Tidings – December 2018
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In This Issue
- President’s Message – December 2018 – Chris Wood, USA
- Latin American Youth Meeting – Brazil 2018 – Alexandre Nakai, Cintia Angeles and Latin Youth Group Support
- Italian-French Urantia Conference – Garda Lake, 2018 – Sebstian Nozzi, Germany
- Testimonials of Truth-Search, Growth and Service – Education Committee of Urantia Association International
- Pereira Book Fair 2018 – Esperanza Tovar, Colombia
- Cali International Book Fair 2018 – Norma Caicedo, Colombia
- 2nd European Urantia Conference – Tallinn, Estonia 2019 – Karmo Kalda, Estonia
- Conference & Chartering – Ecuador 2018 – Sandra Naranjo Cabezas, Ecuador
- Advocacy for Study Groups – Gaétan Charland, Quebec
- Upcoming Events
Chris Wood, USA
Brotherhood is impossible on a world whose inhabitants are so primitive that they fail to recognize the folly of unmitigated selfishness. There must occur an exchange of national and racial literature. Each race must become familiar with the thought of all races; each nation must know the feelings of all nations. Ignorance breeds suspicion, and suspicion is incompatible with the essential attitude of sympathy and love. [Paper 52:6.4, page 597.5] emphasis added
This year I have had the honor of travelling to The Netherlands, Ghana, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico for Urantia activities, in addition to events across my home country of the United States. Of course, there are many things that are universal across all cultures, but one thing has struck me about our expanding Urantia community: those of us who love The Urantia Book also love books in general. We are, by and large, a group with a passion for reading.
In preparation for my travels, I set a goal of reading at least one novel by a native author set in each country I was to visit. I wanted to become better familiar with the thoughts, feelings and arts of the nations I was hoping would welcome me. In Paper 52 (Planetary Mortal Epochs) section 6 (Urantia’s Post-Bestowal Age) we are given a list of five tasks we can dedicate ourselves to in this day and generation. The one most easily accomplished, I believe, is the exchange of literature.
In this holiday season we often celebrate by giving each other gifts. Might I suggest that we make a habit to share books from across the world with our friends and family? It will be a small step to help spread the goals of the Urantia revelation.
A new year is a time for renewal and change. Our International Service Board is in the middle of an election cycle that will welcome new volunteers into at least four of our board seats. We need new volunteers on our committees to help the new leaders transition into the global service they are preparing to undertake. I highly encourage each member of the Association to volunteer for some service at the local, national or international level.
Thank you for a wonderful year and I look forward to the continued expansion of Urantia Association International and the global Urantia Community. May you all have a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.
Alexandre Nakai, Cintia Angeles and Latin Youth Group Support
At the Latin American Conference in Brazil recently held in Guarulhos, Brazil, young readers from all across Latin America met to exchange experiences, get involved, have fun, and make decisions for the future. We see plenty of potential in these young people who express good ideals, genuine experiences, great talents, and a great deal of faith in the Heavenly Father. The entire event exceeded our expectations.
Youth coordinator Fernando Maldonado started a discussion at the top of Mount Pico Olho D'água, in the neighboring town of Mairiporã. The breathtaking landscape and feelings of a spiritual presence brought about an inspiring moment. Here, we began to tell each other a little bit about ourselves and our experiences, which proved to be an enlivening and moving encounter.
We feel that being a reader of The Urantia Book makes us different and, at times, we feel displaced as faith children of God who do not fit into any religious institution. Some of us have left our churches and often carry a tremendous emotional weight because of it. We were able to share our sorrows and experiences, but it was not a painful process, it was a relief. There were some who felt guided by the Spirit of God to reach that moment on the hill. We heard many similar stories of struggles in the arena of mind, difficult decisions through faith, passing through different religions, and various intellectual and spiritual pursuits, all of which have led us to the same common gift–The Urantia Book.
Some of us had read the book for only a short time, while others for decades. But the intellectual content seemed to be secondary to the feelings of gratitude and brotherhood shared by all. “We were all moved by a heartfelt passion,” said Anna Zeven, an International Youth Leader.
On Friday night we had fun with the beautiful rhythms of samba, salsa, and other Latin music, all conducted by the young Mateo Monroy.
