Tidings – June 2020
In This Issue
Chris Wood, USA
Two themes of The Urantia Book that stand out to me are the journey to perfection of an individual and the journey to perfection of a global society. As individuals, we are born into a world and get to grow and transform as we learn about the experiential relationships between morality and ethics and duty and service. Our ascension career will be a tapestry of good works as we become more and more perfect in our worlds, just as God is in his.
As a society, we began as families and slowly grew into tribes, clans, cities, and nations. As we travel and exchange languages, thoughts, literature, and culture, we come to realize the folly of sectarian divides. We are a global family of brothers and sisters united by our material origin and our spiritual destiny.
In these times of global crises, it becomes more apparent that we are a united family of all humanity. It becomes painfully obvious that neither national boundaries, political philosophies, nor even continental shores truly separate one group from all others. We are all in this together. And just as we take caution against this material virus we can also take spiritual inspiration that the true teachings of Jesus, the unifying Fatherhood of God, and the loving brotherhood and sisterhood of all humanity will one day come to light in the heart of every person across the globe.
Our dual nature necessitates that we serve both our material bodies and our growing morontia souls. We can grow inward spiritually while at the same time growing outward in service to our neighbors. We can mourn the loss of our friends while at the same time celebrating their lives. We can promote physical isolation while at the same time being spiritually motivated, unifying action.
Urantia Association has redoubled its efforts to bring people together to celebrate and study teachings from The Urantia Book. Online webinars have attracted people from across the world, expanding the voices and perspectives of our groups and bringing into focus our global membership and responsibilities. The importance of local study groups and regional associations has never been more apparent as our members reach out to one another to serve those who are in need and assist our study groups as they shift to digital meeting platforms while the pandemic continues.
Thank you all for your continued service in spreading the teachings of The Urantia Book in this time of global need. The world is changing and the Urantia community is positioned to help shape the transformation for generations to come.
Nestor Seda Jr. and Eugene Asidao, Manilla, Philippines
The first Urantia Book National Educational Conference for the Philippines was held in November 2019 at the Gems Hotel and Conference Center in Antipolo City. The theme was “Introducing the Fifth Epochal Revelation.” The goal was to inform interested individuals on the basic teachings of The Urantia Book and to link up with the different regional groups of Urantia Book readers in the Philippines.
The selected topics presented were:
- History of The Urantia Book and the Five Epochal Revelations
- The Plan of God
- Life After Death (the Mansion Worlds & our Journey to Paradise)
- Scientific Evidence and The Urantia Book
- Who is Jesus and What are His Teachings?
The 33 attendees in addition to Urantia Book readers consisted of friends, relatives and youths. Our Urantia Book study group does not only focus on adult readers; we also involve young people in our events and activities, which they really appreciate and enjoy.
Following are some comments from attendees:
“It was a great conference. The venue was peaceful and comfortable. The discussions were very inter-active. Everyone respects each other’s opinions particularly when we are trying to search and know the truth. Even a young one’s opinion is important to think that our knowledge of truth is only a cup of water in a vast ocean. We still have lots to learn.” (Chryst Kevin A. Seda – 4th Year BS Ed student, University of Makati)
“It was a nice conference. I was invited by my auntie to join the conference. Before I had already heard them studying The Urantia Book in their house and I understood some of it. I sometimes tell my classmates about it, but I am short of explaining it to them. I wanted to have a copy of The Urantia Book. When my uncle Nestor Seda heard me in the conference, he gave me a copy. I am grateful and will read it to know more of its content.” (Mike Ian Montayre Maglalang – 2nd year college student of Pamantasan ng Marikina)
“The Urantia Book conference is great because it helps us to become enlightened with truth. They asked us to share our ideas and opinions with everyone. It connected us and brought us closer to our new friends. Everyone shared their ideas including me. It’s so nice because they acknowledge my ideas and I learn a lot from the conference. I hope that a lot of youths will be added to the group so we can continue to study The Urantia Book together.” (Princess Ariane A. Seda – Grade 12 student Pitogo High School)
A Brief History of Urantia Activities in the Philippines
A group of Filipinos living in the Chicago area started a Urantia Book study group as early as 2013. Around 2015, Eugene and Belen Asidao and Nestor Nano asked Urantia Foundation if they would donate Urantia Books to the Philippines for a library placement program. The Foundation agreed and Urantia Association International provided the funds for the shipment of books. Enthusiastic readers organized themselves to undertake the mammoth task of visiting libraries throughout the provinces and in many cities. They placed books in public and private libraries, universities and colleges, and gave the book to a variety of selected individuals. As a result, many contacts were made with people who were interested in The Urantia Book.
