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Tidings – June 2015

Sunrise Warriewood

In This Issue

President’s June 2015 Message

Chris Wood

Chris-Wood-framedBeginning this summer and continuing for the next three years, Urantia Association will encourage an in-depth discussion on the role of teachers in the Urantia community, how we can better identify natural teachers, and how we can train all students of the book to become teachers in their lives.

Central to this discussion is the question: Is it possible to measure and quantify depth of understanding?

It is much easier to measure breadth, the wide reach of The Urantia Book, its teachings and our community. We can count the number of study groups in any given community, nation or the world. We can count the number of conferences, of affiliated members, of recipients of our newsletters, and we can use this data to measure our growth.

This year we celebrate 60 years since the first publication of The Urantia Book and the first attempts by the Urantia community to organize and socialize its teachings. From those early groups in Chicago, our reach has expanded tremendously. The Urantia Book is now available in 17 languages, 26 countries have joined Urantia Association International and 12 more countries have organized communities on the cusp of joining. Analyzing the data from the last 60 years, we can see some years were stagnant, in some our growth appeared over-rapid, but with the perspective of time we can look back and see the steady progress that has led us to this moment.

But has the depth of understanding of the Urantia teachings increased? Bill Sadler, Jr. was one of our community’s first teachers, and when I listen to the tapes of one of his lectures, I am blown away by his depth of knowledge and how he could synthesize these 196 Papers and share dynamic truths held within. I had the honor of viewing the first index of The Urantia Book which was done on index cards held by wall sized card catalogues filled with references throughout the book. Think of the knowledge and dedication needed to create such a feat. Today, when I leaf through Ken Keyser’s copy of The Urantia Book which is filled with decades of notes and cross references, or I attend a lecture by Chris Halverson in Boulder, Colorado, USA, a presentation by Jaime King in Bogota, Colombia, or a Skype meeting with Jeffrey Wattles Gospel School, I am amazed at the depth of teaching available in our community.

How do we harness it? How do we train people to be better teachers, to add to the library of knowledge that our young community is building? This summer in Quebec we will focus on the family relationship and how it reflects our relationship with God. As parents, how do we teach depth of understanding and relationship with God to our children? True, we can expose them to wide varieties of religions, we can send them to religious classes every week, we can pray with them in nature – all measurable and quantifiable activities. But how do we teach our children to take the next step and explore depth of meaning?

A healthy community grows in both depth and breadth. If we focus too much on expansion with no effort put into depth of study, then the community is wafer thin and easily broken. If we become too focused on depth of study, we become insular and off-putting to new students of The Urantia Book, and our community will die within a generation. What are we doing at the Local, National, and International levels to balance our community and safeguard these teachings?

I hope we can discuss some of these questions in depth in person in Quebec, or at other conferences and gatherings over the next few years. We can all be energized by the challenges ahead!

In service,
Chris Wood

Urantia International Conference – Quebec

Gaetan G. Charland

UAI 2015 logo_13a30 July–2 August

There are only a few weeks left before Urantia Association’s International Conference in Quebec. If you have not done so, please register now by clicking here to visit the event’s web page. There you will find all the information you will need to register, including directions to the venue whether you come by car, plane, or bus.

This might be your first time attending such an event and your expectations might be very high. You will not be disappointed! The program will provide ample opportunities to satisfy the intellect as well as your spiritual needs. Not only does it focus on child education, but it also explores the fostering of spiritual maturity in everyday living. While all workshops are planned to compliment the plenaries, we will also explore diverse views of The Urantia Book.

The speakers and workshop facilitators are all long-time students of The Urantia Book; they were chosen because of their experience with education at all levels of life and for their devotion to the teachings of The Urantia Book.

The biggest challenge for the conference organizers has been the sponsorship of international readers, especially those from Africa, South America, and Asia. Many have been refused entry to Canada even after providing all the necessary information. We have received fifty-four requests for financial aid, and we are doing our best to assist them. We are pleased and feel blessed that we have been able to help many attend. Thank you if you have supported this good effort!

