Dear Friends of the Revelation,
There are many things I would like to write and share with you that are important to the revelation and to the work we do to promote its teachings, but for me, none of these are as important as study groups. Even if fraternal organizations such as Urantia Association International or The Urantia Book Fellowship should disappear, study groups could go on unhindered because there will always be a strong urge for truth seekers to meet and share their understandings, passions, and experiences, as well as their hopes for these teachings to change the world.
Study groups of many kinds have, for many years, decades, centuries, or millennia, flourished in the world, and will continue to flourish even more as our liberty and our search for truth is challenged by politics, religious suppression and fanaticism, or the rise of a materialistic society. There indwells in our minds a divine spirit presence that will always show the way to those who look for it.
…for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying, “This is the way.” [Paper 34:7.8, page 383.2]
It will never cease to amaze me how much the experience of a study group has enhanced my perception of divine values in others, how much it has made a difference in my daily life, and how much it has influenced my way of living and reacting to the sometimes perplexing and troubling situations of life on our world. It has even supported and maintained my sometimes-faltering efforts to live up to the level of my faith in times of crisis and adversity.
Study groups have given me more than I have ever expected and they have helped me to be loyal to a daily practice of morning meditation, prayers, and worship. They have also produced in me a greater urge and desire to be of service to others, not only in the Urantia movement, but to my family, friends, employees, and to the community in which I live. They have challenged me to become the change I want to see in the world.
Study groups have done all of that for me and much more. When I think about all those new relationships that were created during the many years I was privileged to host two study groups, I thank God for the opportunities I had to serve Jesus’ plan for this world. I have made many new friends in all those years with whom I will enjoy an eternal relationship. Sometimes I dwell on the promise of a future life and the pleasure I will have to continue in the company of all those who were part of my life on this planet.
One of the greatest pleasures I cherish from study groups, is having enjoyed them with the participation of my mother, one of my sisters and, most importantly, my wife. What a blessing to be able to share the same pleasure of exploring the teachings of The Urantia Book together—what a great spiritual unifying experience. Today, I still enjoy a study group at our home with my wife and many friends, either in person or online. We have extended our spiritual family with the help of the Internet.
I am now at the end of my term as Chair of Urantia Association International’s Study Groups Committee. I just wish I had done more for study groups during those last four years, but I am confident and happy to know that a very capable servant of the revelation has stepped up to replace me. He is from Colombia, where there is phenomenal growth in the number of study groups, and his name is Andrès Ramirez, who was the former Vice-President of the Association. I am certain Andrès will bring new ideas and enthusiasm in helping study groups proliferate around the world.
To help Andrès in his new role as Study Groups Chair would be to:
- Start a study group or be part of one.
- Register your group in the Study Group Directory or update your information about your group so it keeps being listed, here is the address to do so: https://www.urantiastudygroup.org.
- Write a story about your experience with a study group and send it to the editor of Tidings so others can be inspired by your story.
I leave you with two of my favorite African sayings:
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
“Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it.”
Gaetan G. Charland
Study Groups Chair
Urantia Association International