Tidings – June 2016
In This Issue
The next six months will see three tests of the unity of our Urantia Community. The first test shall come in June in San Antonio where, for the first time, the Urantia Association of the United States (UAUS) and The Urantia Book Fellowship will co-host a conference. Registration has already exceeded expectations and the community waits to see how these organizations with different cultures will blend together for one week in Texas.
In September a second test shall emerge as Europe and Australia each host conferences on the same weekend. In Budapest the Blue Club and the Association will work together for the first time to unite the many cultures, languages, and traditions from across the vast continent. The Australia and New Zealand Urantia Association (ANZURA) has always been the model of unity as these two countries unite year after year for conferences and events. And I hope for a few moments in September these two conferences half a world away will be united by technology to share the vision of our growing International goals.
In October the third test will present itself in Bogota as representatives across Latin America will come together for the first United Latin American Conference. Latin America is the fastest growing region in the world for new students of The Urantia Book. The teachings have seeped into popular culture through novels and even television programs. I hope this event will be the first of many to bring together this important piece of our united puzzle.
And all four conferences will be united in theme as each will illuminate the theme of Jesus as a Teacher.
There are at least three types of unity in our Urantia Community:
- Spiritual Unity is shared not just with other students of this revelation but with every God seeking person in the world. The Parliament of World Religions is one good example of spiritual unity as was Jesus’ ability to impart simple teachings “as he passed by.”
- Social Unity is achieved by gathering at conferences and study groups, learning how we each understand and incorporate these teachings in our lives. A conference is good for its own sake; bringing together a group of Urantia Book students will bring forth good fruit. We will attempt to capitalize on social unity this year as we plan events with the Fellowship and the Blue Club.
- And finally, Organizational Unity is achieved when groups agree to unite their principles and efforts toward achieving a common goal. Around the world, students hailing from dozens of nations have agreed to embrace our goals and efforts and push forward united as Urantia Association International. As more and more Urantia groups join us in organizational unity our reach and our abilities expand exponentially. Each year we achieve more and more!
I hope to see you all at a conference this year!
For those who are unable to attend the conference in San Antonio, a channel has been set up on Ustream that will broadcast live the plenaries of the conference. This will give you an opportunity to watch part of the conference on your computers or iPads/tablets. Here is the channel page: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/sgPkgXfQ3ta. If you are unable to catch them live you will still be available to catch up with them at a later time.
For more information on the conference go to: http://www.urantia-lsua.org/2016-conference/4590718909
2nd to 5th June, 2016
An education initiative presented by Urantia Foundation
533 W. Diversey Parkway
Under the direction of Associate Trustee Emeritus Dr. Ralph Zehr and Trustee and Education Chairman Dr. Gard Jameson, a slate of scientifically minded readers of The Urantia Book were invited to accept the challenge of presenting a scientific paper—based on reliable data, defensible reasoning, and accepted scientific methodology—that establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the observed phenomena could not have evolved by mechanical means alone.
Ralph Zehr, George Park, Nigel Nunn, Marta Elders, Bruce Johnson, Dick Reim, Neal Kendall, Phil Calabrese, Gard Jameson, Marjorie ray
Check the schedule of presentations and view the live streaming broadcasts of the presentations by going to the Ustream channel at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/XhtGPaUe4mh
The Membership Committee of Urantia Association International is looking for Membership Coordinators in regions where no National or Local Associations already exist. Our aim is to form an international network of Membership Coordinators to better serve readers and Association members. To do this we need to know more about the needs of local readers and members in your region.
Some Criteria Guidelines:
- You are in contact with The Urantia Book reader community in your country or region and wish to serve and maintain good relationships with them;
- You have thought about how to meet the needs of readers and maybe have some new ideas or projects that will help members and readers become more connected locally;
- You wish to help readers increase their understanding of The Urantia Book and have a desire to promote the book’s teachings;
- You wish to share ideas and projects being undertaken in other local regions around the global that you think may fulfil the needs of your local community;
- You wish to inspire people to become readers, readers to become members, and members to serve others in the spirit of brotherhood.
If you feel touched by any of the above, please feel free to contact Anton Miroshnichenko, Membership Chair of Urantia Association by emailing: [email protected]
Remember: One of the most important lessons to be learned during your mortal career is teamwork. [Paper 28:4.14, page 312.1]
We ask if you would please help us work together to raise the skill levels of our teams. We already have some new ideas on how this international teamwork can be organized and what tools we can use to assist us. We believe that with the help of our Thought Adjusters and goodwill anything is possible.
