L4. Alpha

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About Alpha


Alpha is an opportunity to explore the meaning of life in an open, informal, friendly environment. The Alpha Course meets once a week for 11 weeks, with each week focusing on a different question. Each Alpha session follows the same format; we begin with a meal, followed by a video and table discussion. Everyone and every viewpoint is welcome- no background knowledge of (or belief in) Christianity is assumed. At Alpha there is no pressure, no follow-up, and no charge.

You’re invited to explore! Is there more to life than this? Is there a God? Why am I here? Where am I going? No question is out of bounds. No question is considered hostile or too simple to be considered.

 

When does Alpha start?


Our next Alpha Course begins September 20, 2017 at St. Thomas (530 Elizabeth St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104) in the Parish Hall. Click here to register.

The full Alpha Course will run on Wednesdays from 6:15-8:15pm beginning September 20th and concluding December 13th (no meeting on 11/1 or 11/22). Also, an incredible Day Away experience will be offered November 11th at FaHoLo Conference Center in Grass Lake.

Coming to our first night is not a commitment to the eleven-week Alpha Course– it’s just dinner, a video, and conversation. Come enjoy a free meal, a rich conversation, and the community Alpha is known to create! Free childcare is also offered. We do ask that guests register so we have enough food.

Your FAQ


Who should try Alpha? Alpha is for the curious- people from all sorts of different spiritual backgrounds who are searching for God and asking questions about life. Alpha is also for devout Christians and Catholics- it is an intense experience that deepens one’s love for Jesus and the Church.

How long are the videos? Videos are between twenty and thirty minutes. 

Do I have to talk during table discussion? No, you can remain silent the entire time if you wish. We work hard to maintain a relaxed environment, and you are free to participate however you feel comfortable.

How long is an Alpha session? From beginning to end, each session is two hours. The time goes so quickly! We always begin and end on time.

I am coming, but I won’t know anyone else. Is that normal? Most of those who come to Alpha don’t know anyone else. By the end of the Course most people have become friends. The open, honest conversations Alpha is known for are great for bringing people together.

How much does Alpha cost? There is no cost to participate in Alpha.

Can I just come and see the first week? Definitely. We do ask that you register so we are sure to have enough food for you.

What if after a week or two I don’t want to continue? If you don’t want to continue, that’s perfectly okay. We won’t bother you if you don’t come back.

Is childcare offered? Yes, we will be offering childcare at no cost, just down the hall from the Alpha Course. Our childcare team is committed to safety and making sure little ones have a great time. A pizza dinner is served, and the children have a great time playing in the gym!

Alpha in a Catholic Context


Alpha originated in England in an Anglican Church called Holy Trinity, Brompton, and is a tool for evangelization based on hospitality, sharing and open conversation. The same Alpha content is run all over the world, by Christians of all traditions, and provides a common expression of proclamation, service and witness. Over 29 million people have experienced Alpha in 112 languages in 169 countries around the globe.

Alpha is an incredible example of ecumenism! The videos feature Christians from different denominations of Christianity. Father Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal household, is featured at length, as is Pope Francis himself.

Alpha introduces people to the first proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as the Kerygma: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you, and now he is living at your side to enlighten, strengthen and free you.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 164).

Pope Francis has said, “we cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ… Many of them are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone.” Pope Francis, (Evangelii Gaudium, 15)

Click here for more on Alpha in a Catholic context, including endorsements from Church leaders.

 


Testimonials


Alpha got me thinking about faith seriously, earnestly, and with an open heart for the first time in a long time.”

“At Alpha there was no party line that I felt I was supposed to tow… the only goal was rich discourse, not agreement or conformity.”

Alpha for me was a discovery: God loves me. He is with us here and now and I/we have a relationship.”

“I had been separated from my faith and wanted to reconnect…I started Alpha skeptical and distant, but with a desire to connect. After Alpha I feel I have ownership of my faith…Alpha reminds me to keep faith in my daily life, and reminds me that questioning is okay.”

“I started Alpha seeking to do God’s will in my whole life. After Alpha I’m the same- but now I’m encouraged and surrounded by a group to support me.

”I was so surprised by the caring. The food, the friendship– I didn’t expect to feel so cared about by strangers!

Alpha has made it easier to talk about my faith in Christ!

“I tried Alpha because I needed something in my life. I was struggling and wanted some answers…I really needed to see and interact, to question the faith in a safe space, to listen and be heard….Now I definitely have a better understanding in both my head and my heart of faith…this has been a really amazing experience for me.”

After the Alpha Retreat and the ability to have others pray over me, I have felt peace ever since!

I was so surprised about how easy it is to talk to strangers and acquaintances about issues of faith.