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Alpha - anyone starting the course this Autumn?

(290 Posts)
newbeliever Sun 19-Sep-10 20:56:15

Hi everyone, I mentioned on another thread about starting a thread for Alpha newbies.

I have signed up to do the course this Autumn, starts Tuesday, 28th September. Was quite surprised when I rang the parish office, there are about 40 people on the course - and it's for 3 hours each week - I was thinking 2 hours max! They start the evening off with dinner and drinks before moving onto the topic for the week. How do your churches run the course?

Thought it would be nice to share our thoughts each week in a safe place - I'm worried about not knowing what to say or just not understanding the topic so would be good to have some fellow MNr's on the journey too.

Anyone else want to join me? smile

oxocube Mon 20-Sep-10 07:32:36

I start in 2 days time and am looking forward to it. Ours is held in the leaders' home as there are only 10 people on the course. I think the format of dinner, video, discussions, coffee is more or less standard.

I'm not worried about saying the wrong thing: I'm more worried about being the only one who says anything with it being such a small group! This group is entirely made up of new church members. I already have several questions which have been plaguing me for a few weeks but am not sure if we are supposed to stick to the topic of the evening or whether anything goes!!

Will keep you posted smile

newbeliever Mon 20-Sep-10 09:52:42

That's good Oxocube - you will be a week ahead of me. I've been reflecting on the group size and although initially I was relieved there were so many doing it; I'm thinking now that I'd prefer a smaller group. Like you, I've got a few burning questions already.

I'm hoping the course doesn't leave me with even more questions than I had before. confused

Anyone else around who'd like to join us? I can't believe we are the only Mnetters doing the course this Autumn!

PositiveAttitude Mon 20-Sep-10 13:24:47

Hi to you both,

I am not doing an Alpha course, but DH has been leading it twice a year for a number of years now.
I just wanted to pop in and say that I hope you both get a lot out of it and it would be great to follow how you get along.

Newbeliever, when we have had a largish group we have split it up for the discussion part, never more than about 8 - 10 people for that, so hopefully yours will be the same so that it wont be daunting for you.
I expect it will be fine to just wade in with your questions. I am sure you wont be gagged to only ask at the "right time".

I ma sure you both will have more questions as you go along, but its the perfect place to work through these questions and get answers.
I am sure that by the end of the course you will not believe how far you have come!!

I will be thinking of you both and hope you dont mind me popping in to see how you are getting on. If you wanted any questions answered on here rather than in RL, I'd be happy to try for you, but will keep quiet if not. smile

newbeliever Mon 20-Sep-10 14:52:04

Thanks PositiveAttitude - that would be really helpful - I'm sure there will be questions I will feel a bit silly to ask in RL. smile

It's also reassuring to hear that when you have had large groups they have been split up for the discussion part - I was starting to wonder how it would all work. hmm

oxocube Mon 20-Sep-10 14:52:29

Thanks PA - what a nice post!! I'm looking forward to Wednesday and will let you know how I get on smile

oxocube Tue 21-Sep-10 20:06:54

Looking forward to tomorrow despite my husband's comments today about sad people who talk to their "imaginary friend" sad

PositiveAttitude Tue 21-Sep-10 20:16:14

Will be thinking of you Oxo. Dont worry about DH, my Dh was very derogatory for the first 10 years of our marriage and now he is in the leadership team of our church and seems to be a "better" Christian than me. he is now frequently telling me off for having lack of faith!!

Let us know how you get on..... I hope the meals nice!! wink

newbeliever Tue 21-Sep-10 22:57:21

Have a good time tomorrow Oxo. Your DH sounds a bit like mine - although he has been accompanying me to church for the last couple of months, mainly because the children kept quizzing him as to why he didn't come with us on a Sunday. smile

Looking forward to hearing how you get on.

jaffacakeaddict Wed 22-Sep-10 10:31:29

Have a great time tonight Oxo. I hope you meet a great bunch of people tonight and that the discussion is lively.

Let us know how you geet on

nickelbabe Wed 22-Sep-10 10:42:50

oxo, that's horrible of your DH.

It is hard when you live with a non-believer, but you should kick him in the balls tell him that it's not very respectful and you wouldn't diss his choice of faith, so why should he diss yours.

PositiveAttitude Thu 23-Sep-10 10:44:26

Hi OXO How did it go? Will you be going back next week? Was the meal good??

Come on I want to know all the details grin

oxocube Thu 23-Sep-10 12:24:32

Will post more later as have to get back to my class. It was very interesting, although TBH, I would have liked to have spent more time on the discussion and less on the dinner! It was a very diverse group who despite all being new to this particular church, were at different stages in their beliefs. One lady was there who said she desperately wanted to feel the relationship with God that she hears people talk about but that she doesn't get it. Some were lapsed Christians looking for a renewal of Faith.

