Tidings – March 2020
In This Issue
Chris Wood, USA
A Solitary Messenger tells us that:
The doing of the will of God is nothing more or less than an exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God… [Paper 111:5.1, page 1221.2 emphasis added]
In that spirit, I would like to share a little story about my life.
My time with the Association has run parallel with my time as a parent. I ask a lot of questions of parents who have raised children with The Urantia Book. I prioritize first and foremost that my boys do not grow up resenting the Urantia Community for taking away their father’s attention. For seven years, I have tried to apply many of Jesus’ approaches when it comes to these two responsibilities. In Paper 138, we are told that Jesus would “…interrupt a serious conference with his apostles to fraternize with an intruding child” [138:8.9]. I try to make sure that the kids feel comfortable interrupting any video conference I am participating in. We are also told that, as a child, Jesus “…accumulated a vast body of knowledge; as a youth he sorted, classified, and correlated this information…” [127:6.14]. And so, whenever the opportunity arises, my wife and I will try to fill my kids with knowledge, hoping that they will be able to organize this knowledge into a true philosophy of living as they age.
A few weeks ago, it was a Saturday and I had the day off work. It was my birthday and there would be an evening game for the American Football playoffs. Since it was my day and I am not usually able to watch these games, I decided that this would be our evening plan. That afternoon, my wife, children and I went to lunch with a couple of other Urantia Book students. Talk naturally turned to The Urantia Book for most of the meal, and the kids just sat quietly eating, but it turned out they were listening to, and absorbing, the adult conversation. Later that evening when we gathered to watch the game, the kids started talking and asking question after question about science and religion and Urantia and they even devised a complicated system between them about whose turn it was to ask a question and how follow up questions would affect whose turn it was, and it became a full evening. It was a spontaneous birthday gift. We missed the game.
If you would like to join with my family and discuss Urantia matters, we will be at the Vancouver “Urantia Global Experience” this summer!
President, Urantia Association International
Study Group Directory Admin Team
The Urantia Book Study Group Directory (UBSGD) recently surpassed the largest number of listings added in any single year since 2011. A total of 68 new groups were added in 2019. This is more than double the number of new groups added in 2018. The Study Group Directory continues to grow as readers from more than 55 countries have found the Directory and added their study group information. At the end of 2019, the Directory had a total of 463 study groups.
Origins and Development
In 2010, at Urantia Foundation, the leadership of Urantia Association International and The Urantia Book Fellowship met formally for the first time to promote unity among our organizations. Following this event, the organization’s information technology developers held a meeting to encourage the sharing of information. During this meeting, Urantia Foundation suggested the need for a central online source for study group contact information; a place where students of The Urantia Book could easily find study groups in their area, and for study groups to find new members to grow their ranks. It was suggested this should be a progressive joint project. The result was the creation of the Urantia Book Study Group Portal. Today that portal is known as the Urantia Book Study Group Directory: UrantiaStudyGroup.org.
Scott Brooks built the original Directory. The first governing group for this project had a team of three people from each of the three organizations. This team developed and unanimously agreed to the functionality and the criteria for listing study groups in the Directory.
Later, after all the elements of the Directory were in place, a new charter and a new organizational structure reduced the administrative team to five; one member representing each organization, a Directory team chairman and the website administrator. The Directory is supported financially by the three organizations and each organization appoints its own representative to the Directory team.
Managing the Directory
Today the UBSGD team consists of Tamara Strumfeld (Urantia Foundation), Jackie Koury (Urantia Book Fellowship), Rick Lyon (Urantia Association International), Bill Beasley (Directory Chairman), and Scott Brooks (website administrator).
One of the most important functions of the administrative team is to ensure every study group in the Directory is contacted at least once a year by automated email, personal email, or a telephone call from a team member. This contact is to confirm that every study group listed in the Directory is still active and their information is correct. If we are unable to contact a group within two years it is deemed inactive and removed from the Directory. As with any database, keeping the information current is a big job.
The team also handles any complaints about groups not complying with the posted criteria for listing a group in the Directory. It is rare but we have removed groups whose activity violates the Terms of Agreement, which must be accepted before the new study group is posted online. This is done to ensure that the quality of the groups listed and recommended by the three organizations is up to the highest standards possible.
