world service conference feature

World Service Conference

GSA's Second Concept for World Service states

The World Service Conference of GSA has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of our whole Society in its world affairs.

In 2008, the GreySheeters Anonymous World Services (GSAWS), Inc. Board of Trustees (BOT) designed the World Service Conference as a structure for groups to communicate with the Board.

At that time, we envisioned that the conference would consist of 19 intergroup representatives and 13 board trustees. That seemed like a reasonable number of people to debate and vote. Each group in an intergroup area would elect one General Service Representative (GSR) to attend and participate in quarterly intergroup meetings. Each intergroup's member GSRs would elect one Intergroup Service Representative (ISR). The ISRs and the Trustees would serve as delegates to the World Service Conference.

The first GSA World Service Conference did not take place until 2013, at which time there were only nine functioning intergroups and many groups were not part of an intergroup, so elected GSRs were invited to serve as conference delegates.

The number of trustees, intergroup representatives, and group representatives participating in the conference has varied between 30 and 50 for the four conferences since 2013. Not all groups elected a representative. Not all intergroups formed and elected a representative. Not all representatives participated in the conference. 

As the Conference evolved, it became clear that the amount of work involved in creating literature, public information, and the website—not to mention archiving it all, organizing the conference assembly, facilitating communication, providing financial oversight, and providing guidance about structure—was far more than 30 people could manage.

In 2019, the Structure Committee has proposed that GSAWS make its "temporary" conference structure permanent. Every group, every intergroup, and the Board of Trustees make up World Services via their elected representatives. This means we have the potential to have approximately 175 people working to achieve our vision.

How the World Service Conference Makes Decisions

The World Service Conference consists of elected delegates (trustees, intergroup service representatives (ISRs), and group service representatives (GSRs)). Delegates work throughout the year on committees. Committees address issues that affect GreySheeters Anonymous as a whole. Committees prepare proposals for consideration at regular World Service Conference meetings.

The diagram below outlines the procedure described in the text.

Proposal to practice chart: committee develops and approves proposal -> other committees provide input -> chairs/ISRs approve -> BOT approves -> Fellowship interim implement -> World Service Conference approves -> proposal becomes practice


Ideas for new or improved services that affect GSA as a whole can arise from individual members, groups, intergroups, committees, boards, or even from outside the fellowship. When someone raises such an idea, they are encouraged to bring it to the chair of the appropriate committee

Internal Committee Work

Members of the committee review the idea and create a proposal to bring to the conference. Once the committee approves a proposal with substantial unanimity, the chair of the committee submits the proposal to the Board of Trustees and the Committee Chairs and ISRs. Committees may also present their in-process or complete proposals at a Committees Connecting meeting.

Committee Chairs and ISRs

Once a month, the Board of Trustees chair convenes a meeting of the Chairs of World Service Conference committees and Intergroup Service Representatives of the intergroups. Chairs-elect and ISRs-elect are also invited to this meeting. The purpose of this group is to consider the implications of any proposal on each committee and intergroup.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees chair adds the proposal to the Board of Trustees agenda. The Board of Trustees considers the implications of the proposal on GSA as a whole.

Approval and Communication

If both the Chairs/ISRs group and the Board of Trustees approve the proposal with substantial unanimity, GreySheeters Anonymous World Services implements the approved proposal on an interim basis until the next meeting of the World Service Conference.

Interim Implementation and Evaluation

Interim implementation serves two purposes – needed solutions are not delayed until the next conference meeting and interim solutions are evaluated by the fellowship before final approval.

World Service Conference Meeting

Approximately six months before the next meeting of the entire World Service Conference, committees submit their revised proposals to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees. Proposals approved at the meeting of the World Service Conference by a substantial unanimity of the delegates are fellowship-approved decisions and become final policies.

Final Dissemination and Implementation

Following the meeting of the World Service Conference, each delegate reports the results to their intergroup or group. The Board of Trustees publishes the minutes of the meeting on The Secretary adds the final version of the proposal with all approval dates and any amendments to the Service Manual on The committees undertake any further work required by the proposal, e.g. writing and publishing literature.

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