Since it would get dark so early and I no longer drive at night, I made a conscious effort this past winter to replace my face-to-face evening meetings with virtual meetings.
I found two excellent meetings. One is a Step Study videoconference meeting based in Newfoundland, Canada. The other is a non-real-time meeting that uses a popular messaging app. That meeting is moderated by members from Region Nine.
Shares in the latter meeting are a combination of text and voice messages, and I hear people from all around the world, all with very different accents. This blew me away when I first heard it. It also seems to be a much younger group than I see at my face- to-face meetings. I hear babies crying in the background sometimes.
This has been an extremely rewarding experience, and it makes it real to me that we truly are a worldwide Fellowship. Virtual OA saw incredible growth in 2017. In the first nine months of the year, 121 new virtual groups were registered with the World Service Office— including online, phone, and non-real-time groups, plus two new virtual service boards. In addition, membership in virtual groups on Facebook is increasing, with some groups reporting 500–1,500 members.
To keep up with this incredible growth, the Find a Meeting page at oa.org has been expanded to include a variety of digital meeting options, including meet- ings via email or bulletin loops, social media pages, bulletin boards or forums, and mobile applications. OA calls these meetings “non-real-time” meetings because they do not meet in real time or have designated start and end times. Non-real-time meetings may take place over a period of hours or days.
Finding non-real-time meetings is now easier than ever, since a new category has been added to Find a Meeting at oa.org. Click the “Non-Real-Time Meeting” button to view your options.
To register a non-real-time meeting, download the OA Non-Real-Time Group Registration/Change Form (an interactive PDF), fill out the form, and email it to email@example.com.
~ A Step Ahead, Second Quarter 2018