In the fall of 2019, the Directory team presented two online webinars about the Directory. The first was to the Urantia Association International Education Committee which was attended by 20 people, and the second was to the Urantia Association Study Group Committee, attended by 36 Spanish-speaking study group hosts. During the three months after these presentations, 25 new groups joined the Directory. Leaders from the Spanish community pledged to spread the word about the Directory and encourage study group hosts to list their groups.
If you would like us to do a presentation at your event or online meeting, contact the Directory team at: [email protected]
Study Group Listings
In 2018, the Directory functionality was updated to include the ability to list virtual online study groups. Most virtual groups that meet online use Zoom or Skype. This update has been well received and contributed significantly to the growth of the number of groups available for contact.
Virtual groups enable those in areas with few Urantia Book students to study with others, even if they are in other countries. The Directory can also help you find study groups to visit when traveling. Study groups can use the Directory to find a “sister” group to share study online. The Directory is the best tool available for connecting people to study groups locally or around the world.
To list a study group in the Directory you must ensure your study group is:
- focused on the study of The Urantia Book
- open to all readers
- apolitical in nature
- free from any activities that may distract students from the teachings of The Urantia Book.
Study groups are autonomous gatherings of Urantia Book students; meaning that the group itself is unaffiliated with any organization, though the organizations that sponsor the Directory foster and support them and groups are often attended by members of several Urantia organizations or non-members.
The number of study group listings in the Directory has grown from only 4 in 2010 to a total of 463 as of January 2020! Of the 463 study groups in the Directory today, about three-fourths of them meet in person and one-fourth are virtual groups. A few are both in person and virtual. In December, the first study group in China was listed! The Directory has active study groups listed in 56 countries. The top ten countries are: USA, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, France, Venezuela and New Zealand.
Since its inception, the Directory has been multi-lingual, displaying all information in any of the supported languages. The top five languages used in the Directory are English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.
All fifty states in the United States are represented by 227 in-person groups and 46 virtual groups. Outside of the United States, there are 162 in-person groups and 84 virtual groups listed. Some groups are both in-person and virtual. Within a few constantly changing percentage points these are active confirmed study groups!
We encourage all study group hosts to list your group in the UBSGD at: www.UrantiaStudyGroup.org. There are, of course, many study groups in existence around the world not listed in the Directory. Listing your group will help you find new members and, in turn, this will help students of The Urantia Book find study group families and help grow the number of study groups available. The value of hosting or participating in a group setting is invaluable!
Only study group hosts can list their group or update their information at any time. The Directory team does not add any groups although we always stand ready to assist anyone to activate a listing or keep their information current. Join the growing list of teachers and leaders hosting study groups in service to this revelation! Explore the Directory website to discover its many easy-to-use functions, helpful information, and resources. Each organization has posted a study group guide to help you create a study group or enhance the group you have. For more information you may contact the Directory team at: [email protected]
In Joyful Service,
UBSGD Admin Team
UGE 2020 Team
Lifting Together – United in Purpose – Serving God the Supreme
University of the Fraser Valley, BC Canada
July 28 to August 1, 2020
Registration is now open – Urantia Global Experience
The Urantia Association of Canada and The Urantia Book Fellowship have teamed up to host this gathering in the Vancouver Fraser Valley. They invite everyone to come together to serve the global community by making a personal contribution to civilization on Urantia.
The Urantia Global Experience is a gathering of minds dedicated to serving God the Supreme through the exploration of solutions for the progressive evolution of civilization. We believe the overall success of this experimental endeavor rests on our spirit unity – our common motive to express the will of God in our daily lives as well as in our social institutions.
All participants are expected to actively engage in discussion groups focused on a variety of topics drawn from The Urantia Book (71:4 Progressive Civilization). From these discussions, we hope to derive common ideas, solutions, and purpose.
One prime objective is to work in liaison with the angelic ministry, particularly the master seraphim of planetary supervision (114:6). Participants who are focused on, or presently engaged in, any aspect of civilization or angelic ministry are encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge in mutually interactive discussions. Let us know how your work aligns with the ideas and ideals promoted in The Urantia Book.
A few spots are still open for Visionary Explorations. The intent of these explorations is group discussion around a specific topic or project, rather than solely making an individual presentation to the group. The idea is to solicit valuable insights from participants to help us understand the possibilities and pitfalls of the proposed or active projects. It is hoped that interested individuals will want to remain involved after the conference to follow up on their programs.
If you would like to form a Vision Team, please contact us via the UGE website (see menu). To learn about our guidelines and expected formats, see Visionary Explorations and Vision Teams.
