The Churchtown Group is believed to be the oldest continuing active A.A. Group in Area 45, Southern New Jersey. Oldtimers we have talked to date this group as starting sometime in 1946. Churchtown, which is located in the township of Pennsville, New Jersey, just south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, most likely received its name due to the number of houses of worship in the vicinity.
Early A.A. members would travel to Wilmington, Delaware, just across the Delaware River from Pennsville, to see and learn how A.A. worked. The group in Delaware was known as the Wilmington Group and, at the time, members held their meetings on Friday evenings at a Jewish Synagogue at 18th and Washington Streets in Wilmington. Current members of the Wilmington Group now meet on Friday nights at 9th and West Streets in Wilmington and at the time of this writing, the group is 56 years young!
The Jersey A.A.’s were Bill D., Jim A., Lew P., and Jim H. At the time, A.A. was in its infancy in this area of South Jersey and information about the particulars of how meetings operated is sketchy at best.
The first meetings were held in the Democrat Club, just a few blocks from where the present-day meetings are held. One thing of note about the meetings at the Democrat Club was that they had a fully-stocked bar. What a place to have an A.A. meeting! In spite of conditions, the Churchtown Group did survive and it has made a difference in the lives of countless people over the past 54 years. Today, group members continue to hold meetings on Monday nights at the St. George Episcopal Church, Parish Hall in Pennsville.
Paul P., Archivist, Area 45