Tidings – December 2020
|Image by Alex Prykhodko|
In This Issue
Chris Wood, USA
This year has provided a lot of time at home with my family. And not just that quality time that everyone likes to talk about, but big solid chunks of quantity time. I have watched my ten and eight year old sons adjust to this year of isolation with good cheer and acceptance, but at the same time I recognize that they are becoming wound up like a coil and when this pandemic lifts they will spring out into the world with untold energy.
There’s a question the kids often ask my wife and me in a variety of ways which ultimately boils down to, “Why does God let people die? Why doesn’t he let everyone live forever?” And we try to answer it the best we can. We try answers like, "People don’t really die, just their bodies do," but that doesn’t really answer their questions. We then try to get them to see things from God’s perspective by using an analogy like, “Each morning we make them change their clothes, and although it can be a challenge at times, we don’t feel bad for the set of discarded clothes. Well, God thinks of our bodies in a similar way.” He cares about us, but he doesn’t mind when we need to change our bodies. I don’t know if that really helps the kids or not, but it sure gets me thinking about what mortality looks like from God’s perspective. How does God view this year of Covid? How do our seraphic guardians view this challenge?
It seems like a document from the ancient past now, but about a year ago I wrote down plans and goals for the year 2020. There would be continental conferences, a major conference in Vancouver, Canada, trips to visit budding Urantia communities in Africa and Europe, and celebrations of new National Associations in Latin America. Instead, the story this year is a contemplation on patient endurance.
A Divine Counselor tells us, The religion of Jesus is salvation from self, deliverance from the evils of creature isolation in time and in eternity [5:4.5]. That same Divine Counselor implores us to recognize that the watchword of the universe is progress [4:1:2].
It’s easy to be enthusiastic about the growth of Urantia Association International by traveling the world to meet with fellow readers. But this year has shown our ability to remain enthused while staying home. Global webinars have brought new friends together and allowed us to socialize our continued spiritual growth. The facts of isolation have not become an excuse for inaction. We continue to grow and progress in our attempts to bring the fifth epochal revelation to the world. I hope our seraphic helpers are pleased by our ability to adjust and adapt, but not slow down our mission to bring the good news of the gospel to the world.
On 24—25th of April next year the global community will come together to celebrate the virtual version of the 2021 International Conference, bringing an experience of Peruvian culture into your home. I hope you will be able to join us for some quality time celebrating these teachings we all hold dear. And I also look forward to the day when we can all meet again and enthuse in some quantity time together.
International Conference Committee
April 24 to 25, 2021
For many, the CV-19 pandemic has caused havoc, and for those of us in Urantia Peru who have been organizing the planned 2021 Urantia Association International conference in Cusco (Peru) for a long time, it has clearly presented a great challenge. However, it has also presented us with a great opportunity. This crisis has allowed us to analyze the important reasons why we should not cancel this international conference that has been in the planning stages since 2017.
|Image by Carlos Chirinos|
Just as the Father guides us in different ways along our spiritual journey, with his help we have been able to find another way to produce this conference by adapting to the changed circumstances.
We saw that the theme chosen for this international conference—Towards Cosmic Citizenship, Your Time Has Come—could be just as successfully addressed in a virtual format. By doing this, it means a larger number of readers and friends of The Urantia Book from every part of the world can attend and be connected with one another. In addition, we can now call on new speakers and workshop facilitators from distant countries—people who may not have be able to attend a face-to-face event.
Much of the work that has already been addressed to ensure a high-quality standard for our well-deserving attendees, applies to the virtual format as well. Although virtual, it will be equally effective and efficient.
As a result of this challenge, we decided to become more familiar with digital technology; we have undertaken many training sessions, attended meetings on different digital platforms, and consulted lots of young people who are very familiar with digital technology. All this has helped us to consider and assess advantages and disadvantages, and to find the best way to make this event beneficial to all.