Note: This event is limited to 450 participants because of spatial constraints.
For more information see – Urantia Global Experience
Peru 2021 Conference Team
Towards Cosmic Citizenship
We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2021 Urantia Association International Conference in Peru which is being held in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Urubamba, Cusco, Peru April 22—25, 2021!
Sign up now for this memorable event in Peru and receive an Exclusive Promo discount of USD$120.00 and pay only USD$330 if you register before March 31, 2020.
The current cost for the conference is USD$330.00 (if you book before 31st March 2020) and includes the following services:
- All lunches and dinners of high-quality cuisine
- Mid-morning and afternoon coffee breaks and snacks
- Bus shuttle services from the airport to the Sacred Valley and back to the airport
- Transportation around the Sacred Valley, from the different hotels to the conference
- Transportation (minutes away), to the restaurant and the archaeological sites
- Tourism guidance (mandatory at cultural sites)
- Simultaneous translations (Spanish, English, Portuguese, French)
- Folkloric dance and music presentations
- Conference materials
- Hotel room accommodation
- Entry to the archaeological sites
- Breakfast (included in hotel fee)
31/03/2020 USD$360.00 (Early Bird – save $90.00)
22/06/2020 USD$390.00 (Regular Bird – save $60.00)
22/10/2020 USD$420.00 (Late Bird – save $30.00)
For detailed information on Accommodation/Hotel options and much more see:
If you’re planning to attend Urantia Association’s International Conference we urge you to register and book your accommodation with the hotel NOW, using our registration link
Although we are reserving rooms at the hotel, there is no guarantee that rooms will be available at short notice before the conference. And for your convenience, the hotel offers the option to book now and pay later, 45 days before our event begins. Register and book now to receive the promotional discount. The available accommodation facilities range from five-star hotels-haciendas to smaller (but no less warm and beautiful) hotels—to suit personal budgets. All facilities are close to one another. The accommodation prices include breakfast and will depend on the hotel chosen to stay in.
The program will incorporate a combination of plenary sessions that will be held at the conference center, and workshops that will be held at the nearby archaeological sites. Unique adventures await your stay in the region surrounding the conference venue. In addition to the Urantia conference program and activities highlighting cosmic citizenship, the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas is a major tourist destination on the road to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most captivating archaeological sites.
To help the greatest number of people to participate in this event, we invite you to explore the activities Urantia Association International sponsors with the contributions it receives. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!
We look forward to welcoming you to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in Cusco, Peru!
President, Urantia Peru National Association
Email: [email protected]
International Conference Chair, Urantia Association International
Email: [email protected]
Jeannie Vázquez, Uruguay
On August 24th and 25th, 2019, the Urantia Association of Mexico organized its Third National Conference in Mexico City, which was attended by sixty-four readers of The Urantia Book from various cities of Mexico and Uruguay.
This gathering with our Mexican siblings was a cheerful and fraternal occasion, where we met again with several old friends and got to know personally other virtual friends who have been frequent participants in the online conferences organized by Urantia Association International’s Education Committee and in the online meetings of the Latin American Study Group.
Conferences organized by the Urantia Association of Mexico are characterized by being dynamic and participative, as well as interesting, instructive, and free for all attendees. The Mexican Association holds bi-monthly conferences and workshops where the attendees are invited to study and present themes from The Urantia Book. This dynamism is reflected in National Conferences because the attendees participate actively during their ongoing presentations, showing discernment and interest in the shared teachings. It is fascinating to see so many faces eager to absorb the teachings; answering their insightful questions is often a challenge for the presenter.
On the Saturday upon registration we all received a gift of candies with the three concentric circles impressed in blue. These were made by our dear friends Dulce Piña and Pedro Cazales.
Alfredo Esquivel greeted the assistants, and Hector Palacios, the master of ceremonies, delivered the opening speech. We enjoyed three lectures in the morning. The first one was given by Luisa Gutiérrez, who spoke about “What is Ministry,” in which she presented her personal experience in learning how to share the teachings of The Urantia Book.
Sergio Monrroy Gutiérrez explored the theme “The Wealth” in his presentation, by examining the counsel that Jesus gave to a certain rich man during his stay in Rome. The third presentation was about “Cosmic Consciousness and Spiritual Perception,” in which I examined the reasons why the revelators say in the Foreword of The Urantia Book that they “…endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception” for human beings. [Paper 0:0.2, page 1.2]
In the afternoon lectures, Camilo Vargas spoke to us about “The Art of Living,” in which he examined the concepts of the Greek philosopher Rodan of Alexandria as presented in Paper 160 of The Urantia Book.