We are embracing our challenges and hoping you will join us for this international event. Do not let this unique opportunity pass for it might not happen again in your lifetime. Quebec, Canada, is an amazing place to visit in the summer months—especially if you like lakes, forests, fishing, whale-watching, or simply enjoying Quebec’s hospitality as well as its unique French culture. Please come visit us and REGISTER NOW

Gaetan G. Charland
Event Coordinator

Summer Meeting 2015 in the UK

Chris Moseley

Hosted by the Urantia Association of United Kingdom & Ireland

UK Summer Meeting venue

Friday August 21st to Sunday August 23rd

Ty’n Cellar Farm, Margam, South Wales

Theme: The Times of the Bestowal

Every year, at some point in the summer, British Urantia Book readers choose a rural retreat somewhere in the British Isles to spend a weekend in a calm, relaxed atmosphere. This is a time when we enjoy sharing meals and studying a particular aspect of The Urantia Book in-depth. It can happen at any point in the summer season, depending on when our chosen venue is available. This year, we have extra cause to celebrate, because Jesus’ birthday falls on a Friday.

Please come and join us for this very special Jesus’ birthday celebration. The event will be held at the lovely peaceful retreat of Henrietta’s Hall, located at the Ty’n Cellar Farm, Margam, South Wales.

The South Wales Coast, with its attractive beaches and small towns, is just nearby and the venue offers a cozy setting for our celebration of Jesus’ bestowal on our planet.

It’s not too late to join us. For booking accommodation contact the venue directly via their website at www.tyncellarfarm.co.uk.

For more information email either:

Chris Moseley: [email protected]
Gary Rawlings: [email protected]

Tidings – June 2015

Sunrise Warriewood

Women’s Retreat

Line St-Pierre

Line St-Pierre PhotoSeptember 10-13, 2015 – Urantia Foundation, Chicago

The Urantia Book informs us that as we are led by the Spirit of God, we are Daughters (Sons) of God.

Have you ever acted upon an inspiration of value that brought you great (spiritual) joy? In their next retreat, “Dancing with God,” four Daughters of God have put together a program in which the participants will explore questions such as:

  • How do we understand and experience the fact that women are the moral and spiritual torchbearers?

  • What is our next evolutionary step as women in upholding and expanding this responsibility?
  • How have we come to know and experience God’s gifts and wisdom expressed by women?
  • How do we become aware of the sacredness of our gifts of body, consciousness and personality?

If you wish to join us, please contact Line St-Pierre [email protected] for further information.

 

The Importance of Study Groups

Susan Owen

Susan OwenI had the pleasure of attending the Study Group Symposium held last June in Madison, Wisconsin. I came away with some great ideas; but the biggest thing I ended up with was a number of big questions arising from these statements in the Publication Mandate, “An early publication of the Book has been provided so that it may be in hand for the training of leaders and teachers.” “Thousands of study groups must be brought into existence…”

Pretty good advice, but I wondered – could study groups be the vehicle by which the training of leaders and teachers most easily takes place? How do we find and identify these teachers and leaders? I don’t see any in my study group. Well, maybe a few candidates, but really… do we need training? And what would we be training them to do? We have been reading together for over 35 years and we are doing just fine.

These questions continued to haunt me, as I have faith that the revelators would not have given us such instructions if it wasn’t important. As my study group began reading Paper 99, I thought, “boy, these ‘religionists’ of the future are sure going to be something.” But more questions arose. Does the social, economic and political reconstruction described in the first three sections of Paper 99 have anything to do with the “present ideological struggle” referenced in the Publication Mandate? Do we need these ‘religionists’ now during our current ideological struggle? Are these ‘religionists’ the teachers and leaders spoken of in the Publication Mandate?

I recently came across a presentation given by William Wentworth from Australia at the 2012 International Conference in Medellin, Colombia entitled “We Teach What We Are.” After reading it, I recalled many of the passages in The Urantia Book that ask us to bear the fruits of the spirit, to consecrate our will, to supremacize our desire, to know God and strive to be like Him. And suddenly it was so clear. Every one of us who studies and cherishes the teachings in The Urantia Book is that ‘religionist,’ that teacher or that leader who needs to be trained. That’s you and me and our study group members! We are the ones who go out into our neighborhoods, communities, clubs, businesses, volunteer positions, churches, synagogues, and mosques all around the world. We are the ones who are tasked with training ourselves to be the best ‘religionists’ ever. To teach and lead wherever we find ourselves, every day of our lives. And how do we learn to do this? I opine by study and practice, practice and more practice – in the safety and community of our study groups. We learn from one another, and teach one another, in turn.

And we do all of this without ever mentioning the book. For me there is not a single other project more important to the success of the Revelation than this one. Just imagine the power of generation after generation preparing themselves in study groups around the globe and taking Jesus’ gospel message and the teachings of the Fifth Epochal Revelation to the world.

