Why I chose to go to the Alpha Course…
…death …grief …misunderstanding …unknowing …searching.
Neither my husband nor I were raised with religion. We knew about God and a couple of prayers but it wasn’t something practiced in either of our homes. My family started attending PLC six months after my mother-in-law went unexpectedly to heaven. Throughout the years following our first child’s birth, my mother-in-law subtly expressed her wish for us to raise our family with a spiritual foundation. Upon her death, I found in her suitcase the book “Jesus Calling.” It was a hard sign to miss. We couldn’t ignore one of her final wishes. We signed the kids up for Sunday school that next fall – we would honor her wish and see what that looked like for them.
I had no idea how impacted I would be by that decision. Our first Sunday was the Sunday that Pastor Sean became the Senior Pastor and for someone who is always looking for a “sign,” that was one – a new pastor, a new path for us. When we first heard about the Alpha course I didn’t really understand what it was but I kept thinking about it. I didn’t fully understand what it meant to have religion or a relationship with church or God.
One day about nine months after we had been regularly attending, I found my car driving into the church parking lot during the work week, inquiring about how to become a member of the church. Jane Josephs was so kind to take me into her office and talk to me about attending the Alpha course to start with. She gave me this little business card about Alpha. I put that that card on the visor of my car. I looked at it all the time. “Are you searching?” “If you could ask God one question, what would it be?” I pondered these questions while driving. After a couple of months, curiosity got me and I signed up my family to attend Alpha. Availability of childcare for our youngest and Alpha Kidz for our oldest was also a big part of our decision. Not to mention that one day of the week I wouldn’t have to plan or cook dinner!
My husband and I started the Alpha course in January 2014. I was still unsure about it all and was nervous. Scott wasn’t much of a believer and I wasn’t sure how that would go, but he had agreed to go. The girls loved going to church each week for Alpha and my fear of the length of time to attend each week quickly vanished. Time went by so fast with the dinner, lesson and small group. I found myself looking forward to Wednesdays but not just because I didn’t have to cook! Dinner was always yummy and then we had the lesson for the week. I find Pastor Sean to be a realist. My assumption of what a pastor should be wasn’t Pastor Sean! He is funny and speaks to the everyday challenges our family faces in modern-day society. Our Alpha small group, that met after dinner and the lesson was great. I found it to be a safe place to share our thoughts on that evening’s topic and be able to process and digest our own beliefs and feelings. It was during this time that I recognized my own personal relationship with God. I found it didn’t matter as much that Scott and I weren’t on the same spiritual level. It allowed a platform for us to learn about religion and God and how to incorporate it into our lives. We agreed we want to raise our girls with belief and encourage them to develop their own relationship with God.
Due to a scheduling conflict we weren’t able to attend the Alpha Day Away during our course, but we were able to attend later that year. What an amazing day to solidify our own personal journey with the Holy Spirit, God, Jesus and the Church.
I now understand why Alpha is a requirement for church membership. It isn’t about indoctrinating you into the church way, but helping you create your own personal spiritual journey. I learned that we are all at our own different place on spiritual paths and that’s okay. The Alpha course is a great place to start or continue that journey. Our family became members of the church this last year and we are proud to call PLC our church home.