(Reprinted from Box 459, Spring 2016, Vol. 62, No. 1)
Annual General Service Conference:
Once more it is time for A.A.’s annual General Service Conference, which will take place April 17-23, 2016, in New York City. The theme of the 66th Conference is “Our Spiritual Way of Life: Steps, Traditions and Concepts,” underscoring the importance of A.A.’s Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service.
Consisting of delegates from the 93 service areas of the United States and Canada, along with trustees, directors and General Service Office, Grapevine and La Viña staff members, the purpose of the Conference is to deliberate on matters affecting the Fellowship as a whole.
For months, preparations have been underway throughout the Fellowship for the annual gathering — from the election of new delegates, to the deliberation of groups, districts and areas on matters of interest, to the
distribution of information on agenda items throughout the service structure, the Conference process has been picking up steam throughout the year.
Actively in session for a single week. At 7:30 a.m. there is a meeting of the GSC Serenity Group, an open A.A.
meeting for those who wish to attend. As the week progresses, there are presentation/discussion sessions, brief area highlights given by new delegates, financial and board reports from trustees and directors and elections for incoming regional trustees.
Beyond the meetings and reports, the essential work of the Conference is done through thirteen delegate committees, that meet early in the week to discuss a series of topics that have been submitted for each committee. After discussion, each committee prepares a report that is presented to the Conference as a whole later in the week, with any specific recommendations the committee may have. After full discussion
and vote by the entire Conference, any item receiving a two-thirds majority becomes a Conference Advisory Action.
Since the very first Conference in 1951, open debate has been a hallmark of the Conference process and the 2016 General Service Conference will be no exception. Like each of the Conferences before it, the 66th and its 131 or so Conference members will be guided by the principles handed down to each new generation of A.A.s as an inheritance from the founders and early members: the Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service.