St Michael’s at Northgate
The entrance is to the left of the glazed structure
Turn left before the stairs and follow the corridor and through a double set of doors.
The following meetings are held at this venue
Monday 18:00 an Open Meeting on the 3rd week of the month
Tuesday 1315 all meetings are open meetings.
Tuesday 1800 Discussion Meeting. All meetings are open.
Thursday 1800 meetings are open by request.
Histories of some of the Groups that meet at St Michaels at Northgate
History of the Monday Meeting
Monday (6:00 pm)
Wesley Memorial Church, New Inn Hall Street, Oxford
Formed in the mid-1960s.
‘Oxford Monday’ was the very first group in Oxford, started in the mid-sixties by Bill of Bampton, Irish Paddy, Ben, among others. The meeting was held at the Methodist Centre in New Inn Hall Street.
In the early seventies, the Group moved to the Cherwell Centre, Norham Gardens, North Oxford. This was an extremely comfortable venue run by Nuns, who in the earlier years always prepared the tea and coffee for the Group! It flourished and stayed at Norham Gardens until the end of 1996 when the Nuns required the room for other purposes. During much of this period the meeting room also provided the venue for SMIG’s quarterly meetings. In addition, every summer the gardens of the Cherwell Centre became the lively scene for SMIG’s annual Mini-Convention, a large marquee occupying part of the gardens. The setting and refreshments – and no doubt the speakers! – drew a good attendance from far and wide.
From the Cherwell Centre the Group moved to the Quakers’ Meeting House in St Giles, where it stayed for only one year. This was not very suitable for many reasons, so early in 1998 the poor Group moved yet again: this time to be comfortably re-settled in the Methodist Centre where it began over thirty years earlier!
Ann W. (March 1999)
Since the Wesley Memorial Hall is closed on Bank Holidays, we have on these days met in the elegant surroundings of Ma Belle restaurant at the invitation of one of our group members.
David C (May 2001)
Monday meeting moved to St Michael’s at Northgate on 3rd July 2017. Before that it was held at the Oxford New Road Baptist Church, where the Wednesday meeting is currently held. The time of the meeting was also reduced on that day from 1:30 to 1 hour.
Ksenija (July, 2017)
Oxford Tuesday lunch (12.30 pm)
Was originally at St Giles Church Parish Rooms, 10 Woodstock Road then moved to St Michaels шт September 2015
Formed September 17, 1985
The group was started by Pete (the Guitar) and Big Mike F. (deceased), without reference to Intergroup, as it was felt there was a need for more lunchtime meetings. It was originally a Slogans meeting, based on an idea by Father Leonard (USA).
The Group copy of the Big Book was subscribed to by the founder members and is inscribed thus: “Donated by the members for the members” It was signed by all who were present at the inaugural meeting: Michael F, Pete H, Andy S, John A, Celia C, Maureen G, Andy P, Julia G, Kevin B, Mary, Audrey, John A.
Today it is a straight ‘Share’ meeting, all of which are Open.
Sheila B. (January 1998); Peter H
The Tuesday Lunch Meeting had 30 years at St Giles and was a popular venue despite the noise of the traffic on the Woodstock Road which meant raised voices at times — for all the right reasons.
We were given plenty of notice in late spring of 2015 that the rooms would be required for other purposes towards the end of the year.
Several venues were looked at, and St Michaels offered the best alternative. It has central location, very good cost for room hire and facilities to cater for 30+ people. The only other change was meeting times. Another group use the room until 12.45 which meant we had to alter our times to suit. Hence the 1.15 start. We are well settled to the room and continue to carry the message.
Peter K. (April 2017)
OXFORD THURSDAY AT THE NORTHGATE
Thursday (6 pm to 7 pm, all open)
Cornmarket Street, Oxford, OX1 3EY
Formed June 2007
The first meeting took place on 24 June 2007. There were three founding members: Dave the Builder, Chris the Scientist and Jocelyn.
