October 17 - 20, 2024 in Germantown, TN


History of the Memphis Bluff City Fellowship

Somewhere in our literature, Bill W. was commenting about the book, A.A. Comes of Age, and said, “this account of our beginnings may not be completely accurate, but it is our history.” The same could be said about the following account of the beginnings of the Memphis Bluff City Fellowship, held annually, in Memphis, TN. 

Prior to November 1975, having an annual convention in Memphis had been discussed by several people, some seriously and some casually; but – no action was taken until… 

a past state delegate from the South Florida Conference area moved to Memphis on July 2, 1972. This was Bud R. He had chaired four conventions in Florida, and many group functions. Bud had a lot of past service experience as a trusted servant.

He mentioned a convention several times to long-timers in Memphis, and they agreed, but never said, “yes, let’s do it.” Bud was waiting until it could be a “we” convention. 

In 1974 our Area 64 State Structure was in the process of growing and changing. The TN. Conference 64 Area had been re-redistricted from six districts to 20 districts, Shelby County being District 20 (divided into A-B-C districts). Also, the TN. State Assembly was being held in different cities around the state, by bid from the district. Memphis, (Shelby County) got the bid for the July 1975 Assembly. 

This July Assembly was held July 25-27, 1975 at the old Ramada Inn-Downtown (across Union Ave., from the Peabody Hotel). On Sunday morning, right after the last session, July 25, 1975, Bud R. said to Charles S., “we sure do need to have an annual convention here in Memphis.” Charles agreed, and asked, “how do we do that?” Bud said, “come on and I’ll show you.” IT HAD NOW BECOME A “WE.” (NOTE: At the time, Charles S. was serving as G.S.R. of Family Fellowship Group, and Bud R. was overall chairman of the Triangle Group.)

There was much discussion over the name of this convention. At first, it was just the Bluff City Convention, but then we realized that only local people know that Memphis is called the Bluff City. We changed the name to Memphis Bluff City Fellowship. We used the word “Fellowship” instead of “Convention,” so as not to confuse it with the TN. State Convention. Also, using Memphis in the name, identified the location for those people reading about it in the Grapevine.

Additional Interesting Facts:

  • In attendance at the 1st convention: approximately 147 – 167

  • Registration fee: $7.00; dance tickets: $1.50

  • The 2nd convention had 280 registrations, with 30 free registrations (scholarships) to treatment and half-way houses, making the final attendance: 310

The Fellowship has grown in love and service to over 1,000 in attendance at one time, while being held at the Cook Convention Center, downtown. 

The Memphis/Bluff City Fellowship has been a first for many people just beginning in their sobriety. From time to time you can hear remarks like, “this was my first convention and I have been sober ever since,” or “this was a turn around in my sobriety.”

The Fellowship has grown and places have changed… It has given so many people their first time in service work, which is growth in sobriety. 

Service on Committees surely gives a wonderful opportunity to work on our defects of character at a deeper level.

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