So today, with much joy, we can confirm that this important event will take place on April 24-25, 2021 and will be free of charge! We intend to use images of Cusco—our original planned site—as a place that shows the legacy of the violet race.
There will be speakers of all ages representing most continents. The conference will last two days and each day will be composed of two main sections—inspiring presentations and practical workshops. We will provide virtual networking rooms for those who wish to fraternize with one another, and we will also have an opportunity to virtually explore parts of Cusco.
Music will not be absent as some talented artists will be participating in the conference. As a matter of fact, we’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to invite any singers and musicians who are willing to perform and inspire us with their art, to send us an e-mail with a sample of your work as an audition.
Likewise, we call for volunteers of all ages from any part of the world, who speak Spanish, English, French and/or Portuguese to join with us to become part of our virtual working team.
This event will truly be a unique opportunity to convene and unite—what better way to make this happen seeing as the time has come for us to head “Towards Cosmic Citizenship!"
Urantia Peru President
Conference Committee Chair
Urantia Association International
Jean Annet, Belgium
On September 27th, a little more than a month after our Creator Son’s birthday on August 21st (COVID obliges) we met in a small group to celebrate our Master Jesus. The hygiene situation did not allow the meeting of large groups, so we took the opportunity to strengthen our fraternal ties.
The meeting began with a convivial meal where we shared the dishes that each one had brought. It was also an opportunity to see the new generation grow and develop. The young Marion (12 years old) has participated almost every year in the group of the Belgian association and Anouchka and Eugene’s little daughters, Solène and Nola, are growing up with parents who are fervent readers of The Urantia Book.
In the afternoon we started a spontaneous study group led by Agnès Lazar and our friend Guy Perron from Quebec. It was extremely enriching, especially since one participant was the wife of a long-time reader, but not a reader of the book herself. She shared with us how we can sometimes gargle with big words and beautiful theories about the book but that reality does not always follow the word. It was an opportunity for a frank exchange on the theory and practice of the teachings of the book.
We may have read many times passages without putting it into practice. We remembered how much better it is to act and to develop and manifest the fruits of the spirit without necessarily having a great knowledge of the book, than the other way around.
Then we took a picture in Jean and Isabelle's new Urantia garden. The day ended with another meal, each of us wanting to make the most of this fraternal reunion.
The ABFU, the Association Belge Francophone d'Urantia exists since 2004 when Gaétan Charland and Gary Rawlings came to Belgium to formalize the existence of the association within the ranks of Urantia Association.
In nearly 15 years, the members of the association have developed several reading and study groups, given numerous conferences around The Urantia Book, participated in fairs, organized study days on topics from the book and proposed almost every year festive meetings around August 21 to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.
It currently has about 30 members, although some are no longer very active. We can estimate that about a hundred people have participated in one or another of the organized activities over the years.
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Discover the world's most advanced and revelatory teachings of the nature of God, the structure and organization of the universe, the different forms and levels of cosmic reality, the myriad orders of divine personalities, and your personal relationship with God.
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Deepen your understanding of the profound meaning of the life and teachings of Jesus which perfectly demonstrated the way of living wholly in faith-trust in God and doing the will of the Universal Father.
UUI’s Self-Directed Study provides an opportunity for new and advanced students of The Urantia Book to begin to master the content of individual papers, explore resources, apply knowledge, and actively engage with the meanings and values of the revelation. Here’s a quick tour of what the courses look like.
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James Woodward, USA
Hey, let’s go to God’s place! That may be a figure of speech but it’s for real—there is a place (outside of time and space) we can go without traveling, without planning, and without any tickets or travel documents. It’s a place both within us and without us. Our sincere desire to go there is the precious personal passport that ensures our reservation and assures our destination.
