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World News

Alcoholics Anonymous group excluded over Christian content in meetings

by Marcus Jones

An Alcoholics Anonymous group has been separated from the organisation because it includes Christian content in its meetings.

Leaders of the group which meets in a church in Yeovil were told that prayer and talk about Jesus made a new member feel uncomfortable.

It's now been removed from the AA online directory following a vote by local bosses.

Minutes from a meeting of the Somerset Intergroup, which oversees AA groups in the region, describe the church held group as a "Christian based meeting, lovely meeting but not along AA guidelines".

Concerns were also raised over an announcement in one of the recovery group sessions that the only way to recovery is through Jesus.
 
The Somerset Intergroup claimed that, while there was nothing wrong with discussions about Jesus, they didn't belong in an AA meeting.

John Palmer, one of the leaders at the church held group, said: "AA was founded by Christians to save and transform lives. Over the years I have seen Christianity being eroded and marginalised from the organisation as a whole. It is sad to see, and I think AA is having less of an impact on people's lives as a result.
 
"Of course you don't have to be a Christian to be part of an AA group, but if you cannot say the Lord's Prayer in a church without being treated like this, what are we coming to?
 
"We were shocked when we found out about the action being taken against us, but we are determined to carry on."
 
Campaign group Christian Concern is now taking action to get the group reinstated within Alcoholics Anonymous.

Chief executive Andrea Williams said: "The message of the gospel is of a saviour Jesus who came to bring hope to every one of us. The power of the gospel message is what inspired the setting up of AA following the radical transformation alcoholics experienced after encountering the hope and healing found in Jesus Christ. 

"Separating and punishing Christians so that they cannot attract new members for sharing the gospel message of hope is disturbing and ludicrous.  Is now saying the Lord's Prayer in a church offensive and not appropriate?

"It is sad, but not surprising in our world of cancel culture, to hear from this group that the gospel message is no longer appropriate for AA and must be kept 'separate.'

"We call on the AA to reinstate this group to the online directory and to recognise the crucial role Christian faith plays in transforming lives."

Premier has contacted Alcoholics Anonymous and is waiting for a response.

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