(Posted on behalf of the Rev’d Derek Hinge)
The image of a man staggering along carrying a huge question mark has appeared on advertising hoardings, in newspapers, on the underground and on TV many times over the past 30 years. It’s message is a simple one. The man is wanting to know the answers to some hard questions. They are questions that, if we take our lives at all seriously, all of us need to address. Questions like, ‘what is the meaning of life?’ or ‘why are we here?’ or ‘why do people suffer?’
Nearly 40 years ago at an Anglican church in London, Holy Trinity Brompton, a course was devised to help people to address these questions. It was called the Alpha Course. Since then it is estimated that 24 million people worldwide have done an Alpha Course. The course consists of a series of interactive sessions to discuss the Christian faith in an informal, fun and friendly environment. It looks at topics including ‘Who is Jesus?’, ‘Why and how do I pray?’, ‘What does the Holy Spirit do?’ and ‘Does God heal today?’ Part way through the ten week course there is a weekend or a day away. Alpha is for everyone; no question is out of bounds and you are free to discuss as much or as little as you wish. We don’t assume any background knowledge of or belief in Christianity and everyone is welcome.
Locally the Course has been run by several churches in the town, including St Michael’s, over the last 20 years. This has led many to a deeper understanding of and commitment to the Christian faith. In practical terms, our Alpha Courses have spawned the House Groups, and they have also been used as a preparation for confirmation.
The structure of the Course is that each evening begins with a meal together, followed by a DVD presentation, and then an opportunity to discuss in groups any issues that have arisen under the guidance of a trained group leader. We shall be starting a Course on Monday February 15th. So pick up an application form, fill it in and give it into the office, or send us your contact details in the form below. This is an opportunity not to be missed. If you have any problems please talk to one of the clergy. I hope and pray that an Alpha course will be a great blessing to you.
Rev’d Derek Hinge