Design a format
What Is the General Format for a Meeting?
The format for each meeting may vary. Here are some examples.
Example #1 (Beginner’s Meeting)
- Chair welcomes everyone to the meeting and reads the “Statement of Purpose.” The Chair starts by asking those beginners present to introduce themselves by their first names only. After each beginner introduces him/herself, people in the group generally say, “Welcome.” Pass around the 12 Steps. Each person introduces him/herself by first name only and then reads one of the Steps.
- Chair introduces the speaker (or qualifier).
- The qualifier tells her/his story of “experience, strength and hope” (usually lasts 15-20 minutes), after which people applaud.
- The qualifier then opens the floor to pick people with their hands raised to share. The Chair announces (if it’s a large meeting), “Since this is a large meeting, please try to keep your shares between 3-5 minutes so we may get in as many shares as possible. Also, please refrain from using any graphic language. or from naming any specific people or places. Is there anyone here for the first time who would like to share first?”
- Somewhere halfway into the meeting (not during someone’s share) the Treasurer will announce the Treasurer ‘s Break.
- After the Treasurer’s Break, a 5-minute socializing break will commence.
- After the break, people go back to their seats and the shares continue.
- The Chair announces 5-10 minutes prior to the closing of the meeting that the next person picked must be the last share.
- After the last share, the Chair hands “The Promises” to someone to read.
- The Chair then reads the “Closing Statement.”
- Everyone joins hands in a circle and recites the Serenity Prayer and the meeting is adjourned.
Example #2 (Feedback Round Robin)
- Chair welcomes everyone to the meeting and reads the “Statement of Purpose.” The Chair asks everyone to introduce themselves one at a time and do a “brief check-in with a few words of how you are feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
- After the check-in the Chair asks if someone would like to do the reading. (The material chosen for this meeting is a daily meditation from “Answers in the Heart” — from the Hazelden meditation series.) The Chair announces after the reading that each person will be allowed 3 minutes for feedback after their share, if they so choose. The Chair reads, “Feedback is optional. Feedback is open to anyone in the group; however, we encourage people new to the fellowship to refrain from giving feedback and to use this time for listening. Feedback is not criticism. Feedback can simply mean identifying with the speaker, sharing words of encouragement, or relaying program slogans or tools that have helped you. Please try to keep your feedback brief, non-repetitive, and to the point.”
- The Chair then asks for someone to time the shares. Each share is allotted 5 minutes, with a one-minute warning. After the first person shares, he/she is allowed 3 minutes of feedback from those people with their hands raised.
- The shares move in a clockwise direction around the circle until everyone has had the opportunity to share.
- Somewhere in the middle of the meeting (not during a person’s share) the Treasurer announces the Treasurer’s Break. (There is no socializing break during this particular meeting.)
- After everyone has had an opportunity to share the Chair reads the “Closing Statement.”
- Next, everyone forms a circle with their arms around each other and recites the “Serenity Prayer.” The meeting is adjourned.
Example #3 (Fourth Step Workshop)
- Chair welcomes people to the meeting and reads the “Statement of Purpose.”
- The Chair then passes around Hope & Recovery and each person introduces him/herself by first name only and then reads a paragraph from the chapter on Step 4.
- Then the Chair announces that “we will take the next 20 minutes and write our Fourth Step using the questionnaire provided.”
- After the 20 minutes has elapsed each person goes around the room in a round-robin fashion and reads what they have written. (If people arrive late and have not written anything, they usually wait until the people who have written share first.)
- Somewhere in the middle — a Treasurer’s break.
- After all have shared, the Chair reads the “Closing Statement.”
- People join hands for the “Serenity Prayer” and the meeting is adjourned.
Example #4 (Higher Power Workshop)
- The Chair welcomes everyone and reads “Statement of Purpose.”
- Each person introduces themselves as a sex (romance, lust, relationship, etc.) addict and gives their first name only.
- The Chair announces that then will be a 15-minute period of silence for meditation.
- The Chair announces when the period of silence has ended and opens the floor for shares. The Chair picks the first person to share, and then it becomes a pitch meeting.
- Somewhere in the middle — a Treasurer’s Break.
- Prior to the end of the meeting the Chair announces, “I’m sorry, but that’s all the time we have. If you didn’t get to share, please try to find someone after the meeting,” and then reads the “Closing Statement.”
- Then all join hands for the “Serenity Prayer” and the meeting is adjourned.
As you may have noticed, most meetings open with the SCA Statement of Purpose (found on the front of the Four-Fold), and close with the Closing Statement and Serenity Prayer (on the back of the Four-Fold). Here are a list of things which most meetings include in their format.
Treasurer’s Break: According to our Seventh Tradition, “Every SCA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” Therefore, a Treasurer’s break is generally taken somewhere during the course of the meeting. Although w e are self supporting through our own contributions, we are all encouraged, but not required, to give. During the Treasurer’s Break it is customary to use this time for any SCA-related announcements.
The following is an example of how a Treasurer’s announcement would start the break:
“It’s time to take a Treasurer’s break. SCA is self supporting through its own contributions. We have no dues or fees for membership. However, we do have expenses. We ask that each person give to help cover the cost of the rent of this room. Please giv e what you can. If you can’t give anything, don’t worry. The important thing is to just keep coming back. Are there any SCA-related announcements?”
Pass around a basket, can, or paper bag to collect the money. Also, at this time the Literature Person can announce that he/she has SCA literature available if anyone would like some.
After the announcements, you may wish to ask if anyone would like to share their day counts or anniversaries (either on their sexual recovery plans, or time in SCA — usually members applaud each other after these are announced). In addition, you may w ish to have a five-minute break so that people can socialize. There are several meetings which forgo day counts and extended breaks so they can get in as many shares as possible. You decide what is best.
Opening/Closing: The opening Statement of Purpose and the Closing Statement define the meeting as part of the SCA Fellowship. These two statements establish basic principles and rules of SCA membership. These statements may be found in either the SCA Blue Book, or the SCA Four-Fold.
Serenity Prayer: The Serenity Prayer is generally said at the close of every meeting.
Reading the Steps: The Twelve Steps of SCA are often read after the Statement of Purpose. The Characteristics or Tools of SCA or other literature may also be read. Each person ordinarily introduces him/herself by first name only. Some meetings combine these; a person states his or her name, reads from the literature and passes it on to the next person.
What Is the General Time Frame of a Meeting?
In many areas, meetings last one-and-one-half hours. You may make your meeting any length that suits your group’s needs (for example, one hour at lunchtime).