New Meeting Standards - July 2011
July 11, 2011
Letter from the FA WSI Chair
Dear FA Fellows:
As many of you know, the 10th annual FA World Service Business Convention (WSBC) was held early last month. Last week we asked all WSI contacts to read a letter from the World Service Board that summarized the highlights, motions, and financial overview of the convention. As promised in that letter, this additional letter contains detailed information on two motions that impact meetings directly.
The eight motions presented at the WSBC were passed by the conference, all with substantial unanimity. While all eight motions resulted in significant change, there were two in particular, Motions 4 and 5, whose outcome affects FA as a whole, the newcomer, and FA meetings directly, and which now requires action on the part of your meeting.
With the passage of Motions 4 and 5, the conference voted to have standards for all FA meetings. These motions were passed in response to the conference’s concern that some FA meetings are evolving away from what the conference knows to work.
This is a great accomplishment for FA as a whole. This is FA being true to itself-- allowing us to be honest about what defines an FA meeting. FA was conceived so that its members could freely practice a program that in their experience worked. The intent is this: No matter where in the world one finds an FA meeting, one can readily recognize and find FA recovery in that room.
The list of standards is seen below. All new meetings going forward will be required to agree to these standards upon registration. Regarding all current meetings, please take a few moments to review this list together at your business meeting and ask yourselves, “Does our meeting adhere to each of these standards?” If the answer is yes, then keep doing what you are doing! If the answer is no, then please take the time to rework your meetings accordingly.
To date, in order to register as an FA meeting, all meeting groups have agreed to:
- welcome all who have a desire to stop eating addictively
- adhere to the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
- sell or distribute only conference-approved material and literature
- elect a WSI, Web & Directory, and Intergroup contact
- elect one WSC member (if the meeting chooses to) and
- use a meeting format that includes:
- the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
- the definitions of food addiction and abstinence,
- at least ninety days of continuous abstinence in order to share,
- and at least ninety days of continuous abstinence in order to have a voice and a vote at business meetings
With the passage of Motions 4 and 5, the following additional requirements have been added in order to register as an FA meeting:
- a meeting shall meet for 90 minutes, in person, in a public facility and set up chairs in rows, facing the speaker. (Note: “Phone Meetings” are not FA meetings, as they are not, by definition, “in person.”)
- no food plans may be distributed as an approved meeting document (although sponsors can of course share a food plan with sponsees as a component of the complete FA program of recovery)
- only approved literature and material may be read at an FA meeting
- a meeting must elect a chapter contact, for meetings registered with a chapter
- the meeting’s WSC member (if one is elected) must regularly attend that meeting
- the format must also include: the FA preamble, How it Works, the Promises, the announcement of the 7th tradition, the FA Tools of Recovery, announcements welcoming the newcomer and identifying available sponsors, and a break approximately midway through for greeting newcomers. All portions must be identical (unaltered) to those found in the Sample Meeting Format of the Meeting Guidelines.
The vast majority of FA meetings will not need to make any changes to continue to be registered as an FA meeting, but some will. In Motion 4, the conference charged the World Service Board with the task of defining procedures for how to address meetings that choose not to adhere to these standards. These procedures will be presented as a motion for the 2012 WSBC.
In the meantime, we hope that all meetings will take it upon themselves to become individually accountable and put these practices into place. If you see groups in your area that are not adhering to these standards, we encourage you to have conversations with your fellow FA members. The conference, i.e. the voting body of FA, is now very clear about what an FA meeting is and what is required for a meeting to call itself FA.
Thank you so much for your attention to this matter. Again, please take a few minutes now to confirm that your meeting adheres to these conference-adopted standards.
Many, many thanks again to all for your support at the convention and for your ongoing willingness to serve.
Yours in service, Elissa P., WSI Chair