What are some of the teaching and leadership skills we can learn and practice that the study group environment can facilitate? A study group might consider some of these ideas:

  • First and foremost is:
    • In-depth study for a well-balanced understanding of the basic teachings in the book.
    • Supporting each other in the personal quest “to know God and to become like Him.”
  • Practice speaking skills by:
    • Giving a short presentation to the group on the next section from the book.
    • Taking turns in talking about your faith, your personal religious experiences or how you will apply what was just read in study group.
    • Making a video to critique yourselves so you know how you sound and what you look like.
    • Taking turns praying out loud.
  • Practice listening skills by:
    • Engaging in role play focused on the listener acknowledging and clarifying what was just said. This skill takes a lot of practice.
    • Making it a rule of your study group to listen, acknowledge, summarize and clarify what was said before introducing a new idea.
  • Prepare by:
    • Studying and comparing the Bible and Koran to the teachings of Jesus’ religion in order to learn to take the best as a foundation for sharing the gospel, just as Jesus did with his first six apostles.
    • Role playing actual or anticipated conversations.
    • Learning to pose thought provoking questions.
    • Learning to tell stories that illustrate your points, ideas, beliefs, personal experiences.
    • Seeking opportunities to become more comfortable speaking to others individually or in a group.

Susan Owen
Palm Desert, CA

International Study Day Reflections

Various Study Group Hosts

On 16th of May study groups met for the annual International Study Day. This year we read Papers 160 and 161 – Rodan of Alexandria and Further Discussions with Rodan. Following are some reflections from several of the groups that met.

Canberra Visits Sydney

Sydney SD verandaThe plan was for the Canberra Study Group to visit the Sydney group for a joint Study Day. In the end only two of us made it, but it was a great day and we were impressed with the turnout of the Sydney group and the way in which it conducted its meeting.

The study was of papers 160 and 161—the discussions with Rodan.

The usual questions about Rodan’s  identity were raised with no-one being any the wiser, and the presentation of his philosophy drew the admiration of most of us, bearing in mind that Rodan had constructed it from his own interpretation of prevailing Greek thought following only some preliminary conversations with Jesus.

It is sometimes not entirely clear whether the Midwayers are quoting Rodan more or less directly, or whether they are adapting his philosophy to more modern interpretation, but whatever the case, a very creditable result is presented, one which is substantially in keeping with Jesus’ teachings.  And following Nathaniel’s astute reasoning to convince Rodan of God’s personal nature there seems little to suggest that Rodan’s position differed much from what Jesus was teaching the apostles.

Sydney SD BeachMost of us knew these papers fairly well, and there were some spirited discussions and quite some fun in trying out different speculations.

Congratulations, Sydney, for a thoroughly enjoyable and instructive study. 

Regards,
William Wentworth, Canberra

Buenos Aires, Argentina

We did get together on the planned day and we read paper 160. It was a good reading and we were motivated to talk a lot on Rodan’s teachings… they truly bring a lot of tips to live a better life and we got many good clues to keep advancing with our spiritual evolution. This paper has a lot of value and it is good to read it on and on… We didn’t have time to go through the other proposed paper even though we studied for five hours! So Paper 161 became our task for our following meeting which was Saturday, June 6th and we completed the reading… also with a lot of talking and analysis. We’ve been six readers on each encounter, and we did enjoy the study.

Thanks a lot for keeping on going on with this International Study Groups Day. We have followed your proposal since the beginning of it and we look forward to staying on the same track. Everyone was very satisfied with your choice. Thanks a lot!! May your chosen paper for next year be as inspiring as these two!

Best regards and much love,
Carlos Rubinsky

Tasmania

Tassie Study GroupWarm greetings to all my fellow students of The Urantia Book scattered around Australia and indeed around this amazing planet called Urantia. Over the past few months, our little study group here in Tasmania has more than doubled in size….we now have six regular attendees at our fortnightly meetings with several others coming along intermittently.  It was a real joy to come together on the Study Day weekend knowing that we were part of a worldwide movement of truth-seeking people desirous of learning more about this remarkable Greek philosopher named Rodan, “one of the greatest of his race.”

