At the Gates
Food, faith and friends
by Lee Harding
Alpha is not only the first letter of the Greek alphabet, it’s also a great way to explore spirituality and make friends. The alpha course, an international movement still gaining momentum, will be offered this semester at the U of R.
The Alpha Canada website (www.alphacanada.org) explains it well: “The alpha course is an opportunity for anyone to explore the Christian faith and ask their questions in a relaxed, non-threatening environment over 10 thought-provoking weekly sessions.” The format is simple: participants share a meal together, watch a video on a given topic, and then discuss the video in small groups.
U.K. Anglican priest Nicki Gumbel was once an atheistic lawyer, but since 1990 has headed the Alpha program. He answers many questions in the alpha videos, including, “How Can I be Sure of My Faith?” and “How and Why Should I Pray?”
Bonnie Brears, former Alpha Director in Regina, says the program appeals to a wide swath, including “atheists, agnostics, lifetime Christians that ... want to know more of what they’ve learned over the years. I know in other cities a lot of gay Christians have come, unchurched people, people with marriage problems, people with no problems, but something’s drawing them. People with a lot of questions, too, like, ‘What happens when I die?’”
Campus Gateway, a U of R campus club, will host the program at the U of R this winter. The program will be one of 12 held in the Queen City, and 28,700 around the world.
Those interested in the university alpha will have missed the opening of our series by this publication date as well as a video entitled, “Christianity: Untrue, Boring, and Irrelevant?” After the video, people will have signed up for the course, which is absolutely free. The course runs Tuesdays at the LI Theatre until April 5 (except for Spring Break). Those who missed the first night are more than welcome.
Though not everyone in Alpha finds the answers they’re looking for, most count it a worthwhile experience. Alpha is a chance to make friends and discuss spiritual questions with others with common interests.
Those interested can write firstname.lastname@example.org.