When we sit quietly and go within, our friendly travel guide welcomes us and opens the boarding gate to the friendly universe. We don’t know how this works because it’s like spiritual magic; the unparalleled experience of personal communion with God does not depend on knowing the mystery of how it works. This is a very good thing for us tadpoles! We are indwelt with a fragment of God—like a divine fractal—so when we peer deeply into that unified particle of Fatherly LOVE we discover God’s infinite cosmic realities and his personal presence is revealed to us according to our capacity, intimately known by our inner soul-mate. When you exercise the spiritual courage to pray for even a tiny sliver of divine bandwidth, to enter the holy temple of true worship, be prepared to be revelated!
The amount of God we can experience is determined by our capacity for reception, which is conditioned by a bundle of factors driven foremost by our progress in adopting favorable conditions for contact, and augmented by the sincere motive to share friendship with God. As with any personal relationship, it requires spending time with the person we desire to know, even to love. The friending process is the same for persons we can see as for persons we can’t see. Persistence in seeking the Father develops a divining process in us; we become more like the one we worship.
This spirit familiarity—literally getting to know our spirit family—unfolds in the arena of mind, for our thoughts do lead us Godward. So often we resist the divine for pretentious reasons, including our fear of the unknown and shame in our human imperfection. Let that nonsense go! Assisting us in ceasing to resist is the mission of our pre-personal spiritual coach. Obey those instructions!
The more we know of God, the more our fears are replaced with love, both for the loving person of God and our fellow persons who need our love. The more we realize a greater capacity for this incoming and outflowing love, the more we realize God consciousness. These feelings of love take origin in our thoughts and the entire divining process is accelerated when we focus on the Father. The content of our thoughts about God, even our human confusions about deity, are of no real concern because we are gifted with Mystery Monitors who adjust our immature notions of God and magnify our humble adoration of the Heavenly Father. This spiritual technology encourages experimentation as surely as it defies explanation.
And it all begins with the decision-choice to head on over to God’s place. Enjoy your stay!
Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. — Genesis 28:16
Ed Owen, long time Urantia Book reader, beloved friend to many and husband of Susan Owen, recently passed away on the 23rd of November. Susan wrote, “Ed began his journey across the universes and the cosmos yesterday. He was ready to leave this earthly plane on his eternal adventure. He had 86 good years on this planet full of an amazing variety of friendships and experiences—he had so many wonderful stories to tell. He held his friends close and was able to say goodbye to many. He loved to tell people “I am a son of God and you are my brother/sister.”|
Susan served on the International Service Board as Secretary for ten years and both she and Ed have been a much loved and respected dynamic duo in the Urantia Book reader community. Ed will be greatly missed, and our hearts and prayers go out to Susan at this time of her loss.
As word of Ed’s passing circulated on social media, many loving replies from friends were received. Here are some excerpts:
Ed Owen, a good friend of mine and a husband to a very dear friend has passed away this week. Ed was one of those human beings who left a very good impression on you. Always joyful and passionate about the many things in life that interested him, painting, golf, teaching and many other interests. His wife Susan Owen survived him and will keep the memory of Ed alive till her meeting with him again in the afterlife. Good and safe travel my friend to the other world.
John and Jane Ploetz:
One of the best weeks of my life was spent with Ed. We drove together from southern California to Salt Lake City for the Parliament of the World's Religions in 2015. We stopped for a hike in Bryce Canyon National Park on the way. Ed's deep compassion for other people was matched by his wacky sense of humor. He had a wonderful ability to connect with all kinds of people. His long life was full of adventures and now he is launched on the greatest adventure of all. We will miss you, Ed, but we know that we are all just passing through this world. God is in charge and He called you to begin your journey. I have no doubt I will see you again and we'll serve together in a better world than this. Our prayers are with you, Susan. You were the light of Ed's life.
Ed Owen and I met in 1974, the year after I found the book. And then I forgot… but he didn’t forget about me. Ed organized a “Urantia Book Meeting,” like an introductory meetup. He wanted to promote the book and put up flyers. I was very curious to meet other readers and showed up. There were 6-8 people there and Ed was working it, talking up the book and taking some questions. He asked me how much of the book I’d read and seemed quite surprised when I told him the whole thing. It was years later that he confessed he hadn’t yet read the whole book and was very impressed to meet someone who had!