The Revelators were clearly impressed with this man’s understanding of truth, beauty, and goodness; they devoted a whole paper to his philosophy of life! There was so much to talk about but here are some of the precious ‘gems’ that we discovered:

Animals know not the meaning of life; man not only possesses capacity for the recognition of values and the comprehension of meanings, but he also is conscious of the meaning of meanings—he is self-conscious of insight. [Paper 160:1.5, page 1773:2]

Only a brave person is willing honestly to admit, and fearlessly to face, what a sincere and logical mind discovers. [Paper 160:1.7, page 1773:4]

You simply must have tact and tolerance. [Paper 160:1.9, page 1774:1]

I am deeply impressed with the custom of Jesus in going apart by himself to engage in these seasons of solitary survey of the problems of living. [Paper 160:1.11, page 1774:3]

This worshipful practice of your Master brings that relaxation which renews the mind; that illumination which inspires the soul; that courage which enables one bravely to face one’s problems; that self-understanding which obliterates debilitating fear; and that consciousness of union with divinity which equips man with the assurance that enables him to dare to be Godlike. The relaxation of worship, or spiritual communion as practiced by the Master, relieves tension, removes conflicts, and mightily augments the total resources of the personality. [Paper 160:1.12, page 1774:4]

And so much more…

Regards,
Julian McGarry

Forum Online Meeting

Forum Study DayIn addition to meeting with my local study group, I was privileged to be asked to facilitate an online study group, via Urantia Association International’s website Forum. This enabled students and readers throughout the world who are isolated or unable to attend a local study group, to meet together and discuss the Rodan papers by posting their comments on the forum. I personally benefited enormously from this role because it meant that I had to go over the material very carefully in order to be properly prepared for the comments of my brothers and sisters in far-flung corners of the globe. This arrangement is still in its early days; with greater publicity, a team of translators, and a longer lead time, it has the potential to become a very useful and popular provision, especially for those who have no access to other readers in their locality.

Love and best wishes to you all!
Julian McGarry

International Book Fair in Bogotá, Colombia

Andrés Ramírez

Bogota BF 4In April 2014 and 2015, the Bogotá Urantia Association had a booth at the International Book Fair of Bogotá. This annual event is for 15 days and typically has around 500,000 visitors. The Bogotá Association had the support of the Urantia Association International, which provided 167 Urantia Books in 2014 and 100 copies in 2015. This article describes our experience and lessons learned that may be useful for other associations around the globe wishing to engage in these types of events.

This was not the first time that we have participated in the International Book Fair of Bogotá; in past years we rented a small space from a bookstore that owned the booth and who set the selling price of the books. While this arrangement was not ideal, we were able to meet many people and made useful contacts. An added benefit is that our volunteers learned how to talk about The Urantia Book with strangers, and gained experience that prepared us for the 2014 and 2015 events. Our ultimate goal was to have our own booth; and that was made possible in 2014 thanks to a combined effort between the Bogotá Association and the International Association.

Bogota BF 6Our booth was 3×4 meters in size and displayed a poster of the Master Universe and one of The Urantia Book, a TV with video introductions playing, a showcase, a table with chairs and many copies of The Urantia Book in hard and soft cover editions. Plenty of flyers were available with the description of the book and with selected quotes and our contact info. Most importantly, 30 volunteers worked throughout the 15 days of the book fair.

Talking and interacting with so many different people about The Urantia Book is an indescribable experience. Taking the fifth revelation to so many avid minds and hearts was amazing for us. Very often there were many of us talking with people at the same time, and occasionally we became short of volunteers because of the amount of interest. During the times when an honest truth seeker was captivated by our description of The Urantia Book and decided to buy their own copy, there was pure happiness in the heart of our volunteers. In 2014 we made 90 personal sales and approximately 100 to wholesalers. We expect to sell many more copies in the near future as a result of the contacts we made and the information that we shared. There is much that could be said about the amazing stories involving the people who approached the booth. They were amazed, touched in their hearts, grateful, and many other feelings were expressed. We discovered that the world is more ready than we thought for The Urantia Book teachings, and young people, in particular, are very interested.

Many of us had some experience talking to people about The Urantia Book, mostly from past book fairs; others were first timers. In any case, we all gained a lot of new experience. Words began to flow more easily and we learned to know people better and how to gain their attention and touch their souls. We know for a fact now that you really need this kind of intensive experience to improve your “speech” when approaching someone to talk to him about The Urantia Book. It takes that training in order to learn to avoid common mistakes many of us make when talking about The Urantia Book. For example; how not to seem a fanatic; how to give the best message in two or less minutes; what are the central points you should focus on; what is the best answer for many common questions. One of the results of this great experience is that a couple of us created a 7-minute introductory video, entitled “El asombroso Libro de Urantia” (“The Amazing Urantia Book”).

Carlos Rincón met us 4 years ago at the fair (and surprised us with his tattoo, look closely). Today he is one of the most active volunteers in the Fair and a member of the Bogota Association.

