Series addresses basics of Christian faith
Paul Stevenson | Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Alpha: An Introduction to Christianity, a new Campus Ministry program that kicked off Monday night, offers a seven-week dinner and discussion series to address the fundamentals of Christian faith.
Though the series primarily aims to inform non-Christian students, Alpha encourages participants of all religious backgrounds to attend. Non-Christian attendees will learn about the Christian faith, while Christians will benefit from a refresher on the core of their beliefs, according to Alpha’s club advisor Brett Perkins, campus minister and assistant director of sacramental preparation.
Alpha student leader and junior Will Harris said the program’s design makes it inclusive of students from all religious backgrounds.
“One of my favorite things about this program is that it can reach out to people unfamiliar with Christianity, and it is also useful for Christians to revisit the basics of belief, especially those who were raised Catholic and took a lot of these things for granted,” Harris said.
A team of sophomores, juniors and seniors lead Alpha, and each week these students will offer insights and facilitate conversation. Each of the seven Alpha meetings will consist of a dinner, a talk by one of the student leaders on some of the major questions and topics of Christianity and small group discussions, Harris said.
“As a leader of Alpha, I hope to see people grow and learn from this program, but I also want to learn from the participants about what they discover and what in our faith sticks out to them,” Harris said.
Alpha meetings take place every Monday of the fall semester from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in 330 Coleman-Morse Center, in addition to one Saturday retreat Nov. 1. Topics for each week include “Who is Jesus?”, “How can I have faith?” and “Why and how do I pray/read the Bible?”, according to the club’s website and handouts.
“It’s different from Campus Ministry in that it’s not just a retreat; it’s not focused on conversion. It’s just our way of spreading the gospel, letting people know of God’s word and allowing them to make their own decisions based off that,” junior Taylor Billings said.
Alpha also seeks to help Christians who feel uncommitted to or unmotivated by the Church.
“Many people now are what my priest back home calls ‘CEOs,’ [people who attend church] Christmas and Easter only,” Alpha student leader and senior Sean Driscoll said. Driscoll said he hopes returning to the basics of faith will increase the participants’ desire to attend church more regularly.
Around 20 people, ranging from freshmen to seniors and including an alumnus of the Notre Dame class of 1968 attended the first meeting Monday. Twenty-two students have registered, but Harris said he hopes involvement with the group will increase throughout the semester.
“We are trying to find that interaction that kids need to stick with the faith,” Harris said.