At some stage of our lives, everyone wrestles with the big questions of life. Questions about hope, purpose, meaning, love… Alpha is a series of sessions, typically over eleven weeks, designed to explore the basics of the Christian faith in a relaxed and interactive way. The course creates a space online or in person where ‘friends bring friends’ to a conversation about faith, life and God which is authentic and unforced. Each session includes the welcome (around a meal in face-face gatherings), a talk, and small group discussions.
Welcoming and Friendly
Whether we meet online or face-face, one important aspect of Alpha is the welcome. In our face-face Alpha sessions, we gather around a meal because it is a great way to build community and get to know each other. This fellowship is just as important in our online sessions where we have found other ways to get to know one another and build community.
‘I thought joining the course online would be a rather distant, arid experience but contrary to my expectations this was not the case. The smiling welcome was still there from the team but there was an extra element – all the guests who arrived on screen. I could see everyone. There were smiles, waves, warm up games and on one occasion an exciting array of hats. The groups, although each member was physically remote, quickly became environments for sharing’. Carol – Helper at Alpha Online
Each session includes a talk designed to engage and inspire conversation. They explore the big issues around faith and unpack the basics of Christianity, addressing questions from Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith? to Why and how do I pray? and How does God guide us?
‘We all learnt both from the Alpha talk given by Fr. Mark and the subsequent group discussions which were frank and rewarding; both mind and heart fully engaged. And the food was good!’ Mike – guest at St Peter’s Alpha
The good conversations are probably the most important part of any Alpha – it’s all about the chance to share thoughts and ideas on the topic, and simply discuss it in a small group. There’s no obligation to say anything and there’s nothing you can’t say (seriously). It’s an opportunity to hear from others and contribute your own perspective in an honest, friendly and open environment.
‘I now feel a part of something meaningful, and with a stronger network of Christian friends who ‘get’ me, it feels good. If you’re reading this and wondering about whether Alpha could be for you, then I’d urge you to be brave, sign up and let it bring you something good too.’ Sophie – guest at St Peter’s Alpha
The course includes an away day (or weekend) providing us with opportunities to experience worship through music and moments for prayer.
‘Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one who hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him’. Revelations 3: 20.