Carlos Rincón met us 4 years ago at the fair (and surprised us with his tattoo, look closely). Today he is one of the most active volunteers in the Fair and a member of the Bogota Association.

The people we met at the fair were very diverse; some had already read the book; others had not heard of it at all. Of course, there were people who were not interested in the subject. Many people are afraid to get involved with some sect of religion, so it is good to make it clear as soon as possible that The Urantia Book is of a spiritual nature, but not a sect or a religion. Let people know that it is about developing a personal relationship with God. Many of our volunteers learned about our Association at a book fair. During the fair, we announced a free introductory talk that we organized to occur about two weeks afterward.

We are planning to come back every year for the International Book Fair of Bogotá again with our own booth.

The results derived from the 2015 Book Fair are:

  • We interacted with around 1500 people; the time of the conversation varying between 20 seconds with some people to 30 minutes for others. We had around 30 volunteers involved.
  • We distributed 8500 flyers and encouraged people to download the book from our webpage.
  • We collected 240 emails from people interested in receiving news from the Association.
  • As participants we had the opportunity to give three talks to a total of around 100 people, most of whom did not know about The Urantia Book.
  • We met many devoted readers who were feeling isolated and so were very excited about our Association and who could be potential future members or leaders.
  • We made new contacts with bookstores willing to buy boxes of books.
  • We sold 140 books distributed as follows: 60 books on a person-to-person basis (unfortunately we didn’t have a credit card reader and lost around 40 sales) and 80 copies to bookstores.
  • We gained experience in talking with people, in organization and in service.

We strongly recommend national and local Urantia Associations to participate in events and to enjoy the amazing experience of talking to people about a personal God within them; an organized creation; a new and unknown history of the planet and about an unknown and astonishing Jesus. We are very grateful to the International Urantia Association for their support and we are ready to share more of our experience with readers willing to start those projects. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Urantia Association of Spain Meets

Carmelo Martinez

Spanish Meeting of Readers - Group PhotoThe Urantia Association of Spain held its 14th meeting of readers from April 30th to May 3rd, 2015 in the wonderful and historic city of Cartagena. About 40 readers from all regions of Spain attended. We were also joined by the International Service Board Conference Committee Chair Antonio Schefer who came from the Netherlands to share this valuable time with us.

This year, we again used the 4 day/3 night format, which we had used in past years, and based on attendees’ feedback, it was very successful.

The theme this year was “Agora Nostra,” because it was our intention to re-create those public squares where people shared their views and ideas such as was often done in the ancient Greek culture. We also had a theme of using social media to disseminate The Urantia Book. We have already recorded and uploaded to the Internet some videos with presentations and discussions about several topics, such as the afterlife, personal religion, the life of Jesus, etc. These videos last about 20 minutes and are designed for readers and others who are familiar with the book. We also plan to make additional, 3-5 minute videos for non-readers. The idea is to give some revelation “pills” with topics of general interest in the world today, as a way to draw the attention of those seekers who don’t know The Urantia Book yet.

Spanish Meeting -Meeting RoomThursday April 30th in the afternoon, I welcomed all the attendees and presented the meeting program. I explained a bit about the meeting theme and the meaning we wanted to give to it, as well as the dissemination project using social media.

Friday May 1st in the morning we had two interesting presentations. The first one was Appearance on the Cosmic Stage of Matter and Energy, by Santiago Rodriguez, and the second one was The Scribe from Damascus, by Demetrio Gomez. Saturday May 2nd in the morning, Francisco Fuentes discussed Time and Space. Our Universe and the Universe of The Urantia Book, and Gines Aviles talked about the problem solving technique proposed by Rodan of Alexandria.

On Friday afternoon, we had a workshop about the controversial Paper 72, Government on a Neighboring Planet, which raised a heated discussion. And on Saturday afternoon David Carrera made a stunning and brilliant presentation about the dichotomy Reality-Unreality, drawing a Spanish Meeting - Workshoppicture that he called “the first practical map of the greatest and unique treasure that we take from this life: the soul.”

All the presentations were followed by public discussion on their subjects, which were always enlightening. The next issue of our newsletter, Luz y Vida (Light and Life), will be dedicated in its entirety to the meeting and will include summaries of the presentations and the subsequent discussions.

In the evening after dinner, meditation sessions were facilitated by Mariano Perez and then, following a very Spanish habit, instead of going to sleep, we took the opportunity to mingle with old friends and discuss interpretations of the revelation we have not understood. Given the fact that this is not part of the formal program, and with absolute freedom as to format and duration, we humorously called these moments “territorio Comanche” (Comanche territory), even though things never became violent.

