.

Though Gerard has experienced the wonderful joy of knowing and serving the Lord Jesus, he has also known the deepest grief and suffering through the deaths of two of his three children (Alex in 2005 and Rebecca in 2014). These losses have served to heighten his desire to complete the work that God has for him and, in particular, to see as many people as possible come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Gerard's newest book, Awakening to God, published by Tyndale Momentum, seeks to envision and equip Christ followers to become better fishers of men. He continues to live with one burning ambition: to please the Lord Jesus and obey His will.