We started the meeting in a convenient central location at a time which would suit members on their way home from work. The vicar of St Michael’s was most generous in providing us with a venue at a very low cost. We chose to have meetings with a reading from ” Alcoholics Anonymous”, “Living Sober”, “How Bill Sees it”, or “Came to believe it” because although Oxford had a Step Meeting and a Big Book Meeting there were no “topic” based meetings in Oxford. The selected literature is rotated through the month. The secretary asks a member to choose a short reading and may share back on this and then the meeting is open for sharing. We all learn a lot about the programme in this way. Owing to its location, time and duration the meeting is attended by a lot of newcomers from the Alcohol Recovery Programme, visitors and students from the university. The format gives rise to extremely honest sharing and the experience of old timers is a real benefit to all of us. We operate a chip system. Initially this was financed by a donation from anonymous members. Later the meeting had to find a way of paying for the chips within the traditions. We now periodically pass round a separate bag to collect funds to replenish the chips. On the question of finance and traditions we encountered another question. It was proposed that we made a donation to the church to express our gratitude but as we could not finance an outside enterprise decided to increase our rent to show our gratitude. The meeting has gone from strength to strength in terms of numbers, and there are often meetings after the meeting at local coffee shops, real evidence of strong love and fellowship.
Oxford Saturday Night
Was originally at St Margaret’s Institute on Polstead Road, then moved to St Giles Church Parish Rooms, Woodstock Road and then moved to St Michaels at Northgate
Formed September 1989
When I first came to AA I was a young 20-year-old, having found the Fellowship in an Alcoholic Unit. By this time I had lost a girl friend whom I loved so much, then a job which I had had for three years.
So, when I came to AA, though I found the members so kind and caring, and though I did identify with some of them, always at the back of my mind was the thought that “it was all right for them lot”, who were so much older than me, and had had years of good drinking. The only person near my age was Annette, who was thirty years old, and she was very glad to welcome me as a younger member. We got on very well. I found it hard, though, to identify with married couples’ sobriety, as I really thought at the time: how do you meet a girl without a drink? how do you chat one up? what do I do at the weekends? how do I have sex without a drink? where do I meet a girl if it’s not in a nightclub or pub? when do you go out with your mates and converse with them without a drink? These were major worries for me, and, not to justify my drinking again (which I know was because I hadn’t accepted 100% I was an alcoholic) they didn’t help my sobriety.
Hence another trip to the Alcoholic Unit, worse than ever.
I eventually got sober on 14 March 1988, at the age of 25, which at that time in AA seemed very young.
I had got back with a girl friend who I first met in 1984, and she was pregnant. By this time Annette was a good couple of years sober. Then Jeremy came in, and he was young. Talking to Jeremy and Andy S (both Tuesday Lunch), I realised that they were discussing how AA could attract more younger people, as we knew by then that there were a lot of younger people in trouble with alcohol. By this time we were also getting quite a few young people visiting from the USA in the summer when they were on vacation, and I think they found it strange that there were so few young people around.
So Andy and Jeremy got in touch with St Margaret’s Institute and along with myself started a ‘Young AA’ Meeting in September 1989. The idea was to try to attract young people to share about their particular worries as young alcoholics, to talk about how we dealt with chatting up a girl/boy, having sex, going to parties, Christmas, etc.
The meeting started at 8 pm, was a Smoking Meeting, and had a chair who selected a passage from the Big Book on which to base a discussion. All Meetings were Closed (to give the new young members a feeling of protection). I was the first Secretary. The Meeting took a while to attract young people, but as word got around, we found a few started to come. We often went out for a cup of tea after the Meeting, which I felt was a help to me, and hopefully to them. Not just young people, but older and wiser members attended, who gave us young’uns a lot of support. I am not, of course, saying that every young member stayed sober, but the great thing was that the seed was sown, and the presence of a young meeting was established; and, as Secretary, the sight of a young member coming in and following the Programme was very beneficial.
Unfortunately I had to start to work on a Saturday night and attended it less. But after five years, in 1994, we had a party to celebrate, and I had the privilege to be there with Jeremy and Andy, all of us still sober.
After about seven years the Group Conscience decided to delete the word ‘Young’ from the Meeting. By this time there were far more younger people coming in (at 33, I felt old!) and it was felt they could fit in to all Meetings more easily. However, the Meeting to this day still has a good Young attendance, where members can share the problems of being young in Sobriety.
To end with: I started writing this by saying how resentful I was about being so comparatively young when I came into AA. But today I can honestly say I am so grateful I found AA and got sober at the age of 25, as it has saved my life, and given me more than I could dream of, especially seeing my daughter Samantha grow up without seeing me drunk. So I urge any member, especially at a young age, to come along and enjoy the great benefits of being sober.
Simon (February 1999)