Membership Committee Chair
Urantia Association International
Note: All your personal information will be strictly confidential, and will not be disclosed to any third party.
14-17 October 2016
The Teacher and the Student
Hosted by the Bogotá Urantia Association and sponsored by Urantia Association International, Urantia Foundation and The Urantia Book Fellowship
The Bogotá Urantia Association invites you to the First Latin American Urantia Conference to be held October 14 to 17, 2016 at Lancaster House in Bogotá, Colombia.
The theme of the Conference will be The Teacher and The Student. This theme will be developed from questions such as: What does it mean to be a teacher in our community? What does it mean to be a teacher at the local level, to advanced students, to new readers, and to those who have never heard of The Urantia Book and perhaps don’t even care to hear about it? How can we talk about the teachings in the book without ever mentioning the book? How did Jesus teach each of the different audiences he encountered? What can we learn from the teaching methods of all the various ‘schools’ described in the book – Melchizedek schools, Edentia schools, Dalamatia, Salem, Urmia? How were teachers trained in previous revelations?
Registrations must be made no later than 7th October 2016. Conference Package costs without lodging is USD$180.
Those who register before 7th October 2016 (early bird) will receive have a SPECIAL DISCOUNT of $40, paying only $140.
Click here to register.
For registration related questions email: [email protected]
For more detailed information go to: http://urantia-association.org/2016/05/12/latin-american-urantia-conference/
Latin American Leadership Scholarship
For this conference we have created a special Latin American Leadership Scholarship thanks to the help of Urantia Foundation, Urantia Association International and The Urantia Book Fellowship. This means we can assist those leaders in Latin America who may need financial assistance to represent their country at this International Conference. This will include current or future Latin American Presidents, Vice Presidents and leaders who can take home the teachings acquired at the conference and apply them in their Associations and local communities.
If enough Latin American leaders attend this conference we will organize a special meeting for them at the end of the event. For more information about the Latin American Leadership Scholarship contact: [email protected]
Note: This conference is hosted by the Bogotá Urantia Association and sponsored by Urantia Association International, Urantia Foundation and The Urantia Book Fellowship
In March of 2016, with the financial help of donors to Urantia Association International, and after some market research, the Urantia Association of Ukraine was able to begin the first Urantia Book advertising campaign in Ukraine. As a result we have placed books in the Bookstores Network named “BUKVA”. So far we have:
- Placed an advertisement in the form of small banners in a total of 510 train carriages in the busy Kyiv subway system. These ran for 2 months starting 15th of February. The dimensions of these banners were 142 х 70
- Placed advertisements in the BUKVA bookstores network. Posters with the main information about The Urantia Book have been printed and placed on the showcases of the network’s seven shops in five Ukrainian cities. Six posters were A2 size and one was A3. We also had
one book compilation at the showcase of the main store in Kyiv. The posters were showcased all through March. Personnel from some of the stores liked our posters so much that they left them on display in a less prominent place after the end of the placement period.
Our total expense, including the delivery of books to the shops, was approximately USD$800.
You can view photos of our campaign at this link: http://bit.ly/tub-adv-ukr
Number of Urantia Books sold through the BUKVA stores network for the last six months:
The entire amount of Urantia Books sold in Ukraine from 2014 till now directly to readers and through the BUKVA stores network is 273 books.
On behalf of members of Urantia Association of Ukraine I want to thank all donors of Urantia Association who made this project possible. We plan to repeat such advertisement campaign in the future.
Urantia Association of the Ukraine
Line St Pierre
A Retreat for Women at Urantia Foundation
533 W. Diversey Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614
Thursday, September 22 - Sunday, September 25, 2016
The Urantia Book tells us that it is the indwelling spirit that individualizes the love of God in the soul.
As a follow-up to our last two retreats, “Daughters of God” and “Dancing with God,” we will now step into the “Divine Dance” as we each learn to express our own unique rhythm.
Please join the “Daughters of God” facilitator team: Line St-Pierre, Carolyn Prentice, Doreen Heyne and Katharina Becker in an intimate, experiential, and fun weekend!
Together we will co-create a milieu of trust within a spiritual circle, delving into questions such as:
- How is this divine dance encouraging me to carry the torch of morality and spirituality into the world around me?
- How have I come to know and experience God’s love and wisdom as a woman?