The next day, the young people took the time to work together serving the revelation. Leaders from Urantia Association International held a meeting in which they encouraged us to make our own decisions about our future. Our Youth Goals for Urantia Association’s next international conference in Cuzco, Peru in 2021 were initiated with suggestions from Wilson Leon, Urantia Association’s Continental Coordinator for Latin America. After much discussion and lively debate, we managed to organize ourselves and to formulate our ideas and goals.
That afternoon, both youth and adults engaged in further discussions and reflections on spiritual sense, self-denial, and sharing. Although there were many disagreements and different points of view, we managed to overcome most of these difficulties through notions of self-forgetfulness and a strong sense of spiritual unity. These cooperative experiences must be lived by all who strive for spiritual progression. Indeed, nothing replaces practical learning.
By the end of the conference, we began to feel like a family, or friends who have known each other for a long time. We felt a strong sense of gratitude without the need for explanations or comparisons. Many people had worked hard to make this conference a success, and many others came from far away and struggled to be there, but it was all worthwhile.
Our goals were to foster a solid base of youth groups, entrepreneurship, volunteering, and transcontinental integration with youth strategies and spiritual adventures. We feel it is essential that all these efforts are motivated by spiritual purpose, a personal and genuine relationship with God, service to others, and offering support to the revelation. We believe that, through communion and spiritual discernment, all these goals cease to be mere human efforts and become the basis for real values, fostering ideals of faith, friendship, and integration.
At the end of our conference, Isabel Reinoso made a symbolic act by handing Michael’s flag to the young people. Her speech was inspiring and moving. Now the work goes on, and we will strive to keep ourselves integrated, serving each other and focusing on our goals. We have already set our eyes and spirits towards Urantia Association’s next international conference in Cuzco, Peru in 2021.
From Brazil and all of Latin America, we thank all our brothers and sisters for providing such an experience and for strengthening us in ways we could never have imagined. I hope that young readers across the globe can feel inspired to get more involved as well. We will be preparing and waiting for you. May the will of our Father be done.
A special thanks to the president of Urantia Association Brazil, Enrique Traver, who closely followed the youth group in Brazil. And a special thanks to all others who made it happen–Urantia Association International, Urantia Foundation, Urantia Association Brazil, private donors, organizers, speakers, visitors, spiritual beings and beyond.
Sebstian Nozzi, Germany
A Urantia Book readers’ conference took place in Italy, near the beautiful location of the Garda Lake from 5 to 7 October. It lasted from Friday evening (dinner and get-together) to Sunday in the afternoon.
The main goal of this conference was to bring Italian and French readers together. A minority of Spanish and Portuguese speaking attendees was also present, adding to the colorful mix of languages.
The main organizer of this event, Danielle La Scala, has ties with both the French and Italian Urantia Book reader communities. Although the Italian community is very enthusiastic and growing, it is still relatively new. The Urantia movement in France is older and more established, with more experienced longtime members. These conferences in northern-Italy (this was not the first one) have the goal of bringing these two groups together to foster learning, cooperation, planning and growing.
The subject of this conference was the “Teachings of Jesus” with focus on doing the Father’s will. We read not only from Part IV of the book but also from a very well-out out pre-selection of relevant material from other papers. The sessions consisted of reading selected passages, reflecting on prepared questions and discussing freely about what had been read. Cesar Paulo, a former president of the Brazilian Urantia Association, now living in Italy served as moderator; he is a valuable addition to this growing community.
We read the material in turns—each of us reading one to two paragraphs. It was an interesting experience to follow the text in our books, in one’s native tongue, and simultaneously hearing the same text read in another, yet very similar language.
After reading we held very intense and lively discussions (as you can imagine when you put Italians and French in one room together to deal with such thought-provoking subjects as those in The Urantia Book!) We were able to understand each other pretty well, often by relying on the language similarities, but mostly thanks to the tireless efforts of Danielle to translate the dialogue back and forth. Truly, the whole event would not have been possible without her awesome multi-language capabilities and her dedication. To her we give our gratitude and appreciation!
But, understandably, this intense translation task by Danielle took its toll after so many hours. A hilarious moment ensued when, all of a sudden, we heard Danielle translate from French … back to French! (She realized what had just happened only seconds later.) We all, including her, had a good laugh at the funny situation.
