Highlights of Regional Assembly

Varna, Bulgaria – June 8 & 9, 2019   

CER’s June Regional Assembly was held in Varna on the Black Sea, which, as far as I know, is our easternmost assembly ever. Here, we were again invited to participate in an event organized by the local fellowship in order to share our experience with the relatively young Bulgarian fellowship, as it attempts to organize a national service structure. The questions put to us were practical. Some could be answered with facts; others required the experience of our many collective years with the ageless challenges and rewards of service. For the local fellowship this was useful and reasuring. For myself and the CER participants with whom I spoke it was an intensely moving experience.

Our June assembly is always the first to follow Conference. Our delegates returned, as they always do, to report on the spirituality of their experience as they worked with delegates of the other regions to formulate responses to questions submitted from all over our service structure. Some questions were relatively simple, such as minor amendments to the language of the AAGB structure handbook. Others brought our fellows into the very heart of the service legacy. For example, “Would the Fellowship… share experience on how our Twelve Concepts for Service are currently being practiced at the group, intergroup and region levels.” The full report is mailed to all registered CER officers, intergroups and groups. For those of you who are not registered, you can find it here.

Another question to which we devoted a consideratble amount of time was: “Would the Fellowship share experience and make recommendations on how individual groups could include within their groups conscience a strategy to deal with safegaurding issues, should they arise.” Within this question, of course, we find a euphemistic approach to a long-standing problem, the so-called “thirteenth step”, practiced by unscrupulous members who make our rooms unsafe by preying upon insecure newcomers. This is something that needs to be named clearly so that we can deal with it when it arises, as it so often and unfortunately has.

The formula that is used again and again in conference questions, “Would the Fellowship share experience…” goes straight to the heart of what we do. Conference is a place where the fellowship as a whole meets through its elected members to gather and share experience. It is, in no sense, a governing body. It is, at its best, a pure manifestation of the spirit of our program. And always it looks to the regions, intergroups and groups, indeed the individual members both for the questions and for the responses.

We were pleased to elect two new delegates, both long time presences at CER regional assemblies. Andre M., of the Netherlands, former alternate delegate, and Tom H, of Triborders. Congratulations to them. We are lucky to have their experience and wisdom to represent us.

Another June highlight was our annual inventory, led by our Chair, Patrick L and by Iliana T. of the Bulgarian fellowship. In this we were guided, as usual, by the aims of CER, which we find prointed at the bottom of each assembly agenda, and, for the first time in my experience, by close attention to Concept 12. A report on this will accompany the draft minutes when they are distributed.

 The basic inventory question is this: Are we doing things right? (Notes gathered by our chair reflect the breadth of the discussion.)

     * We can disagree without being disagreeable.
     * We should not react in anger but rather respond after giving topics suitable consideration.
     * I need to take responsibility for my service contribution.
     * Progress, not perfection.
     * Clarification of roles required based on: traditions & concepts, Structure and Service Handbooks and ‘CER – How it Works.’
     * ‘The good is the enemy of the best’ AND ‘The ideal can be the enemy of the good.’
     * We can be more efficient in the use of our assembly time. Chair needs to be more active in this respect.
     * It is better to say something, risking being wrong, than say nothing at all. Healthy discourse even when conflicts arise, leads to healthy progress. We (collectively) are as sick as our secrets.
     * We need a better understanding and execution of delegation.

Our next assembly will take place online. Skype links will follow in due time. All are invited to attend. In the meantime, we ask all regional officers, representatives, delegates and group members to submit their concerns, issues and suggestions for the assembly through the secretary’s address.

Let me also remind everyone that all our documents, fliers and correspondence have historical value. Our archivist, Peter S, asks that, before you purge your files of AA related materials, you consider sending them to him. archives.cer@nullaamail.org

Yours in service,
Stephen T, Secretary

Action List June 2019