Sunday May 3rd in the morning we had a Question and Answers session about some topics in The Urantia Book and the general assembly of members of the Urantia Association of Spain.

After lunch, we said goodbye, as always, with happy memories and longing to remain with each other. But now there are fewer days left until the 15th Meeting! See you all in Bilbao, the city of our next meeting in 2016.

Carmelo Martinez
President, Urantia Association of Spain

Blue Club Meeting in Frankfurt

Christian Ruch

Readers at the Blue Club Meeting

Readers at the Blue Club Meeting

It was a small but interesting crowd which came together in Frankfurt, Germany on the weekend after Easter to meet for the fifth Blue Club meeting. Never heard of the Blue Club? It is a private, non-institutional fellowship of European Urantia Book readers – from the south in Spain to the north in Finland. Five years ago some people had an idea to talk, exchange experiences and to have a good time together in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. At the first meeting in 2011 (also in Frankfurt) someone had the idea to call this get-together the “Blue Club” – as blue is the Urantia color.

After having met last year at a larger conference in Berlin, this year it was again Frankfurt’s turn to host a smaller meeting. The hotel there already knows the “Urantian” people quite well because this hotel is also the place where German readers meet every year at the beginning of November.

Being together in the Blue Club always gives you a feeling of “coming home.” It is good to share the experience that you are not alone in your enthusiasm for The Urantia Book; that there are other readers all over Europe. As these words go to print I have learnt that there is now a small group in Italy, which used to be a white spot on the map even though the Italian translation has been around for some years.

But besides cultivating friendship and brotherhood there was also work to do: The Blue Club started planning a larger European conference to take place from 15 – 18 September 2016 in Budapest, Hungary. The topic will be Who is Jesus?

Regards,
Christian Ruch,
Chur, Switzerland

Readers Meet in Brazil

Cesar Paulo

Brazil Meeting Jun-15The Brazilian Urantia Association met in Canela, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on May 23, 2015, at the home of our host Edison Arpino Torres and his wife Susana. We are always received warmly and are welcomed to join together in search of knowledge and to share our insights gained from reading The Urantia Book.

Everyone in the group looks forward to this valuable time every month. We are united in our pursuit of strength and enlightenment with the mutual objective of understanding how best to do the will of the Father. Thanks to everyone who actively participated in sharing The Urantia Book’s teachings, and experiencing the special presence of the Spirit of Truth. We all share a sincere desire to follow the path to a new reality during our lives on earth, and prepare ourselves for the eternal and progressive journey.

This meeting was dedicated to the subject developed by our sister Jeannie Vázquez de Abreu, “Wise Leadership for Effectively Promoting the Urantia Revelation”.

Our next meeting is scheduled for June 27, 2015.

There are also weekly and bimonthly meetings of face-to-face Study Groups of The Urantia Book in the Brazilian cities of Canela, Caxias do Sul, Gramado, Porto Alegre, Novo Hamburgo, and São Francisco de Paula.

We hope that these examples will serve as motivation for the formation of new study groups everywhere in Brazil, and thus contribute to achieving the mandate to form thousands of study groups.

Feedback from a Urantia Book Recipient

John Zavala, Jr.

Note from the Editor: This is a letter sent to us from an individual who is incarcerated and received a Urantia Book as a result of the Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT) program. 

Thank You for Your Support

John Zavala, Jr.

Of all the prison ministries that I have had the privilege with which to participate, none have been more of a benefit to me than the Prisoner Inquiry Response Team, or PIRT.

This team is made up of volunteers and is a subcommittee of Urantia Association International’s Dissemination Committee and works very closely with the Urantia Foundation. They provide an invaluable service to the incarcerated by supplying them with Urantia Books and related literature. When I was introduced to The Urantia Book in 2009, I wasn’t given much information about its history. How did this book originate? What was its purpose? I had only a borrowed copy and even then, I had it for only a few hours.

Paging through The Urantia Book in that short period generated emotions that were uncharacteristically surreal for me. And very timely. Previously, I had read, and in many cases, studied, an unbelievable number of philosophical, scientific and religious texts. I did so for several reasons, one of which was that there were no books that gave me a sense of complete fulfilment. I wanted to have a greater understanding of things. Can you imagine the satisfaction I felt when I discovered that The Urantia Book’s Table of Contents is, itself, over 60 pages long?! At that point, I knew I had arrived at the literary place I sought to be.

