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Quarterly Report, July-Sept 2007

Dear FA Members:

There is much news to report from the World Service Board. We trust that you have been made aware of our move to a new office.* We needed more room, far better parking, and a more accessible location. We are very happy with the new space and are confident that our move will enable us to serve you more effectively. 

Since the convention, the board has also changed. At the end of the summer, Cindi (office chair), Deirdre (treasurer), and Joanna (secretary) each informed me separately that because of unanticipated changes in their life circumstances, they could no longer continue to serve. The board received their resignations with regret, offering many thanks for the work that they have done.

In accordance with our bylaws, the board has appointed replacements to serve until our convention in June, when we will request conference action to formally fill the positions. I am very grateful to the four members of FA who have agreed to serve, all of whom draw upon skills and wisdom gained from relevant service in FA. All four also have professional work experience that has been very helpful to the board, and we have already benefited greatly from their work as members of the board. 

  • Joan M. (Santa Clara, CA), Treasurer. Joan graciously agreed to become WSB treasurer, moving from her previous position as Traditions chair. She has experience as the former treasurer of Western Area Intergroup.
  • Sue G. (TN), Traditions Chair: Sue joined the Traditions Committee as a member this year, but she served as an ex-officio member of the committee during her two-year term as WSI bylaws chair.
  • Margaret C. (NY), Secretary: Margaret has previous experience on the World Service Board as literature chair.
  • Adrienne C. (MA) Office Chair: Adrienne has served as Convention Committee chair and has played a lead role in the planning of numerous World Service conventions.

Because of the increasing expense of postage and our awareness of the need to maximize the sustainability of our practices, the WSB has begun to shift our communications toward email. We now request your help as we begin to make this a full transition. Within the next month, we expect to post the WSI annual report at www.fadocs.org.  We will mail a notice to all WSI contacts, informing them that the report has been posted, and we will email the report to those for whom we have email addresses. All WSI contacts will be asked to print the report and make it available at their meetings. If you are a WSI contact and have not given us an email address, please use the meeting change form to inform us of one. The form is available at www.fadocs.org under the World Service, Inc. section. We will continue to use postal mail until we make a full transition, assuming that WSI contacts have email accounts or can gain access to them (if necessary, by pairing with someone else in the meeting who can receive and print materials).

Our thanks to the Convention Committee and the many others who helped plan the San Diego convention. It was a huge success (over 700 attendees) and a wonderful time of fellowship and strength. 

For the World Service Board, in service,

Kesaya N., WSI Chair

*New Office: World Service, Inc., 400 West Cummings Park, Suite 1700, Woburn, MA 01801     

Bylaws Revision Committee Report (Debbi N.)

  • Completed the application process for selecting Bylaws Revision Committee (BRC) members. The following members were appointed by the Bylaws Chair and approved by the World Service Board: Anne D. (MA), Eric S. (MA), Fran M. (MA), Galit Z. (MA), John H. (CA), and John S. (TX). 
  • BRC met for the first time September 16th and will continue to meet twice a month.
  • Established a timeline and process for review of the governing documents and began revising the Bylaws.

Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee Report (George M.)  

  • An ad hoc committee led by Courtney G. of Natick developed a uniform process and procedure to be used by all intergroups and the WSI Board for requests for financial aid by delegates attending the business convention. The proposal has been sent to the World Service Board for approval.
  • Planning has begun for the Business Convention Chapter and Intergroup Forum.
  • Summer and fall issues of the Best Practices Newsflash were emailed, the first dealing with meeting secretarial duties, and the latter dealing with ongoing PI issues.
  • The Committee has been devoting more of its time to supporting and dialoguing prechapter issues throughout the world with new members who have joined the Committee.

Convention Planning Committee (Ann H.)

  • Over 700 FA members from 31 states and five countries attended the first Fellowship Convention in San Diego from October 5 to October 7. During the course of the weekend, members attended 22 meetings and convention sessions, listened to eight speakers making qualification recordings, ate six meals together, and danced until they dropped. The weekend opened and closed with the largest FA meetings to date, with over 500 attendees sharing their experience, strength and hope simply and effectively. A debt of gratitude goes to the organizing committee for putting together a terrific program.
  • The dates for the next annual business convention have been set. We are awaiting a signed contract, but all indication is that the convention will take place at the Sheraton Ferncroft Danvers Resort from Friday, May 30 to Sunday, June 1, 2008. Details will be forthcoming.