More than 25 years later, this unfamiliar person came up to me at a conference and said, “Did you ever go to a Urantia Book meeting in Palm Springs in about 1974?” It all came rushing back to me, a lost memory, as I had been a solitary reader for almost all those years. But here was Ed telling me, “I was that guy who organized the meeting and you blew me away by showing up having read the entire book.” I was amazed that he remembered me. What an incredible memory! So we reconnected and many times reminisced that first meeting. He became a true and trusted friend and steadfast colleague for these many years. Such friends as Ed Owen make life truly worth living. I rejoice that he is now healed and look forward to our continuing journey.
There are too many memories to pick from. Ed was like family to us. He always had wisdom to share, something funny to say and everyone that met him loved him. How lucky we were to have him in our lives.
I am so lucky to have had lots of conversations that were enlightening with Ed. I'm sure he is hanging with Rembrandt about this time. Stay safe and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
You were and always will be a friend, a mentor and a pillar for helping me throughout the years I was fortunate to spend with you on Urantia Earth.
Ed was a gentle soul. He was very easy to talk with and kindness immersed from him… Our memories can be treasured forever until we meet our loved ones again in eternity. Sending love and prayers your way for you and Ed!
My dear Ed.... we see you off on your journey through the universes.... you enriched our lives with undying friendship, many hours of smiles and provocative thought.
Carolyn Kendall, long time Urantia Book reader, Forum member, faithful and loyal servant to the revelation, a pillar of strength, and beloved friend to many in the Urantia community, recently passed away at the age of 88 on the 7th of November after years of poor health. |
Carolyn was the youngest Forum member, joining in 1951 after graduating from high school (her father was also a Forum member having joined at the beginning of the Forum days). A few months after joining, Carolyn began working for Dr. William Sadler as a receptionist for his psychiatric practice and, from him, she heard firsthand about the origins and ongoing project of the Urantia revelation which began in the 1920s and ended in the ‘30s. She continued working for Sadler until 1954 when she left to begin a family. Carolyn’s husband was Tom Kendall who served as a Trustee for twenty years. For ten of those years, he served as the Foundation’s President.
Over the years, Carolyn served in numerous positions of the former Urantia Brotherhood. She was a founding member of the First Society (1956), elected to the General Council (1967) and served two terms, chaired the Fraternal Relations Committee (1975), and elected Vice President (1982). She also served as an Associate Trustee of Urantia Foundation (2003 – 2006).
Carolyn was a valuable source of information on the history of the early days of the book and Urantia movement. Being the youngest member of the Forum, she has been able to share—right up to recent times with the current generation of readers—her firsthand knowledge of people and events of those early years.
Carolyn recorded a presentation on the history of the Publication Mandate for Urantia Association’s 2014 Study Group Symposium. It can be viewed on the Association’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_XJ7-0In8E
Carolyn will be greatly missed by her friends and family. We wish her God’s speed and look forward to meeting again on the mansion worlds.
For those who want to send their condolences to the family, please send your message to this postal address,
Carolyn Kendall (in memoriam)
1400 Salvington Place
Wheeling, IL. USA, 60090
Olga Lopez, Spain
I always had the idea of writing in my head, and as a child I wrote a few short stories, but I also had the impression that I needed years of reading and experience to even consider writing a novel. Having read great authors gave me great respect for the writing process, and I felt that they all set the bar very high.
So I continued to read and learn, from books and from life, unconsciously waiting for the time to write something worthy. In my search for Truth (with capital letters), I found The Urantia Book, which was for me the answer to all the important questions that every human being should ask at some point in his life. I felt that I had reached the end of my search; I could read many other books, but they were hardly going to transform my life in the same way as this one.
