What is 'Alpha'?
The Alpha Course is an opportunity for anyone to come along, and to "discover the meaning of life". Starting with a free 3-course supper, the course invites people to ask and discuss life's big questions... What about suffering? Who is this Jesus? Can we trust the Bible? "Alpha" offers space away from life's busy and often very hectic schedule to think of the things that really matter... and one of the great things about Alpha is that no-one is ever put under any pressure. People are free to agree or to disagree...
The next Alpha Course at Testwood Baptist Church will start on Tues Sept 17th 2017.
You can book your place on the course and find out more information by contacting the church on 023 8086 0320 or e-mail us.
Who's it for?
Anyone! However, those under 15 may struggle with the content. You don't have to go to Church and you don't have to be religious... in fact, in many ways we'd prefer it if you weren't! If you want to think about 'why' you are here and wonder whether Christianity has anything to say to life... then 'Alpha' is for you.
What actually happens?
The pattern for a usual evening is to start with some light refreshments, then someone will give a talk focusing on a specific subject. Following a short break, people break up into groups (these stay the same throughout the course) and discuss what they've heard over a cup of coffee. People are free to ask whatever they wish, no question will be ignored or considered too hostile. The evening always ends at a set time with no conclusion forced upon anybody. Often people choose to continue their discussions afterwards as people get to know one another!
How do I sign up?
We don't expect anyone to sign up without having a taster first ... literally in fact! At Testwood Baptist Church we hold what we call an "Alpha Supper". We interview a couple of people who've done Alpha before and then give an explanation about the course and how it's run. There's then an opportunity for people to say "yes I'd like to do the course" or "no thanks, it's not for me". Again, there's no pressure and we respect peoples' decision either way.
How long is it?
10 weeks, on Tuesday evenings.
How much is it?
The Alpha course is free for all who attend, being financed by the Church. Everyone who helps at Alpha is also from the Church ... whether setting up, catering, serving or clearing up at the end.
What have people said?
"Very interesting & thought provoking."
"I may follow this up at some stage."
"Excellent food, interesting talks and good company! I have very much enjoyed Tuesday evenings, thank you so much!"
"I look forward to the follow on course."
What happens after the course?
It's up to you what happens next. Some people have linked in to the church, others haven't. Some feel they've had their questions answered, some still have questions and want to keep searching. Some people want to keep meeting as a group, others have linked in to one of the other small groups run by the church. What nearly everybody has in common is that Alpha has been an incredibly positive for them.
The origins of Alpha (material taken from Alpha web site)
Developed at Holy Trinity Brompton Church, London, over the last twenty years, Alpha is a practical introduction to the Christian faith. Different churches organise the material in slightly different ways depending on the local needs and situation. It's aimed especially at people who don't go to church. At Holy Trinity, Alpha courses are held throughout the year and have over 600 people attending each week.
The syllabus for the course is contained in the book Questions of Life. Some courses are held during the day. Most are evening courses. At the evening events, there is a light meal followed by a talk on a subject central to the Christian faith. Then participants break into pre-arranged groups of around 10-12 people (in which they remain for the entire course) to discuss the talk in an environment where each person should feel free to ask or express whatever they wish.
You may also be interested in the Re-Jesus web site, providing a contemporary investigation into the life of Jesus. The introductory page to this site says: "Two thousand years after he walked the earth, Jesus of Nazareth remains one of those most talked-about and influential people who has ever lived. In the pages that follow, we explore his life, character, teachings and followers. We look at how Jesus has been quoted and misquoted, filmed and written about, worshipped and argued over. Please take a look around. You're welcome to click, explore and post your own questions, thoughts and prayers."
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