Well, it's happened – the first Alpha Course we have run as our new church society of 'The Triangle'!
Eight weekly meetings and one 'Away Day' – not very far away as we were at the Barrow Bridge Mission Church, a refurbished and lovely building in peaceful surroundings.
We began our weekday evening meeting with a meal together (with our own professional cook/chef- would you believe!)
BUT what is 'Alpha'?
It's a well-established course emanating from Holy Trinity Church, Brampton.
It asks questions – like 'Is there more to life than this? Why and how do I pray? Does God heal today? AND answers them - along with many more for those interested in the Christian faith.
It is also a good way to renew and deepen the faith of those already committed.
Some established Christians on the course commented that they hadn't quite seen it like that before, or that something they had heard/discussed had given them a clearer understanding and deeper perspective.
The course can be a little longer than our eight weeks – it depends on the approach of those leading.
So what did we actually do during the sessions?
After short opening devotions – for us we listened to a modern praise song –
a video of the subject was presented or some days the Revd. Hilary (and her
assistants Les and Rebekah) presented the 'information' verbally.
After a break for coffee/tea we had group discussion of the topic area and the questions/answers it had raised.
On the Away Day we had a bring and share lunch (it's amazing how much food these occasions end up with!) but either side of the lunch was the topic of the Holy Spirit which we all found a very moving and thought-provoking one.
Those on the course are provided with a small booklet – which is a sort of resume of the topics covered but also a series of questions to think about in one's own time.
Yes, it is about the truths, beliefs and fundamentals of Christianity; it illustrates what we believe and why, and its relevance to now, and its desire to bring and help people in to their own living Christian faith but nevertheless it is a gentle and non-threatening experience.
It's a course for everybody – searchers and believers alike – and it'll be being repeated later in the year in case you missed it! The next Alpha course starts in September.