We have a conflict with one member in our OA group who objects to the revised “Unity with Diversity” Policy sent out after WSBC 2021. I am inquiring as to whether the World Service Office has received any other objections to the policy and how they have been addressed.

The WSO has had no feedback regarding the updated policy, which was pretty much an editorial update to the policy that was first adopted in 1991. The most significant change was the insertion of “Everyone with the desire to stop eating compulsively is welcome in Overeaters Anonymous” at the end of the first paragraph. The motion was adopted at WSBC 2021 by a vote of 137 (yes) to 62 (no), or 68.8 percent. More than 50 percent pro votes was required, so the majority vote was significant.

The Suggested Meeting Format contains the following language regarding the policy: “As we extend the heart and hand of the OA Fellowship to those who still suffer, let us be mindful of OA’s “Unity with Diversity” Policy, which respects our differences, yet unites us in the solution to our common problem. Whatever problem you may have with food, you are welcome at this meeting, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other attribute.” So, it is not necessary that you read the entire policy at any meeting, it is only suggested that groups make their members aware that we welcome everyone so long as they have a desire to stop eating compulsively.

The 2021 update reflects the group conscience of OA as a whole. Our Second Tradition states: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” Further, OA has adopted Twelve Concepts of Service. The first two Concepts are:

The ultimate responsibility and authority for OA World Services reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.

The OA groups have delegated to the World Service Business Conference the active maintenance of our world services; thus, the World Service Business Conference is the voice, authority, and effective conscience of OA as a whole.

I hope members who have a passionate interest in these issues consider attending intergroup meetings, which is where the motions that are brought to WSBC start and where, collectively with other intergroups, the WSBC agenda is decided.