From the August 2009 magazine.

59th General Service Conference meets

Members meet to chart the course of AA over the next year

In 1951 the first panel of elected delegates thundered into New York to inspect the operation and hear reports of the work going on at "Headquarters." They went over the books and thoroughly examined every aspect of the office. They questioned the trustees and the staff, and probably would have cross-examined the dog if there had been one lying about the place. Despite the objections of those who worried that such a gathering would result in "politics, confusion, expense and fruitless strife," the annual meetings continued and, at the International Convention in 1955, the General Service Conference was designated as "the actual voice and the effective conscience of our whole society." Our founders had faith that future generations of AA members could accept the responsibility of maintaining our vital world services.

In that spirit, members of the 59th General Service Conference assembled in New York City from April 26 to May 2, 2009. Sequestered in the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Broadway, 93 delegates, 18 trustees (12 alcoholic, six nonalcoholic), three AA World Service directors and two Grapevine directors, along with 15 General Service Office and Grapevine staff members, came together with the task of charting the course for Alcoholics Anonymous through the months ahead.

-- D.B.

Consort, Alberta

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