A regular study group in Manila started in 2016 and has continued since then. Sometimes readers do outreach study ministry in various cities, which has encouraged more readers to become members of the group. The group also organizes the yearly celebration of Christ Michael’s birthday on August 21, and is currently in the process of creating study groups in other localities.
Eugene Asidao, USA
At the age of 49, I started to increase my efforts as a spiritual truth-seeker. Before that, in my early adult years, I was involved in social service work fields centered on peace and justice issues, but I was always attracted to spirituality. I acquired many books on religion and spirituality and one of those was The Urantia Book. I read a few papers that interested me but put it aside to become part of my classic book collection.
During my time of searching spirituality, I went to different study groups, teachers, gurus, and I checked them all. I did different types of spiritual and esoteric practices of meditation, affirmation, and prayers.
I also organized a spiritual forum in my home that attracted between 10 to 25 people. We explored all types of spiritual disciplines, from near-death experiences, Ascended Masters, spiritual healing, meditations, prayers, etc. One of the speakers we invited was James Woodward, who had worked in Reader Services at Urantia Foundation. He came to our meetings and gave us an introductory presentation on The Urantia Book.
It was around seven years ago that I finally asked my spiritual group who might be interested in studying The Urantia Book. Not everyone joined the new group but a few did. We hosted the study group for close to a year when we finally decided to be part of the more organized study groups, as none of us really had a comprehensive grasp of the teachings. We decided it would be more efficient and beneficial for us if we attended the two main study groups in the Chicago area.
Seeding The Urantia Book in the Philippines
Propagating The Urantia Book in the Philippines began five years ago with the idea of donating books to public and private libraries in cities, towns, barrios (villages), in high schools, colleges, and universities all over the Philippines. We also thought of translating the book into our own national language so it could reach the majority of the Filipino people. Tagalog is the basis of the national language. We also thought of a teaching school for those who are serious about expanding, leading, and facilitating a study group, possibly even an institution of learning such as an elementary, high school, college, or university level education guided by the ideals of the revelation.
We also considered the importance of the Philippines and why The Urantia Book should be disseminated there. The nation state is the only country in Asia where Christianity is predominant—around 90% of the total population of 104 million people. The rest of the population is divided into Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Bahai, Hindu, and native religions. Christianity is present in most Asian countries such as Korea and India, but the Philippines with 90 million has the largest number and also has the largest percentage of Christians in a single country.
English is widely spoken and is considered the second language of every Filipino. In other parts of the country where Tagalog is not spoken, they prefer English. Because of this, Filipinos can easily communicate with the outside world.
So if ever The Urantia Book will spread all over Asia, the teachings will grow from a friendlier religion, which in our view is Christianity. So our conclusion is that the Philippines is a strategic country if we are to propagate the teachings in the whole of Asia.
Another important idea we have to look at is that 10% of the population of the nation live outside of the country as migrant workers spread throughout almost all countries of the world. Organizing study groups with overseas migrant Filipino workers may also be a conduit of propagating Urantia Book teachings in the countries where they work.
So five years ago, we approached the Urantia Foundation and asked if they would donate books for distribution to libraries all over the Philippines. The Foundation was generous in donating 170 books in 2014. We have also received generous support from Urantia Association International.
The first time we distributed the The Urantia Book was in 2014. Our target location for distribution was the National Capital Region (NCR). This region is highly industrialized and the most populous region (12,876,253 as of 2015) in the country. The estimated population in NCR in 2017 was more than 13.3 million.
The second area of our distribution in 2015 is a group of islands in the central part of the Philippines called the Visayan Islands. The population of the Visayan Islands as of 2017 is roughly 20 million.
The third time we did Urantia Book donations was 2017. We targeted Northern Luzon, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. These areas are the most populous and the biggest island in the country. The population of this region is 46 million.
The Fruits of Our Action
All our efforts of seeding The Urantia Book bear fruit as we gain more and more contacts. Our first contact was in Baguio City, a northern city in Luzon where we met a long time reader. We stayed in his house for at least two weeks and were able to establish a study group.
The next group that we made contact with was in Iloilo City located in the Visayan Islands. There we made contact with a long time reader, Ed Armonio. Subsequently, he organized a group of his friends at least three times to meet with us. He also helped us donate books in his city. Mr. Armonio became our main speaker to introduce The Urantia Book.
