It’s hard to believe but we are almost halfway home here at the 67th General Service Conference. Today was actually sort of a light day today, at least that’s how it felt.
Once again I headed out for morning coffee on my bicycle. And once again it became an opportunity to bond with another delegate. This time it turned out to be my “conference buddy,” Andrew from Area 45, the Southern New Jersey area. If I’m not mistaken this is at least the second time we’ve (Area 17) had been paired with with a delegate from Area 45. Linda McD, our Panel 59 Delegate, was also paired with that same Area. He’s a great guy and a dedicated servant. Because of the great advice I received from our past delegates I haven’t had to ask him much, but we’ve definitely become friends and I’m sure we’ll be in touch long after this panel is over.
After coffee it was time to go back to work on the last few agenda items my committee, Policy and Admissions, had to complete before we could say pau. I’m grateful and quite happy to report that we finished our work about 15 minutes before the scheduled ending of our work period. At least one committee didn’t finish and had to go back to work this evening after dinner. I got to go back to my room and start writing this…and get to bed early for a change.
The process of committee work is extra tough on the staff today. They take the work we’ve done already and write it up in the form of a report. They also double check each other’s work to make sure that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed. Basically they want to be sure the item is what the committee actually wanted to say and that there isn’t anything cinontradictory or that would hinder understanding. They do great work, as I’ve said, and this is their “hump day.”
Once we finished our work it was time for lunch. Folks are starting to tire a bit, me too, and as soon as I’d finished I dug out for a rest in my room. I had a great chat at lunch with David Morris, our super non-alcoholic Finance Wizard and the East Central Region trustee, Bill F. David comes out to Hawaii often and we agreed I’d send him our 2018 assembly and committee meeting dates in case he’s out here at the same time. Our past delegates have always done a great job presenting financial information, but David is the master.
After lunch there were more area highlights, mine being done I could relax. After that was a general sharing session. Much like a what’s on your mind back home, here you talk about whatever you like, except agenda items as they are still off limits until they come to the floor. Most folks use the time to ask questions of either the GSO management or the Board, and they expect answers.
I asked the simple question you’d asked me at the ITD Assembly. You may recall asking me when newly passed recommendations go into effect? Is it after they are passed or when the AA Service Manual is next published?
It’s a great question and I didn’t have the answer at the assembly. But I did text Joel C. and ask him. He said he thought it was right after the Conference but we should check at the Conference. i
So I did and Joel was correct, it is after the Conference. The Service Manual isn’t the official legal expression of our will, it’s simply a presentation (more or less). I’m not saying that quite right, but I’ll get the wording right before I get home. The important part is that things go into effect at the end of the conference, not after the next printing.
Moving one we then headed for a workshop sessions. The conference participants were divided up, just as we do at home in our assemblies, We had four questions about Anonymity and I’ll put them here so you can ask yourself the same questions. Rather than let you know what we said, why not tell me what you think?
Participants are invited to share on the workshop topic selected by the 2015 Conference, “Anonymity – The Spiritual Foundation.” The following questions are intended to facilitate a full and fruitful sharing session:
- What are some of the ways groups/districts in your area foster awareness of our principle of anonymity?
- How has misinformation about personal anonymity among A.A. members been an obstacle in Public Information and Cooperation with the Professional Community service?
- What is the experience of members in your area regarding social media with regard to A.A.’s Anonymity Traditions?
- How well do we practice a “genuine humility”? As members? As a Fellowship?
Honest, let me know!
After the sharing session we broke for our delegate’s only dinner. Dinner was fun and I may or may not have worn a lava-lava, don’t believe everything you hear. I’m not sure if it was planned, but we sat with our region tonight and it was fun catching up on what we’ve been doing since our lunch a couple of days ago. It seems like forever, even though things seem to have been moving so fast. We can’t, of course, discuss our agenda items, but did share how well things are going.
I’m told that so far this year the mood of the Conference is very, very good and very collegial. There may have been Conferences in the past that had more tension, but ours has been warn and friendly, helpful and unifying. That may change tomorrow when we start discussing committee recommendations on the floor, but at least tonight we were one.
Our last bit of business was to pull our next delegate chair of the Conference from the hat. Actually each region pulled one of their own delegates from the hat and then then those names were put back into the hat to choose next year’s delegate chair and alt. The closest I came to being pulled was that they used my hat. I’m not at all sorry I wan’t chosen. I’ve got a job next year, co-chair of the remote communities meeting, which, though it isn’t part of the conference is definitely service and will give me plenty to work on over the course of the coming year. Given that Hawaii is, as we always say, a remote community made up of of remote communities, I think it’s appropriate. My co-chair is a dear friend whom I’ve served with for several panels and we plan on doing our jobs to the best of our ability while having as much fun doing it as possible!
And that was it for the day! I’m ready for bed about an hour earlier than last night and I want you to know I’m super grateful for that. I’m having a wonderful, spiritual time, but our days are long, the work requires attention, patience, and our complete focus…getting rest isn’t just a good idea, it’s the only way to do our job properly.
So again, thank you so much for allowing me to serve. I’m humbled just thinking about what we are doing here and that I, and all of you, get to play our part.
A hui hou kou malama pono.
Yours in love, service, and gratitude,
Hawaii Area 17
Panel 67 Delegate