Every two years the International Representative Council holds elections to select volunteers to serve as officers and committee chairs on the International Service Board (ISB). This election season the Association will see four positions change hands.
Susan Owen will be leaving as Secretary after ten full years of dedicated service. Susan has been the backbone of the Association. She has helped shape every committee and leadership goal for the last decade. She has proven to be one of the most trustworthy volunteers for our community and her faithful service to the Urantia teachings will undoubtedly continue for many years to come. But The Urantia Book teaches us that cycles of service are alternated with cycles of rest and play. I hope that Susan will enjoy a few years of joyful reversion.
David Linthicum will step down as Chair of the Dissemination Committee. For twenty years, David has played a role shaping the work of the Association. He has served at many levels at the Local and National levels as well his time on the ISB. He has helped shape the program at our international symposiums and conferences and has been a wise and steady council for the entire Urania community. No matter how busy his life has been, he has steadfastly served Urantia Association. As his focus returns to the Spirit of Oklahoma Urantia Association and Urantia Association of United States (UAUS), we know that his continued success will be for the benefit of the entire Association.
Gaetan Charland will take a term off the ISB and allow another volunteer to lead the Study Group Committee. Gaetan is one of the founding voices of the Association. He served 10 years as our first international President and another four leading the Study Group Committee. He has always led by example and made the success of the Association one of the lead priorities of his life. We will benefit from his wisdom for many years to come, even as he turns his attention to serving a term as an Association Trustee with Urantia Foundation.
Kathleen Swadling of Australia was elected to a second term as Chair of the Communications Committee. During her first four years she led the modernization efforts of our newsletters, annual reports, Journal, Tidings and the rapid expansion of our web services. We are fortunate that her guiding hands will continue their work for another four years.
Andrès Ramirez of Colombia will leave the office of the Vice President to assume the Chair of the Study Groups Committee. As Vice President, Andrès has been a wonderful Chair of the Representatives Council and has helped shape the administrative goals of the Association. He will continue to provide wise counsel to the entire board as he turns his focus to study groups.
Santiago Kneeland of Mexico will assume the role of Vice President. He has been a student of the book for twenty years serving in many capacities for both Urantia Association International and Urantia Foundation. He assisted with translation services whenever personnel from the Association or Foundation visited with readers in Mexico, as well as translating internal communications for the two organizations. He served on the board of Asociación Urantia de Mexico in its early years and has organized reader conferences. Welcome to the team Santiago; we’re looking forward to working with you.
Willem Jeths of Brazil will be the new Chair of the Dissemination Committee. He has been studying The Urantia Book for thirty years. Originally from the Netherlands, he has worked as a Sound Engineer and IT manager then moved to Brazil and worked at studying, developing, and teaching sustainable living techniques in the rainforests of Brazil. Currently he is building a healing center in a 3-hectare garden forest in the mountains of the south of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He finds the concepts in The Urantia Book help to guide him in this work. We welcome Willem to the team and look forward to working with him.
Joycee Patterson will be the new Secretary for the International Association. Joycee began studying the book in 1974 and started hosting a study group shortly thereafter. She has been active in the Florida Urantia community for many years, serving various roles for Urantia Brotherhood and Urantia Association of Florida. She brings years of training to the role and will be a wonderful guide for our international leadership team.
The incoming International Service Board will have members from nine different countries on five different continents and collectively speak seven languages. For the first time in our history all seven of our service committees will be led by volunteers outside of the United States.
Thank you to our outgoing Board members! The works of Susan, Gaetan and David have defined Urantia Association’s scope and values. The new team is ready to take the torch you pass and carry it forward into our exciting future.