In Bacolod City, we also met the local branch members of the Theosophical Society after which they asked us to introduce The Urantia Book to their members. We hosted a forum with the topic, “What Happens To Us After Physical Death?” Some of the members of the Theosophical Society attended the forum. It is also because of our contact with the Bacolod branch of the Theosophical Society that we attended their national convention in Davao City in 2015. As a result of our contact with the Bacolod branch, we were able to speak in a forum held at their national office in the Manila area four times weekly in 2015.
In the year 2017 we accomplished the following:
- We distributed The Urantia Book in Northern, Central, Cagayan Valley and Southern Luzon’s top colleges and universities.
- Tightened up the organizational structure and responsibilities of the Metro Manila study group. Had weekly study meetings on topics such as the Thought Adjusters, the five epochal revelations, personality survival, the morontia worlds, and the policy of non-interference by the celestial beings in the affairs of man.
- We suggested adding two additional persons in the leadership position to make the Iloilo City study group ongoing even when the overall coordinator is out of the country. In addition, the mayor of one of the towns in Iloilo province with a radio program became a reader. He even announced The Urantia Book in his radio program.
- In Bacolod City, we organized a forum on the theme of “What Happens to Us after Physical Death?” which touches on the morontia worlds. A dozen participated in the forum.
- The Trustees of Urantia Foundation made it official and gave guidelines regarding the translation to the Filipino Language (Tagalog).
- Healing seminar and demonstration.
- We gave help in the logistics and financial needs to the Manila study group with the help of friends from Chicago who donated cash.
- We developed a one-year assessment of the past year and plan for the following year.
- We initiated meetings with family members of Urantia Book readers in Metro Manila.
- The visit of Pato Banton and his wife, Antoinette.
Trouble Shooting Problems in the Philippine Urantia Community
A big part of what we have done in the Philippines is to help troubleshoot problems that occur in the present while anticipating possible problems in the future. Something we consider is why a group of readers become stuck and will not move forward. Another challenge is with the initial contacts and new readers. How do we lead them to the next level of participation? Part of our answer is, when there are enough readers, we have to group them to be more organized as a regular study group. If none of them have a good grasp of the entire book, the senior readers have the responsibility of accelerating their knowledge so they will become better facilitators and leaders.
Foresight into the Future of the Movement in the Philippines
Our ideas on the main priority at the present moment are to have a systematic program on developing facilitators and leaders who can lead and guide a study group. But the capability of guiding a study group is: (1) the commitment, and (2) the knowledge of The Urantia Book itself. Hence our plan in the coming years is to have intensive study in the most comprehensive and efficient way that will shorten the time of learning. This, in our opinion, will be the basis of the call by the celestial beings to “foster thousands of study groups all over the world.”
In general we notice a generation gap within the Urantia movement. This is true even when we look at the Philippine experience. Our suggestion to lessen the gap is to recruit and train large numbers of young people, which will also guarantee the continuation of future leadership. We can start with our own families by imbuing the Urantia teachings to our spouses and children. Organization of young Urantia Book readers must be encouraged and fostered. We are also contemplating a Urantia Family Association to make the teachings a living, breathing way of life like that of the early Christian community.
Kathleen Swadling, Australia
The era of virtual study groups and conferences is upon us! With the entire world in lockdown due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus, unexpected opportunities have been arising in Urantia Book reader communities. Students are discovering how easy it is to meet with other readers from all over the world from the comfort of their own homes! Thanks to conference calling programs such as Zoom, study groups and conferences are happening with very little organization at virtually no cost.
Urantiathons – 24-Hour Online Conference Events
“Urantiathon” is a new phrase that’s been coined to describe events like the two recent online 24-hour conferences that were held via Zoom and sponsored by Urantia Association International—one on 21st March (A Reward of Isolation) and the other on 2nd May (We’re in this Together).
Various volunteers around the world took shifts in hosting different segments of the meeting according to their time zones. Each host acted as an MC where they introduced the speakers, facilitated discussion times, and basically kept things running smoothly.
Those who were able to check in during their “awake” hours would have seen how they operate; 24 hourly presentations were scheduled where the presenters would share their material just as they would in a face-to-face meeting. They were able to present graphics, videos, and Power Point presentations just as they would in a physical meeting, as well as conducting interactive discussions. For those who chose to keep their videos turned on meant that people could see and talk to each other. So many marveled at being able to see and catch up with old friends they hadn’t seen in years.
The presentations were recorded and most have been uploaded (or are in the process of being uploaded) to:
Urantia Association’s YouTube channel
Check them out in the Play Lists titled:
Description: A Reward of Isolation! Urantia Association International held an extraordinary 24-hour online, global Urantia event. With people around the world being asked to practice social isolation to help slow the effects of the Coronavirus, Urantia Association offered this extraordinary online event to help bring people together.
