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Tidings – March 2017

In This Issue

Transition to Unity

The following is an account of the Transition to Unity meeting held in October last year by a joint committee of representatives of Urantia Association International and the Urantia Book Fellowship. Included is an initial report written by one of the participants, followed by the proposal both parties agreed upon and presented to their prospective organizations. Following that is an announcement written by Chris Wood informing us of the decision made by the Fellowship’s General Council after its members were presented with the proposal. The date stamps indicate the chronological order of the various announcements.

General Report, November, 2016

On October 3-5, 2016, representatives from the Fellowship and the Association met in Chicago, USA to discuss the possibility of unity between our organizations. This meeting was approved by the Association’s International Service Board and Representative Council, and the Fellowship’s Executive Council. Chris Wood, Merindi B, Rick Lyon, Share Beasley and Susan Owen represented the Association.  Michael Challis, Paula Thompson, Steve Dreier, Janet Graham, and Geoffrey Theiss represented the Fellowship. Janet had to leave early so John Hales replaced her on the second day.

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President’s Message – March 2017

Chris Wood

The Pay-it Forward Conference Model

Last summer, Lone Star Urantia Association was tasked with hosting the first united conference between Urantia Association of the United States and The Urantia Book Fellowship. This was a challenge of unknown proportions simply because we had never attempted it before! But they were ready and produced a wonderful event that will propel our community forward for years to come.

One of the challenging questions was simply: What to do with any leftover conference funds? Traditionally within the Association, the hosting group would decide on how these funds would be distributed, but because of the unique nature of this conference a new framework was adopted: instead of splitting the excess between the Fellowship and the Association, all leftover funds from this North American conference would be forwarded to international conferences in Europe and Latin America.

In September, Budapest hosted the first United European Conference bringing together students from more than 20 countries and starting a new tradition of yearly European events. The North American donation was used to bring in students from Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, and young and new readers from across Western Europe.

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Urantia DACH Annual Meeting in Frankfurt

Anton Miroshnichenko, the Ukraine

Urantia DACH held its annual meeting from 4 to 6 November 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany. It was the 10th meeting of Urantia Book readers in Germany and the second meeting for the new Urantia Association, “Urantia DACH.” Urantia DACH became official as a Local Association at this latest meeting. A short informal ceremony was held as the Chartering Agreement was signed by Christian Ruch, the President of Urantia DACH, and Urantia Association International’s President, Chris Wood. (“Urantia DACH” embraces the regions of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. DACH stands for: D=Deutschland, A=Austria, CH=Switzerland; “Dach” is the German word for “roof”.)

We spent a day and a half studying and discussing Papers 99 and 100 of The Urantia Book.
Almost all of the discussions were held in German and any key ideas were translated for Chris and me into English. All participants were quite active in the discussions—it seemed to me that the conversations were very deep and productive.

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UK Urantia Book Readers’ Meeting with Pato Banton

Chris Moseley, UK

Fourteen devotees of the Urantia revelation gathered on 28th January at a hotel on the old site of Croydon Airport, south London, for a rare chance to meet with Pato Banton and his musical and life partner Antoinette Rootsdawtah. Pato and Antoinette were visiting Britain, and in fact the next day they were moving on to his former home town of Birmingham to host another meeting with readers. This gathering was something of a cross between a study group and a miniature conference, with the added spice of Pato’s and Antoinette’s music. Pato is always an effective evangelizer of the Revelation through his infectious music. We don’t see them often in Britain, as their music takes them around the world and they live in Southern California these days.

We began by going around the table describing how the Urantia revelation came into each of our lives. Most of us already knew each other, but it is always affecting to hear and compare our individual stories of how it came to touch us – and besides, this was an international gathering. There were some European readers present. In that sense, this was a bit of milestone in the British Urantia movement: the net was cast wider than the UAIUK can usually reach. Pato’s own story of his own personal and spiritual path was a pretty harrowing one, starting off from disadvantages most of us in the room could never dream about.

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Study Groups – A Key Tool

Gaétan G. Charland

Hello to study group hosts and participants. In the November edition of Tidings, I wrote an article on Study Groups and Young People which attracted the attention of a few readers. I have obtained permission from these readers to publish their comments so you will have the opportunity to read what they have said about this topic. Please feel free to respond to those comments or to any articles I write, or have written about study groups that are published in this newsletter.

There is a great need for spiritual nourishment in this world. For The Urantia Book to succeed in its mission “to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception” [Foreword 0:0.2, page 1.2] many more study groups are needed. But it is also necessary for study group hosts to stay focused on the goals of striving to make study groups effective tools in the training of leaders and teachers, and assisting students in learning how to integrate the teachings of The Urantia Book into their lives.

In my own desire to increase the effectiveness of the study group that I have been hosting for many years, I have introduced a variety of reading and studying techniques in an effort to insure that the interest of new and old readers alike would not falter. While I have not always been successful, I have learned many lessons that have kept the group strong all these years.

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Responses to Call from Young Reader Feedback

Charles, USA & Indira, Venezuela

Below are a couple responses to the articles that were published by Gaetan Charland, the Association’s Study Group Chair in the November 2016 Tidings concerning the subject of young Urantia Book readers in study groups.

Gaetan wrote:

“After my return from the Budapest conference, I was contacted by one of our members asking me about the different study group models I know of, because from what this reader said in her message, it was her opinion that the younger generation is less prone to joining study groups the way that most are currently structured….

“If you are a young reader and would like to help us find answers and solutions to what I’ve mentioned here, please contact me at this address: studygroupchair.uai@gmail.com

(click here for full article)

Response from Charles Smith,USA:

Hello. My name is Charles Smith, but most people call me Chuck. I have been asking myself that same question for the past few years ever since the starting of The Urantia Book study group I am a part of. It is as if young people my age, I am 34, simply don’t care about anything spiritual anymore.

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International Service Board Elections

The Representative Council of the Association held elections in January of this year to vote for 7 positions on the International Service Board (ISB). Here are the results of the election:

President: Chris Wood (re-elected)
Chief Financial Officer: Bradly Tharp (re-elected)
Membership Chair:  Luis Garcia- Bory (replaced Anton Miroshnichenko)
Conference Chair: Antonio Schefer (re-elected)
Education Chair: Jeannie Vasquez (replaced Sheila Keene-Lund)
Translation Chair:  Gabriel Rymberg (replaced Chris Moseley) 

The newly elected ISB members assume their new position on April 1, 2017.

In addition to the ISB elections, Travis Binion was re-elected as Chief Judicial Commissioner.  On December 18, 2016 the RC confirmed Joyce Anderson as the third Judicial Commissioner to fill a vacancy, joining Travis and Benet Rutenberg.

The Association proudly welcomes Luis Garcia- Bory from Mexico living in Switzerland, Jeannie Vasquez from Uruguay, and Gabriel Rymberg who lives in Israel to the ISB and we thank them for their willingness to serve and their untiring loyalty in their work for the Association.

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Alabama Gathering Reminder

Mark Kurtz, USA

Space is still available at 2017 Southeast Urantia Gathering at the Alabama 4-H Youth Center, Columbiana, Alabama (USA).

The deadline for registrations is March 15 but late ones may be accommodated up to March 25 with an additional fee of $25.

Registrations can be sent to our mailbox or via email. Please visit the website at http://www.southeasturantia.com/2017-gathering.html for more details on the gathering and for registration information.

Upcoming Events

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.