To conclude the Saturday lectures, Rogelio Ortiz presented an analysis of the “Discourse on Jonah,” that our Master Jesus gave to the young Philistine truth-seeker Gadiah during his stay in Joppa.
The presentations on Sunday began with a lecture by Ramiro Ramirez, who spoke on “The Rule of Living,” presenting different versions of the golden rule as it was known in ancient Egypt, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and as it was taught by different teachers such as Confucius, Lao-Tsé, Pythagoras, and Epicurus.
Jaime Díaz Page presented the theme “Realities of True Religion,” telling us about the efforts that the believer should make in practicing the religion of the spirit according to the teachings of Jesus and the revelators, who have invited us to carry out a personal search for divine truth through our faith and determination to explore the realities of religious experience.
I presented a workshop entitled “The Strengthening of Faith,” in which my assistants and I analyzed how we can strengthen our faith and make it an experiential, living, and growing faith.
In the afternoon, we celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, reading this tribute by Martín Guzmán in his honor:
Tribute to Jesus of Nazareth
More than 2000 years ago Jesus was born on Urantia, the man that gave us the wonderful legacy of the example of his life and teachings and also established for all eternity that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Thank you, Master!
It is not always easy to follow you, but you did not say it would be. There is no challenge more sublime or more rejoicing task than striving to follow in your footsteps.
Today, Master, we meet together those of us who are so fortunate to have a group of friends and siblings with similar interests and we declare ourselves your children, to celebrate your anniversary.
May these simple words serve as a symbol of the great love we feel for you, beloved Creator, and hopefully can be more and more every day those who accept you and are willing to follow you. Happy anniversary, beloved Brother-Father. I hope one day we can tell you this personally, and you allow us to give you an incredible hug there in Salvington, if this is our destiny.
But today, from Urantia, we send you this message with our best wishes for love and happiness.
Thank you, beloved Master and Universal Sovereign Jesus-Michael of Nebadon! Happy Urantian Anniversary No. 2025!
The celebration was followed by the transfer of the Mexican Association Presidency, in which the outgoing President Alfredo Esquivel handed over his position to the new President, Martín Guzmán. The Treasurer, Héctor Landín Vazquez, also took up his new position. We were enthralled to see Alfredo and Martin hugging each other, wrapped in the flag of Michael of Nebadon.
At the closing of the conference we had the pleasure of hearing Hector Palacios singing opera. Ramiro Ramírez, an outstanding guitar player and singer known in Mexico as Ramiro Jarkyn, and Luisa Gutiérrez, saxophonist and singer, delighted us by singing and playing their instruments.
After this closure, it was time to say goodbye to our friends. Thank you, dear friends, for your efforts in organizing this educational and fraternal meeting. We took with us a treasure of memories of these shared, happy moments.
See you next time!
Kwadjo Spiri, Ghana and Emeka Anazodo, Nigeria
Fostering Spiritual Unity Through Loving Service
Urantia Nigeria and Urantia Ghana, in collaboration with Urantia Association International, organized a successful conference from 6 to 8 December 2019 in Lagos on the Victoria Islands in Nigeria. The theme was Fostering Spiritual Unity Through Loving Service. In attendance were readers from Ghana and Nigeria as well as Urantia Association’s Conference correspondent and organizer on the ground, Antonio Schefer.
Following are two reports written by Kwadjo Spiri and Emeka Anazodo:
Kwadjo Spiri, Ghana writes:
Meet and greet was on the Friday evening after readers traveling from Ghana by road arrived safely. Other readers from various states in Nigeria converged in Lagos for this conference. Saturday was the day for the main event.
The content of the conference was enriched by various presentations from readers from Ghana and Nigeria. Emeka Anazodo of Urantia Nigeria opened the conference with a personal introduction and an opening prayer. This was immediately followed by short introductions from everyone seated for the event, who briefly stated their connections and experiences with The Urantia Book. New readers were encouraged and enthused by the experiences of the more experienced readers.
Collins Lomo from Ghana gave an interesting presentation on “My Brother’s Keeper,” drawing attention to supporting ourselves and being there for each other as children of the kingdom—God’s children. Between presentations, Shola, a Nigerian reader and musician, refreshed the gathering with music.
