Alpha Course - what previous attendees thought
One participant's comments"I originally came because having come to a couple of the church services I decided that I wanted to get the boys christened. The vicar sent me a letter telling me that I needed to attend the Alpha course for at least 4 of the weeks so I thought why not! I'd heard about it before but not really been 'up for it' so to speak, but this time I was ready and eager to listen. For me I thought now was the time.
I think that I was very lucky in that I really bonded with the leaders of my assigned group on that first Alpha course. The leader was just fantastic. He was just so gentle and kind and just had this what I can only describe as 'serenity' about him. I remember thinking, I wish everyone I had the fortune to meet were as nice as you. That certainly helped me continue coming, but coupled with the really interesting talks given by a variety of people, Alpha just kept drawing me back.
I'd come from a Christian background, grew up attending church, did the whole Girls Brigade and youth fellowship groups but I had lost my way rather over the past 10 years. Partly due to the lifestyle I was living, working long hours in the City, partying hard and not leaving much time for anything outside my own social life. However, I then lost my job, my dad, my grandmother and then ultimately my son all within 3 years and boy did that just finish me off. It was at that point that I found my self turning to the Lord and shouting 'why the hell have you done this to me? I'm not a bad person, just because I don't go to church very often any more doesn't mean I deserve this!'
I was looking for answers, but also looking for some acceptance. I was miserable and feeling a complete failure. although everyone around me kept saying I wasn't and that it was just that I expected too much from myself and life. However, I knew something was missing and I thought that I had tried other avenues, none leading to any fulfilment or happiness. Then.... lo and behold Alpha.
Alpha - just the opportunity to go somewhere each week where you could meet in comfortable surroundings with strangers who wanted nothing more than to make you feel welcome was wonderful in itself. Together with then being able to discuss at length, issues which bothered you about Christianity, your concerns and doubts, was too good to be true it seemed. I think one of the turning weeks for me was when we discussed sin and I came away feeling very flawed (I'm sure lots of people do!) and just wanting to change. It almost came naturally over night this sense of calm. I'm not saying that its always that way but its more frequent now and I know its the Lord's work trying to help me get a sense of perspective.
I subsequently attended a follow-up course and found that really good too. The discussion groups were more in-depth, which I really enjoyed, and again I felt able to question things I either didn't understand or entirely agree with. I think this is important to new Christians. We should be encouraged and it is all such an education. I don't profess to be a particularly good Christian but I am a Christian. I am glad I am and feel comfortable with it and sharing my views with non Christians. I feel like I have a long way to go but am happy to keep seeking help, understanding and love. Above all I have finally come to realise that no matter what I do, God forgives me and loves me and understands me.
I recommend Alpha to anyone, in fact I and two of those have since attended Alpha, have since been confirmed at St Luke's. Alpha and St Luke's has had a huge impact on my life within the last 18 months and I am a better person for coming to know Jesus again."
Other comments received
"I was coming to church but felt like I was on the fringes of something without really knowing properly what it was all about."
"I knew God was out there but I didn't know how to reach him."
"It was a great opportunity to meet new people..."
"Fun, informative and life-changing for the better."
"The Alpha course has made me think a lot more about Jesus - a superb course!"
"I loved it. The food, the friends, the teaching, the discussions - a fantastic experience."
"The discussion group part of the evening was a chance to put forward any views or experiences or inner feelings you had on any particular subject in a completely non-judgemental and confidential forum."
"Worthwhile, interesting, informative."
"Pleasantly surprised, occasionally frustrated - I want to do another one!"
"It has led to me joining a Home Group with many friends that I made on the Alpha course. It has also given me a passion to continue learning about my faith and building a stronger relationship with God."
"I would recommend this course to anyone - whether they are interested in becoming a Christian, just have questions about Christianity, or already a Christian."
"There is much more about Christianity that I now want to know."