Alpha: a safe place to ask questions and make friends
- Laurie-Ann Copple

Published in the Kanata Kourier-Standard, 8 September 2006

Have you ever been in a church where you were welcomed and appreciated, but felt as if you entered a college course half way through the semester? The Alpha course is a way to examine the Christian faith in a logical sequence of steps that will benefit you the rest of your life. During my several years of helping run Alpha courses as cook and musician, I have seen lives changed. Where Alpha guests were originally confused and searching, they came to know peace and contentment, even if they still had questions. We journeyed together, learned together and grew to love one another as friends.

I took the Alpha Course in 1999, and although I didn't have the searching questions that I once did, I wish Alpha was available when I was searching spiritually. In my quest for life’s meaning, I encountered what seemed to be many ‘closed doors’ and weird experiences. If I could be symbolized by any logo at that time, it was the ‘eternal question mark’ of a seeking agnostic – and for this reason I loved one of the characters of the movie “A Room with a View” since he had that same life-symbol.

When came to church in a ‘truth-search mode’, I was welcomed, but there wasn’t a good venue for my many questions. I kept saying that there needed to be a place where I could safely learn, ask and not feel afraid to share my experiences. I eventually found a loving home group, where they were patient with me. Then much later, I found Alpha. Not only did it become a place where guests could ask questions and the small groups could learn together, but even the logo of Alpha was a man with a question mark!

Years later, now as an Alpha leader, I cherish the questions of guests who are on their own journeys for deeper meaning. I’ve been there! Alpha is a place to be honest about who we are, since the small groups/tables are caring groups. Alpha includes a delicious home-cooked meal, music, a joke, friendship and discussion with your small group and of course, the Nicky Gumbel Alpha videos.

You may have heard that an Ottawa Alpha Conference will be held 8,9 September. This is primarily for lay leaders and pastors who would like to start an Alpha course, or to improve one they already have. See for details and registration.

Kanata Community Alpha is having its introductory turkey dinner with the trimmings on 19th September at the Mlacak Centre. You can experience an Alpha evening without obligation to attend the course; that will be your choice without pressure. Please call Lynn to register at 613-592-5310. If you have any special meal needs (allergies, vegetarian) I will personally cook a special meal for you.

Kanata Community Alpha