But it still took many years before I realized that I had to write about what I believed in. I thank my good friend Eduardo Altuzarra, who suggested that a novel should be written so that it would present the teachings of The Urantia Book in such an enjoyable way that whoever reads it would feel impelled to search for the source. Yes, I know that Benitez's novels (especially the Trojan Horse saga) have already taken care of that in the Spanish speaking world, but I thought that The Urantia Book teachings needed to be expressed in another way, and I felt that I could take care of that task.
So one day, without even being sure that I was going to finish the novel, and after my fortieth birthday, I felt that the time had come to start writing something seriously. In what I call my "notebook of ideas," I wrote a synopsis of the story, a brief description of the characters, and a list of topics I wanted to discuss. And this way, little by little, I began to weave the conversations between the main characters, Michael and Sofia.
In this first novel, the fundamental basis was the dialogue between the characters. In my studies of philosophy, I came across the dialogues of Socrates and Plato, which were a great source of inspiration for me, especially in the way they conveyed the ideas of the authors. In fact, the name Sofia is a kind of homage to Greek philosophers, and comes from the Greek Σoφíα, which means "wisdom." And about Michael... well, you know why this name is so special to us!
As I threaded the dialogues, I realized how difficult it was to link topics, but I really enjoyed the process and did my best to make the conversations flow. Finally, in January 2007, I wrote the last sentence. I remember that moment very vividly. Then I felt the great satisfaction of having achieved one of my goals. But the hardest part was left: that others would read it. I had many doubts: Would others like it? Would they understand it? Had I managed to convey what I wanted? Most of my doubts were dispelled when Paco, my soul mate, read the novel and told me he had liked it very much. But of course, I thought, what is he going to tell me since he is my husband? Although I know that if he had not liked it, he would have found a way to tell me without hurting me, there was still a little corner left for doubt.
So, after correcting some mistakes that Paco had detected, I sent the file by email to some friends (those who appear in the dedication), who gave me very good impressions and advice. I corrected a few more things that had gone unnoticed, and from that moment on I began to take the steps to publish it on paper.
I keep with great affection the e-mails of the people who have contacted me to tell me how much they have liked the novel and the change it has meant for them. Interestingly, I thought the audience for the novel would be people who have not heard of The Urantia Book, but the publicity, restricted by the circumstances, has made the readers of the Big Blue Book very appreciative. I know many of them have given away copies of Dialogues with Sofia to their family and friends in the hope of arousing their curiosity to learn more. For that alone, I am more than satisfied.
With this first book, I realized that once the task of writing is finished, the book is no longer yours. It takes on a life of its own in such an intense way that now, when I re-read it, I feel as if someone else has written it.
Thanks to some reader friends (Fran, Alex, Gabriel, and Jay), “Dialogues with Sofia” is now available in English, German, and Korean. And the translation into Hebrew is on its way!
This novel is free in electronic format. These are the links to download it for free:
- Spanish (Diálogos con Sofía):
- English (Dialogues with Sofia):
- German (Im Dialog mit Sofia):
The Kindle versions are available at Amazon.com. Paperbacks are available through Amazon and Lulu.com. Just look for the title!
I always say that I write the books that I would like to read. There is little left to invent in terms of ways to tell a story, but there is a lot to do in terms of the stories that need to be told.
The world needs to know Sofia and be introduced to The Urantia Book teachings!
In loving service,
Alain Cyr, Canada
When Richard E. Warren sent me this book last spring, I read it and enjoyed every page. This romantic narration from him, as he mentions, was inspired from facts about Adam and Eve that we can read in The Urantia Book. Upon reading, I truly felt I was walking in their shoes for a while and this procured me a new and uplifting concept about their mission on Urantia.
My intention in presenting this book to you is not founded on any mercantile aspect but rather to have it known so all can enjoy reading the story. It is now available on Amazon in English, Spanish and French.
The Tidings newsletter is a quarterly on-line publication that serves as Urantia Association International’s primary communication tool for reaching out to the Association’s membership, supporters, donors, volunteers, and general readership friends. It provides news and information on the many activities and events of the National and Local Associations around the globe as well as information and announcements from Central Office, the International Service Board (ISB), and the Representative Council (RC). It serves to keep members in touch with one another and gives readers a sense of belonging—of being an integral part of a truly international movement that is designed to promote the Urantia revelation to all corners of the world.
