When Elizabeth McDonell invited me to help her host Alpha. I must confess that I was not terribly keen to commit. I was not sure people would be interested, but Elizabeth was very persuasive! She and I had worked together so well for the CCO Faith Studies for two years that I trusted her judgement, and agreed to give it a go.
What a revelation.
For our first Alpha, about 40 people gathered at Shalom House every Tuesday. We visited for half an hour, shared a delicious meal, and then watched a short video. The videos were truly engaging and thought-provoking.
We broke into small groups of eight to twelve to discuss such topics as the historical proof of Jesus’ existence; how I can have faith in this crazy world; why God permits evil and suffering to exist; and so much more. There were no experts among us. We simply shared our thoughts and opinions on the questions offered by the discussion host.
It is amazing how much trust and rapport developed among the participants during those evenings. I am not exaggerating when I say that even after three months, no-one wanted it to end. When we hosted our Alpha Reunion at Shalom House six weeks later, on one of the first really beautiful spring evenings of the year, we assumed that 25 people might attend our pot-luck supper. Sixty showed up! Everyone had returned. Most brought a friend to introduce to their Alpha-mates. It was a joyful evening.
That was the first five Alpha sessions Elizabeth and I have hosted. Of course, with the pandemic in full swing, we cannot meet just now in person, but we know that what Alpha has to offer is more important than ever. Online sessions around the world since March 2020 have been wildly successful. Participants tell us even virtually, Alpha builds caring, committed groups of Christians who find new meaning in their everyday life. Online meetings help to assuage the isolation and loneliness everyone feels just now. It has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt: no matter how dire the circumstances seem, we can still find joy in life through faith in Jesus Christ, made more accessible through Alpha and the people with whom we share it.
Elizabeth and I sincerely thank the Alpha participants who have shared their stories on Nota Bene over the past several weeks. They are all coming back for the next session!
Please accept this personal invitation from Elizabeth and me to you: Join us for Alpha on January 28th from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. You will be so glad you did! And bring a friend. Alpha is wide open to any one of any age and of any faith – or of no faith – and it is completely free of charge. We will meet every Thursday for about three months. Remember, each video stands alone, so if you must miss a week, that’s fine.
If you don’t like Alpha, you are not obligated to continue, but we know from past experience (including my own!) that you will want to make the full journey with us.
Information and registration are available at www.stfinnan.ca
Elizabeth and I are available to offer more information if needed. See you online!
Alpha – Join us for Alpha, beginning January 28, and explore the questions of life, faith, and meaning.
Try Alpha click here for more information