Much to my amazement during the entire conference we did not need to resort to English in order to solve language misunderstandings, as is often the case. It made me realize how far we were able to come with the combination of multi-linguists (which the authors of The Urantia Book call for as a means to world peace) and our common language heritage (Latin).
About the last day I cannot tell much since I had to leave early. It is my understanding that a more formal planning session was held, where the Italian community laid out organizational plans for their future (probably this is where the experience of the French was beneficial.) In the evening the group spent their time at the near-by beautiful Garda Lake.
For me, it was the first time I had met many of the French and Italian readers. It was very encouraging to see Italian and French (and Spanish) readers meeting, interacting and working together. It showed how language barriers don’t matter so much if you share higher common goals and values. It also serves as an inspiration to see members of neighboring countries (even with different languages) willing to meet and help each other, and certainly an example to follow and emulate elsewhere.
The atmosphere was of friendship and brotherhood. The presence of the French contributed much to the event, and I’m sure were also very valuable during the planning session. The Italian, although a small and young group, are already getting organized and heading in the right direction (also thanks to good local leadership of the likes of Danielle and Cesar). Taking all of this into account I can say that this conference was a great success.
It was a great experience, with a very beautiful group of people I got to know during our time together. I look forward to meeting everyone again sometime in the future, be it in Italy or in France.
European Continental Coordinator
Urantia Association International
Education Committee of Urantia Association International
Dear Siblings and Friends,
We on the Education Committee are getting in touch with you again through this article to bring you some inspiring testimonials about personal truth-seeking and growth, with thanks to the Urantia Association of Mexico for their service of disseminating the teachings of our wonderful Urantia Book.
The truth-seekers and students of The Urantia Book in Mexico find an open and free space to meet each other in the conferences and workshops offered by the Urantia Association. Here, they listen to good lessons, learn, discern, and cultivate friendships and spiritual brotherhood.
Here are some of the stories told by those who lived them (namely Norma Angelica Perez Arteaga, Hector Landin Vazquez, and Martin Guzman.) They speak for themselves.
I do not know what to do or where to look, but I have to do something to know more about God
by Norma Angelica Perez Arteaga, Mexico
Hello to all my Urantian siblings, my name is Norma Angelica Perez Arteaga, and I live in Mexico City. I am 50 years old and I am a housewife. I am the only Urantia Book reader in my family.
I have known of The Urantia Book for three years. In fact, the book reached my hands sometime before, thanks to my neighbour Mari, who lent it to me without mentioning what the book was about or what it really is. She just invited me to read it. At that point in my life, I had not decided yet to search sincerely for the Father, so I returned the book without reading it. I had wandered away from God; I was living without him. It was a very tough time in my life; I felt a terrible emptiness, as if I did not exist. It was something really unpleasant; I did not like the feeling.
Soon after, I felt I needed to know more about God and that I should do something to discover him. Then I said to myself, “I do not know what to do or where to look, but I have to do something to know more about God.”
At that moment, I got closer to the Father and asked him to forgive me. I was truly sincere in my communication with him. And then I had a wonderful experience–I felt an immense and overflowing happiness, which many of you possibly have also felt! Then I remembered The Urantia Book that some time ago was lent to me, so I asked my neighbor to give me the book again. That is how I started reading the book.
Since the book reached my hands, I knew this revelation really came from God. The book confirmed my own convictions about the truth, and thanks to the Father I have experienced a beautiful personal transformation that fills me with great joy. I have learned a lot, but I have yet much to learn and give to others in the fruits of the service to our Father and my siblings. My neighbor, who lent me The Urantia Book, is the wife of Alfredo Esquivel, the current president of the Urantia Association of Mexico (UAM).
Subsequently, I started to attend the conferences organized by the Association, for which I am eternally grateful to my siblings Alfredo and Mari because it was them who invited me to participate. I then made new friends and had the honor of meeting Martín Guzmán, the Education Committee Chair of UAM.
In my first year of attending the Association conferences, I met two beautiful people, Jeannie Vázquez and Jaime Díaz Page. I give eternal thanks to the Father for having known them, because they are awesome servants of our Father, just like Martin Guzman, not to mention the other members of the Association, lovely brethren who love us very much. They have helped me significantly to understand the book’s spiritual teachings.