Literature Committee (Anne B.)

  • FA Book Story Editing Review Sub-Committee continued reviewing edits to the stories and suggesting re-edits to be incorporated into the final stories by the professional hired editor. The sub-committee accomplished this via email and through a once weekly onehour conference call.
  • “Hired” FA volunteer to proofread reviewed versions of stories to prepare them for final editing by our professional editor. Began process of sending stories and proofreading them.
  • Sent several stories to professional editor for final editing. Received the final edited versions from the editor and stored them in our archive for the next step in story processing.
  • Investigated FA’s obligations regarding obtaining approval from authors for use of their edited stories in the book. Inquired of AA regarding their process and discussed the matter with World Service Board.

Magazine Committee (Jacquie P.)

  • Increased contributor list to 155 - 10% increase
  • Increased meeting subscription rate by 2% - now 18% of all meetings subscribe to magazine
  • New Art Team leader has an active group of FA member artists and photographers  Drafted Connection Rep brochure You’re a Connection Rep - Now What?  
  • Revamped subscription forms to include meeting subscription option
  • New website magazine pages drafted and given to web consultant

Office Committee (Adrienne C.)

  • The move to our new World Service Office location was successful. The new address is 400 West Cummings Park, Suite 1700, Woburn, MA 01801.
  • The purpose of the move was to have a larger office in order to better serve FA and its members. We are working in conjunction with the Public Information Committee to put our new address and phone number on all forms, documents, and screens on the FA website
  • The “office committee” was formerly just a chairperson. An actual committee has now been formed to support the various functions of the FA World Service Office. The committee supported the Fellowship Convention in San Diego.
  • FA office work is being done by volunteer FA members and part-time paid staff. Members can reach someone at the FA Office typically during the hours of 10 AM to 3 PM

Eastern Standard Time Mondays through Thursdays and 12 noon to 3 PM Eastern Standard Time Fridays. Members can also leave a voice message or send email to fa@foodaddicts.org. The office will respond within two workdays. 

  • The office is now getting literature orders out in a timely manner and is resolving many subscription order problems.
  • FA On-line Project: a subcommittee is working to provide online support for the FA office through enhanced website functions that will allow online ordering of subscriptions, literature, and CDs; online registration for conventions; and automatic, accurate, and timely updates to the FA website meeting directory.

Public Information Committee (Bonnie H.)

  • Three new fliers are now available on fadocs.org for the fellowship’s use. These are the only fliers that should be used and should only be placed where permission has been granted.
  • A press release was distributed in the San Diego area prior to the fellowship convention to hopefully elicit new members in that area. Consequently, Channel 7 news in San Diego contacted us, and two members attending the convention were interviewed. It was broadcast both on the evening and morning news in the San Diego area and also as far away as San Francisco. It was a very nice piece, and they respected our anonymity wonderfully.
  • A subcommittee has been formed to begin work on a new survey. The last one was done in 2005, and it will be useful for us to gather new statistics about the fellowship.
  • A subcommittee has also been established to create a Fact File. Its purpose will be to provide information about our fellowship to people needing to write something about us. This document will be helpful when requests come in from within the fellowship and also from outside the fellowship. 
  • Work is being done on a German website to help the German FA community get the word out.
  • Representatives of the San Francisco FA fellowship attended the American Psychologists Association Convention and were very pleased with their reception and the interest they generated.
  • Work is being done to update the FA website (foodaddicts.org) to make it more modern and to accommodate changes that have been needed over the years. These updates will make any meeting changes more accurate and the process of ordering literature easier.
  • Information about magazine or newspaper articles that are relevant to food addiction can be sent to mediawatch@foodaddicts.org.
  • Updates and new information are consistently being posted to fadocs.org. Please utilize this valuable tool.
  • PI@foodaddicts.org - this email address is for any questions you may have regarding Public Information issues.

