The History of the North Hall Group of Alcoholics Anonymous (Sacramento, CA)
North Hall was started in January 1974 and became the first official CCFAA/Sacramento gay fellowship. The Group’s start was preceded by unofficial AA gatherings held in two people's apartments. During this time, their phone lines were cut and lives threatened. One of the founders, Kel L., held the first gay AA meeting in her apartment on 34th St. Kel had to have throat cancer surgery and the meeting was moved to Joy’s apartment. The founders were Kel L., Joy, Bob, Donna, Mike S., Jerry, Teddy, Maxine and Patty B.
The founders applied to CCFAA (The Central California Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous) to be a new group in the schedule and to have “gay” listed next to its meeting days and times. The gay designation provoked a big controversy. It was the 70’s. Finally, a year later, North Hall was allowed on the meeting schedule. CCFAA managers Ruth G. and Tiesup were instrumental in their support.
The gay group got its name “North Hall” when it rented the third floor north hall of the Metropolitan Community Church at 34th and Broadway. Freda, the MCC pastor, was very supportive. North Hall began with one meeting a week and four chairs in the church kitchen. By June of 1980, the CCFAA schedule showed North Hall had meetings three days a week and which included a closed 8:00 pm meeting on Monday, an open 8:00 pm meeting on Friday, and a women's meeting 6:00 pm on Wednesday.
Soon thereafter, North Hall became the first gay group to chair a Monthly Speaker Meeting for Group 3. It was held in the Cathedral’s basement / 8th & J Streets. Rose from the Turquoise Lodge also supported the new group by having them host a monthly speaker meeting there. North Hall started an annual (River City Round-up) gay conference in Sacramento in 1988. North Hall has always strived to be a part of the larger Sacramento AA community. Several other "straight" members of the community who helped get the Group started included Joe M., Connie, Del L., Jack P. and Patty K., Chair of the Group 3 Cathedral Sacramento Monthly Speaker Meeting at the time. North Hall was invited to chair an alcathon meeting by Group 3 when it was on 12th Street. Bob chaired. North Hall has from the start and continues to be a strong supporter of CCFAA - partially in recognition of the support the group received during its founding and now in the spirit of unity.
The group has had several meeting sites. It also started its men's meeting at the Sierra II School on 24th Street in Curtis Park in the 1980s and later folded it into the regular meeting hall schedule on Sunday nights where it remains to this day. In the spring of 1994, an arson burned MCC church to the ground. A neighborhood church took the group in and the eleven meetings the group had at the time continued without interruption. A few months later, the group was able to rent office space on J Street. A few years later they moved to office space on Riverside Drive. The J St site was to be redeveloped. Then in 2002, North Hall moved to 2nd Ave in Oak Park, just 2 blocks from where it originally started in the MCC church. Seven years later, in 2009, North Hall moved across the street to its current location at 3501 2nd Ave. and now supports 21 meetings every week.
Since the group began in 1974, North Hall has grown into a very large fellowship of both gay and straight members. In its years of providing a safe and supportive environment of recovery for the LGBTQ and straight community alike, North Hall has never closed its doors.
Scribes: Pat D., Tom J, December 2017.
Based on notes from Kel L., July 13, 1986.