I am deeply grateful to the Association for their steady work; they do not cease to serve everyone. The Association conducts workshops on the second Saturday of every month, and on the fourth Saturday of every month they organize conferences—all about The Urantia Book—which I love, and even though it lasts four hours, I do not feel the passing of time. Those are the happiest hours in my life! I consider the work of the Association excellent because they address The Urantia Book topics with great clarity, and the Governing Board has a genuine interest in our learning progress.
My life is different now. I can see and understand the real purpose of life, who we are, why we are here and, the most beautiful of all, who God is, and the truth that we are his beloved children. I am happy every day of my life because the Father has given me many opportunities, as I asked him in my prayer-worship, to know new brethren, to communicate his message—his gospel, and that God do his work within each one of them as he does it within me.
Dear siblings who read this article, I appreciate your attention and I look forward to serving you someday. I am at your service! A big hug in divine love to everyone!
I Was Virtually Branded as Crazy and Blasphemous
Hector Landin Vazquez, Mexico
When I found The Urantia Book, I didn’t think that there would be many people who had read the book longer than me. I thought the book had been written not so long ago. To my great surprise, I discovered there was a Urantia Foundation, a Urantia Association International, and even a Mexican Urantia Association!
I thought a lot before I decided to participate in an Association meeting, mostly because, when I began to read the book and to talk about it with my family, particularly my parents, they virtually branded me as crazy and blasphemous. Therefore, I thought, what kind of people are in this Association? Would they perform rituals, weird things? It gave me a great peace of mind to verify, when I dared to go, that there was nothing like that. Much to the contrary, there is a great respect for every Association member, despite sometimes that not all have the same point of view about the topic in study. And there is even more respect for the people who attend the meetings and do not know anything about the book but try to insert their own ideas that have nothing to do with The Urantia Book teachings.
When the president of the Urantia Association of Mexico, Alfredo Esquivel, invited me to participate as Dissemination Committee Coordinator, I got nervous. And I got even more nervous when I offered my first talk at the Saturday conferences, but I concluded that God gave me that opportunity for a good reason, it was not an accident. I still get nervous speaking at my presentations on Saturdays.
I sometimes worry about how the world is today. I perceive that we have a lot of work ahead to disseminate the knowledge of the book. We are like the twelve apostles who had not an easy task to do. But I know that our Paradise Father and our Sovereign Michael will give us the tools and incentives to carry out this task.
I always repeat to myself this phrase: “Father, give me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” And above all, I declare: “It is my will that your will be done.”
Greetings to everyone.
My Time of Service as President of Urantia Association of Mexico
Alfredo Esquivel, Mexico
I discovered The Urantia Book a little more than 18 years ago thanks to my search for God, which initiated some years before then. When I found The Urantia Book, my life changed immediately. It brought to me new spiritual realities after I discovered the truth that I had longed for so many years.
After reading the book for a while, I joined the Urantia Association of Mexico, and in this way, I started attending the study group organized by the Association.
In 2009, I was invited to join the Association Governing Board as President. In the chartering ceremony there was present Gaétan Charland—then Urantia Association International President—and James Woodward–at that time the Urantia Association Study Groups Chair.
The new Urantia Association of Mexico administration started from scratch because we didn’t have economic resources or secondary materials to provide service to The Urantia Book readers in Mexico. It was at that time when the writer Lucy Aspra, owner and director of the Cultural Centre, “La Casa de Los Ángeles” [The House of Angels, in English], provided us a space in her centre to hold conferences and offer a study group.
In the beginning, we organized conferences about The Urantia Book every three or four months. Since 2011, we host monthly conferences every fourth Saturday and a study group every second Saturday of every month.
In collaboration with my spiritual siblings Martin Guzmán, Héctor Palacios, Héctor Landín, Rogelio Rosas, Asael Núñez and Selin González, we have hosted conferences and workshops about numerous topics of The Urantia Book and carried out activities of dissemination.
In addition to these activities, we organize every August a National Conference to commemorate the birth of our Father-Brother Jesus of Nazareth (Michael of Nebadon). Since 2017, this event turned into the Mexican National Congress of The Urantia Book Readers.