Description: Another 24-hour online Urantia event: We’re in this Together! As the world continues to practice social isolation to help slow the effects of Covid-19, the Urantia Community offered another extraordinary online event to help bring people together. For this 24-hour online Urantia event, Urantia Association was joined by the Education Committees of Urantia Foundation, the Urantia Book Fellowship, and Urantia University Institute to bring 24 unique presentations from around the world.
Personality cannot very well perform in isolation. Man is innately a social creature; he is dominated by the craving of belongingness. It is literally true, “No man lives unto himself.” [Paper 112:1.16, page 1227.6]
Short seasons of retreat from the busy scenes of life may not be seriously dangerous, but prolonged isolation of personality is most undesirable. [Paper 100:5.8, page 1099.6]
Suggestions of a Solitary Messenger
The following list of meditation mantras is taken from the practical suggestions and spiritual attitudes required for Adjuster contact as presented by a Solitary Messenger in The Urantia Book, Papers 107-111. I've taken the liberty of paraphrasing these directives in a positive and active voice and, therefore, all interpretations and possible errors are my own. I encourage all readers to verify the content for themselves. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the many spiritual suggestions and techniques for Adjuster communion given to us throughout the book.
The Adjusters are the will of God… [Paper 108:4.2, page 1190.3]
- I will avoid all physical poisons to maintain a balanced electrochemical state for Spirit communion.
- I will avoid all mental poisons such as fear, anxiety, anger, envy, jealousy, suspicion, and intolerance – and will seek spiritual help whenever such thoughts arise.
- I will seek balance in my life by attempting to harmonize my physical, mental, and spiritual powers, achieving equal growth in all three.
- I will maintain a focused and steady mental attitude through prayer and worship, clearing my mind of all preconceived notions, settled ideas, and long-standing prejudices.
- I will love, cherish, and trust my Divine Father with all my heart – I honestly desire to be perfect like him.
- I willingly and cheerfully accept my Father’s established program for my intellectual and spiritual development, even if I am not conscious of what it is.
- With joy and eagerness, I will fully cooperate with the leading of the Divine Spirit. I am willing to make courageous decisions to do and to be whatever it takes.
- I will harmonize with the Spirit within me by consciously choosing to pursue the divine realities of truth, beauty, and goodness, which I will express in my life through love, compassion, and ministry.
- I will always attempt to make clear, conscious decisions about everything that I think, say, or do, measuring each of my decisions against the yardsticks of truth, beauty, and goodness.
- I will consecrate my life – all my thoughts, words, and deeds - by cooperating with the Divine Presence. It is my will that God’s will be done.
- I pray for courage and self-confidence to do my Father’s will — but please deliver me from pride and vanity.
- I will replace all sordid and selfish thoughts with a reverence for divine beauty and ministry to others.
- I will make a concerted effort to love all people and to serve them willingly.
- I will remain indifferent to any manifestation of my Spirit’s presence. I will accept it through faith and react passively, avoiding over-emotional reactions to spiritual progress.
- I realize I truly belong in a greater universe and I joyfully accept my cosmic citizenship. I recognize that I have a spiritual obligation to the continuing evolution of the Supreme Being.
- Before sleep, I will fully approve all attempts of my Father’s Spirit to register spirit creations in my super-consciousness.
- I allow the Divine Spirit to show me the real motive, the final aim, and the eternal purpose of my life’s struggle. I allow him to fight the good fight with me and for me.
- I allow the Divine Spirit to strengthen me with spiritual truths of cosmic power.
- I allow the Spirit of Truth, the Mother Spirit, and the Father Spirit to recreate me as a spiritual being.
To receive God’s help, all one needs to do is to “imagine, accept, and believe that God is helping you.”
— A. K. Mozumdar, The Triumphant Spirit, 1931
The Urantia Hackathon 2020 Ideation Team
In the middle of this pandemic, have you perhaps stopped to wonder: “What will the future look like after all this has passed?”
We have as well, and would like to invite you to join us in crafting together some practical solutions to help us face the upcoming post-Covid-19 challenges with a steadier mind and a blossoming heart. Of course, with the guidance and inspiration in the beauty, goodness, and truth of The Urantia Book.
We all know Urantia is in an acute crisis due to the current coronavirus pandemic. As in every crisis, this one will offer opportunities for personal progress and spiritual growth. We believe that one such unique opportunity will be to seed the teachings and insights from the revelation in the minds and hearts of members of our global communities in practical, utilitarian ways. We will focus on spirit-led active service.
