Growing pains

The chair’s first comment this morning included a parable about working together. She said she has sensed growing divisions among us, white vs. nonwhite, English speakers vs. non-English speakers, and American vs. non-American.

She did not say so, but the comment may have been spurred by the vote on taking religious holidays into account when planning conferences. A couple of delegates favoring the measure were visibly emotional about it, especially when it was determined to have failed, until it didn’t.

This is my third year serving as a delegate, this time around, and I’ve observed such tensions rising. I view them as signs of growth. As in so many other instances in history, “we’ve always done it this way” sometimes has to give to include others who weren’t part of the equation back “always” ago, or who whose needs haven’t been fully considered.

The theme of this conference is “We All Belong, Welcome to OA.” The conference doesn’t have many workshops, but titles have included “Building Bridges to Recovery,” “Our Uniqueness Is an Asset,” and one about our service structure, whose finer points include language service boards and national service boards, which are factors almost exclusively outside the US.

Part of the chair’s message was to ask each of us to seek out someone who isn’t like us and ask to hear their story. First thing Saturday morning, she reiterated her request, first thing. Another impassioned plea. Meanwhile, at the 7:15 am meeting, I heard two people share that they had done so yesterday.

The fellowship is clearly serious about embracing its diversity. And while that’s happening, the effects of change are being felt.

Similar Posts