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Alpha Course


To save a spot for the

Sep 20th  Alpha

“Come & See”

 Click the Question Mark




Alpha Course


To save a spot for the

Sep 20th  Alpha

“Come & See”

 Click the Question Mark



  • A series of 11 weekly sessions that explore the basics of the Christian faith in a relaxed,
    welcoming setting where no question is too simple, no answer is pre-packaged, and no one has to talk.
  • Fun, food, friendship, good video & discussion
  • A parish tool for sharing the Good News
  • All about relationships
    • guests come because someone invites them
    • guests stay because they like the discussion & people
    • most discover or rediscover the beauty of a relationship with the Lord


  • Sept. 20 Wed. 7-9 PM “Come & See” St. James School Cafeteria (dinner and video)
  • Wed. evenings 7-9 PM St. James School Cafeteria (dinner, video & discussion)

                                    St. James Parish School

                                    820 N. Arlington Heights Road

                                    Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:           When will the next “Alpha Course” be offered at St. James?

A: Alpha starts September 20th,  2017 on Wednesday evenings through December 6th, skipping Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, November 29th.

Q:           Who is Alpha for?

A:           Alpha is for all adults, (non-Christians, atheists, non-parishioners, agnostics, Catholics, Christians, parishioners, spiritual-but-not-religious, and those who don’t want to be classified!) The basic idea is to get great conversations going where all points of view are respected and welcomed.  For most people Alpha awakens or re-awakens a love for God and is similar in effect to what many people experience during the RCIA.   If you come to an Alpha session, you’ll immediately understand!

Q:           Do Alpha guests have to pay anything?

A:            There is a nominal $5 charge for the Course booklet.  Nothing is charged for the meal, or for the weekly sessions.  Guests may make freewill offerings to help cover these costs, but there’s no pressure to do so.  (No one “passes the hat”).

Q:           Eleven sessions?    Are you kidding me?   That’s a big chunk of time.

A:            Go one step at a time.   The first Alpha session is made to help you decide whether you want to take the whole course.  Even after you start the course, the choice to come to any session  is completely yours.  Most people who have come to the Alpha Course ( over 29 million!) “don’t want it to end” by the last session.    Can you really evaluate the Alpha Course without giving it a test drive?

Q:           What if I can’t make all the 11 weekly sessions?

A:            You can miss a session or two and still benefit greatly from the course.  If you can make most of the sessions you’re fine.  A surprise business trip, a late day of work, illness, or pressing obligations will happen, but don’t worry about them until they happen (or don’t happen).  Nobody can predict possible interruptions with 100% certainty!

Q:           2 hours?   Evening hours are precious to me.

A:            Think of the Alpha evening like “dinner and a movie” with a group of friends who chit-chat about the movie afterwards.  Most Alpha guests say they would like their small group discussion sessions to last longer!  The evening goes by quickly.  This year’s Alpha is actually 30 minutes shorter than the 2015 version of Alpha!

Q:           What if I can’t arrive at exactly 7PM?

A:            The meal is a great part of the evening, but since it is “buffet style,” some people arrive when they can, grab some food, and eat while they watch the video.  That has worked well for many train commuters.

Q:           I  need to be home with my kids in the evening.  What are my options?

A:            Couples can arrange for child care and enjoy a “night out” together, or one can stay with the kids to allow the spouse to experience Alpha.  Are grandparents nearby?  They may be very happy to enable you to get to Alpha!

Q:           Can I pick and choose which sessions to attend?

A:            You could, but that’s not a recommended way to experience Alpha.  Each session builds upon and is dependent on earlier talks.  The first 3 sessions are particularly foundational.   In addition, many people find they have real “Aha! moments” after experiencing sessions with descriptive titles they didn’t expect to be so compelling.  It’s hard to predict which session will really resonate with you.  The best approach is to plan to be at as many sessions as your life’s circumstances permit and enjoy the sessions as they unfold.

Q:           If I miss the first Alpha session, can I still participate in the remaining 10 sessions?

A:            Absolutely!  While many people really enjoy the first session,  it is really an optional “trial session,” so you could start with the “second” session and still get the benefits of Alpha.  However, since space is limited and arrangements have to be made to have enough food for participants, you need to sign up to be assured of a spot for the remaining weeks.

Q:           If I like the first Alpha session so much that I want to invite a friend, can my friend join Alpha?

A:            It depends on whether there is room or not and that won’t be known until its clear how many people sign up initially and how many continue on Alpha after the first 2 nights.  The safest approach is to sign up your friend early.  While we hope everyone will want to continue after the first session, there’s no problem, stigma or follow-up if someone decides they don’t want to (or cannot) continue with Alpha at any time.

Q:           I heard there is a day-long “Holy Spirit” day.  Do I have to attend that?

A:            This special day is considered optional, but many Alpha guests have said it was the single most amazing time of their entire Alpha experience.  If it were a “mandatory” part of Alpha, it would change the freedom guests have to participate or not.  In addition, if attending were a requirement for signing up, some people might skip the whole Course.  There is a nominal charge to cover some of the costs of this day.

Q:           Where can I do my own research on The Alpha Course?

A:            Over 100 people from St. James have participated in Alpha.  The best info is to talk to a friend who has experienced Alpha.  You can also find Alpha on the web, where the best starting place is  

There you will find many additional links to good material.

Q:           I have a comment or a question that isn’t listed.  Where can I find answers?

A:            Email your question(s) to and expect an answer in a couple days.  Comments will be read and are appreciated!


Prominent Catholics who promote Alpha (click to see)  

Why Alpha?

  • The “Good News” is compelling, especially when it’s well presented.
  • Alpha is relational, & we are MADE for relationships
  • A no-pressure, no-teaching, no-preaching, non-critical and welcoming environment makes for awesome discussion.

“If you have no belief or experience with Christianity, The Alpha Course will show you the basics. If you are faithful but have a difficult time expressing to others what you believe, Alpha will help you know what to say. If you consider yourself a knowledgeable Christian, Alpha will help fill in some gaps in what you know.Anyone who wishes to become a better Christian …can benefit greatly from this experience, and the discussions are a great way to share fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters.” — An Alpha guest