To provide a better service and orientation to Mexican readers, we also publish articles, information about study groups, and notices on our website http://www.urantia-mexico.org.mx/.
My term of service as President of Urantia Association of Mexico has brought me great personal, intellectual and spiritual growth, giving me the opportunity to serve our siblings in dissemination, socialization, and communication of the book’s teachings.
I have been able to develop some aspects of my life by giving them more value and a supreme meaning and to attain a better development as a son of our Universal Father. I also had the opportunity to transmit The Urantia Book truths to our fellow readers and to my wife and my three daughters, to my parents, my seven brothers, and to neighbors and friends.
Each Step I Take, I Want to Give My Siblings the Father’s Love
Martin Guzman, Mexico
I come from a family with different religious beliefs, which instead of enlightening me misled me. And then I became an atheist. Over the years I experienced a great sadness that made me think my life had no meaning at all. One day, after my newborn baby girl died, in my despair I felt a great need to ask for help. I locked myself in my bedroom to cry, and then I begged with all my soul to God, asking him for a sign of his existence. I said, “God, if you exist, I thank you for allowing me to know my daughter; please take good care of her. Help me, if you exist, I want to know you.”
Fifteen days later, I found an article in a magazine, written by Antonio Moya, a Spanish researcher of spiritual deceptions, in which he spoke about a revelation called The Urantia Book, and which he couldn’t debunk. That got my attention, but at that moment I just discarded the magazine. Some days later I decided to buy the book because a friend of mine told me three times, “If I had money, I would buy that book.” At first, it was difficult for me to accept the book, because its content ran counter to my beliefs, and one day, I angrily decided to destroy it. At that moment, a thought stopped me, “There it is what you asked for, take it or leave it!” Then I decided to leave behind everything I was taught and began to read the book.
At first, as I was a skeptic, I said to myself, “I have to catch this book in some lie.” Finally, it turned out that the book caught me because, through my life experiences, I understood that what we read in the book is true. When I consecrated my life to the Father, I began to really understand the book. What gives it more credibility is my personal experience in my relationship with God and the Spirit of Truth.
The Urantia Book teachings have changed my life completely. In it, I found the answers I was looking for. And the spiritual meditation of communion with the Father gave sense to my life. Some years later, I was walking on a street in Mexico City when I saw an announcement about The Urantia Book in the door of a cultural center, and I went in without a second thought. There I found a study group hosted by the Urantia Association of Mexico. In that group, I learned to socialize the book’s teachings.
I became a member of the Mexican Association in 2008, and presently I serve as Education Committee Chair. My work consists in disseminating the book’s teachings in virtual or in-person study groups, workshops and conferences, interacting with readers through questions, quotes to foster study, and orientating readers to help in their spiritual approach to the Father’s presence within them.
I walk the streets all the time in my job, and there I find many homeless people. Frequently, I try to converse with them and, if they are receptive, I try to make them reflect about their lives and think about what led them to live in that way. I tell them, if they know the Father in their heart, their life would be different. I always present the Father in a simple way, and when they feel love and attention, they often cry when sharing with me their hardships. I have seen the Father’s and Jesus’ love doing wonders in them.
One day, I was seated on a bench in the Zocalo Plaza of downtown Mexico, reading The Urantia Book, when a young man, dirty and poorly dressed, approached me. He was a drug addict. He asked me if I was reading the Bible. “No,” I answered. The boy stared at me. Then I asked him to sit at my side on the bench. I asked him why he was in such a sorry condition. He said to me that neither his parents nor his wife wanted to see him; that he had a son, but his family was angry with him because he took drugs. I asked him if he would like to see his child intoxicated with drugs. He said he wouldn’t. Then I asked him, “What would you do if your son takes drugs?” He said, “I would try to help him.”
Then I asked him, “Why do you help others and don’t help yourself?” He answered, “It’s just that I love my son.” I said to him, “And you do not love yourself?” He thought for a moment. I told him, “Your parents love you, everyone in your family loves you, but it hurts them that you take drugs. Besides, you have a Heavenly Father who loves you and lives in your heart. If you ask him for help sincerely, rest assured that he will hear you. And you will get it, and that will open the gates of his kingdom for you.”
