Alpha

Have you heard about Alpha? Would you like to come and see how it can help the Church share the joy of the Gospel and encourage people in their faith?

Alpha is coming to Llanedeyrn!

The big questions on life and death don’t often get much thinking space. In our society of quick fixes and instant answers, it’s sometimes difficult to stop and think, to ask ‘what’s life all about?’

Alpha offers space and permission to do just that. It starts with a meal and an introductory session at St Philip Evans Community Hall on Llanedeyrn Drive on Tuesday 10th January, and runs for the following ten weeks. We invite you to bring a friend, someone in your family, someone in need, and anyone who is curious or unsure of their belief. Alpha is a place where you can explore the basics of the Christian faith in a friendly, open and informal environment. At any point, if you think Alpha isn't for you, that's not a problem. There's no pressure, no follow-up and no charge.

Who’s this course for?

Alpha is for everyone who doesn’t yet know why Jesus is important, or who wants to know Jesus better. The course is open to anybody who would like to explore the Christian faith, for those who have been Christians for years, and those with no faith whatsoever. All guests are free to come when they can and leave when they wish, and no pressure will be put on anyone to get involved. If you drop out of the course you might get a friendly phone call asking if everything’s OK, but we won’t put pressure on anyone to come back.

If you’re a regular churchgoer, can you give a confident answer to questions like: “Why did Jesus die? How does God guide us? How can I resist evil?” If you struggle to find the right ideas, or the right words, then Alpha is for you.

Do you have friends who might not be connected to any place of worship, but who ask deep questions like “Is there more to life than this?” If so, Alpha is for your friends – but if you don’t feel comfortable inviting them straight away, you might want to try it yourself this time so you can invite them next time the course runs.

Is it Catholic?

Yes – but not just Catholic. The big ideas presented in Alpha are the ones on which Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians all agree. Who is Jesus? Why should we read the Bible? Alpha does talk about why it’s important to be part of a church, but not which kind of church.

Alpha is being used by thousands of Catholic parishes in over 70 countries around the world. You can read endorsements by a dozen Catholic archbishops and cardinals, from the Vatican and around the world, at catholics.alpha.org – and the Catholic bishops of England and Wales invited the main promoter of Alpha, the Anglican Revd Nicky Gumbel, to address a national congress of a thousand Catholics in Birmingham in 2015.

Alpha is also run by churches of many other denominations to introduce people to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. This has led to more than 24 million people around the world experiencing Alpha. In particular, it is attracting many young people who are asking the question, ‘Is there more to life than this?’

How does it work?

Eating together is a key part of Alpha. It makes the sessions longer, but it creates a much more relaxed and informal atmosphere. You do not have to pay for your meal – just make whatever donation you wish to. On the launch evening, 10 January, a professional catered meal will be on offer; for the rest of the course, a simpler meal will be provided.

After eating, we watch a 20-25 minute video on some aspect of the Christian faith – e.g. “Why and how should we pray?” or “Does God heal today?” The video is followed by a time of open discussion during which people can say anything, ask anything, or just listen. These can be very wide ranging… people ask things like Are some people so evil they can never be forgiven? Do all religions worship the same God? What happens when we die if we are not Christians? What would you like to say – or ask? No question is out of bounds, and you are free to discuss as much or as little as you wish.

How do I get involved?

You don’t have to pre-register, but it is very helpful if you do. Please send your name and email address or phone number to Lorna Jones: 07970 443 208 or email prayer.circle@yahoo.co.uk – and do let us know if you have any special dietary needs.

Please note that as part of the course there’s also a day away together to go deeper into questions about the Holy Spirit – that will be Saturday 11th March.

Alpha
Dates: 10 Jan 2016 to 11 April 2016
Time: 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Venue: St Philip Evans Community Hall, Llanedeyrn Drive, Cardiff CF23 9UL (directions available)
Cost: Free – donations towards cost of food welcome.

Who is running this course?

Alpha is running with the knowledge and blessing of the Parish Priest, Revd Gareth Leyshon, but he is not attending all the sessions. The team running Alpha include volunteers from other parishes experienced in Alpha, led by Lorna Jones from the Rhondda Parish and assisted by a local Alpha trainer from Chepstow, Penny Cavill. Several members of St Philip Evans parish are also on the support team, and the course has been advertised widely in Catholic and other Christian Churches. This course is also being supported by Glenwood Church, who are not running their own Alpha this spring.

Why are there large pictures of Bear Grylls on the banners around the venue?

We’re glad you asked! Find out why at the Alpha website!

Image: 
The face of Bear Grylls with the Alpha logo and caption "My Greatest Adventure"