I gave a presentation on “Spiritual Communion” where emphasis was placed on the importance of being adamant in our faith in the reality of the indwelling Adjuster, or Father, at all times in life. The Thought Adjuster is a solution-package to all our challenges in this first earthly life. Faith in the reality of this indwelling super-power through intelligent prayer can release the power to overcome any of life’s tasks and challenges. Attention was drawn to faith in the Thought Adjuster as being the only requirement to gain favor with God and that, through this same faith, we can increasingly share in the nature of God and ultimately fuse (become one) with him.
Jesse gave a speech on the importance of reading The Urantia Book, the fifth epochal revelation and a young lady, Maya of Nigeria, refreshed the short space afterwards with a memory verse from the book.
Emeka concluded the day’s presentations with a talk on effective praying, drawing our attention to the prerequisites of effective prayer as outlined in The Urantia Book. He expounded on each point and shared great insights into the subject in order to whet our appetite for daily effective prayer.
Emeka and I led participants in a prayer circle and offered prayers for the growth of the Urantia teachings and its associated movements in the world and especially Africa, which is a new beacon of light to the world regarding truth, beauty, and goodness.
Generally, this was a successful conference as it met its anticipated target of bringing African readers together (seasoned and new) to learn, discover and socialize. Also, we achieved our goal of strengthening and consolidating the African Urantia study groups and clubs. As a result, readers from all parts of Africa have continued to be in close touch after the conference.
There’s room for improvement regarding our understanding of the teachings of The Urantia Book and building study groups in Africa, but we will surely get there. Many thanks to Urantia Association International for their concerted efforts to foster the teachings of the book in Africa and the world. I’m sure the Father above is most happy to see these efforts.
Emeka Anazodo writes:
The December 2019 Nigeria-Ghana Urantia conference was a great and memorable event that made a very significant impact on my struggles over the years to bring together Urantia Book readers in Nigeria.
Readers in Nigeria have relied mainly on phone calls and social media, especially WhatsApp for group communication, group study, and fellowship. Several efforts have been made with Zoom cloud meetings, but a poor mobile network and the cost of data effectively marred the project. Several other efforts have been made locally to facilitate face-to-face meetings of readers, but none have been as far-reaching and uniting as this last conference.
This conference gave Nigerian Urantia Book readers the opportunity to set up organizational structures and guidelines for the Nigerian groups, and also inspired a collaboration of African readers to set up similar structures and guidelines to ensure that the teachings of The Urantia Book are spread in Africa in such a way that the original intents and purposes of the revelators of the fifth epochal revelation are fulfilled.
On a personal level, the conference provided an opportunity for Urantia Book readers to socialize and put faces to the many names they have known for many years through social media interactions. Readers were brought together from far and wide, a feat that would not have been possible had Urantia Association International not covered the costs of logistics. Most importantly for me, I got to understand more of the purposes of the Association and have become more open to collaborations with them to move the revelation forward in Africa.
All in all, a lot of love flowed in Lagos. The ripple effect of this loving action is just beginning to gather and will yet spread through Africa and the greater world. I am indeed grateful.
Please enjoy a few photos of our time together:
Line St Pierre, Quebec, Canada
In our retreats, women are invited to deeply explore how the Divine dances with you in your physical, social, and spiritual life, and how you can deepen this relationship and reach out to other women in sisterhood.
We are a team of four women inspired by the teachings of The Urantia Book. Coming from different walks of life, we bonded through a shared vision, and it became our mission to enhance the status of being a woman dedicated to spiritual growth, intellectual advancement, and moral progress. In stepping out of conventional models of leadership, we have adopted the fishbowl conversation to create a milieu of soul-sharing.
Over the last 7 years, we have conducted workshops during conferences and facilitated women retreats nationally and internationally—we were fortunate to be invited to work in Canada, the USA, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
We hope to meet you either in Colorado in March or at the Urantia Foundation next September!
For more information on our upcoming events see the poster below and our website at: http://sisterhoodcircle.net/
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.
The Tidings newsletter is an 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.
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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 English Newsletter: Mark Blackham
- Spanish translator an online Spanish Newsletter: Olga Lopez
- French translator: Line St-Pierre
- 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.
For variety, we have a different image on the cover for every issue. Artists, photographers and illustrators are encouraged to submit images for possible use on the cover or direct us to a web page of your artwork.
Tidings 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.
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.