Then the boy dropped the drug he was inhaling, approached me and burst into tears. I hugged him, even though he was covered with dirt, and I cried too. I said to him “The Father loves you, open your heart to his love.” Then I read him the story of the young man who was afraid, and the boy dissolved into tears.
He said to me that he wanted to return home with his family who lived far away in another state, but he had no money. I lent him some money saying, “It depends only on you if you are really sincere, that you use this money properly and rectify your path in life. Run to your family, ask their forgiveness and return to your new path of righteousness.” He promised he would. I never saw him again.
I have had many experiences like this one in my service to my siblings in need. At Christmas and New Year, my family and I share our dinner with many homeless people. We also give them a message about the Father’s love, with which I try to awaken their consciousness to unite their will to the will of God. The love of the Father does wonders when he touches man’s heart. I have seen the change in the lives of those people. I do this because Jesus always “went about doing good.” This is what I have learned; at every step I take, I want to give the love of our Father to my siblings.
Esperanza Tovar, Colombia
During the six days of the Feria del Libro de Pereira 2018 (Pereira Book Fair), from October 2 to 7, 2018, about 20,000 people entered the Convention Center of Pereira, also known as Expofuturo, to enjoy the event. We found that a surprising number of people throughout this coffee growing region know about The Urantia Book or are reading it independently.
Volunteers gathered in the midst of a beautiful landscape, with a slight aroma of coffee in the air and a cozy family atmosphere. They were led by Elaine Restrepo, with the help of the Urantia Association of Bogota. In all, there were fourteen volunteers from Cali, Santa Rosa de Cabal, Bogota and, of course, Pereira.
Of all visitors, over 5,000 were students from different municipalities of Risaralda and the neighboring municipality of Cartago. These young people showed a great interest in knowing The Urantia Book, both for the many topics it contains and for the message it conveys.
We distributed about 4,000 flyers in the form of a brochure, as well as 2,000 leaflets with more detailed information to those who showed greater interest, and another 1,000 cards with contact information to those who are reading the book or who expressed an interest.
We were pleased to make the revelation known and, in this process, to deepen knowledge, practice the teachings and, above all, to grow in consciousness.
Urantia Bogotá Association Secretary
Norma Caicedo, Colombia
The Urantia Book was presented at the Cali International Book Fair in Colombia, which took place in October 2018. Our mission was “… Revealing God to Men…” following in the footsteps of the Master, Jesus.
The book fair brought together 776 publishers, 93 exhibitors, 48,000 publications and 231,234 visitors. For the first time in Cali, the Urantia Association of Cali (Uracali) and the Urantia Association of Colombia, along with 13 volunteers, distributed 10,000 small illustrations of The Urantia Book and 2,000 pamphlets containing book quotes as a way to disseminate its content and to provide a means of future contact for those interested in fraternizing.
Over the course of ten days, more than 200 people expressed an interest in The Urantia Book, along with related study groups and conferences. Many were unaware of our organization and our work in the dissemination of the book and it was a great opportunity to bring together new readers.
As part of the Book Fair, we made a presentation entitled “Introduction to The Urantia Book,” which 70 people attended. And a local radio station asked us to give a talk about the book to a foundation that helps addicts, for which we drew on Urantia Book themes and ideas related to personal development. Altogether, 50 people attended this event and three books were donated.
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.
We are committed to following up with those who have shown an interest in The Urantia Book, and we have planned a talk as a continuation of our work at the book fair. We are assured, as always, that we will be guided by the celestial helpers.
Urantia Association of Cali, Colombia
Karmo Kalda, Estonia
We are pleased to announce the 2nd European Urantia Conference that’s being held in Tallinn, Estonia, 11 – 14 July 2019.
The theme of the conference is: “Sowing Seeds– Qualitative Internal and Quantitative External Growth” and we will be focused on how we can grow internally in spirit and externally in numbers. We welcome readers from all over the world.
On the Friday and Sunday, the program will concentrate on spiritual growth potentials; on Saturday the focus will be on growing the numbers of readers. We will present experiences from different countries in Europe and other continents, examining what they have done to find new readers and to form new study groups. Following these presentations, our workshops will focus on developing new plans to attract readers. Workshops will be organized into smaller language groups.
