I am writing this article as I await the 71st General Service Conference beginning this Saturday, April 17th. The excitement and anticipation of the coming week is palpable in my household. I am so honored that you elected me to be your delegate at the conference and filled with gratitude to be able to serve in this way. I am ready.
I have been reading the background for each and every agenda item and concentrating this week on my Public Information Committee assignment. There are seven items in the background and all of them apply to the public and their awareness of what AA is and isn’t. I look forward to my committee meetings, the Delegate’s Caucus where we will elect the Pacific Regions candidate for Trustee At Large and all of the presentations I will be listening to. The Areas participation in the Panel 71 survey and the attentiveness to our two-day Pre Conference has been incredible. I receive emails every day from General Service Representatives and Committee Chairs from Area 05 asking questions about agenda items and I am always amazed at the level of commitment you all have. There have been over 300 (probably more by this reading) responses to the survey already and the feedback I received at the Pre Conference was outstanding. Great job Area 05!
I have been able to connect with conference members, committee members, GSO staff, and trustees via Zoom this year and from what I hear from our Past Delegates, this is an amazing way to prepare and one that they were not able to experience previous. I have been prepped by the conference on how to vote, how to ask for a point of order or point of information, and how floor actions will be handled on Zoom.
Last year’s Panel 70 conference was just four days and one month into the pandemic lockdown with so much up in the air and so little known about how to connect virtually. It was a difficult time. As you all know many items were forwarded to this year’s conference because of the time crunch and panel 71 will be picking up those agenda items and more this year. I have been assured by the Conference Coordinator Patrick C. and several Trustees that we will have enough time for every presentation, every discussion, and every minority opinion this year. I certainly wish I could be with the conference members in person but Zoom will have to do. I am very comfortable with the trial run we had recently and that we will all be heard and all voices considered.
As we step closer and closer to being in person ourselves, we must still be cautious and aware of all mandates by L.A. County and the State of California to assure our safety. We are not through this yet and I hope you are all hanging in there, being safe and still participating in your meetings virtually. I know we will all be together again eventually and I look forward to that day. The day when I can walk around among you all and have those little chats in the back of the room, share a lunch table with you and shake a hand or receive a hug. We all miss the contact with each other and living through this time in our history will lend itself to some amazing stories. I also want to give my sincere condolences to all of the families who have lost someone due to the Covid-19 virus. It also visited our family. I hope we can all carry on without those loved ones and keep them in our hearts forever.
I had an interesting conversation with a member yesterday who was concerned that meetings in our area are not practicing the Seventh Tradition. Some reasons are technical and some are just that some members feel there is no responsibility to contribute since there is no rent to pay and no coffee to make. The technical reasons may be that some members are not comfortable with virtual money exchanges and the security issues that may arise and that is very real, but the second half of the sentence above is what concerns me the most. Thankfully I know that our General Service Rep’s and other Area Committee members understand the importance of the 7th tradition and what its purpose is. From the Green Card on SELF SUPPORT:
‘The Seventh Tradition states that Alcoholics Anonymous is self-supporting through our own contributions. The contributions help to cover the group’s expenses. But the Seventh Tradition is more than simply paying for rent and other group expenses. It is both a privilege and a responsibility of individual groups and members to ensure that our organization, at every level, remains forever self-supporting and free of outside influences that might divert us from our primary purpose. The monetary amount of each contribution is secondary to the spiritual connection that joins us in unity with A.A. groups around the world.’
This is so important. I urge you all to remember this when you are meeting virtually and continue to celebrate the Seventh Tradition at each and every meeting and continue to let your group know its spiritual significance. I look forward to being with you on May 16th to share my experience at the conference, all of the pertinent information I receive and all of the actions of the 71st General Service Conference. Until then, be safe and responsible!
Lauren A. – Delegate
Area 05 Southern California