The First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches will start a new program called Alpha on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 5:30 pm. The program combines dinner, a brief video, and group discussion to break the ice and answer the public’s questions about faith in a comfortable, stress free environment. It will run through Nov. 8 on Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm. Members of the community are invited to come to one, a few, or all of the programs.
“People with questions need a safe space to ask them beyond our Sunday morning services,” said FUMC Pastor Doug de Graffenried. “The Alpha program gives members of the public an opportunity to interact with us and explore in their own comfort zones with no obligations.”
What is Alpha?
Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone’s welcome. It runs in cafés, churches, universities, homes—you name it. No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a talk and good conversation.
Food: Build community and get to know each other.
Video: Engage and inspire conversation. Usually around 30 minutes they explore the big issues around faith and unpack the basics of Christianity, addressing questions from Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith? to Why and how do I pray? and How does God guide us?
Group Discussion: Share thoughts and ideas on the topic. There’s no obligation to say anything and there’s nothing you can’t say (seriously). It’s an opportunity to hear from others and contribute your own perspective in an honest, friendly and open environment.
“Alpha is a great way to start a conversation about the church, beliefs, and what the church wants to do for our community,” said Lynda Hammett, director of communications and development at FUMC. “We want to invite everyone to join us and talk about the big questions in life – like is there more to life than this. This is a great place to learn more about Christianity. It’s the perfect group for someone who has never believed, is starting to ask questions, has been hurt by the church, is coming back into the church, or someone who has always been in the church. We want to engage our community and grow everyone’s knowledge.”