Saturday, December 22, 2007

Faith Works 1-5-08
Jeff Gill

Past and Future and Coming Attractions For All!

What’s the point of life?

More to the point, am I allowed to ask that question in church? Any church?

What, um, exactly is it that people of faith think happens when we die, and what do they base that on?

And could someone explain to me just why a guy who died 2,000 years ago has anything to do with my life today? I can tell that’s something Christians put a lot of stock it, but why?

. . . do any of those questions sound familiar? Would you or anyone you know want to know about where you could go and feel OK about asking them?

Would it help if dinner was served for free so you could just focus on hearing what the answers on offer are?

“The Alpha Course” is a Christian program that has roots in an urban parish near the heart of London, and now rattles literally around the world in 152 countries.

You might say that “the sun never sets” on Alpha, because Africa and Asia and Alabama and East LA all have congregations which have chosen to offer this unique opportunity.

You can see a bit about the general approach at, and Centenary United Methodist Church in Granville is the latest county church to offer Alpha to their community.

Starting Jan. 15 and running for ten Tuesdays until Mar. 18, folks are invited to come for a dinner and conversation. 6:00 pm is the start around the mealtime table, and each Tuesday is a different part of the well-tested Alpha program, with videos from Nicky Gumbel, one of the pastors with Holy Trinity, Brompton (London) where Alpha was launched in 1973.

You’ll see people on the streets of London and New York and other cities answering questions for interviewers that lead to other, even deeper questions, and Centenary has trained local leaders like Mike Evans who will take it from there as the tables lay out their own questions and work up some answers.

To have the table set up and meals ready, they’d love to know how many are coming, but they want you to come regardless. You can call 587-0022 or drop a note to 102 E. Broadway, Granville 43023 to let them know how many chickens to put in the pot.

One more invitation, even if you already have all the answers; you probably don’t know much about Chaplain David Jones, a fellow I argue may be the “lost founder” of Licking County.

In honor of the bicentennial of the establishment of Licking County on March 1, 1808, I’ve been asked by “The Works” to tell the story of Rev. Jones next Sunday, Jan. 13, at 2:00 pm. I’m going to wear what he would have had on in 1773 when he became only the second European to leave a record of passing through this terrain, but his story just gets better from there. Until the end of his long, fascinating life in 1820, he sent many (most?) of the early settlers to the forks of the Licking River, and returned here, making the long journey from his home by Valley Forge (yes, that Valley Forge, and he was there in 1777) to preach here for the first Baptists in Licking County time and again, well into his 80’s.

I’ve been looking forward to getting the fruits of my research into this amazing character and great soul out in front of a wider audience, and couldn’t be more delighted to help launch the county bicentennial observances with this presentation. Drop by, won’t you?

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; he’s been working on uncovering the lost story of Chaplain Jones since 1989, and he promised that it’s a doozy! Tell him your lost tale or unknown account at

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