Collaborative Christian Recovery Ideas and Plans
That Emerged From Our Recent Three California Visits
Report on Summit Conference # 2 at Brentwood, California
To avoid a clutter of information, and the enable readers more easily to refer to items of interest to them, I have divided into several parts our report on the recent International Christian Recovery Coalition and Association of Christian Drug and Alcohol Counselors Institute Conferences, Meetings, and Talks in California.
The People Who Really Helped Make the Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood a Strong Northern California Starting Point
The Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, California, hosted the second of the two North America Christian Recovery Meeting Summits. Its invaluable support began with a Friday meeting convened by Rev. Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor and David Sadler where the church’s various recovery leaders met with Dick B. and Ken B. in a workshop on Friday evening before the New Hope meeting that followed.
On Saturday, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 P.M.:45, Rev. Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor at The Golden Hills Community Church and his staff provided a large conference room, musicians and worship music, ample sound and seating provision, and beverages.
During our stay in Brentwood from September 22 through the following Monday September 26, Karl Kramer, a long-recovered Christian leader picked us up at the Oakland Airport, drove us when and where needed, and—with his lovely wife—provided us free with a large bedroom area in his beautiful, spacious Brentwood home. We had several great opportunities to review A.A. history with Karl, to hear of his plans for a fellowship hall in the area, and to learn of his vigorous 12 Step work in the area.
This second report will cover those who spoke or were scheduled but unable to speak at the actual Northern California Summit Meeting # 2 Conference.
Dick and Ken B. delivered talks on the International Christian Recovery Coalition and its projects.
Scheduled but unable to make the panels were:
Karen A. Plavan, Ph.D., Chairperson of our Coalition, Pittsburg, PA; Director, The Oasis Recovery Center of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA:, Assistant Professor, Counselor Education—Chemical Dependency, The Pennsylvania State University; Teacher, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, who was scheduled as a panelist but had to cancel because of Pennsylvania duties. She has chaired many of our events and spoken at many of our events on A.A. history and Christian Recovery.
Robert Turner, M.D., MSCR, of Charleston, SC--Co-Chairperson of our Coalition, Medical Director of the MUSC Medical Neurophysiology Laboratory; Associate Professor in the departments of Neurosciences, Pediatrics, and Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Epidemiology. Robert was asked to be a panelist but had to decline due to professional obligations, but he became one of several benefactors of our conference.
Jeff and Debra Jay, or Grosse Point, Michigan. Both are skilled interventionists and authors. Their book Love First was discussed and on display. They were unable to attend, but they became beneficiaries of our conference.
Jean LaCour, Ph.D., President and Cofounder of the NET Training Institute, Inc.; serves with Christian leaders from seven nations on the leadership council of the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition (ISAAC); Member of “Partners for Recovery,” a steering committee for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); former Faith Coordinator for Florida’s Access to Recovery (ATR) program. Jean was unable to attend but provided flyers on Christian recovery aspects and awarded Dick B. a Hero of Recovery Citation for presentation at the conferences.
David Powers, Christian leader at Rock Church, Rock Recovery Ministries, ABC Sober Living, and Soledad House in San Diego. David was asked to exhibit and be a panelist, but had previous recovery obligations in San Diego. As with The Crossing and Lifelines in Orange County, David is a major sparkplug in the huge recovery movement of the Rock Church in San Diego. He heads the Rock Recovery Ministries and the sober living facilities, also providing licensed treatment and a warm and friendly attitude which involves residents having Bible studies, daily devotional texting, a bonfire meeting, orientation training, work opportunities, sober living, counseling, and solid support for A.A. activities they recommend
Brother Wayne White, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Executive Director, Footprints/Alcoholics Victorious, Kansas City, Missouri, Co-Director, Bridge Organization Outreach. Wayne was scheduled as a panelist, but had to cancel due to a heart problem.
Rev. Jerry Liversage, Responding Recovery Ministries, Garden Grove, California. Jerry has a unique outreach due to his wide experience in the food industry and is able to provide food for recovering alcoholics and addicts and to serve at soup kitchens. Jerry attended our conference in Orange County, and its workshop, and did meet with us for 12 hours to plan with him for outreach. We wished to have him be a panelist. Jerry is already working with us on using SKYPE as a mode of outreach and an excellent workbook for which he has asked us to write an introduction. but the speaker list was full by the time we had met with him. He has great ideas. and can be a great resource person for the coalition.
Bob J. of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii was unable to attend but has long been and was at this conference a major benefactor supporting A.A. History and Christian Recovery Outreach.
Rev Cynthia Sloan, Program Associate, for the United Methodist group did attend the Crossing Conference in Southern California, was an exhibitor, a speaker, and one of our major conference benefactors on behalf of her denomination.
Rev. Bill Wigmore, Chaplain and retired CEO of Austin Ministries came from Texas, was one of our conference benefactors, and was there representing the Episcopal Diocese of Texas Recovery Committee.
Rick S. of San Jose was a panelist and also a major conference benefactor.
Hazelden Foundation provided us with an excellent group of its important recovery books like When Love is Not Enough, My Search for Bill W., Ebby, Bill W.: My First 40 Years, and the recently released Original Manuscript of the First Edition. Hazelden was an exhibitor and a conference benefactor.
Dover Publications, two days before our first conference, released it reprint of the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, complete with the later removed personal stories, the original reference to “spiritual experience,” and a substantial introduction by Dick B. Dover furnished us with several copies of the new release. And taken together (Hazelden’s original printer’s manuscript; Dover’s new complete First Edition with the Dick B. introduction and personal stories; and the work-in-progress Sponsor’s Guide to the First Edition will enable devoted believers who are also A.A. supporters to see the real development of A.A. from the original 7 Point Christian Fellowship program of Akron, the so-called variant six “word-or-mouth” ideas often mentioned by Bill W., the original form of the Big Book of 1939, and the changes made just prior to publication—as shown dramatically in the printer’s manuscript.
