NCCAA History – part IV
Initially, the Council meetings were closed AA meetings and attendance was limited to AA members. The quarterly sessions were devoted primarily to group business, new approaches to AA, and renewal of acquaintances. The core of the Council consisted of two representatives who were elected from each group that wished to participate, and this composed the Steering Committee. The Fall Quarterly Meeting was considered to be the Council’s “Annual Conference”.
In 1951, it was decided to change the Annual Conferences to Open AA meetings so that AA members, families and friends could all attend. Immediately, attendance at these annual meetings picked up to 2,500. Occasionally, there were as many as 3,000 at a Conference.
The Fifth Annual Conference of the Council was held March 15-16, 1952 at Governors’ Hall at the State Fair Grounds in Sacramento. The purpose of this meeting was two-fold: (1) to organize Panel Two of the General Service Conference (which consisted of AA groups in the Interior communities of Northern California — primarily in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys) and the election of a Conference Delegate from that Area; and (2) to hear an important speaker, [Father] Ralph P. (also known as Father John Doe, author of the widely read Golden Books). Ralph had joined AA in Indianapolis in 1943, and in 1947, the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis released him from all parish work so that he could devote his full time to AA. A second important speaker was Marian M. of the New York Headquarters Staff whom Bill had recommended when he was in San Francisco in 1951. Marian had recently suffered a serious illness and had been granted a special dispensation by her doctor in order to appear and to speak at this 1952 Conference.
The Saturday night meeting was held in the Main Ballroom of Governors’ Hall at the Fair Grounds. Admission tickets were required, and although these tickets were not “sold”, contributions were expected. The meeting was chaired by Floyd B. of Roseville, and the Invocation was given by Dr. Robert F., Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Sacramento and a staunch Friend of AA. The meeting was followed by a reception and buffet supper in the nearby Little Theater.
At the Sunday morning session in Governors’ Hall, the delegates [the authorized representatives of the groups in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys] registered and, at the same time, signified whether or not they would be available to serve on Panel Two either as the Delegate to the New York General Service Conference or in some other capacity. The meeting was chaired by Bob R. of the West Portal Group in San Francisco. Bob was invited to act in this capacity because of his experience conducting the March 1951 Panel One organizational meeting in San Francisco. Marian spoke once more on the Third Legacy and, also, discussed the services which were provided by the General Service Office in New York. Floyd B. of Roseville was elected the Panel Two Conference Delegate.