The European Regional Intergroup (ERI) and how we got here today
By way of explanation, the ERI grew out of some visionary discussions which took place at the 2014 UK DA Convention in London. These talks centered around bringing together the European DA fellowship as well as European countries’ domestic intergroups.
After that meeting, the UK Intergroup funded its ISR to reach out to Intergroups across Europe. A plan was then hatched to stage the first European Convention. A meeting in Cannes offered to host us and the group organised the event during the winter and spring, mainly by conference calls.
That first Convention took place in the summer of 2015 and we gathered in Cannes, (France) to enjoy a great weekend of fun and fellowship under glorious sunshine! The European Regional Intergroup was formed that weekend and had its first face-to-face meeting. The Trustees on the International Committee of the GSB showed enthusiasm and support for the ERI and for the APRI (Asia Pacific Regional Intergroup); APRI members wanted to attend the first ERI meeting and we joked that they flew to the Bali convention from Australia “via Cannes.”
We returned home keen to work on strengthening fellowship. ERI meetings have grown and are now taking place every month.
The Italian Intergroup offered to host the 2016 Convention and our next gathering was at a beautiful convent in Ranica, near Bergamo in Northern Italy. Once again we had a great weekend of fellowship and recovery; what a gift that was, in true Italian style! The Italians inaugurated the retreat experience that is now associated with our Conventions.
The 2017 Convention has been organized by a Convention Committee of the ERI. A group of fellows across Europe worked together to gather us all in Worth (UK) for the weekend. The theme of the convention was “Fellowship across borders.”Germany welcomed us all in Berlin for our 2018 “God is in the numbers” Convention. There was innovation here too: simultaneous translation was made available, to make the international ESH of DA available in the local language; the social evening was transformed into a highly interactive and creative display, a “DA’s got Talent” evening.
Throughout the convention we have attracted DA members from European countries as diverse as Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Members have joined us from the USA, Kenya, Bali, Australia. We have had contact with DA members from Spain and Greece; outreach is ongoing with Iceland.
Our conventions are a place for innovation and experimentation on how to reach the still-suffering debtor. The convention in Worth was proof that a group of DA members scattered across Europe can organize a local event. In Ranica, speakers shared in Italian or English and a translation was offered from the table for the benefit of all attendees. The 2018 Convention in Berlin took translations a step further and experimented with more sophisticated translation techniques. Individual translations in different languages are available at every conference.
Throughout the year the ERI continues its work with a telephone conference call on the first Tuesday of every month. During these calls, we work on our visions and our principle guiding aim of carrying the message to the still-suffering debtor. Although the calls take place in English, ERI has made a commitment not to become an anglophone service body only; ERI works so that the message of recovery can be effectively delivered to the DA member in his or her language.