Following are reports from 2 attendees who attended the Urantia gatherings organized by Pato Banton and Antoinette Rootsdawtah and held in London and Birmingham. The first is by Alex H of Germany, and the second by Anna Zeven of the Netherlands.
Alexander H of Germany writes:
I arrived in London by plane from Germany on Friday the 27th of January. After a very short sightseeing tour to the Tower Bridge, I took the train to Croydon, where the UK Urantia Conference took place the next day. I was welcomed heartily by a few formerly acquainted brothers and sisters. I have been looking forward to seeing them all again. The next day we had a small but excellent conference in the Hallmark Hotel in Croydon. This venue was a very good choice, in my opinion. There were approximately 15 people attending. Most of them lived in the UK, but a few people from other countries were also in attendance. We had people from the Netherlands, Sweden, and myself from Germany. Pato Banton and Antoinette Rootsdawtah made the long journey from California to England solely to attend these meetings. After we took enough time to let everybody introduce themselves to the others, the outstanding program began. We sang, danced, read, discussed and prayed together. It was wonderful.
Pato planned to read papers 170, 33 and 45 with us, but our discussions about paper 170 (The Kingdom of Heaven), with which we started, went so deep and detailed, that we did not even reach the half of that paper during the whole meeting. Pato has great skills in asking the right questions at the right time, and inviting others to think deeper and deeper about the teachings. In between, the mood was highly raised with a few of Pato’s songs and his invitation to dance and sing along. “One World is Enough for All of Us!” was the name of a song, that made each one of us show off our voices.
At the end of our meeting we talked about Urantia activities that are planned in the UK. England faces a great challenge, because, as it is in other European countries, the Urantia community is very small there. We were all of one accord, that themain thing is to make Urantia events more and more attractive to new people. As we had Pato and Antoinette there, it was certain that we thought of music and art being the most attracting feature that an event should contain. Time was short, but I think I speak for all when I say that this meeting was worth the travel and we are all a bit smarter now; as happens every time we have the pleasure of meeting other students of the book and exchanging our understandings with them.
On the next day we traveled to Birmingham by train. Pato reserved a conference room in the Raddison Blu Hotel, which is the tallest building in the city. It was not long before the room was filled with Pato’s family. It deserved the name “family gathering” because next to a few of us readers, who already attended the gathering the day before, there were more than twenty of Pato’s family, including his parents and some of his children and grandchildren. His daughters and grandchildren were mostly already inspired and loving Urantia Book readers, but not all of them were readers. Some did not even know about the book or what Pato is doing; so it was a great experience to listen to all those different understandings and reactions to our reading session.
After we celebrated the blessing of some of Pato’s grandchildren, and there was even a Christening ceremony, we made a detailed introduction round. Then we began to read in the book together. We started with 167.6 (“Blessing the Little Children”) and then went over to papers 100.1 (“Religious Growth”) and 100.2 (“Spiritual Growth”). It took us more than an hour to discuss the difference between religious and spiritual growth and as it was to be expected, we did not read very far, because of the deepness of the conversations. I don’t think we lost anything although we did not read the whole papers, but gained a lot because we thought about the topics so intensively. It was so inspiring to exchange thoughts with all those lovely people, Urantia Book readers and non-readers, but all of them with a high spiritual and religious interest. Now we all know the difference a bit better. Then Pato had the spontaneous great idea to ask the group about their opinion what “the meaning of life” is for them. One after another explained in detail what their understanding of this “meaning of life” is. We could see that some of the attendees enjoyed speaking about their personal views on this. The main things that all had in common were “to love, learn and grow,” “to make the world a better place,” and “to learn to know and to follow the will of God.” Antoinette made video recordings of everything and I think you will be able to watch and listen to these inspiring explanations very soon.
You, who read this report now, are invited to attend IC 17 in Denver this July. I will make the long journey from Germany across the Atlantic Ocean to attend this event, which I expect to be an unforgettable and uplifting experience. I am preparing a workshop right now that will be about “Urantia activities in Europe & why it is difficult to spread the revelation in western countries.”
See you there, my spiritual siblings. Much love!
Alex H, Germany
Anna Zeven from the Netherlands writes:
Speaking of light and life… Wow! Pato and Antoinette just blew me away! I entered the room on a cloudy Saturday in January in a beautiful old hotel in the suburbs of London a bit late after a very nice but unexpected sightseeing tour of London due to taking the train in the opposite direction. I saw two beautiful shiny people standing in the middle of the room spreading their Urantian light. Immediately I was amazed.
A Conference Like No Other
The conference was led by Pato Banton and Antoinette Rootsdawtah. Both internationally respected reggae musicians and driven by the force of the Urantia truth. This conference was totally different from any other Urantian gathering that I’d joined up until then. They took us on a playful introspective journey and invited us to share our deeper beliefs about life and The Urantia Book. We did some reading, singing, dancing, discussing and sharing on a deeper level. It was a perfect blend that kept us all really connected to the subjects and to one another. The music made me feel so alive!
Later that day, Pato shared his incredibly revealing life story. It touched me very deeply. In my work as a youngster coach and trainer, we always invite the youngsters to lower the waterline according to the iceberg model to make a deeper and more powerful and honest connection with others. And that is exactly what Pato did. He sank deep into his own vulnerability and gave us the opportunity to truly meet him on an essential level. What an incredible life he has had! Is there anything he hasn’t experienced? Deep respect for the man he became thanks to his inspiring life and his inner strength. He has so much to share, to give, to shine. It’s like he’s overflowing. We ended this wonderful day with a shared prayer in which everybody could participate.
Pato’s Huge Family Gathering
That Sunday, Pato and Antoinette invited us to join his family and a Christening ceremony. It felt like a blessing being surrounded and completely adopted by the wonderful family of Pato. And when his mom entered the room… I could only stay silent after listening to Pato’s life story and felt a deep respect for this outstanding and extremely powerful lady. It brought me to tears. I felt so thankful for every challenge in my life, for every connection that I experience—whether it’s short term or long term—for my very rich life, for everything that God brings into my life to increase my total experience and consciousness—whether it’s tough or uplifting.
When the room seemed to be stuffed to the fullest with all the people dressed in white, there were still people entering. I couldn’t believe my eyes (nor could Pato): how could the room possibly give space to so many people? There were people from aged 1 to about 90. Pato and Antoinette let them all join the group conversations, no matter what their ages. They used almost the same strategy as the day before. So it was another day of sharing and connecting. At some point Pato posed the question: “What is God to you?” I totally was blown away by the wisdom of these children. Every word they spoke was so true, so wise, so pure.
Though Christening is not my favorite part, I was surprised by the effect it had on me and the people who were Christened. It looked like something changed in their energy system, in their appearance—in a positive way, of course. It’s like really giving your all; total surrender. And it got me to think that such practices can be very powerful.
I felt embraced by these beautiful people. They happened to be Pato’s family, but aren’t we all family? And that’s how I started my sharing of the shared prayer that day, by saying: “Dear God, my Father, our Father.” It was my way to express the strong connection I felt that day, despite a language barrier, a cultural barrier, a distance barrier and even a belief barrier. I truly feel connected to anyone on earth, to any spiritual brother and sister who brightens our world, Urantia. This day was a gift to me to really experience it.
Thank you so much for your light and aliveness, Pato and Antoinette!
Anna Zeven, The Netherlands