The Lord’s Prayer
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]any years ago, I had an experience at the meeting I attended at the time. The story is so rich with examples of how the program works, that I thought I would share it.
I was a regular attendee at an Al-Anon meeting, which was a well-attended, healthy group. At the end of the meeting, we always closed with the Lord’s Prayer. Two of the members brought up their feelings about being uncomfortable with the prayer, saying that it felt Christian-based, and both felt that they didn’t get ‘closure’ at the end of the meeting since they both opted not to participate in the prayer.
A request to change the closing to something more non-secular was made. The members decided to do a group conscious a few weeks later, allowing time to inform all members of the upcoming discussion and vote.
In all my years in Al-Anon, I have never seen a reaction to a group conscious like the one in this experience. As it turned out, members were very passionate about changing the closing prayer. A few could not make the group conscious meeting, but they still wanted to have a voice. So they wrote letters and requested that they be read at the meeting.
The group conscious meeting finally came. The room was packed with standing room only. The meeting started with a short reading from Tradition Two, reminding everyone that there are no authorities, only a loving God as he may express Himself in our group conscious. This helped to set the tone for the meeting.
In lieu of a regular meeting, we decided to go around the room and give everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts on the subject. This provided the ground for Concept Five, giving the minority voice an option to be heard. (Note that if a newcomer showed up, a plan was in place to provide a first step meeting, outside of our group conscious.) Everyone shared and provided their opinion—most members were in favor of keeping the Lord’s Prayer.
The last person to speak was a relative new member–it was her third meeting. After listening to all the comments in the room, she made a suggestion that appealed to the entire group. She suggested that we close with the Lord’s Prayer, followed by the Serenity Prayer. That solution was unanimously voted for.
That happened over twenty years ago and I have since moved away from that meeting. I recently went for a visit. The power of the group conscious and a newcomer’s suggestion is still active today. After the meeting, we closed the meeting with both prayers.
Tradition Four gave the group the autonomy to make a decision. Tradition Two laid the foundation for God’s healing grace to be present. Concept Four allowed participation from everyone attending the group conscience, and Warranty Five allowed everyone to be equal in voice and vote, including the newcomer. Do you recognize any other principles from our legacies in this experience?
With love in service,
Illinois North, Panel 55