So I wrote to the Foundation in Chicago and it wasn’t long thereafter when I was contacted by a PIRT volunteer. Not only were all my questions answered, but the correspondence eventually led to the blessing of receiving The Urantia Book itself. It truly was a blessing because I could not afford to purchase a copy at that time.

Though the incarcerated have made mistakes, it is never a mistake to share The Urantia Book with them. Minds behind bars really are like diamonds in the rough; all they require is some careful polishing. The Urantia Book provides just that. That is why I never fail to share this literary gift with everyone I chance to meet. I am one of the many examples of what can happen when there is support from an organization like Urantia Association International and the PIRT program.

For instance, without the encouragement of the PIRT volunteer, I would not have had the resources to start my study group. We read, study, and memorize important passages. (I myself have memorized the entire Table of Contents.) We quiz each other. We discuss important social issues of the day and reference The Urantia Book for understanding. We’ve even been contributing to the creation of an exhaustive index which, it is my hope one day will be keyed to a numbering system that will pave the way for an analytical dictionary and reference work.

I was also encouraged to publish a paper in the Journal, which you can read in December’s Issue (2014), as well as a piece by David Linthicum, one of the charter members of PIRT. In his article, there are several testimonials about the great things that have transpired in the lives of inmates who have been recipients of PIRT’s generosity.

It is difficult for inmates to purchase copies of The Urantia Book outright. To show our appreciation, my study group takes up a stamp collection when it can to send a gift donation to PIRT or when we need to purchase a new book. Your donations and considerations go a long way in helping the incarcerated like me. We are profoundly grateful for the generosity you have shown and it inspires us to be generous with the knowledge of The Urantia Book with others.

Sincerely,
John Zavala, Jr.

Side Note from the PIRTeam:

This message was unsolicited by our PIRTeam, but is actually quite timely. Our group is in the process of placing Urantia Books in prison libraries across the United States. The last time there was a major seeding of books to prison libraries was almost 15 years ago. These books are no doubt in poor condition or no longer on library shelves. We have noticed that there is a direct correlation in the number of book requests from in-mates right after a book seeding with incoming orders slowly declining thereafter. We are at that juncture right now.

Inmates tell us all the time how grateful they are for having received The Urantia Book; their letters speak volumes. Here is one of those letters:

“The paragraphs [in The Urantia Book] explaining the “Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man” deeply touched my soul. Reading it not only confirmed my deep-seated belief that every individual is uniquely precious in the eyes of our Father; he/she is also irreplaceable and is destined to play an essential role in the ascension scheme.  I matter! ME… an inmate, a convicted felon – I mean something to our Father. I am a member of his divine family and I am an integral part of the divine Brotherhood of Man. And no one, absolutely no one, can take that away from me. Can you feel what I am saying?! It is amazingly and incredibly beautiful to know that I am valued by our Father and that he has done, is doing, and will continue to do everything that he divinely can to ensure my opportunity to personality-fuse with my Thought-Adjuster and become a meaningful contributor to the universal creation scheme.”

This letter exemplifies how an inmate’s life has found meaning. PIRT is truly making a difference in bringing the Urantia revelation to where it is most needed, giving incarcerated men and women the opportunity to know who they are in the universe. It’s a priceless gift. To read more about the PIRT program click here.

Our team of volunteers has a limited amount of funds to work with. Our current budget will only allow us to seed 20 books this year. We’d like your help to send more. The act is truly ours and the consequences God’s.

Donate Online

Or Send to:

Urantia Association International – PIRT Fund
c/o Margaret Thompson
559 West Diversey Parkway, #351
Chicago, IL  60614-7640

Testimonial Video from Ukrainian Reader

Richard Jernigan

 

Anton Miroshnichenko

Anton Miroshnichenko

It’s an honor to share with you this latest clip on UrantiaFilm featuring Urantia Book reader Anton Miroshnichenko. Anton has been instrumental in spreading The Urantia Book throughout his home country of Ukraine. In particular, he and fellow Urantia Book readers last year imported 270 Russian translation Urantia Books amidst the uncanny complexities of exporting foreign goods to Ukraine.

When I was interviewing readers at the European Urantia Book conference in Berlin last
summer, Anton shared his thoughts on camera in English, and at the end of the interview he requested to say a few words in Russian, which you see in this video.

Anton’s statement is a powerful testimony of how these teachings can be a catalyst to spiritually transform even the most questioning mind.

