Alpha: Encountering Jesus Christ & Reinvigorating the Faith of the Parish

Alpha: Background and plans for 2017Alpha

Help me answer questions such as:

  • Isn’t there more to life than this?
  • What is the purpose of our life?
  • Did Jesus really die for me?

Links to Learn more about Alpha

What is Alpha
The Alpha Course
Alpha Frequently Asked Questions
Alpha Experience at OLR
Register for Alpha at OLR

Alpha background from around the world

What is Alpha?

Alpha is a perfect opportunity for anyone to explore the Catholic Christian faith in a relaxed setting.

The Alpha Course is a practical introduction to the Christian faith, a place where guests have an opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. The course usually meets once per week for 10 weeks and includes a day or weekend getaway in the middle. Each session, people enjoy great food, laughter and learning about the teachings of Jesus in a fun and friendly atmosphere where no question about life or God is seen as too simple or too hostile.

The program is focused on building a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is different than other programs that are more focused on learning facts about God; our Catholic Church history; or our faith;  We have heard many transformation stories from Alpha participants, such as changing from “going to mass out of obligation” to ” wanting to be there and to do everything for Jesus Christ”.

Who is Alpha for?

People attend Alpha from all backgrounds, religions and viewpoints. They come to investigate questions about the existence of God, the purpose of life, what happens after death, the teachings of Jesus and more. Many guest have never been to church; others may have attended church occasionally but feel they have never really understood the basics of the Christian faith. Everyone is WELCOME.

How did Alpha start?

Alpha began at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) church in central London in the late 1970’s as a means of presenting the basic principles of Christianity to new Christians. Alpha teaches the basic biblical teachings of Jesus Christ. Alpha continues to spread around the world, as more churches and groups find it to be an effective way to answer people’s questions about the Christian faith.

More than 22 million people in 169 countries have attended the program!

What is Alpha for Catholics?

Alpha for Catholics is simply the Alpha course hosted in a Catholic setting. Alpha is a practical tool that parishes use to inspire Catholic renewal and answer the call of Christ and His church to ‘go and make disciples of all nations.’ Alpha is often lay-driven and has proved to be an effective tool for awakening faith in people who are on the fringe of parish life, faithful Catholics and those outside the faith.

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What happens in an Alpha Course?

The Alpha course lasts for 11 weeks, with a retreat-type session in the middle. The talks each week cover the following topics, acting as a springboard for the small group discussions:

  • Session #1:  Is There More to Life Than This?
  • Session #2:  Who Is Jesus?
  • Session #3:  Why Did Jesus Die?
  • Session #4:  How Can I Have Faith?
  • Session #5:  Why and How Do I Pray?
  • Session #6:  Why and How Should I Read the Bible?
  • Session #7:  How Does God Guide Us?
  • Retreat
  • Session #8:  How Can I Resist Evil?
  • Session #9:  Why and How I Should Tell Others?
  • Session #10:  Does God Heal Today?
  • Session #11:  What About the Church?

A Typical Evening on the Alpha Course

Part 1: Each gathering begins with a meal, snack or refreshments. This is a time of relaxation and fun. You may be asked to bring food to share, or to contribute to the cost of the food

Part 2: Welcome and introduction.

Part 3: Then there is a talk that looks at a different aspect of the Christian faith each week. Some of our talks will feature Nicky Gumbel, the senior pastor of Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London. Other talks will be presented by our Parish priests or Pastoral staff members.

Part 4: A time of small group discussion follows where everyone is welcome to contribute opinions and ask questions. People will usually stay in the same small group for the duration of the course so they will get to know one another, continue discussions and deepen friendships. The emphasis is upon exploration and discovery in a relaxed and nonjudgmental environment.

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Alpha at OLR

The Lord is blessing our parish greatly with the Alpha Program.

We ran 4 sessions of Alpha at OLR during the fall of 2015, and one session in the fall of 2016.

Here are some notes from our experiences:

  • Alpha has something for every stage of faith, every stage of learning, every style of learning, and something for every person to take home each week to work on or to incorporate into their faith life, or help their family relations.
  • Alpha has helped me to speaking up about our faith gently when the opportunity presents itself to us.  As St Peter teaches us in his first letter, we want to be able to give witness to anyone who asks us why it is we have such hope in our lives.
  • The good thing is, we are not being asked to change our style of relating to others, we are being reminded of how our own unique gifts, given to us by Almighty God, can be used by Him to bring family, friends, and coworkers to Jesus, and Jesus to them!

