Collaborative Christian Recovery Ideas and Plans
That Emerged from Our Recent California Visits:
By Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Report on the North American Summit Conference Meeting # 2 of
the International Christian Recovery Coalition at
Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, California
Saturday, September 24, 2011
The following is my report on the North American Summit Conference Meeting #2 of the International Christian Recovery Coalition that my son, Ken, and I attended and spoke at on Saturday, September 24, at Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, (Northern) California.
The People Who Really Helped Make the Conference at Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood a Strong Northern California Starting Point for
the International Christian Recovery Coalition
The Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, California, hosted the second of the two North America Summit Conference Meetings in September 2011. Its invaluable support began with a Friday meeting convened by Rev. Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor at Golden Hills Community Church, and David Sadler, where the church’s various recovery leaders met with Dick B. and Ken B. in a workshop on Friday evening, September 23, before the New Hope recovery meeting that followed.
On Saturday, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Rev. Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor at 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 Thursday, September 22, through 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 and bathroom 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 also cover those who spoke or were scheduled but unable to speak at the actual Northern California Summit Conference Meeting # 2 in Brentwood.
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., Co-Chairperson of the International Christian Recovery Coalition, Pittsburgh, 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. She 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 the International Christian Recovery 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, of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Both are skilled interventionists and authors. Their book, Love First, was discussed and on display. They were unable to attend, but they were sponsors 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 (#1 and #2) in San Diego. David was asked to exhibit and be a panelist, but had previous recovery obligations in San Diego. As with Randy Moraitis--Executive Pastor of Ministry at The Crossing Church and overseer of its Lifelines meeting in Orange County--, David is a major spark plug in the huge recovery movement of the Rock Church in San Diego. He heads Rock Recovery Ministries and its sober living facilities and licensed treatment. These Christian recovery programs provide a warm and friendly attitude which involves residents having Bible studies, daily “Quiet Time” 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 on Saturday, September 17 (after having also attended the pre-Conference workshop after my talk at the Lifelines meeting on Friday evening, September 16), and then met with us for more than 12 hours during the following week to plan with him for outreach. We had hoped for him to also be a panelist, but the speaker list was already full by the time we first met with him. We have already begun talking with Jerry about using SKYPE as a mode of outreach, and we are also talking with him about our writing an introduction to the next edition of an excellent workbook he has written. He has great ideas, and we expect he will be a great resource person for the International Christian Recovery Coalition.
Bob J. of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, was unable to attend but has long been, and was at this Conference also, a major benefactor supporting A.A. history and Christian Recovery outreach.
Rev Cynthia Sloan, Program Associate for the United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV), did attend the North American Summit Conference Meeting #1 at The Crossing Church in Southern California, was an exhibitor and a speaker there, and was one of our major Conference benefactors on behalf of her denomination.
Rev. Bill Wigmore, Chaplain and retired CEO of Austin Recovery, came from Texas, was one of our Conference benefactors, and represented the Episcopal Diocese of Texas Recovery Committee.
Rick S. of San Jose was a panelist and also a major Conference benefactor. And we are working with him on a forthcoming Big Book Sponsor's Guide.
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; and Bill W.: My First 40 Years; and The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous (http://goo.gl/19t6W). Hazelden Foundation was an exhibitor and a Conference benefactor.
Dover Publications, on September 15, 2011 (two days before our North American Summit Conference #1!), released Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition (http://goo.gl/4KATP), complete with all of the personal stories included in the first edition, the original reference to “spiritual experience,” and a 23-page introduction by Dick B. Dover Publications furnished us with a number of copies of the new release for our use, including some copies we were able to show and give away at the Conferences.
Taken together, these three resources--Hazelden's The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dover’s Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition (with the Introduction by Dick B.!), and the planned Big Book “Sponsor’s Guide” on which we are working with Rick S.--will enable Christians who are also A.A. supporters to see the real development of A.A. from the original, seven-point, Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program, to the variant six “word-of-mouth” ideas often mentioned by Bill W., to the “multi-lith edition” (also known as “original manuscript”) of later 1938/early 1939, to the “printer's manuscript” form of the “multi-lith edition” (illustrating most of the changes made just prior to publication of the first edition), to the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book”) published on April 10, 1939.
The aim of the International Christian Recovery Coalition--as exemplified by its mission statement, its Web site, its Facebook page, its blog, and its forums, as well as its conferences and “Christian Recovery Resource Centers and Persons”--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 original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program, learn its real origins and changes, understand the problems of its later diversity, and still apply the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program principles 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, YWAM, 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 Conference Meeting # 2 at Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood.
David Sadler, a leader involved with the Christian recovery work of New Hope at Golden Hills Community Church, one of our “Christian Recovery Resource Center Persons”, and strong Coalition supporter. He explained the broad Christian recovery programs existing or planned by Golden Hills Community Church as part of its New Hope ministry for reaching into the community and described a myriad of problems besetting the afflicted and affected.
Bill Boyles, of Wyoming, Delaware, a 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 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. A.A. history and Christian Recovery books throughout the recovery community in his state.
Roger McDiarmid of Huntington Beach, California, a businessman, a very active speaker for the International Christian Recovery Coalition Speakers Bureau; a coordinator of our Christian Recovery work in Southern California, a person much involved with His Place Church in Huntington Beach, and an ardent A.A. history and recovery speaker. Roger was a panelist at both of the North American Summit Conferences—in Costa Mesa and in 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 and of alerting pastors to the need for collaborative Christian Recovery services. Dale conducts our “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” classes widely 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 a CityTeam conference at Camp MayMac in Santa Cruz. I later worked with him a proposed annotated Big Book. I then spoke on his radio network. Next, I met with him at our May 2009 Conference at Mariners Church in Irvine. Then my son, Ken, and I spoke to a workshop of CityTeam leaders in San Jose that was led by Wade. We welcomed his attendance at our North American Summit Conference #2 in Brentwood. 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. Dominic attended our major Conference at the Mariners Church Community Center in Irvine, California, in May 2009, and hosted two conferences at Cornerstone Fellowship—Livermore Campus at which Ken and I were the featured speakers. At the Brentwood conference, Dominic shared his experience with Christian-12 Step recovery efforts and about the Cornerstone Fellowship Christian Recovery program.
Karl Kramer, of Brentwood, California, who has attended all of our Northern California conferences in his area, graciously provided his home and his transportation resources to us for this conference. He 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, and 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 producing a Big Book Sponsor's Guide--more details to be announced in the future.
The following are 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 North American Summit Conference 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, leaders, and attendees during breaks, before and after the conference, and with us and each other. This networking built 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.