- How do I come to know and love myself as God loves me?
The cost for three days is $195.00 and includes shared overnight accommodations,
breakfast, lunch, and Thursday evening dinner.
Friday and Saturday dinners may be enjoyed at one of our many local restaurants.
If you would like to join us or want more details, please contact Joanne Strobel at [email protected].
You may also call Urantia Foundation during business hours at 773-525-3319.
Have you ever had the feeling that the study group you are hosting or going to is getting a bit boring, or is not satisfying your need for progress in understanding the teachings you are studying together, nor helping your desire to progress spiritually?
Many study groups have come and gone since the time of the first publication of The Urantia Book and probably many others will also come and go for various reasons. One of those could be that they have failed in their goals to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception. Not only do some study groups fail in these two goals, but many have also failed in teaching others how to become better sowers of truths, how to be more involved in our spiritual emancipation through service to others, and how to better integrate The Urantia Book’s teachings in one’s life.
The world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all men. [Paper 195:10.1, page 2084.1]
I use this quote to highlight the importance of living life according to Jesus’s teachings, not to preach about him as so many believers are prone to do; to live the truth that Jesus so eloquently preached to the best of our ability not only in words but as living examples of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men.
“I declare that the kingdom of heaven is the realization and acknowledgment of God’s rule within the hearts of men.” [Paper 141:2.1, page 1588.4]
“The book is being given to those who are ready for it long before the day of its world- wide mission. Thousands of study groups must be brought into existence and the book must be translated into many tongues. Thus will the book be in readiness when the battle for man’s liberty is finally won and the world is once more made safe for the religion of Jesus and the freedom of mankind.” (from the Publication Mandate)
Why did the Revelators urge us to create thousands of study groups and train leaders and teachers? They had a plan in mind; a plan that looked so simple in its application that we have often failed to see its far-reaching mission to change the spiritual mindset of the world. To change that mindset, shouldn’t we transform ourselves to be the carriers of this change? Shouldn’t study groups be a place that provide the means where we can be helped, and help others to do just that?
How can we answer the call to create thousands of study groups and train leaders and teachers? Shouldn’t we first do everything we can to make our study groups more stimulating both intellectually and spiritually? How can we do that? Should we have a plan? A wise man by the name of Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” I believe he was right; if we fail to have a plan for our study groups, we probably will fail in the mission we were given.
How should we proceed if we want to make a plan?
A plan does not need to be complicated; it only needs a few basic things, such as goals, objectives and strategies. Make sure everyone in your group agrees to this plan and helps to build it, this way they will be more than willing to go along with it. Group consensus is very important if we want the study group to be interesting to every student. Remember, we are students, not just readers who go to a group to socialize; we have an important mission to accomplish.
How does that work?
A goal is to know where we want to go. Objectives give us landmarks to assist us on our way towards our goal. Strategies are actions to help us get where we want to go.
So let us say our goals would be:
Make our group more interesting intellectually and spiritually to readers young and old, male and female, while gently guiding them in becoming good teachers.
Objectives could be:
- We will study 10 papers together; five in the first three parts of the book and five in the fourth part; The Life and Teachings of Jesus.
- We will study three different topics.
- We will encourage everyone in the group to make a small presentation to the group on a topic of their choice.
Strategies could be:
- Allow the group to decide which papers they would like to study in the first year.
- Choose topics from articles published in Urantia Association’s Journal – they often provide very good source material while encouraging students to read more about what others understand of the teachings. This will help to expand cosmic consciousness.
- Take a course together in the study group from the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS). This will provide everyone with a very effective pedagogic tool to enhance spiritual perception while enlightening readers in the values and effectiveness of integrating courses in their goal to progress intellectually and spiritually.
- Adopt a set of rules on how the group will study together.
- Revise your strategies regularly if need be.
- Use study aids available on many websites to increase the effectiveness of your studies.
- Invite students from other groups to make a presentation on different topics in your study group.
- Be innovative and creative; break out of your comfort zone!
Evaluate the progress made in the first year and readjust your objectives and strategies.
Having a set of policies in the group help to keep everybody happy and progressing in the right direction. Jeffrey Wattles, with the help of Antonio Schefer, has created a protocol for an online study group. Some of those rules could very well help many of us manage our study groups and ensure that everyone enjoys the experience of a study group.