The aim of International Christian Recovery Coalition as exemplified by its mission statement, its website, Facebook, blog, and forums, as well as its conferences and Christian Recovery Resource Centers is to show—from A.A.’s own origins, history, founding, original program, substantial changes, and successes exactly how Christians in A.A. and others in A.A. seeking God’s help can tap into the real A.A., learn its real origins and changes, understand the problems of its later diversity, and still apply the original A.A. program among today’s varied group of believers and unbelievers.
The featured speaker at the Conference was Rev. Don Hall of Don Hall Ministries, Colfax, California. Don shared his many years of service in connection with David Wilkerson and the beginnings of Teen Challenge. He covered its work and growth and his role in its formation in California and Hawaii, as well as his experience with street drug and prison substance abuse problems. He has been involved in very substantial missionary recovery outreach in many nations. He left his listeners with an understanding of his lifetime of Christian ministry, recovery and Teen Challenge service, and outreach to the streets, youth, prisons, and those suffering in other countries.
The following were panelists at the North American Summit Meeting Conference # 2 at Golden Hills Community Church.
David Sadler, leader of New Hope at Golden Hills, one of our Christian Recovery Resource Center Persons, and strong Coalition supporter, Executive Recovery Pastor, explained the broad Christian recovery programs existing or planned by New Hope and Golden Hills and reaching into the community and a myriad of problems besetting the afflicted and affected.
Bill Boyles, of Wyoming, Delaware, Long-recovered Christian leader who heads the Won Way Out Ministries in Delaware. Bill first met me during my history seminars at the Wilson House Seminars in East Dorset, Vermont. At the time, he had a prestigious business position in Delaware and left it to form his Christian program. He substantially funded our Second Nationwide A.A. History Conference in Delaware, and has become a major donor of Dick B. recovery books throughout the recovery community in his state
Roger Mc Diarmid of Huntington Beach, California, businessman—a very active speaker for the International Christian Recovery Coalition Speakers Bureau; a coordinator of our work in Southern California, much involved with His Place Church, and ardent A.A. history and recovery speaker. Roger was a panelist at both conferences—Costa Mesa, and Brentwood.
Dale Marsh, Recovery Pastor elect of Oroville Church of the Nazarene, and leader of Serenity Group. Dale is also an active speaker for the International Christian Recovery Coalition Speakers Bureau, an active proponent of expanding Christian recovery outreach to AAs and others in the Christian community as well as alerting pastors to the need for collaborative Christian recovery services. Dale widely conducts our Introductory Foundation for Christian Recovery Classes for many groups in his area. He is studying to become a licensed substance abuse counselor.
Wade Hess, Training Director for CityTeam Ministries, which has a dozen Christian—12 Step—residential programs on the West Coast and in Pennsylvania. I first met Wade when I did a four day seminar at the CityTeam conference at Camp MayMac in Santa Cruz; then worked with him a proposed annotated Big Book, then spoke on his radio network, then met with him at our International Christian Recovery Conference beginning meeting at Mariner’s Church in Irvine, then spoke to a workshop of CityTeam leaders in San Jose that was led by Wade, welcomed his attendance at our Northern and Southern California conferences. Wade shared the objectives of CityTeam’s work.
Dominic D., of Pleasanton, California, leader of Turning Point fellowship at Cornerstone Fellowship in Livermore, a strong advocate of combined Christian and 12 Step recovery work, and host at two different conferences where Ken and I spoke in Livermore. Dominic also attended the kickoff conference at Mariner’s Church in Irvine, California in May of 2009. He shared his experience with Christian-12 Step recovery efforts and about the Cornerstone Fellowship program.
Karl Kramer, of Brentwood, California, who has attended all of our Northern California
Conferences in his area, who graciously provided his home and his transportation resources for t his conference, and who is very much involved in establishing a memorial fellowship hall in his area which will be open to, and serve recovery groups and meetings of all sorts—much as some sober clubs do today. Karl shared on his sponsorship experience, his 12 Step experience, and his forthcoming fellowship project.
Rick S., of San Jose, California. Rick was one of the original benefactors of a major recovery program, is a long-recovered 12 Step member, is a talented speaker on Christianity and the Big Book program. He prefers to remain anonymous for the present and is devoting a great deal of time to the proposed Sponsor’s Guide to the First Edition – more details to be announced in the future.
The following were other strong supporters of International Christian Recovery Coalition with whom we had extensive meetings during the conference period.
Rev. Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor at Golden Hills Community Church, who provided unending support and understanding as to the purpose and needs of the Northern California Summit Meeting # 2. Matt has very substantial plans for a large recovery facility in Northern California.
Mark Chilson, of Pleasanton, California. Both Ken and I spent a great deal of time meeting with Mark, discussing his personal interests in Christian recovery and 12 Step recovery. Mark offered a great many ideas to us as to effective indexing and search for the vast quantity of history and research materials on our many web presentations. He is a skilled professional in this field and gave freely of his time.
Karl Kramer and his wife shared meals and ideas with us at local restaurants during our period of staying at their home in Brentwood. See details above.
Preliminary meeting with Dale Marsh, Roger McDiarmid, and Bill Boyles prior to the opening of the conference. See details about them above.
Fr. Bill Wigmore, Bill Boyles, Dominic D., David Sadler and his wife, and others at a long luncheon break during the conference.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of the scene was the time available and time spent by so many speakers, panelists, and leaders during breaks, before and after the conference, and with us and each other building great enthusiasm for further programs and outreach among them—a much desired objective in holding the summit meetings. For these folks have all been long and faithful Christian recovery leaders over a number of years.