Have you ever asked yourself questions about ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ or wondered what life is all about? Perhaps you’ve asked searching questions when you’ve experienced times of unhappiness or frustration or when faced with the threat of redundancy or the reality of unemployment. Maybe it’s been when you’ve been watching the news about some shocking event taking somewhere around the world or, more especially, when you’re struggling with ill health or when you’ve lost a loved one.

Perhaps, when asking those questions, you’ve also asked: “Is there a God?  Why was I born? Is there life after death?” These are known as the ‘first order questions of life’ because when we find the answers to these, and other similar, questions we begin to understand the reason for our existence – and the answer is not 42 as suggested by Douglas Adams in ‘The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy’ (who actually used this random number as joke!) .  I know from my own experience, and that of many right across our community – young and old alike – that finding a purpose to life is one of the most significant things we can ever do.

There are, unfortunately, no dress rehearsals for living. We only have one life to live. Some of you might wish for more, whilst some of you might be glad you only have one. The playwright and author, D. H. Lawrence said:

If only one could have two lives. The first in which to make one’s mistakes … and the second in which to profit by them.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury and we have to live with the consequences of our decisions.

One of the ways you can find the answers to some of your questions about life, and death, is through the Alpha Course. You may have heard about Alpha on social media or seen adverts on buses or on the tube. Alpha is a place to discover more about the Christian faith. Each week we address a key issue of life from a Christian perspective, followed by a discussion, an opportunity to ask any question you want, express opinions and learn from each other or, alternatively, you are free just to sit and listen. You won’t be asked to read aloud, pray, sing or do anything ‘religious’ or anything which will make you feel uncomfortable.

An Alpha Course at Emmanuel starts on Sunday 1 October at 6.00 pm. We’ve found Sunday evening works best as it enables everyone to spend the day with their family rather than having to rush in from work during the week and hurry out again!  We begin with afternoon tea at 6.00 pm, the talks begin at 6.30 pm  and we finish at 8.00 pm – this gives you the rest of your evening to go to the pub!

A few people who have attended Alpha in Billericay in the past have this to say:

I have enjoyed the course more than I thought I would.  It was a very warm and welcome group where I felt comfortable.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and highly recommend it to others.  I’m sad it’s all over!

As a born sceptic and someone who has had a bad experience of church, the Alpha Course has opened my eyes to what I see now is the true Christian message.  Thank you so much for helping me along in my journey of faith.

We’d love to have you with us – even if it is only for the introductory session on 1 October: ‘Is There More To Life Than This?’ If you would like to know more, please get in touch with me (details below) or contact us by email alpha@billericaychurches.org or leave a message with the Church Office on 01277 658055.

More details can be found here

This is a copy of my article for the September 2017 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’