Note: Tidings also occasionally provides news of other Urantia-related activities and events that may be of interest to our supporters and friends. Please note that any interpretations, opinions, conclusions, or artistic representations, whether stated or implied, are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Urantia Association International, the National or Local Urantia Associations, or the editorial team of the Association’s Tidings.
Grass Roots Level
The number of National and Local Associations scattered throughout the world is steadily growing and collectively they undertake service activities that have the ability to inspire and motivate others; activities such as study conferences, regional gatherings, study groups, dissemination programs, educational programs, outreach projects, and the development of study aids and newsletters. These associations are the lifeblood of Urantia Association International—they function at the grass roots level where effective service and dissemination of the revelation takes place.
Share Your Stories
There are thousands of readers with unique personal stories about how they found The Urantia Book and how it has changed their lives. There are hundreds of study groups all over the world that can share stories and encourage readers to either create a study group of their own or participate in one. These stories need to be told and Tidings provides an effective platform for the sharing of such activities.
If you would like to share your stories please submit your material to the Chief Editor. Topics may include:
- How you found The Urantia Book
- Special projects such as Book Fairs, Library Placement, Outreach
- New or established study groups—how you got started—what keeps you going?
- Your annual meetings, picnics, or other social gatherings
- Send pictures
- Chief Editor: Kathleen Swadling
- Co-editors: Mark Blackham, James Woodward
- Online and hard-copy English newsletters: Mark Blackham
- Spanish translator an online Spanish newsletter: Olga Lopez
- French translator: Alain Cyr and collaborators
- French online newsletter: Alain Cyr
Submit articles to the Chief Editor and please understand that they may be subject to revision. Please limit them to approximately 1 to 1½ pages (700 to 1400 words) plus one or two photos.
The world is changing fast and Urantia Association International is in a unique position to foster the Urantia revelation in so many ways. With localized teams in the form of associations springing up across the globe, we are ready to help anyone, anywhere, to study and spread the teachings that we all hold so dear.
|Artist: Carlos Rubinsky|
The Association has only one paid staff member to manage and coordinate our worldwide activities. All other services are rendered by devoted students who donate their time (and often their treasure) to the projects that help bring us closer to our heavenly Father. Thank you to our faithful volunteers and donors!
Here is a selection of ways to donate to Urantia Association:
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Visit our website to access our secure online donation form at: https://urantia-association.org/donate
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Urantia Association International
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Many different forms of donations and gifts are possible. Urantia Association’s IRS 501(c) (3) tax exempt status allows us to accept gifts that can also serve the financial interests of generous supporters. All direct contributions in all forms may be claimed as tax-deductible charitable contributions on United States Tax Returns. Certain gift forms, such as highly appreciated properties, stocks, or taxable IRAs can also help the donor reduce tax liability while also providing an income tax deduction.
Click here to read more about Planned Giving and to view our Gift Maker’s Guide. The gift forms and strategies described in this guide are well documented and have been used for many years by millions of donors to support thousands of charities, institutions, and non-profit organizations.
In November of 2019 Bradly Tharp, Urantia Association’s Chief Financial Officer (who is also a Certified Financial Planning Practitioner and Chartered Financial Accountant) presented an online seminar on Planned Giving Strategies. Click this link to view the seminar: Planned Giving Strategies Seminar
Members of the International Service Board (ISB) are elected by a vote of the Representative Council (RC). The officers and committees of the ISB and the Executive Administrator plan, coordinate, and carry out the activities of Urantia Association that are international in scope and have been authorized by the Representative Council. They also serve as an information resource for the constituent associations by compiling and sharing information and experiences of other associations. Read on for the list and functions of the current ISB personnel.
International Service Board Personnel
Click here for more information on the work of the ISB committees.