Farewell Mark Bloomfield

Mark Bloomfield, just 54 years of age, died recently from injuries after a tragic incident in Swansea, Wales. The matter is under investigation with the police and a man has been charged. This horrific event made the British news because of Mark’s links with Mother Teresa. The BBC News reported: 

A charity worker who worked with Mother Teresa in India has died after an alleged attack in Swansea. Mark Bloomfield, 54, died on Saturday after he was found injured in High Street in the city centre last Thursday… The family of Mr Bloomfield, originally from Stratford Upon Avon, paid tribute to his charity work across the world saying he “had built a legacy”. They said that as a special assistant to Mother Teresa in Calcutta, he was an essential contributor to her mission.

Mark was a Field Representative of Urantia Foundation in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. He was highly skilled in placing Urantia Books in public libraries, seminaries, universities and other centers of learning. He was renowned in The Urantia Book reader community for his extraordinary and tireless service to the revelation by personally hand-seeding around 9,000 Urantia Books throughout the world. He was particularly inspired to seed the revelation in developing countries where he’d lived and worked for many years as a humanitarian missionary. Having experienced firsthand the heart-wrenching and atrocious plight of women and children, he decided to devote his life to treating the cause of the world’s problems rather than the symptoms, by getting The Urantia Book into the hands of educated people in places where innocent millions were caught up in the cycle of ignorance and poverty.

During much of that time I served as Urantia Foundation’s Representative Manager where I had the pleasure of assisting with the coordination of Mark’s many seeding projects while he was out and about in the field. I, along with several others attended three book fairs in India with Mark while he was living there. He took care of all the arrangements for the booth including the importing and delivery of the books. He also acted as a chaperone and educator of Indian culture for we western visitors who were not familiar with the complexities of life in India. Mark’s ability to engage with interested people who visited our booth was impressive to say the least. He was eloquent, gracious and able to adapt The Urantia Book teachings to literally hundreds of people hailing from the many different faiths practiced in India.

In 2000 Mark accompanied me to Seoul in South Korea where he and David Kim (who is now President of the Korean Urantia Association) unloaded a delivery of 5,000 Korean translations from the back of a truck and carried them up two flights of stairs where they were to be stored in David’s warehouse. After that he traveled through South Korea and placed around 600 copies of the new translation in various types of libraries.  

Mark left a significant trail of revelation behind in India, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the United States. The stories he wrote in his regular reports of his journey as he traveled from city to city and country-to-country placing books make for fascinating reading. You can view summaries of some of his stories on Urantia Foundation’s website at: https://www.urantia.org/search/node/mark%20bloomfield

Mark has been called the “Johnny Appleseed” and the “Indiana Jones” of the Urantia movement, but he liked to call himself the “chore boy” saying his favorite historical role model was the young lad John Mark who spent a whole day in the hills alone with the Master. Mark said at the end of one of his reports:

…And all this goes a long way to explain why this particular fieldworker has been doing what he’s been doing these years, for the chore boy of Jesus’ day [John Mark] has long been the nearest he has ever had to a role model.

Here’s what Mark had to say about his adventure in Myanmar (Burma): 

Now there aren’t many libraries in Burma. With the 30 books I had with me, I was able to cover all the important bases. Foreigners are prohibited from entering university campuses so needless to say, all the universities I visited ended up as a story in itself. At Rangoon University, I finally managed to befriend the guards who eventually escorted me to the librarian. He happily accepted the book, then showed me next door to the Universities Central Library, the headquarters of the entire Burmese university library system where I had a wonderful long talk with the lady librarian, who was a devout Buddhist. We had much in common, especially the notion of universal brotherhood. At Dagon University on the edge of Rangoon, I waited at the main gate for over an hour whilst a steady stream of guards shuttled between me and the librarian relaying message after message. Eventually she came out herself to receive the books, which she did cheerfully and good-naturedly. In another university, I walked straight in and just as I found the library, (which in this case was too small and specialized for the book) I was suddenly surrounded by 5 men who politely though purposefully marched me off the premises…

2006 In Australia 

Some of us will remember Mark from the 2006 Urantia Association International Conference held at the Women’s College in Sydney. Our theme was titled “Rewards of Isolation—Small Teams in Deep Waters.” Mark gave a passionate and inspiring presentation about the nature and mission of the Urantia Revelation. One aspect of his talk made a big impression on me; he disputed the “small teams in deep waters” part of our theme title by thoroughly reversing the meaning by saying that with all the power of the universe behind us how can we call ourselves “small?” Rather he’d prefer to think of us as “large teams in little puddles!” By emphasizing the magnitude of the mission of the fifth epochal revelation with the masses of unseen celestial friends on our side working for our success, coupled with the power of our Faith in the Father, we should have more confidence and courageand dare to go forth …in the sole company of TRUTH. [103:9.7, 1141.5]

The FreeSchools Chapter

Mark’s other “claim-to-fame” among many Urantia Book students was his pioneering work with the development of what is now known as “FreeSchools World Literacy.” Many readers who were associated with Mark came to know about his FreeSchools work in India and were inspired to support and become involved. Here’s a bit of history of the schools’ development in the early years (taken from the FreeSchools website at https://freeschools.org):

1997: In Motihari, Bihar, India, one of the poorest, most populated and backward parts of India, Sr. Mary Crescence, a Catholic nun of the order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, needed help to fund her dream of a free evening school, using borrowed space after hours, to educate those children too poor to access formal education. Following a chance meeting in Calcutta, Englishman Mark Bloomfield, a volunteer with Mother Teresa, provided Sr. Crescence funds to start the first school. For three years, both financial and moral support came from Mark. In 2000, Australian Dr. Robert Coenraads also became involved after visiting the school with Mark. Their joint help ensured the development of two schools and a very successful model. “School-on-a-shoestring” provided basic literacy skills to impoverished but bright and enthusiastic village children. Thanks to an introduction by Mark’s Australian friend Kathleen Swadling to Canadian Sue Tennant, Mark brought the challenge to Canada to replicate the model in both Bihar and among Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand.

Visit the FreeSchools website to read the timeline up to the present day on the incredible development of this charity which is now thriving with many schools based on the original model.

Ben Bowler, who took over Marks’ FreeSchools work in Thailand wrote:

I am shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Mark Bloomfield. It was Mark’s passionate speech in Sydney at the 2006 Urantia Association conference that sent Jildou and I to Thailand to work on FreeSchools, which forever changed our trajectory in life. The month I had “training” in Fang, Thailand with Mark was some of the most amazing days I’ve had on this planet. He was a friend and a guide and was also profoundly inspiring and has changed my life as he has changed so many through his various service initiatives all over the world. 

Our thoughts are with his family, Mark you old “so & so” I shall see you on the Mansion Worlds where no doubt there is much rabble to be roused. You are one-of-a-kind and I love you and miss you. Thank you for everything you have done for our planet and we shall do our utmost to continue your legacy of fulfilling the Fathers will. One of Mark’s great lines of wisdom: “Show me what you value, and I’ll tell you what you’re worth.” Peaceful travels Mark my brother. 

Our heart-felt sympathy and prayers go to Mark’s family and to all those who knew him well and called him “friend” and “brother.” May his resurrection on the Mansion Worlds be joyous and compensate for the tragic manner of his premature departure from this world.