The Estonian Urantia Association (Eesti Urantia Assotsiatsioon – EUA) will be hosting this conference, which will take place at the Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel in Tallinn, Estonia. The main language spoken during the conference will be English, but If your native language is not English and it is difficult for you to understand it, you should know that we plan to translate all presentations into several different languages (depending on how many volunteer translators we find) and have them available at the beginning of the conference as printed text.
The conference website can be found at: www.urantia.ee/conference2019 and will give you further information about the program, registration for the event and reservation of your hotel room. In the upcoming months more information will be available on the website.
Start planning your trip now to attend this conference and explore the best-preserved medieval city in Northern Europe – Tallinn, boasting Gothic spires, winding cobblestone streets and enchanting architecture.
Sign up for this beautiful event and receive an Early Bird discount of €60 if you register before the 1st of March 2019.
Click on the following link www.urantia.ee/conference2019 to register for the event and to book your room.
Call for Action
So we may reach Urantia Book readers from all over the world, we ask if you would please share this announcement with readers in your country and help us to promote it on your local websites and social media.
On behalf of the Estonian Urantia Association (EUA) and the organizing team for this conference, I look forward to meeting you and offering you a warm welcome.
With best regards,
Vice President of the Estonian Urantia Association (EUA)
Phone: +372 5 200 300
Sandra Naranjo Cabezas, Ecuador
In the house of spiritual retreat “San Fernando” located in Ballenita, Santa Elena, Ecuador, the second National Urantia Conference in Ecuador 2018 was held from October 6 to 8 with the theme: “A Spiritual Experience in Urantia.”
The event was led by Sandra Naranjo Cabezas, President of the Urantia Association of Ecuador (Asociación Urantia Ecuador or AUEC) with the collaboration of the conference coordinator, Jaime Chiriboga, Vice President, Efraín Vivanco, and members of the board and other students of The Urantia Book.
Forty-one readers arrived from different cities of Ecuador and from abroad. It was good to observe middle-aged and young people in attendance.
The objectives of the conference were:
- To meet other readers of The Urantia Book
- Exchange experiences
- Get answers to our questions about life
- Practice living in the “here and now”
In addition, a chartering ceremony was held for the inauguration of the Urantia Association of Ecuador.
This was an excellent conference with very interesting topics. The program began with words of welcome and an initial talk on the theme topic by Sandra who has a degree in languages and chose this topic because of her experiences of 20 years as a Urantia Book reader since 1998.
Also presented was: “The Human Race” by Isabel Reinoso, President of Urantia Colombia; “Genesis of the Universe and Cosmic Realities” by Tamila Ragimova, PhD. in Physics, Moscow University, resident in Medellin, Colombia; “The Planetary Escape” by Efrain Vivanco, statistician and Vice President of AUEC; “Beings of Light” by Jorge Duran; “Messages from the Universe” by Ronald Chávez, among others.
Other activities included: a traditional and cultural ceremony of our country, directed by Alfonso Solines; active meditation exercises such as Taichí and Chi-kung for health in the open air by the sea, directed by teachers Pak Fu and Jaime Chiriboga. There was also a social event directed by young singers of the group including dance and fun. Artwork was presented, with colors and brushes of the spiritual creativity of the participants directed by Urantia Book artists of the Inti and Milton group.
We enjoyed a beautiful walk in the Marclub of Punta Blanca with pools and slides where we shared our brotherhood of Urantia Book readers.
On the last day a roundtable was held where questions and comments relating to the conference were discussed.
Chartering of Urantia Association of Ecuador
The AUEC invited everyone to the House of Retreats Immaculate Conception, in the Valley of the Chillos – Quito, to attend the chartering ceremony of the inauguration of the Urantia Association of Ecuador. We are pleased to be affiliated with the Urantia Association International (UAI) and appreciated the presence of Urantia Association’s President, Chris Wood, and Membership Chair, Luis Garcia-Bory.
Finally, our thanks go to Xavier Alvarado Robles manager of the TV channel INTI TV Network and to Marcelo Guerrero, who recorded the entire conference including an interview with questions and answers on topics from The Urantia Book featuring Tamila Ragimova, Efrain Vivanco, Francisco Ramírez, Gorki Barreto, Isabel Reinoso, Israel Urresta and Sandra Naranjo. This interview will be broadcast by INTI TV to many countries such as the United States, Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama.
