Alpha meets in Aggieville bar for discussions about God, philosophy


The Kathouse Lounge in Aggieville, buzzes with the chatter of a different type of barfly. This is where the group Alpha meets every Monday to share a meal, listen to Christian praise music, mingle and discuss the Bible.

This is the first year the 10-week program, which meets four times a year, has made its home in the ritzy Lounge.

“This was never one of our ideas about using this space, but because we have had so many wedding receptions and special events that were never part of our business plan, we began to think outside the box,” said Brian Berry the bars owner. “We liked (Alpha) because it was outside the box. And since we feel so lucky and fortunate we thought we would give back by donating the space.”

This liberal incarnation of Christian emergence was first brought to Manhattan by Justin and Susie Kastner. Justin is an assistant professor in diagnostic medicine pathobiology.

“Eleven years ago Justin and I took an Alpha course at Holy Trinity Brompton Church,” Susie said.

The group was founded in Great Britain and has been expanding its reach from the Holy Trinity Brompton Church, the sight of the first Alpha course, to more than a hundred countries. The course has received positive reviews from the New York Times, Time and The Economist.

“Alpha is a diverse coalition of varying philosophers, beliefs and religions discussing the essentials of Christianity,” said Darren Emory, one of the four co-leaders. “I have had an atheist, agnostic, a Muslim, a spiritualist and really anything in-between in my two years involved in the group.”

The group is organized by the collaboration efforts of 20 team leaders from the Faith Evangelical Free Church, 2500 Kimball Ave., and Peace Lutheran Church, 1921 Barnes Road.

“It helps you re-assess your life and get perspective from others,” said Charissa Ratliff, junior in baking science. “I find Alpha is a good place to have a really open conversation about God. It is a place where you can ask questions and get answers.”

The Alpha small-group discussions practice discretion.

“What we say here doesn’t leave here,” said Rachel Peters, junior in baking science.