“Alpha is for anybody with questions about the Christian faith or about God,” explained Newport resident Kelly Callaghan. “It’s for those who don’t go to church or those who do go to church but who are struggling with questions. We address the basic tenants of Christianity and no question is off limits.”
“My faith is strengthened every week at Alpha when I see people wrestle through their questions and move closer to God,” she continued. “It’s remarkable how faithful God is and how people change over the course. My husband Ryan and I have been involved with Alpha at Rock Harbor for three years. We host a group, which means we facilitate a small group discussion. There are three courses every year and one is starting soon.”
Alpha is a series of interactive sessions that explore the basics of the Christian faith. According to their website, Alpha courses happen in 169 countries and in 112 languages; more than 22 million people have participated. Alpha is held in schools, churches, homes, prisons, and even in bars.
A typical Alpha evening consists of a meal, a short talk about the Christian faith and small group discussion. Talks cover a range of topics, including: “Is God Real?,” “How does God guide us?,” “Who is Jesus?,” and “Why and how do I pray?”
The Alpha Course originated at Holy Trinity Brompton in central London in the late 1970s as a way of presenting basic principles of the Christian faith in a relaxed and informal setting. There is no assumption about any background knowledge or belief in Christianity and everyone is welcome. It is supported by all major denominations. The New York Times describe Alpha as “A novel approach to Christian education that has been catching on nationwide.”
“I think what was missing in my relationship with God was the relationship,” said one Alpha guest. “Because of Alpha I was able to trust God for the first time in my life.”
People come to Alpha for different reasons, but they repeatedly comment on appreciating the sense of acceptance, comfort, the feeling of community, and the open and helpful discussions.
“I thought, wow, a free dinner – I like to eat, and I could bring my husband because it could be date night,” admitted one woman after completing an Alpha series. “I had a lot of questions, but I felt really at ease.”
“Alpha was made up of a bunch of different people all ages and all walks of life, but we all seemed to have something in common which was that we were looking for something,” said another. “I was really nervous about opening up, it took me awhile, but after having people really love me and accept me right where I was at –I started to ask questions: ‘Is God good?,’ ‘Is God real?’ I realized how important and ok it is to just be real, to be yourself, to be honest. This isn’t church, just come and show up.”
Rock Harbor invites those interested in an opportunity to explore questions about God and the meaning of life in an informal, fun and friendly environment to come to a new series of the 7-week Alpha course starting Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 6:30pm. There will be a catered dinner, and a brief talk explaining the course.
“There’s no commitment,” Kelly explained. “People can come to the first week, have a free dinner and decide if they want to come next week. Please come! If you like what you hear, come back!”
For more info, go to costamesa.rockharbor.org.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]