Outreach program welcomes people’s questions, views

Published 10:14 pm Friday, February 13, 2009

Have you ever had questions about the purpose of life, or wished that you could share your views without being judged?

A program called Alpha is designed to provide a low-key, non-threatening, and even fun, way for people to do that.

Clanton First United Methodist Church is hosting the 10-week program beginning March 1. It is free and open to the public.

“The whole purpose of Alpha is to provide an atmosphere where people can ask any questions they may have or express their feelings and thoughts without being condemned, threatened or ridiculed,” Assistant Pastor Bro. Brian Dovey said.

Alpha will start with an introduction dinner March 1 at 6 p.m. in Crossroads Café, the former location of the church fellowship hall.

After a free dinner, participants will watch a short video and break up into small groups for discussion.

Alpha is open to everyone regardless of background. You do not have to attend church at First United Methodist or anywhere to join in the program, Dovey explained.

“This program has something for everyone,” he said.

Even though Alpha is a first for the church, it is known worldwide. It started in England and has been attended by more than 11 million people. Several thousand courses are held in the U.S.

“It’s about God, but it’s not done in a way that shoves anything down people’s throats,” Dovey said.

Halfway through the program, members will have the opportunity to attend a weekend retreat where they will continue to participate in discussions away from the stresses of everyday life.

There will be a cost for the retreat at an amount to be determined. The retreat is optional but highly encouraged.

“Sometimes it’s necessary to get away from the hustle and bustle,” Dovey said.

For more information, call the church office at 755-0490.