I have copied this protocol here for your benefit. Please take from it what your group needs and use it. This protocol was developed for online study groups using the Zoom platform. If you would like to start an online study group using this platform, please contact me. I will be more than willing to help you start your group using this platform.
Protocol for Online Study Groups
- The host decides when it is time to begin, welcomes everyone, explains the protocol, makes any needed announcements and then puts the session in the hands of the facilitator.
- As an experiment for at least the first few weeks, we will pause in silence for several seconds after each reading and after each person speaks. The purpose is to allow the soul to listen and spirit to respond and to ease the video editing process.
- Mute yourself if you are not speaking, to avoid disturbing background noises and raise your hand and unmute yourself at any time if you can and want to speak.
- Please use the chat only for study session-related questions.
- Use headphones if you can to improve sound quality and to reduce echo background noises when speaking.
- Please do not type when your microphone is not muted.
- Turn off your camera and microphone if you have problems with your Internet connection to avoid sound or video quality loss.
- Some adaptation of the Jesus’s grievance procedure (159:1/1760-63) will be the method for resolving serious problems, if and when they arise with particular individuals.
- The sessions will be recorded for future study purpose use. Only active participants, future students, ISB, RC, Conference Committee and UYAI members have access to the private YouTube videos, and after getting the invitation from the host.
- Turn off your camera if you don’t like your image being used for records and ask to speak off record at any time when you do not want what you say to be part of the videotape. This way your part will be cut out of the video during editing.
I created a study aid for study groups a few years ago for the Study Group Symposium. It includes many useful articles aimed at improving the quality of our learning experience. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to receive a copy of it by email.
Enjoy your study group and be an active part of the group’s spiritual mission to the world.
Gaetan G. Charland
Study Group Committee Chair
Urantia Association International
Social Media Committee
If you are a long-time student of The Urantia Book and feel that you have a pretty good grasp of the book’s teachings, the Social Media Committee of Urantia Association needs your help!
You may be aware that we have recently launched a Public Facebook discussion group that provides a platform for discussions and online study between Urantia Book students and anyone interested from the public at large.
Our aim is to insure that this discussion platform is stimulating, educational and of spiritual value to the participants. For that to happen we need seasoned readers and teachers of the Urantia Revelation to participate. If you are already a Facebook user (or thinking about becoming one) we ask you to join this group and help stimulate discussion by introducing new topics, answering questions, asking thought provoking questions, and basically doing whatever it takes to help students and new readers in their study of the book.
We have promoted this discussion group far and wide and at last count we had over 240 people who have joined. The numbers are growing every day and many are new to The Urantia Book. This is a wonderful service opportunity for seasoned readers to help other students in their journey with The Urantia Book.
As we’re an international organization it’s fine to engage in different languages. Facebook has an instant translation feature that makes it easy to participate in different languages.
Thank you for your consideration and we appreciate any help you can give to make this discussion forum valuable and worthwhile.
Social Media Committee
Urantia Association International
Study Group Committee – Gaetan Charland, Chair
The Study Group Committee’s strategic plan is almost complete. The focus will be on the ability of study groups to help students become better sowers of truth. A goal has been set to have at least one thousand study groups listed in the Study Group Directory within the next ten years. Gaetan has been writing articles on study groups for each Tidings publication and has been encouraging the formation and participation of online study groups. He also made a presentation at the online Latin American Leadership seminar and welcomed a volunteer who came forward to help translate study group documents into Spanish.
Dissemination Committee – David Linthicum, Chair
The Dissemination Committee continues to focus on developing book distribution channels in Malawi, Ukraine, Zambia, the Philippines, the Middle East, Asia, India and South America.
Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT): The last library placement program was 20 years ago so the team is now focusing on library placement and assisting with the formation of study groups in prisons. A program to send 25 books to federal prisons in Canada has begun.
Reader Services: A Welcoming Team is in place and members are now looking for more volunteers to assist so that students may be contacted by someone in their local area and in their own language.
Membership Committee – Anton Miroshnichenko, Chair
The Urantia Association of Malawi officially converted from being a Local to a National Association due to the increase in members. Leaders for Urantia DACH (representing Germany, Switzerland and Austria) have submitted applications to become a Local Urantia Association. We expect they soon will be chartered. The Membership Committee has also been working with the Association’s Central Office to improve the application processes for new members to ensure all applicants are being contacted and that their applications are being processed efficiently.
