The Canadian branch of the Alpha evangelical program this fall began its first nationwide campaign featuring billboards, transit advertisements, lawn signs and church banners – all aimed at increasing participation in the course. Alpha, which was started in 1977 and expanded in 1990 by Rev. Nicky Gumbel in at Holy Trinity Brompton in London , is offered in about 2,000 churches in Canada of all denominations. The 10-week course, a series of discussions primarily designed for laypeople, tackles such topics as “Who is Jesus” and “How Does God Guide Us?” The sponsoring church begins each weekly session with a supper and participation is free, with a free-will offering accepted to cover the cost of the meal. The course, billed as “an opportunity for anyone to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed, non-threatening setting,” has been taken by more than four million people around the world, according to Alpha. More info rmation is available at www.alphacanada.org or www.alphacourse.org or 1-800-743-0899.