2018 Annual Report

Highlights: Global Seeding

Global seeding refers to the tireless efforts of Urantia Association members and volunteers who make a special effort to spread the good news to every corner of the planet. One such individual is Marcelino Ramirez, a courageous citizen of troubled Venezuela who has spent the last eighteen years traveling around his country to spread the good news of the gospel. Despite the many dangers and difficulties he has faced in his long travels and many encounters, he gives all credit to the works of God.

Personal Ministry in Venezuela

An elderly man and woman hug and smile

Here’s what Luis Garcia Bory says about his good friend Marcelino Ramirez of Venezuela:

In early 2001, Marcelino decided to devote himself full-time to the dissemination of the revelation in his country of Venezuela, relying only on his modest state pension for money and what he calls ‘the miracle of the limited economic support of a few people with a huge heart.’

“As of today, Marcelino has made a total of 1,135 formal visits to readers and truth-seekers in 22 of the 24 states of Venezuela. Such dedication has been truly intense and extraordinary. His efforts have helped to start various study groups in the country, as well as to organize fourteen national conferences of Urantia Book readers and students.

“Despite the social and communication difficulties resulting from the deep economic and security crisis in which the country is at present, five study groups remain active in Venezuela today. Marcelino sees this resilience of the fruits of his work and the active collaboration of so many sister and brother readers as genuine works of God, since in the last two years the situation has become truly complex in Venezuela.

“Marcelino sums up in one sentence what it means be a devotee to the ministry of loving service: ‘By submitting ourselves to the will of God, we learn that he makes possible what we considered impossible.’”

Dissemination Committee Efforts

A young man opens a box holding copies of The Urantia Book

Many volunteers distribute The Urantia Book through the special efforts and assistance of the Urantia Association’s Dissemination Committee. In 2018, the committee and its many volunteers overcame logistical difficulties to distribute books in Fiji, Cuba, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia, Palestine, the Philippines, Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

This committee supported book fairs around the world which are visited by tens of thousands of people each year. It also coordinated the Reader Services networking system insuring the many readers who contact us with their enquiries receive welcoming letters and information about study groups and reader activities in their local areas.

Book Fairs

A stand with Urantia pictures and banners at a bustling book fair

Book Fairs are extremely popular throughout Latin America. In 2018, Urantia Association assisted with three book fairs in Columbia, one in Bolivia, and another in Florida. Book fairs tend to draw surprisingly large crowds and have proven to be an effective way to introduce The Urantia Book to people from all walks of life.

It is refreshing to read the testimonials of volunteers who attended these book fairs and to hear of the many things they learned about themselves and others while trying to introduce the teachings. All attest to the value of this method of outreach.

Mairam Durand at the Peru Book Fair said:

I consider that my experience, as part of the team in charge of the Urantia booth, was far more than a simple trip to the book fair; it was a journey of adventures that helped me to comprehend that there are no barriers, and that everything moves and flows in order to increase understanding of where we are.”

Norma Caicedo at the Cali International Book Fair said:

It was a wonderful experience and we learned a lot about persistence, teamwork, and faith. We were filled with hope by the many probing and enthusiastic questions put to us by children and young people. At times, there were not enough volunteers to cover the interests of so many.”

Andrés Ramirez at the Bogotá Book Fair said:

The Bogotá International Book Fair was where I met other readers of The Urantia Book for the first time. I was so happy and surprised to know about the existence of a group of readers in my city. And because of what finding other readers at the book fair meant to me, I continue to volunteer and help organize the booth. I also continue serving within my local and national associations and with the International Service Board where I am learning even more from working with my brothers and sisters around the world.”

Esther Andrade Burgos at the Bogotá Book Fair said:

When I asked what the image of the universe was about, there ensued a 40-minute conversation that captured me, and a certainty arose within me that I had arrived at a place where my questions would be finally resolved. From that day on, The Urantia Book is my main reading. From this initial introduction at the book fair, I joined a study group. I have read the book twice. Its teachings have given me tools to understand my purpose of life, to understand and feel the unconditional love of our Father, and to approach the adversities of my existence in this world with faith, hope and courage.”

Prisoner Outreach

A painting of Jesus sitting on a bench next to a young man

An important service of the Dissemination Committee is the Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT). This organization has been quite successful in the United States, where 2,100 books have now been distributed to prison inmates who specifically requested them. This success has encouraged new chapters of PIRT in Canada, Belgium, and Finland.

Myra Hight from the United States and longtime volunteer for PIRT said:

PIRT was formed by a small group of volunteers in the United States to disseminate The Urantia Book to our planet’s darkest corners, the nation’s many prisons. We rejoice and give thanks for all the hungry souls who have found the soul saving truths in The Urantia Book. I am humbled by the dedication of our volunteers who make it all happen. It is indeed thrilling to see the seeds of the revelation grow and come to fruition—we have even discovered that the book has made its way to the inmate’s family, friends, prison officials and chaplains.

The most gratifying experience—what keeps us all here year after year—are the moving words of gratitude and appreciation we receive from inmates for providing them the light of the Father, which comforts and guides their souls as they sit in material darkness.”

Parliament of the World’s Religions

A poster for The Urantia Book

A separate venue for The Urantia Book which has become very popular in recent years is the Parliament of the World’s Religions, an organization based in Chicago, Illinois. The 2018 conference took place in Toronto, Canada, and was a tremendous success. Volunteers from the Urantia Foundation, Urantia Association International, and the Urantia Book Fellowship staffed the Urantia booth. It attracted hundreds of visitors, keeping volunteers very busy answering a myriad of questions.

Nathan Jansen from Canada said:

As a participant at the Parliament of the World’s Religions 2018, I reflected on a mind simulation of what it might feel like to be at a future Urantia conference where 7,500 personalities were in attendance. ‘The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love.’ The single most compelling experience I had was observing the unity that was shared in religious diversity, there being over two hundred of the world’s great religions represented at the conference. At the Urantia booth, seventy-two Urantia comrades endlessly took turns sharing our understanding of true religion with people passing by, and during the many discussions we shared together in the ideal of truth, beauty and goodness. I believe that most people had good thoughts about what was said of the teachings in The Urantia Book.”

An Urantia booth stands out at a convention

 

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