Last month I finished a 12-week session of Alpha with members of the Catholic Collaborative in Salem. It has been- bar none- the best thing I have done for my spiritual life and my marriage!
I had heard mixed reviews about Alpha in other churches but Alpha is really just a very edgy, cool film series that introduces seekers to the idea of Jesus Christ. Nothing I haven’t heard already. I wound up in this program because my husband and I have been church-shopping and looking for a warm community of believers that share a love of God, are not afraid to defend their Catholic faith, but keep it real. We started going to the 6:30 Sunday Mass in Salem at Immaculate Conception. The first thing I noticed about Immaculate was that the doors were open to the street. It showed that anyone was welcome. The next thing I noticed was their ministers and music. Very cool, young, smart, funny un-parochial but educated lay people.
From here, we heard about one of the groups they were running using Lectio Divina, which is my favorite way to pray…and this is where we heard about the next Alpha session. The first night we were welcomed into groups that included people of different religions and background, but all interested in learning a little bit more about Christ. You really can’t go wrong learning more about Jesus. From week to week something was happening in our group, with these very real people, which I know to be the Holy Spirit, melting hearts, and being in real communion with one another. It confirmed that WE really are the church, and “where two or more are gathered Jesus is surely in our midst.”
We are so grateful to the Salem Collaborative team; Margo, Steve, Catherine, Sister, Chef Christine and her helpers and all the participants for making church a place we call home! Can’t wait for the next Alpha!
Our thanks to Stacey Corin for her reflections. Come and See about Alpha!