In a few weeks, we will be bringing together an extraordinary group of Urantia Book enthusiasts from our communities all over the world. The goal is to ideate and co-create solutions to challenges in key areas affected by the pandemic.
The areas to be explored are:
- Art, culture, and leisure
- Civic life, social harmony, and solidarity
- Economy, business, and work
- Education and extra-curricular development
- Health, well-being, and medical care
- Home, family, and community
We would love you to be part of this!
We are currently inviting volunteers to join one of our teams and collaborate in a very dynamic and creative platform: a Urantia Hackathon.
If the term hacking may sound negative to you, let us explain what this is all about.
The concept of a Hackathon was actually coined in the software industry and is now spreading to other domains—healthcare, social, political, etc.
The word Hackathon is a blend of hacking (the act of finding a clever and counterintuitive solution to a problem) and marathon, because co-creation sessions normally run non-stop for up to 72 hours!
However, ours will be a mini-Hackathon with a duration of only 8 hours.
What will happen during the 8-hour Urantia Hackathon?
The event will include plenary sessions and hacking sessions, followed by a voting session.
As a team member, you will be guided by a Team Leader and a Mentor. Your team will be given a specific challenge (a problem) in one of the above areas.
You will then engage in a structured and creative process of ideation, blending and prototyping, finalizing in a validation process for your chosen solution (“hack”).
An Invitation to Participate
Would you like to be to be part of this?
Worried? Haven’t heard of a hackathon? Haven’t participated in one?
Anyone can participate in a hackathon! You will be coached and guided throughout the process by the ideation team, the Mentors and your Team Leader.
We are welcoming participants of all ages and walks of life to join one of our international Hacking Teams. So far, we have six teams accepting volunteers in four regions (Europe, North America, Latin America and West Africa), and functioning in five languages (Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish).
If you find yourself excited to find out more and see yourself as a Hacking Team member, please send us a WhatsApp (+41 79 949 3064 or +972 54 459 2514) or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to get back to you promptly!
Additionally, we will be offering “Intro and Q&A” Zoom sessions in the next few weeks. So, please send us a Whatsapp or email and we will send you an invite.
We look forward to hearing from you!
In loving service,
The Urantia Hackathon 2020 Ideation Team:
Sandra and Gabriel Rymberg, Samantha Nior, Lourdes Burga-Cisneros, and Luis Garcia-Bory
The future of The Urantia Book in Africa very much depends on having a group of core readers who are committed to the ideals of the book—readers who are willing to work towards providing dependable support and direction to the growing readership on the continent. As such, we are pleased to announce that Collins Lomo from Accra, Ghana has been elected as Urantia Association’s new Continental Coordinator for Africa. |
Collins has been fostering the development of Urantia Book reader activity in Ghana and various other African countries since 2014. He represented Africa at the Urantia Association’s 2018 International conference in the Netherlands and facilitated the joint conference held in Lagos, Nigeria in December of 2019.
In his role as the African Continental Coordinator, Collins plans to foster the development of leaders among the active readership in Africa and provide an African Leadership Forum to encourage collaboration and communication. The goals will be to bring African leaders together to share experiences and find ways to improve the effectiveness of study groups, to encourage readers to undertake in-depth study of The Urantia Book, and to find ways to promote the book effectively on the African continent.
Collins has a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and a Diploma in Management Accounting. We look forward to having Collins on the team and we will do all we can to assist him and his team in their endeavors to further the growth of The Urantia Book revelation in Africa.
John Nugent from Missoula, Montana was recently elected to be the new Secretary for Urantia Association International. (John replaced Joycee Patterson who needed to step down as Secretary for personal reasons.) John has been a student of The Urantia Book for close to 50 years, having been introduced to it while in the Jesuit Seminary. |
John holds a BA in Philosophy from Gonzaga University and a Masters degree from San Francisco Theology Seminary. He has a special interest in the instruction from the Publication Mandate, "You must again study the times of Jesus on Earth." He says that he considers the three greatest influences on the "times of Jesus" to be the Jewish culture, the Pagan practices and religious rituals, and the Greco Roman philosophy and political governing philosophy.
Over the years John attended national and local conferences, participated in study groups, and was a member of both the Urantia association in Southern California (SURF) and the Urantia Book Los Angeles association (UBLA). Since moving to Montana he has been hosting his own small study group.
John is retired after a career in health care administration and was married to his late wife for 45 years. He has two adopted sons. Welcome to the Board John and thank you for stepping up to be of service. We look forward to working with you.
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.
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.