Our parish is using Alpha to help us take up the cause of the New Evangelization brought about by the work of the last 3 popes, having begun with St. Pope John Paul II back in the 80s!

Statements from OLR Alpha Participants

“My wife is in Asia on business and reported home that the parish closest to her hotel is doing Alpha!!”

“This is exciting! Thank you for bringing Alpha to us!”

“This is a clear, concise capsulation of everything I have known all my life about Jesus!”

“Seeing this outlined so clearly in Alpha helps put Jesus into perspective: Who does history say He was? Who did the people and apostles of His day say He was: And even more importantly, who did Jesus say He was?”

“Now I will be able to articulate what I feel to someone who asks me: Who is this Jesus in whom you have placed your belief.”

“I never knew how to explain when people asked me why Jesus death was more special than any of the martyrs or war heroes. Now I know what to say!”

“My non-practicing kids have asked me some of these questions. Now I can answer them in a way that makes sense to me…and maybe to them!”

“I really appreciate the references to celebrities, sports figures, historians and philosophers sharing their stories of coming to the Christian faith! Their own experiences and thoughts have made this so real for me! I intend to ‘make it real’ for my adult children when I get home!”

The food at all the Alpha events were amazing, the group leaders and helpers were great.

The talk itself was a logical, clear, concise, loving presentation on who Jesus is, what history and His apostles said about Him, and finally, who did Jesus say He was Himself!

If you were not able to join us for one of the first Alpha session, please join us for another session sometime this year. In future sessions, we hope to invite our friends, coworkers and maybe even folks from the highways and byways to come and join us!

We hope that our participants of the last sessions will become the directors, session leaders, table leaders, table helpers, and food coordinators of those new sessions,

We will use this to “Go forth, preach the Gospel, and baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” Mark 15:16

Alpha’s impact on the New Evangelization

By Dan Shores

“CCD classes were always the most dreaded event of my week. However, my last year of religious education was in the form of Youth Alpha and gave us a whole new insight into God, Jesus and our Christianity.

We were all captivated by the discussions and personal talks during each session. We all discovered our own relationship with God, rather than someone forcing beliefs on us. This meant a lot to everyone, especially those who never thought they would believe. When it got to the point when I was looking forward to going to Youth Alpha each week, I knew that this truly was a fantastic program.”

Since Alpha addresses that basics of Christian faith, could I be too advanced in my faith to benefit from it?

Several people expressed the concern that they might not choose Alpha because they “already know and love Jesus and have a great relationship with Him”.

Please know that, on the contrary, you need to be there at the tables witnessing that great love affair!!

People need to hear WHY you have hope in the Lord!!! They need to hear your testimony!!

For a short 2 hours out of your hectic week during this course, the King of the Universe might just choose YOU to be His apostle – His ambassador!!!

If we (that means you too) have done our job correctly and promoted Alpha out among our neighbors, there will be people at those tables who don’t have a relationship with Him and need to hear WHY you or I do!!

Don’t miss this opportunity to be leaders in “marketing” the Redeemer of the World to your friends and neighbors by inviting them to come see … that’s what those Alpha business cards are for … just put some in your pocket, and be bold!

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Register for Alpha on the Lake – Summer 2017

We will be hosting Alpha on the Lake beginning with the introductory evening on Wednesday May 24, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the OLR Social Hall.

Four or Five additional sessions will occur at agreed upon times on one of the follow lakes: Union Lake, Cass Lake, Green Lake or Upper Long Lake.

Please attend the first session:

When: May 24, 2017

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Location: OLR Social Hall

The registration for Alpha on the Lake please click HERE

 

Alpha Frequently Asked Questions

Unable to attend at the scheduled time:  

If you cannot attend this series and would like to request a series at another time, please click HERE to fill out a request for an Alpha series at another time.  If we receive enough requests for a different time, we will try to organize and run another Alpha series this fall.

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Rev: 08/3/16

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