Teens and Twenties Committee (Debra F.)

  • Committee Mission Statement: to bring experience, strength, and hope to people and organizations that care for children and youth who may suffer from food addiction
  • Four subcommittees have been formed: Communication with the Professional Community (CPC), Communication with the Healthcare Community (CHC), and Internal Communication and Support (ICS), and Intergroup Chairs (past and present). 
  • The CPC and CHC subcommittees are making comprehensive lists of organizations and contact people
  • The ICS subcommittee is adapting documents from the PI Kit to fit the specific needs of our committee and creating “cheat sheets” for committee members to use when taking the message of FA to teens and twenties suffering from food addiction
  • The Intergroup Chairs group shares best practices, supports intergroups, and offers services when needed

Traditions Review Committee (Sue G.)

Background Statement:

Although FA is a twelve step program based on the twelve steps and twelve traditions of AA, the Traditions Review Committee examines topics through the unique perspective of food addiction (the “FA lens”). The twelve traditions are a collection of guidelines for groups (our meetings) that are interpreted by the committee with respect to given situations. The committee also seeks to protect the spirit of the traditions. In some cases there is specific language that addresses an issue, and in some cases the committee extrapolates from the principles of the traditions to see how they apply to an issue.

From April 2007 through September 2007, the Traditions Review Committee responded to the issues outlined below.

  1. Is it a break of traditions for FA members to attend and speak at the International Doctors of AA Convention? The focus of the convention is addiction, and they welcome other 12 Step programs to participate. An FA member could speak if he or she had an M.D. or Ph.D. and 4-5 years of abstinence. In addition, FA could have a booth at the convention.

Response: The Traditions Review Committee was unanimous in their opinion that this was not a break of any traditions, with the understanding that the speakers and the members at the FA booth would follow the PI guidelines, particularly regarding having no opinion on outside issues. The committee recommends that there be more than one FA person sharing about the FA program, if possible.

  1. Does section VIII(a) of our FA bylaws break any traditions for putting a cap on the total money that a member may contribute during his or her lifetime, and/or does section VIII(c) of our FA bylaws break any traditions for allowing anonymous donations? The Bylaws also state that FA may not accept bequests or donations from outside sources.

Response: The Traditions Review Committee recommends changing the $5,000 lifetime maximum in section VIII(a) of the bylaws to a $2,000 annual maximum from a given individual in order to be more in line with tradition 7 (corporate poverty) and tradition 2 (no one member having more influence than others—one ultimate authority). The Committee believes that the traditions are upheld if the wording of VIII(c), “WSI may accept anonymous donations,” is understood to mean that FA members may make donations, but that the names of individual donors will remain anonymous to the fellowship as a whole (even though some people such as the WSI treasurer, for example, would know the names).  The committee recommends rewording VIII(c) to clarify it.

  1. Would it be a break of any traditions to show all or portions of Michigan TV news hour interviews about FA at the FA Business Convention?

Response: The Traditions Review Committee recommends that the PI committee consider showing the video to the PI committee as an example (preferably one of several) of communicating about FA, but not to show the video to the conference as a whole.  The committee’s concerns are primarily that members might perceive the video as being approved by the conference, which it is not (a bylaws issue), or that the viewing could lead to some members being considered celebrities or VIPs (tradition 2 – there is but one ultimate authority). 

  1. Would it be a break of any traditions to convert FA qualification recordings to MP3 format (“pod casts”) and put them on a page on the FA website? The intention would be to support potential members, who first look at the website to find out about FA, and to support FA members in outlying areas by giving them easy access to sharing of FA experience, strength, and hope.

