Gathering together under the theme “Mother Spirit Mama Africa,” the enthusiasm for the teachings of The Urantia Book was obvious at the Urantia conference in Accra, Ghana this past April. I felt as though I was standing on the ground floor of what will become a towering continental Urantia community.
Among the fifty people at the conference, hailing from ten different countries, attendees were largely under the age of forty and, while about half of them were experienced students of The Urantia Book, the other half were completely new to the teachings. The high percentage of people being introduced to the book at the conference is thanks to a unique, generational atmosphere that exists in Africa at this moment. Young Africans are thirsty for truth and that seems to instill in them fertile soil for conversations about God, religion, and the positive method of living demonstrated by Jesus. I continue to think back on my brief time at the conference, wishing that I had more opportunity to get to know the people and participate in the building of their community. But in the end, it’s their home, and while I hope to go back, it is their privilege to build Urantia Africa into a thriving community.
Due to the nature of having so many people with no prior knowledge of the book, there was a separate discussion that functioned as an introduction to The Urantia Book, as well as some speeches that were geared toward new students of the book. However, it was the presentations on the subject of “Mother Spirit Mama Africa” that shined. Women from Urantia Africa shared their experiences and their thoughts on women’s rights in Africa, how The Urantia Book has changed their lives and created a sense of empowerment. They expressed the joy and hope that has been instilled in them from getting to know Jesus, the Father, and their creation. During one particularly energetic presentation, the speaker, Sunshine Anazodo, powerfully stomped her foot, took on a “ready to enseraphim” stance, and exclaimed, “I feel I could spread my wings and fly!” Her enthusiasm was met with raucous applause from the audience.
Through a desire to live the teachings and do good things for others, a collection was taken so that food and hygiene supplies could be bought for children at an orphanage in Accra. On the second day, in the afternoon, many of the conference attendees visited the children’s home, bringing the supplies with them. The children appeared well cared for and were very well behaved. They talked about their favorite subjects in school, their love of sports, and we could see them playing silly games with each other. As with so many other places we saw in Ghana, the need for income was plain. The children at this home appeared well taken care of, but on the edge of the small campus sat another building, unfinished, that they had been working on for the past five years in the hopes of expanding their mission. The process of building it was so slow that the cement skeleton of the building was already showing cracks. Nonetheless, upon leaving, I was glad to know that the children there were happy and healthy.
Toward the end of the conference, a quote from The Urantia Book was brought forth for discussion [Paper 33:3.5-6, page 368.5-369.1] where, in honor of the completion of his seventh bestowal, the Creative Mother Spirit and universe creatures pledge loyalty to the Creator Son. In a noble act of lifting her up, Michael then declares his dependence on the Divine Minister, and the universe creatures pledge loyalty to her as well. She does not ask for it, she is not looking for attention, but she is needed, and she is equal. The act of honoring the partner is beautiful, and it is what I witnessed at the conference in Ghana. As many of the women had never taken on a formal role in the community, they were lifted-up and specifically invited to speak. Through their presentations, they made it known that they are strong, they are wise, and they are passionate, and I hope that they will continue to make their voices heard at future events. They have given me joy in the knowledge that the teachings of The Urantia Book will live and thrive in people around the world.