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Alpha Course is introduction to faith

January 04, 2001

Alpha Course is introduction to faith



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


When Glenda Austin was trying to find a way to describe what The Alpha Course is all about, she settled on the direct approach.

"I tell people to come and have dinner with Jesus," she said, stressing that her message is sincere and heartfelt.

The Alpha Course, a 10-week program that will begin Monday, Jan. 8, at 6 p.m. at St. Ann Parish, is a basic introduction to faith and the life of Jesus, Austin said.

Austin, the course director, said the sessions are for those without a church, those who are in crisis over their faith, the young, the old and everyone in between.

Information about The Alpha Course has been spread through the community, on college campuses and wherever people get together.

"It's evangelistic in its approach," said Austin, who noted that The Alpha Course had its beginnings in the Anglican Church of England 20 years ago.

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Since then, it has been sweeping the globe and is taking on a focus in the United States, she said.

Those interested in finding out more should query themselves on some basic issues, Austin said.

"Are questions of faith weighing you down? Or have you been overburdened by the holidays?" Austin said. If so, then The Alpha Course could be just the ticket to help sort things out, she said.

Each Monday night, participants will meet in the parish center at St. Ann Catholic Church behind the Long Meadow Shopping Center.

The sessions will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner in a relaxed atmosphere followed by worship and a teaching video/talk. After a break for coffee, small groups will share the teaching from the video/talk, Austin said.

All over the world, the Christian church is experiencing growth and new tools such as The Alpha Course are giving that growth fresh dynamism, hope and vision, Austin said.

"The Alpha Course aims to present the core truths of the Christian faith around which Christians of every major denomination can unite," Austin said.

About 50 people have signed up for the free program, Austin said. The deadline is Friday, Jan. 5.

To register, call Austin at 301-733-0410.

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