Perks of Church Planting with Alcoholics Anonymous
- January 04, 2021
- Steve Macias
Yesterday, I celebrated Holy Communion for a congregation in California’s Central Coast. They are recently without a minister and are in the process of basically re-planting the congregation in the transition. They’ve been meeting in a storefront office in a business park.
This is not a traditional look for an Anglican Church. We love our buildings and architecture. Yet the congregation has been able to transfer the inside into a beautiful worship space that allows you to forget there is a nutritionist’s office next door. The chancel beautified with icons and flowers on the “ad orietem” altar with movable rails.
Ward, one of their readers, helps to organize the Sunday services and is excited about their future as a congregation. As we discuss the details of their efforts, he explains one of the secrets that’s made this church possible.
“Thank God for AA,” he says.
Renting a building of any size is tough for small churches and especially during this year’s COVID circumstances, but their parish has been able to shift some of this financial burden by sharing the space with a local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group.
AA describes itself as, “an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere.”
Ward pointed to a large whiteboard on the back wall of the church. “They have different programs and groups throughout the week,” he explained. “And their financial contribution is a significant portion of the rent here.” While he does point out a few downsides, like sometimes forgetting to vacuum or leaving furniture in the wrong place, these are very minor issues.
There is the added benefit of new foot traffic coming through the church doors. The Church knows they are helping another important ministry and that new people are being introduced to their worship space. The church is hopeful for an increase in “crossover” as people discover their church as an AA meeting location.