Service Matters • July 2018
GreySheeters Anonymous World Services (GSAWS) - Board of Trustees
Meet the Board Zoom Town Hall Meeting - 50+ in Attendance!
The GSAWS-open-to-all Town Hall meeting held on June 17th was a wonderful thing to participate in, as 50+ GreySheeters can attest. While several of the people on the meeting were only using their phone for connection, at least half of us were able to see ourselves face to face, and to meet the board members who are working on our behalf to handle the business of GreySheet world-wide.
The Board members introduced themselves and explained the purpose of the GSAWS Board of Trustees, which is to manage the business of the GreySheet community internationally in matters such as maintaining 501.c.3 status, copyright issues of the GreySheet, and the conferences we hold.
In addition, the questions that were sent in through the Communications Committee prior to the meeting were addressed, one by one, by individual board members. Here is the link to those questions sent to the Board:
Just as the difference between live face to face meetings and phone meetings cannot be over-emphasized, so too the ability to be together in this cyberspacial way, to have the benefit of nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and hand gestures, added greatly to our understanding each other, emotionally as well as with content. In this way, members could voice their questions and concerns and experience that these were received with humility and respect. Board members often, when tackling a question, affirmed that they were ‘just one GreySheeter, not a spokesperson for GreySheeters Anonymous, and then proceeded to give their best response to the questions.
NEXT Board of Trustees Zoom Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, September 16, at 10:00 AM EST. All are invited to attend. We encourage all GSR’s and ISR’s to collect questions and concerns from their groups and send to the Communications Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15, 2018. These will be compiled and forwarded to the Board of Trustees so that they can respond to them at the September 16 Zoom meeting.
If GreySheeters would like to attend but are unfamiliar with the Zoom platform and attending video face to face meetings, please feel free to contact email@example.com by Aug. 15 for help downloading the Zoom application on your computer, tablet or phone to be ready for the meeting. Telephone (audio only) connection is also possible.
NEXT GSAWS Conference: Third week of September 2019, Sept 20-22, in Chicago. Details as to conference place are being worked out now! Stay tuned in upcoming Service Matters issue to know how plans are progressing. In the meantime, it’s never too soon to start directing contributions in your groups to help GSR’s and ISR’s get registration, flights and hotel accommodations for the conference.
Q & A Corner
Question: What are the requirements to be a voting member on a Committee or at the World Service Conference?
Answer: While anyone can attend the World Service Conference and participate in committees, whenever a vote is taken, only those members with one year of back to back abstinence who represent a GreySheet group or intergroup as a GSR (Group Service Representative) or three years of service and is active in service as an ISR (Intergroup Service Representative) may vote. This is to insure the validity and participation of our upside-down pyramid structure where the groups are the most important part of our community. So please, step up to service and get involved, so that your group’s ideas and concerns can be counted!!
The GreySheet Committee Report
The GSAWS Board of Trustees created the GreySheet Committee to clarify the definition of GreySheet-abstinence as passed down to us from early Cambridge GreySheeters and to draft guidance for sponsors who wish to sponsor GreySheet-abstinence. The intent is for our fellowship to unite again around a common understanding of GreySheet-abstinence.
The twelve members and our Board of Trustees liaison have met twice a month since February. We agreed that our copyrighted GreySheet food plan itself has areas that are ambiguous. We reviewed the GreySheet document to identify those areas that might have led different members of our fellowship to different interpretations of GreySheet-abstinence. Now we are going through these areas one by one.
Each member shares what we had originally been taught when we first got abstinent. Then we agree on a statement that captures our common understanding of that item on the GreySheet. Each statement has “substantial unanimity,” that is, at least 75% of members vote “yes” AND those who vote “no” or abstain (the “minority opinion”) do not have any serious disagreement. In this way, we will have a set of clarifying statements with which the entire committee agrees.
The first set of items we covered was “fats,” i.e., how does the Cambridge GreySheet community interpret the GreySheet when it comes to adding or using butter, oil, and dressing, etc. Now we are working on what the GreySheet says about vegetables. Once we finish our item by item review of the GreySheet itself, we will go back to make sure our statements are consistent and that a substantial unanimity of the committee members still supports them as a totality.
As you can see, we are working slowly, deliberately, and with consensus. The GreySheet was first published in the late 1960s. The GreySheet community was born in Cambridge, MA in the late 1970s. GreySheeters Anonymous was incorporated in New York in the late 1990s. It took a while for us to get where we are; it will take a while to get back to true north.
Please watch this space for regular updates about our work. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email GreySheetCommittee@greysheet.org. And thanks to those who have already emailed.
The Archives Committee Report
Since we reported in Dec 2017 Service Matters, the Archive Committee has been busy interviewing people who’ve given service over the years. The committee is interviewing current and former GSers and support staff from around the world. Most recently committee chair interviewed a few folks at the London Roundup.
The Archives Committee is interested in what it was like to set up a committee in the early days when our community was small and we didn’t have social media. Some observations include a small percentage of members take on service positions. Some have kept the same position for several years while others have changed positions. In addition, the committee is interested in how members extended our reach by adding retreats/roundups, phone bridge, SWIG YouTube channel and Zoom Meetings.
While many are not born leaders, they have stepped up to give service, to carry the message around the world, to support their abstinence, and to build the community.
Call to Action: GSR’s and ISR’s, please note the following service opportunity and let members in your groups know how they can participate. If you’re interested in being interviewed or assisting with archive activities such as scanning, summarizing and indexing documents send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The London Roundup
The 20th Annual London GreySheeters Anonymous Roundup, June 2-3, 2018 was held in a beautiful venue, the Light Centre Monument building, 36 St. Mary at Hill in London. Since the rooms we used were in a yoga studio, we took off our shoes during the talks!
Each of the speakers used “Let It Begin With Me” as the theme for their talk. One member shared in honor of her 37th anniversary of Greysheet abstinence, using questions as a guide for her talk. How is life when I take “Let It Begin With Me” seriously? What does it mean to take full responsibility? Do I believe I am responsible for my thoughts? What have the 12 Steps taught me about this topic throughout my life?
A GSAWS Board member shared and also taught everyone present how to use Zoom. Other shares included experience, strength and hope on staying abstinent through losing a job and a marriage; the trauma of being fat in childhood and the corresponding gift of GreySheet abstinence; trusting in a Higher Power instead of trusting in fear; radiating the joy in abstinence, and the amazing down-to-earth example of service in supporting and sharing this abstinent way of life.
Members enjoyed fellowship while eating the abstinent lunches we brought outside in a lovely courtyard. Many thanks to those whose service made this experience of sharing with GreySheeters from all over the world possible.