Gaétan Charland, Quebec
Having been involved for many years in the development of study groups both internationally and in my sphere of local activities within the Urantia Association of Quebec, I realize that despite all the efforts of many committed readers, growth of study groups is proceeding very slowly.
I believe there are several causes for this slow growth, some necessary and others not so necessary—even harmful in some cases. For the mission of the revelation to flourish on our planet, we must put into place all the strategies and advice that the revelators offered us, and we must be wise and discerning in the application of these strategies. Successful study groups are an essential part of these strategies to integrate the teachings of The Urantia Book successfully throughout the world.
Possibly because study groups have been an integral part of the landscape since the Forum days at the beginning of the Urantia movement, it’s easy to become complacent about creating, maintaining, improving and participating in study groups. But this is certainly not the only cause of a weariness that many have developed in relation to study groups. The revelators have, in a way warned us about our ability or inability to deal with a revelation associated with human evolution where they said:
“(You) who have dedicated (your) lives to the service of the book and the Brotherhood can little realize the import of (your) doings. (You) will doubtless live and die without fully realizing that (you) are participating in the birth of a new age of religion on this world.” [The Publication Mandate]
They go further in their desire to guide us in how we should proceed with the mission of spreading the good news by telling us:
“The future is not open to (your) mortal comprehension, but (you) will do well to diligently study the order, plan, and methods of progression as they were enacted in the earth life of Michael when the Word was made flesh. You are becoming actors in an ensuing episode when the Word is made Book. Great is the difference in these dispensations of religion, but many are the lessons which can be learned from a study of the former age.” [The Publication Mandate]
What did Michael/Jesus do in his day that we can learn from and apply today? He first created a group of twelve apostles (students) whom he trained as educators. In fact, Jesus simply created a study group where each student was invited to learn and integrate new ideas, new concepts and, in turn, become teachers. Let us remember that these apostles were mostly ordinary people with normal education levels, very similar to many of us.
If we study and learn how Jesus organised and taught his apostles and disciples so they were well-prepared to take his message to the world, and compare it to what we do in our study groups today, can we see a resemblance? Are we helping students of the book become prepared for the spreading of the fifth epochal revelation? Are we allowing for plenty of room for discussion, answering questions and the sharing of diverse experiences? Or are we just intent on reading with an emphasis on completing the paper without allowing for the flexibility of exploring the deep meanings and values with each other? Jesus didn’t simply dictate his message and ask his followers to memorize his words; rather after an intense teaching session he sent them out to be of service to others to teach and to practice what he had taught them so that the lessons could be deeply integrated into their hearts and souls through first-hand personal experience.
How can we hope to make the study groups effective and attractive if our groups are only of an intellectual nature—if they have simply become just a kind of monotony of repetition of reading made without deep reflection? I’ve come across some groups whose sole purpose is to do a complete reading of the book every year. If that is the driving goal, how much time is there for discussion and exploration? How much effort is spent by group hosts in making their group inter-active, dynamic and attractive? These questions deserve honest examination if we truly wish to make our study groups a welcoming place that provide the necessary ground-work that meets the criteria needed to carry out the mission of the revelation.
We must focus our efforts on training teachers (not just any teachers—they must be among those who truly embody the teachings) and to train students who will also integrate the lessons of Jesus into their hearts, minds and souls. Let us not forget that when we teach the truth, it is Jesus who is with us, it is he whom we represent, so let us at least try to live up to his expectations.
Have a good study group.
Study Group Committee Chair
Urantia Association International
Check out Urantia Association International’s Events Calendar at http://urantia-association.org/events-list. Upcoming events can be viewed in a List or Calendar view.
Urantia Book reader events provide opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of the ideas and concepts presented in The Urantia Book and help to facilitate a personal commitment to the ideals of spiritual living. We hope you can make it to some of these events and experience the joys of meeting and studying with fellow readers.
If you’re planning a Urantia Book reader event in your region and would like help in promoting it, please send us your information and we’ll consider it for our Events Calendar.