Frederick Buechner – Presbyterian minister, author, poet, theologian – has been apocryphally credited with saying, “Any church that doesn’t have an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting in its basement should be burned down.” I’m writing today to inform you we are no longer at risk of this Buechnerian fate.

Earlier this year, our church engaged a general study of the 12 Steps of Recovery during our MidWeek Fellowship services. Under the leadership and direction of our pastoral care ministers – Kyle Matthews and Kendra Plating – we structured a series of evening discussions that included the testimonies/stories of our church members who are in recovery, as well as my personal reflections on the 12 Steps. Noting the attendance and general interest in this midweek series, we felt it necessary to pursue providing recovery groups here at First Baptist.

It has been my experience the Spirit provides what is needed when it is needed. Just weeks after the series ended, the church was contacted by a representative of AA who asked if they could start a group at our church. We just smiled.

The AA group at First Baptist is meeting on Monday evenings, at 6:00pm in the Prayer Room next to the Chapel (A302). Participants are asked to enter the doors beneath the bell tower. This is a CLOSED meeting, which simply means you must have a problem with alcohol to attend. Open meetings allow family members, friends, and non-alcoholics to ‘sit in.’ This is not the case at a CLOSED meeting. If you have any questions about the meeting or AA in general, please feel free to contact the meeting facilitators: Bob H. (850-557-1018) or Kourtney H. (832-689-9679).

Moving forward, we hope to add an Alanon Meeting in the Fall. It will hopefully meet on the same evening at the same time so that the family members and friends of alcoholics might have a space for recovery and support as well.

I’m so pleased this work now exists at First Baptist. I hope you are pleased. I’m quite certain Frederick Buechner would be pleased.

— Jim

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