A few weeks ago I mentioned the Alpha Course during my homily, and some may wonder what that is. Until last year I had never heard of the Alpha Course, but after hearing about it and watching a few of the videos I was delighted to discover that Alpha is, at its heart, about hospitality! Though we will be using the Alpha Course curriculum as the springboard for our discussions, we will be calling it "South Arlington Dinner and Dialogue" because that is exactly what it will be, and that sounds more familiar for most of our friends and neighbors (though we mention the Alpha course in the event description if anyone wants more information). I am excited about the ways in which these dinner and dialogue groups will create a space for friends and neighbors to experience Jesus in community!
As those welcomed in by our Heavenly Father, hospitality, or welcoming the stranger, lies at the heart of what we seek to do at Incarnation. One author, fleshes out hospitality, writing,
"Radically ordinary hospitality—those who live it see strangers as neighbors and neighbors as family of God." (Rosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Comes with a House Key, 11).
Incarnation is a community of bridge builders who delight in seeing strangers become neighbors and seeing neighbors as the family of God. It is a gift to be a part of such a community. The Alpha Course is a great opportunity for Incarnation to provide a space of Christian hospitality where our neighbors and friends can come and experience a gracious, Spirit-filled community who listens well and loves deeply.
Not knowing how to lead an Alpha Course I attended the course at our sister parish, Truro Anglican Church, over the last several months (special thanks to Rev. Michael and Rev. Tim for helping out so much!). Each week we sat together, ate and chatted, listed to a presentation on the Christian view of various topic, and broke into small groups to discuss.
The discussions were engaging, inclusive, and charitable (truly counter-cultural!).
After 9 weeks of Alpha, the groups asked if they could keep meeting together! One person shared that the value of the course for her was seeing that there were intelligent Christians out there. Those takeaways were powerful and instructive as I imagined our context in South Arlington. Imagine a space where friends and neighbors can come and both hear and be heard. Imagine a community where people can present deep hurts and encounter the Divine Healer through a community in the process of healing. Our Dinner and Dialogue groups, using the Alpha Course, create the relational context needed for friends and neighbors to experience Jesus in community. So over the next month, pray for your neighbors and begin inviting. We'll have a flyer for you in the next few weeks.
Date: Wednesdays, Jan 9-Feb 27
Location: The Theatre on the Run (3700 S. Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington, VA)
How Do I Sign Up?
Signup: To sign up or view the calendar visit our South Arlington Dinner and Dialogue signup page.
Cost: Free (except for the retreat)
Leadership trainings: Dec 5, 7-9pm and Jan 5, 10am-noon. Both at the Theatre on the Run. If you're interested in learning more about how to help organize the South Arlington Dinner and Dialogue, email Morgan+.
Retreat: This 8 weeks will involve an overnight retreat (though it is optional). Save the date for Feb 9-10 (there will be a one-day option for those who can only come Saturday). Details TBD.
Any other questions? Contact us.