Food nice - I'm cooking for it next week!! Those who like to cook all take a turn as well as some of the 'Friends of Alpha' who also help with the catering smile

newbeliever Thu 23-Sep-10 13:50:06

Hi Oxo, glad it went well - sounds like you've got an interesting group of people. I was wondering what the food/discussion time split was, perhaps they allow a bit more time the first week for food/chatting so that you get to know everyone and feel more comfortable.

Looking forward to more detail later!

PositiveAttitude Thu 23-Sep-10 16:34:47

Thanks for letting us know OXO. DH here says that they very often keep the discussion shortish for the first one as they dont want to put off those who are frightened of being open in front of people they have just met.
I am sure there will be lots of time for discussion as the weeks go by.

Pleased that it went ok though. Its good to have a mix of people coming from all different situations. I hope you gel with them over the coming weeks and all journey together. smile

oxocube Thu 23-Sep-10 19:01:57

Its a really international mix too, PA, as I live in Holland and my church is an English speaking international church. If I remember correctly, we have 3 Dutch, 1 English (me!), 1 South African, 1 Brazilian, 3 Nigerian, 1 Indian. The leaders are Scottish and Dutch/Surinamese smile

madhairday Thu 23-Sep-10 20:52:03

Hi, I would be happy to chat on this thread too. I am leading an alpha style course at the moment, not quite as organised as alpha but I have led/done alpha in the past so like PA would be happy to have a go at giving my viewpoint on any questions you have.

Glad the first one went ok Oxo. what did you think to the content?

meanymum Thu 23-Sep-10 20:59:54

Would be interested in doing this course but can't commit to a course due to DH being away with work during week. However, would love to hear more on how you get on etc. Maybe one day...

barleywood Thu 23-Sep-10 21:16:02

I'd like to join too. I've led similar courses in the past but I have little experience of Alpha so I'd be interested in hearing how those who are doing the course are getting on.

newbeliever Thu 23-Sep-10 22:38:57

Thanks for all the offers of support PA, Madhair and Barleywood - it's really comforting to know that if I walk away from my first session next week a bit confused - I will have some lovely Mnetters who will be able to help.

That's a shame for you Meanymum - 10 weeks is a long time to commit to a regular night out isn't it? I may end up missing one or two if my DH is late back from work. I just decided to go for it and pray that he gets home on time!

oxocube Fri 24-Sep-10 06:23:44

madhair, re the content, the first video was interesting. It was entitled "Who is Jesus?" and talked about many people's belief that Jesus did exist but was not anything more than a very good man and a gifted teacher. One of the people on our course is a 50 something year old lawyer who is a fairly recent convert to Christianity. Even though he is an ardent believer, he said that he felt that some of the 'evidence' Nicky Gumbel quoted was very slanted and that you almost needed a counter argument to make it more believable.

One slight down side is that one of the women leading the course is someone I know from my kids' school and from Scouts and we have a few mutual friends. She is very nice but it takes away the anonymity a bit I feel. I would almost prefer to be in an environment where I know nobody and can say/ask whatever I like without thinking I might bump into these people in the playground!! Does that make any sense?

PositiveAttitude Fri 24-Sep-10 07:19:50

We are anonymous OXO, and I promise not to stalk you at the school gate, so if you feel uncomfortable asking there, ask here!!! grin

On the other hand, after a few weeks you may LIKE the idea that you have a slight connection already with someone who will be there.

The lawyer sounds interesting. My brother is a lawyer and he is the worst person possible to argue with!! hmm He is always soooo reasonable and will counter argue and twist my arguments and I end up not sure what I think about something, let alone what he thinks!! smile (we get on really well actually, so dont argue properly)

PositiveAttitude Fri 24-Sep-10 07:22:18

Meant to say, Hi MHD, and nice to "meet" you Barley and Meanymum.

MrsCadwallader Fri 24-Sep-10 07:27:12

Oxocube - re the lawyer's comments - that's EXACTLY what I thought about Nicky Gumbel's 'arguments' myself. They are very very lame and won't convince anyone who isn't already 'there'. I've read a few of his books, and even as a committed Christian had an expression like this hmm throughout!!

If he wants something more intellectually robust, suggest CS Lewis's books to him. They are tough going confused but intellectually flawless, and the arguments are beautifully constructed. He is also deeply comforting!

(btw am a law student myself and inclined towards argument blush. My inability to NOT question / pick apart an argument can be a real barrier to faith!! It does help, though, to have intellectual heavyweights like Lewis to bolster me!)

Good luck with the rest of the course - I hope you continue to enjoy it

MrsCadwallader Fri 24-Sep-10 07:30:35

p.s. sorry - didn't really 'introduce' myself. I pop on and off the religion board from time to time (mostly on the prayer thread) and have lead / co-lead courses similar to Alpha (we do 'Emmaus' rather than Alpha at our church). I'm an adult convert, having committed to Christianity and been baptised aged 30.

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