We all have questions about the existence of a higher power, what happens after death and other things that involve spirituality and existentialism. A lot of times we are confined to asking these questions to our friends and family members.

But a program at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Ahwatukee Foothills will expand on that.

The non-denominational Alpha Course is a forum where people are broken up into groups of no more than 10. The small setting is supposed to add to the comfort level, allowing participants to open up if they are apprehensive about asking the big questions, said Kim DeVoss, leader of the Alpha Course at MVLC.

The group will host the seven-week forum beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and taking place every Wednesday until Nov. 2. Each session begins with a short lesson taken from the Bible. It is a way to stir up discussion, which can lead to bigger questions.

"It's a non-judgmental way to come and ask questions about not just the Bible but a person's beliefs and it is ecumenical," DeVoss said. "There are no rules so people can ask whatever they want to ask."

She described it as nondenominational because discussion is about what is printed in the Bible and about how to interpret it. DeVoss said the pastor does not lead the program but can help facilitate discussions.

"It's not what I would call a Bible class, it is designed to ask questions," DeVoss said. "I hope that opening up discussion to everyone with different beliefs will be the program's biggest draw."

The course will also be offered at the same time and dates at The Parish of St. Benedict, 16223 S. 48th St., and the Foothills Baptist Church, 15450 S. 21st St. Childcare is provided and a meal is served before watching that week's video.

Alpha Course is an organization that partners with churches around the world. The group also brings its service to prisons, YMCAs and community centers.

The group's website, www.alphausa.org or www.alphaarizona.org, provides more background on the program.

Mountain View Lutheran, 11002 S. 48th St., will be hosting an information session at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. For more information or to register, call (480) 893-2579.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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