The Pennsylvania AWSC (Area World Service Committee) has been watching the rapidly changing situation surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and have put together some suggestions for groups and members as they navigate the potentially turbulent times ahead. Please share them with your group and try to make time to discuss them at your next business meeting.
As the situation evolves, we will keep updating this webpage with the latest news, information, and suggestions, as well as temporary meeting closures and event cancellations. Please bookmark this page come back and check it regularly.
Through all this, though, let us not forget: Al‐Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.
News & Updates
With all of the cancellations and closures over the past few days, many of you have wondered, “What about the Convention?” So far, the 48th Annual PA AFG Convention is still on and still over 70 days away. We’re working with Susquehanna University to understand their status and what our options might be, but at this point, we feel it is premature to cancel the Convention. We will review the situation again in early April and share any news with you at that time.
A few points, though. First, we will move the early-bird pricing cut-off to May 1. Second, if we would need to cancel, all registration fees will be refunded, so there is no risk to you by registering now.
Keep watching this space for more news about the impacts the Coronavirus is having on the Convention. We are still hopeful that we will be able to see many of you in Selinsgrove on May 29. In the meantime, stay healthy. We will get through this One Day at a Time.
The World Service Office (WSO) just published a letter addressing the Coronavirus from a national perspective. It, too, contains a thoughtful approach in dealing with the Coronavirus using Al-Anon tools and principles. Please read it and share it with your groups and Al-Anon friends.
Stay Informed. First of all, stay informed about what is happening and get your information from reputable sources. The CDC’s website on COVID-19 is a useful starting point, as is the Pennsylvania Department of Health website. For the latest updates that affect Al-Anon, check our Coronavirus Preparedness webpage. It will be updated with the latest news and information, as well as meeting temporary closures and event cancellations.
Laws and Regulations: In all matters, we will be governed by applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Keep abreast of these through reputable, fact-based news sources, as well as the CDC and State websites.
Meeting Cancelations/Temporary Closures: Your group’s meeting place may have its own restrictions which the group will need to abide by. Keep your DR (District Rep) and the Area’s Group Records Coordinator informed about meeting location/time changes or if a group becomes temporarily inactive. Each group should have a contact for their meeting location and the personnel at the meeting location should have a specific Al-Anon person to contact — the GR (Group Rep) or another contact person — to keep the group informed about the specific requirements for that location.
In the last 24 hours, a few groups have already temporarily suspended their meetings. This is evolving quickly and it is important for groups to communicate their status to there members as well as to their DR and the Group Records Coordinator, We will try to reflect those changes on this website, a well.
Note: If the WSO receives reports of groups not meeting, the Area Group Records Coordinator will be notified and she will attempt to verify the information with your District Rep. If she cannot get up-to-date information from the District Rep, the group will be marked inactive. The group will not be marked active again until the District Rep confirms that the group is still meeting at its listed location and time and that she has accurate contact information for the GR (Group Rep) and/or CMA (Contact Mailing Address).
If you are sick, please stay home. Members are encouraged to reach out to one another by calling an Al-Anon friend or to use electronic meetings, which are available almost anytime, anywhere. Discuss with one another how you might maintain “the loving interchange of help among members,” even when members can’t meet face-to-face.
Keeping hands, materials, and surfaces clean. Groups may want to remind members to wash hands or to make hand-sanitizer available. Groups might also consider how to keep materials and surfaces clean, especially eating utensils and equipment, as well as surfaces where food is served or eaten.
Personal Contact: While Al-Anon hugs and holding hands at the end of meetings are a few of the things that make Al-Anon a warm and loving environment, these aren’t required. Tradition 5 could be a helpful meeting topic to generate ideas around “welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics” in an environment where close contact might no longer be safe. Groups may want to take a group conscience to decide how to they want to end their meetings in a warm, spiritual way without holding hands, allowing for members to opt out if the group decides to continue the practice. See more information about Social Distancing at the CDC website.
There is a lot of additional information about preparedness outside of meetings at the CDC and from reputable news sources. While these are outside issues, it is good to be informed. Use your best judgment. Discuss them with family and friends.
This might be a good time to reflect on the final message of the Steps: “to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Keep the tools of the program — the Steps, Slogans, and literature — close by.
Meetings Gone Virtual
To notify us about new or updated information about a virtual meeting, fill out our webform.
Due to the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order, most meetings across the state are impacted. Many of them have gone from meeting physically to meeting virtually, either through Zoom, Hangouts, or Conference calls. Most online meetings have a dial-in number, so members and newcomers can connect even without a smartphone or computer.
We are no longer inactivating those meetings from our meeting finder. We want newcomers to know that the meetings exist, but are simply impacted by state, county, local, or even location closures.
To make it easy to find a virtual or online meeting for both members and newcomers, we are now collecting meeting details changes in our PA Area Virtual Meetings List and will do our best to reflect those changes as soon as we are told about them, but it could take as much as 24 hours to update a group’s status.
If you are looking for a meeting in southeast Pennsylvania, you should also check the AISDV website, as they might have more current information. In the Pittsburgh area, check the AIS of Greater Pittsburgh website. To inform us about a group that is not meeting, fill in our webform for Virtual Meeting Updates.
To notify us about event cancellations, fill out our webform.
The 48th Annual Pennsylvania AFG Convention, originally scheduled for May 29-31 at Susquehanna University, has been canceled.
Postponed until further notice: 28th Annual Brown Bag Workshop originally scheduled on April 4, 2020, at Plum Unity Community Church, 215 Unity Trestle Rd, Plum PA 15239
Postponed until further notice: District 18’s 34th Annual Spring Workshop on May 2nd at Mt. Pleasant Church of God, 936 W. Main Street, Mt. Pleasant, PA.
The Central Sector’s Interim Service Seminar scheduled for April 25 in Bellefonte is canceled.
The ISR meeting scheduled for Monday, March 23, 2020, is postponed until further notice, due to the Coronavirus situation.
The District 31 District Meeting scheduled for Sunday, March 22, at 6:30pm at Sacred Heart Church in West Reading is canceled.
The 45th Annual Erie, PA Spring Conference scheduled for April 17-19 has been canceled. It was sponsored by Erie Area Central AA with Al-Anon participation.
District 28 Spring into Recovery in Clark, PA, scheduled for May 2, is canceled.
One Day at a Time Anniversary Celebration postponed to an unknown date.
Dist 22 Dance previously scheduled for April 4 HAS BEEN POSTPONED TIL MAY 2 AT 521 CLUB, LANCASTER
Notify us about Virtual Meeting Updates
To notify us about a group that has gone virtual, please fill out the following form.
If this form doesn’t work for you or if you have a bunch of updates with the information already formatted, please email us at [email protected] and provide a phone number where we can reach you if we have questions. Our list is only as good as you keep it. Thank you for being a trusted and faithful servant!
Notify us about Event Cancellations
To notify us about an event that is canceled, please fill out the following form. We require the name, date, and location of the event, as well as the name of the venue and the city where the event was being held.
Please tell us in the message any information that might be helpful, such as a reschedule date, or how folks might apply for a refund if payments were already made.
If this form doesn’t work for you, please email us at [email protected] and provide a phone number where we can reach you if we have questions.