Communications Committee – Kathleen Swadling, Chair
- Journal: The December 2015 edition of the Journal in English, French and Spanish was published for the first time as an online publication via a MailChimp newsletter. It was also published in the usual PDF format for printing and hard copy mail-outs to subscribers. Both versions in all three languages are available on the website.
- Tidings: The English, French and Spanish online Tidings were published via MailChimp and are available on the website.
- 2015 Annual Report: The content is complete and was sent to the graphic designer for formatting and print lay-out. It should be available in the second quarter.
- Website: Preparations were made for moving the website to the new host server early in the second quarter. New volunteer translators for the French and Portuguese websites have stepped forward to help with the translations, and work is progressing on those two languages again.
- Public Relations: The revision for the Association’s Information Brochure (previously titled “What is UAI?”) was completed and sent to the graphic designer for print lay-out. A statement of explanation on the differences between the Association and Urantia Foundation was completed and sent to Urantia Foundation for review. Work continued on the Home Page revision and should be completed in the second quarter.
- Social Media: Promotion of reader events from across the globe continue to be promoted via the Associations various social media platforms. The launching of the new Public Facebook discussion group has been widely promoted and is attracting many readers and other interested truth seekers who have been engaging in discussions on the book’s teachings. People are being introduced to the book via this social media platform. Also the Association’s Twitter account has been reactivated and the committee is in the process of setting up an Instagram account.
Conference Committee – Antonio Schefer, Chair
This committee continued to liaise with the 2018 International Conference planning committee and the 2016 European and Latin American conference committees. It continued to develop and host webinars for Spanish speakers. Antonio represented the Association at the winter conference of the Finnish Urantia Association. A sub-committee has been formed for “Urantia Young Adult International” (UYAI). Samantha Nior from The Netherlands has volunteered to Chair the committee and the first meeting has been held. The UYAI is now hosting an online study group every Saturday.
Translation Committee – Chris Moseley, Chair
This committee continues to provide translation services to the ISB, RC and the website and is always looking for more volunteer help.
Chris Wood continued to work with the 2016 UAUS-Fellowship Conference planning team for the San Antonio conference and attended a meeting with Presidents of the Fellowship and Urantia Foundation. He continued his work with the Fundraising Committee and Board Support Team.
Andres Ramirez continued his ongoing work as Chair of the RC and member of the Board Support Team. He is also an ongoing member of the planning team for the 2016 Latin American Conference and continues to work with the weekly online Leadership Seminars for Leaders in Latin America. He arranged for individual members of the ISB to attend these online meetings to talk about about the work they do for the Association and to answer any questions from the participants. Andres provided the translation service as required.
Chief Financial Officer
Bradly Tharp participated as a member of the Finance and Fundraising Committees as well as the Board Support Team. He completed the 2105 Year-end Financial Statements and submitted CFO commentary for the 2015 Annual Report.
Susan Owen provided the meeting minutes and action points for the monthly ISB meetings and posted the November, December and January ISB Meeting Minutes and 4th Quarter ISB Activity Report to the Representative Council. She drafted the 2015 RC Meeting Minutes and verified voting results and conducted 1st Quarter RC and ISB roll calls. She continues to serve as a member of the Board Support Team and on the committees for Website Management, Public Relations and Education. In addition she worked with the 2015 Annual Report team. (Where would we be without our hard working Secretary?)
Board Support Team (formerly known as the Executive Team) – Chris Wood, Chair
Following are some of the topics addressed by this team in the 1st Quarter:
- Negotiated and recommended revisions to the Executive Assistant contract which were adopted by the ISB.
- Completed the search for a Judicial Commissioner and recommended a nomination to the ISB which approved it.
- Recommended the ISB hold “Meet & Greets” at sponsored conferences to introduce ISB and RC members to the other attendees.
- Considered recommendations submitted by current acting Continental Coordinators, Antonio Schefer and Andres Ramirez for the Continental Coordinator Project in preparation for the formalization of this project.
Fundraising Committee – Chris Wood, Chair
Chris reported that the initial 3-year goals set when he took office have been achieved. The committee began discussing the next 3-year goals including increasing donations from Latin America and Europe. Work began on the Spring Fundraiser.
Finance Committee – Bradly Tharp, Chair
Bradly and his committee completed the 2015 Year-End Financial Statements, worked on the Future Conference and Event Fund policy, developed a more specific Restricted Fund access and disbursement policy, arranged for disbursements to be made to the Latin American and European Conferences, and developed a Conference Fund loan agreement.
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.