Says Anton, “For us, and for any human on this Earth, it is so important to understand who we truly are, and The Urantia Book clearly tells us everything about this.”

Blessings,
Richard Jernigan
UrantiaFilm

 

International Service Board at Work

ISB Secretary

2015 1st Quarter Activity Report

The International Service Board (ISB) conducts the daily business of Urantia Association International. Its members, elected by the Representative Council (RC), include the following: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Chief Financial Officer (all of whom form the Executive Team), and Chairs of the following committees: Membership, Communications, Dissemination, Education, Conference, Study Group, and Translation. The officers and committees of the ISB as well as 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.

The following describes some of the activities undertaken by the ISB members in the first quarter of 2015:

President

Chris Wood, who is also acting Fundraising Committee Chair, chairs the Executive Team, and is the liaison with the leadership of Urantia Foundation and the Fellowship, attended and made a presentation at the Lone Star Urantia Association regional conference in Argyle Texas in March and provided special training on the 3-Year Plan for the newly elected ISB members.

Vice President

Merindi B, whose term expired at the end of March after serving two full terms, was also the Chair of the Representative Council. She provided information and guidance for a smooth transition to the new Vice President and RC Chair, Andres Ramirez. She continues to serve as a team member of the 2015 International Conference Financial Aid team.

Chief Financial Officer

Bradly Tharp is also a member of the Fundraising Committee. The 2014 Year-End Financial Statements were completed, as well as the annual Treasurer’s Report. Significant revisions to accounting procedures and processes have been implemented.

Secretary

Susan Owen, who is also a member of the Education Committee and the Website Management Committee, continued to provide meeting minutes and action points for the monthly ISB meetings, posted January and February ISB meeting minutes and 2014 Year-End Financials to the RC, submitted the 2014 RC Meeting Minutes, and provided training for the new ISB members.

Membership Committee Chair

Gary Rawlings, whose term expired at the end of June after serving two full terms, provided for a smooth transition to the newly elected Membership Chair, Anton Miroshnichenko who joined the board in April. Gary welcomed eleven new members into the Association, and worked with three teams who are aspiring to become new Associations, as well as with three Local Associations who are aiming to become National Associations.

Communications Committee Chair

Vern Verass, whose term expired at the end of March after serving two full terms, made a smooth transition to the newly elected Communications Chair, Kathleen Swadling who joined the board in April. The first online issue of Tidings was posted and translating of the website began in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian and Russian.

Education Committee Chair

Sheila Keene-Lund advised the topical index of the Tidings and Journal articles is almost complete and the committee has begun gathering and discussing ideas for a Teacher Training Symposium.

Conference Committee Chair

Antonio Schefer took office at the end of December and has selected his first committee members, Olga López Molina, Tamila Ragimova and Mike MacIssac. He has completed the review and fixed the audio problems on all the 2011 Leadership Symposium videos. Antonio attended a Blue Club conference in Berlin in March and is making contact with and planning to visit all of the European Associations. He is also on the 2015 International Conference Financial Aid team.

Translation Committee Chair

Chris Moseley continued to look for volunteer translators and to provide translation services to the ISB, RC and the website.

Good Tidings Event Updates

2015 Urantia Association International Conference—Quebec, Canada

July 30–August 2, 2015
Progressing from Human to Divine—Revealing Ourselves to God
Bishops University in Lennoxville, Quebec
Canada
For more information visit http://urantia-association.org/2014/11/01/2015-urantia-association-international-conference 

United Kingdom Annual Summer Meeting

August 21–23, 2015
The Times of the Bestowal
Ty’n Cellar Farm B & B, Margam
South Wales, United Kingdom
For more information email:
Chris Moseley: [email protected]
Gary Rawlings: [email protected]

Dutch & Flemish Urantia Book Readers’ Meeting

August 21, 2015
Morontia
Groot Kivietsdal-Baarn, The Netherlands
Hosted by the Netherlands Urantia Association
For more information visit: http://urantia.nl/21aug/2015_aankondiging.php

Italian Urantia Book Readers’ Meeting

August 29, 2015
Discover The Urantia Book
Bussolengo (Verona), Italy
For information on the program, accommodation & registration click here
Email Danielle La Scala at [email protected]

Australia & New Zealand’s Annual Conference

October 9-12, 2015
Faith & Courage – the Pathway to Paradise & Beyond
Sydney Academy of Sport & Recreation
Narrabeen, NSW
Australia
For information and registration visit: http://urantia-association.org/2015/02/15/anzura-conference-2015
Or email [email protected]