Response: The Traditions Review Committee discussed this idea in depth. “Pod casts” could indeed benefit FA members who have few nearby FA meetings by giving them a means of easier access to FA qualifications.  However, the nature of the traditions concerns regarding qualification pod casts on the web is quite complex, and the impact is dependent on the specific use and implementation on the web.  Therefore, the traditions evaluation would best be done by first having the FA-WSI Literature and PI Committees consider the idea and develop a specific proposal and guidelines if they choose to. Traditions concerns are not about the type of media but about breadth of access to the recordings. Concerns include: 

  • maintaining personal anonymity by using a limited-access web area rather than a publicfacing one (tradition 11)
  • keeping with the concept of attraction and not promotion in providing access to the qualifications (tradition 11)
  • avoiding adverse financial effects on FA as a whole (tradition 4)
  • avoiding potential misuse of information in the qualifications by the press, which could affect FA as a whole (tradition 4). The committee suggests that the World Service Board consider copyright protection on qualification recordings.
  • supporting the individual’s privacy and personal safety regarding web-based information. The committee suggests that informed consent be a part of any web posting of qualifications
  1. How does the issue of anonymity, in all of its possible facets, affect FA as an organization, especially in light of new technologies? Although we have been having an ongoing discussion in the Traditions Review Committee for the past few months about anonymity in relation to names and phone numbers on meeting-contact websites, we have been asked to look at the issue more specifically in terms of theconnection, the Frontier newsletter, and the safety of names on and permissions for use of CDs.

Response:  To be discussed in future.

  1. Is it a tradition violation if the letters “fa” and mention of FA are part of a URL for conference calls, an activity and website that is not associated with FA?

Response: Using “facc.ci” is not considered a break in tradition in that it uses lowercase “fa,” and there is no longer anything about our FA organization in the content.

  1. Is it a break in tradition if an FA member signs her or his full name to letters sent to health care professionals?

Response: People can choose to share their names in this instance since it is not a public forum. It provides more credibility to sign full name for physicians. Since this is not an emergency, the committee will reflect on it for a month before making a final recommendation.

  1. How do we track lifetime limits on contributions?

Response: We don’t think this is a Traditions Review Committee issue. The Bylaws Revision Committee has recommended to the World Service Board a new policy and procedure regarding contributions. 

  1. At what level (meeting, chapter, intergroup, or World Service, Inc.) should convention delegate funding be done? Is it a tradition violation for chapters and intergroups to set aside money to fund delegates to the business convention?  

Response: In previous discussions on this topic, the Traditions Review Committee recommended to the World Service Board that meetings should not fund delegates because it could easily violate tradition 12 (personalities might be placed before principles). It is hard to make principled choices when you know the people personally. World Service, Inc. now has a policy that meetings should not fund delegates. To be discussed further in future regarding chapters, intergroups, and WSI. 

Twelfth Step Committee (Jamie M.)

Outlying Areas Subcommittee

  • Established standards, logos, guidelines, and professional appearance of the phone list and the sponsor list for FA members in outlying areas
  • Distributed the phone lists to members in outlying areas and to WSI and Intergroup contacts
  • Worked in conjunction with the Communications Subcommittee to produce the first and second issues of the FA e-newsletter On the FA Frontier

Accessibility Subcommittee

  • Continued work on both a policy document and a pamphlet called FA Guidelines: Supporting Food Addicts with Special Needs, to serve as resources on the fadocs.org website

Communications/On the FA Frontier Newsletter Subcommittee

  • The first issue of On the FA Frontier, which focused on the “telephone” tool, has been distributed.
  • Just completed the second issue of On the FA Frontier, which focuses on the “meetings” tool. It will also be distributed via “snail mail” and email to FA members in outlying areas and is archived on the fadocs.org website along with the last four issues of Gratitude in Action.
  • Compiling and editing the third issue of On the FA Frontier, which will focus on sponsoring FA members in outlying areas.

Language Subcommittee

  • Compiled an FA WSI Twelfth Step Committee Universal Language List
  • Working towards aligning the FA WSI Twelfth Step Committee Universal Language List with other FA WSI Phone Lists
  • Creating a policy document through an ad hoc committee for the future translation of FA resources such as Intergroup/ Chapter and WSI reports into languages other than English

Additional Twelfth Step Committee Goals

  • Review and update the WSI Twelfth Step Committee Policies and Procedures
  • Continue to serve as a resource and guide for 12th Step service, addressing questions and concerns for FA members by facilitating communication and meeting special needs