The Alpha course
The Alpha course is an opportunity for anyone to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed manner over ten, thought-provoking weekly sessions. This course is usually done before the "Living Faith Course"
"Who is the Alpha Course for?"
- If you have little or no knowledge of Christianity and want to find out more.
- You are a Christian, but have "issues" or questions with some of the teachings of Christianity.
- You have some tough "Life" questions to ask - Why does God allow suffering?, What is the point of Praying?, Why doesn't God punish bad people? Why doesn't God prove he exists?
- You have heard from a friend about Alpha and thought you would give it a go.
- You have attended church for many years, and wondered what Alpha is all about.
- You want to talk about God/ Christian Spirituality to open minded people, and discuss your thoughts.
Alpha at St.Bart's...What to expect.
The Course at St. Barts takes place in the Oak Room during a weekday evening. If you arrive 10-15 mins early, tea/coffee and biscuits start the evening, giving people the chance to have a quick chat. Don't worry if you don't know anyone, Ben our Vicar will look after you, and after the first week you will feel at ease. Try to bring a friend with you or a family member, the more people the better!
Each person is given a guide to the Alpha Course, and Revd Ben Presents it each week in his own unique style. The talk is usually about 20 to 30 minutes long, after which people are split into small groups of around 6 or 7 people including one leader. The people stay as that group each week for the duration of the course. (Teenagers that are to be confirmed have a separate group) There are NO essays or homework!
The talks each week cover the following topics, which people are then free to discuss in the small groups afterwards:
- Christianity-boring, untrue, and irrelevant?
- Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus die?
- How can I be sure of my faith?
- Why & how should I read the Bible?
- How & why should I pray?
- How can I resist evil and why & how should we tell others?
- How does God guide us? Does God heal today?
- What about the Church?
- How can I make the most of the rest of my life?
- There is a Day that is focused on the Holy Spirit. This is usually on a Saturday and starts in the morning with some presentations about what the Holy Spirit is and how it affects different people. After lunch is a time for thought and reflection. The day finishes in the afternoon.
- Who is the Holy Spirit? • What does the Holy Spirit do? • How can I be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
People come on the Alpha Course for so many different reasons. But most leave with the feeling it was an experience worth doing, and would recommend to others.
Below are some stories about people that have completed the Alpha course here at St. Bart's and have found their lives transformed. Some in a subtle way and for others more dramatic, but all found the experience positive!
Matts Testimony "Why Alpha was a mistake"
Alison's Testimony "How Alpha Changed my life"
Gary's Testimony "I Don't do God"
Amanda's Testimony "Selfish, angry and a materialistic"
Geoff's Testimony "Part time Christian"
Eleanor's Testimony Age 12 "Nothing more to learn?"
Will's Testimony Age 12 "Paid to come to church!"
In an insecure world where we look for the quick fix like dieting or makeovers, there are courses for everything and now, not content with our outer appearance people are looking for courses for the "inner self". There are many popular ones, spirituality, enlightenment, power of positive thinking, such as Reiki, Chakra, Meditation, Tai Chi, yoga etc They claim to enhance your life, bring you an inner peace or relaxation, but they often end in exhausting disappointment having cost a fortune and taken years to become proficient. Leaving you out of faith, out of pocket and out of breath.
What if there was just One course that could give all what these have to offer and much more?
Ten reasons to try the Alpha Course:
- Its FREE.
- Make new friends. (The art of socialising)
- Its something new that's different, fun and enjoyable.
- Listen to ideas put forward in a challenging informative way. (Brain Training)
- Enjoy Intellectual discussions on Spirituality (Can't do that at the pub easily!)
- Self Control. Recognise personal obstacles, over come them. (Self Awareness)
- Unlock the way to obtain inner peace (relaxation/de-stress your life)
- Achieve personal objectives and help other people. (Supplicational Prayer)
- Find a meaning and purpose to your life with God (Focused Direction)
- Discover God, Know Jesus Christ and Receive the Holy Spirit.
With everything to gain and nothing to lose, Alpha poses the question..."Why wouldn't you do the Alpha Course?"
What St. Bart's Alpha People say-
"The Alpha Course challenged my thoughts and raised more Questions than it answered, but left me with the feeling that this was a good thing. It introduced me to a diverse group of people who, despite differences of opinion were all like minded. On our journey we grew closer to God and closer in friendship...I miss them!"
“We already attend St Bart’s church most Sunday’s and heard some good feedback from people who had been on the Alpha Course last year. It was exactly true. Rev. Ben led the course, he made it fun, interesting and informative and we able to chat freely on the different issues Ben raised each week.
We were split into groups and quickly made new friends and shared our views in a relaxed and informal way. It was great! We would definitely recommend the Alpha Course, it really is for everyone! God bless”.
“I’m a very ordinary bloke, living a very ordinary life and using Alistair Campbell’s words, I didn’t do ‘God’!! Until ‘Alpha’ that is. The Alpha Course, presented by Ben is fantastic and HE and IT have changed my life.”
“After the first session I was hooked. Ben was Charismatic in his presentations and the weekly subjects thought provoking and interesting. My group had a good cross section of people aged from 20 to about 60. Some from this church one who had not been to church for 20 years, another who had a Sikh background. Each of the group members contributed by exchanging ideas and we came to some satisfying conclusions about the issues Ben raised. I’ve made some good friends; I've seen positive life changes from my group and people in other groups, I look at life with new zeal and expectation and feel a closeness to God that was previously absent. Was it worthwhile? Definitely!”
"My reasons for attending the Alpha course here at St. Bartholomew's meant I could try to gain an understanding of who Jesus christ was, what was the Holy Spirit and how I could have a relationship with God. The Course proved so successful that I went into furthering my understanding by attending Holy Communion services on sunday mornings and becoming Confirmed."
"I finished Alpha with an appetite to continue developing and learning...Alpha taught me to have a visceral response to God, in all three manifestations, Father,Son, and Holy Spirit which has enriched my life, and our family life and I am looking forward to what comes next."