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Tidings November 2016

Gum Trees

In This Issue

President’s Message – November 2016

Chris Wood

As I write this, I am traveling to Frankfurt, Germany to celebrate Urantia DACH joining our International Association.  This German-speaking group has been meeting for years and has been highly active in organizing events throughout Germany and its leaders have also been working with all of Urantia Europe with the Blue Club.

There are at least three types of unity in our Urantia Community: spiritual unity, which we share not just with other students of this revelation but with every God-seeking person in the world; social unity, which we achieve by gathering at conferences and study groups, learning how we each understand and incorporate these teachings in our lives; and there is organizational unity, agreeing to unite our principles and our efforts toward achieving a common goal. As more and more Urantia groups join us in organizational unity our reach and our abilities expand exponentially.

In the last few months there has been a European Conference in Budapest, a Latin American Conference in Bogota, an Australian & New Zealand conference in Tasmania, an important meeting about the future of the North American community in Chicago, and now a new Association celebration in Frankfurt. As our programs grow, they reach more new students of The Urantia Book, and more and more people will have first hand experience with the Fifth Epochal Revelation.

As we turn our eyes toward 2017, we can hardly imagine all of the work we have before us, but we strive to serve loyally day after day, eventually another year of progress will be made. I hope you can join us for a service project in 2017. There will always be more work to do!

In service,
Chris Wood
President, Urantia Association International

Budapest Conference Report

Chris Moseley, UK

budapest-buildingWho Is Jesus?

15 to 18 September, 2016

Quietly and almost unobtrusively–but impressively–a new milestone in the maturing of the Urantia movement was achieved in September 2016 when a pan-European conference of readers of the revelation was held for the first time. More truly it was a pan-Northern Hemisphere conference, because there was a significant leavening with representatives from the United States and Canada.

Antonio Schefer, conference co-ordinator for Urantia Association International, ably and tactfully assembled an organising team that worked for many months behind the scenes to get this conference ready and running smoothly. There were participating organisers from the various European Associations, and for these people too, it was an important and new learning experience in collaboration.

The germ of the idea came from the loose organisation of readers in the German-speaking lands, DACH, named after the international identifying codes of the three countries, Germany (D), Austria (A) and Switzerland (CH) by their co-ordinator Christian Ruch. (‘Dach’ means ‘roof’ in German, typifying the loose but comfortable and protective covering over all the readers.)

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Bogota Conference Report

Bogotá Urantia Association Board

Bogota conf-audience2The Master and the Student

14 to 17 October, 2016

The First Latin American Urantia Conference was held in Bogotá, Colombia October 14-17, 2016 and was organized by the Bogotá Urantia Association (Asociación Urantia Bogotá, AUB.) The Conference included the participation of 16 countries, 108 attendees (46 from countries outside Colombia) and between 20 and 50 virtual participants throughout the conference who tuned into video transmission in Spanish via Zoom and English via Ustream.tv. Participants enjoyed learning from the information and experiences that were shared by 17 speakers who provided outstanding remarks and presentations.

The Conference opened on Friday with a welcome from the President of Urantia Association International, Chris Wood, followed by remarks from the President of the Urantia Colombia Association, Wilson Leon. Then the participants and delegations from each country were introduced.

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Tasmanian Conference Reflections

Kathleen Swadling

Equipped to be Teachers of the Religion of Jesus –
Are You Willing? Are You Ready?

16 to 19 September, 2016

maryknoll-3The 2016 annual conference for the Australia & New Zealand Urantia Association (ANZURA) was held at the delightful Maryknoll Retreat Conference Centre overlooking Blackmans Bay just south of Hobart. Many thanks go to our gracious hosts Julian McGarry and the Hobart study group team for providing such a well-planned event. Not only did the venue provide a stunningly beautiful natural environment, but the program itself provided for much heartfelt discussion and qualitative food for thought.

Urantia Book readers came from all around Australia and two from New Zealand. A good number of participants who haven’t been to a Urantia conference before came from Tasmania itself!

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Russian Conference Report

Sergey Litvinov and Anton Miroshnichenko

moscow7Becoming Friends & Loving Each Other

9 to 11 September, 2016

The first meeting of Russian speaking readers of The Urantia Book was held 9 – 11 September, 2016 at the Novahoff Hotel in Nicholas Uryupino Village near Moscow. This conference was initiated and skilfully organized by Tamila Ragimova from Medellin, Colombia. Twenty five readers attended hailing from Russia, Finland, the Ukraine and the USA.

On the first day over dinner, each of those present spoke about his or her path to finding The Urantia Book. Presentations were given in the mornings, then after lunch we broke up into smaller discussion groups.

To give you an idea of the subjects discussed, following is a list of the titles of the presentations and workshops:

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Italian Conference Report

italian-conference1Survival of the Human Self

7 to 9 October, 2016

In a quiet hotel on the shores of Lake Garda, which was our panorama during the sessions, we had met our Italian Urantia neighbours for the second time on the initiative of our dynamic Danielle La Scala, whose abilities as a translator are astonishing. Apart from Danielle and three non-Urantians, there were three French people (Georges and Marlène Michelson-Dupont and Ivan Stol), two Swiss (Doris Calmel and Guy de Viron) and six Italians (Nirvana and Deanna Bussadori, Maria Dolores Novati, Alberto Dujela and Serena Zaganelli), and the European co-ordinator Antonio Schefer.

The discussions on the topic of “Survival of the Human Self” gave us a chance to clarify many questions on the existential issues of “who will survive” and “the true choice of survival.” Likewise, “how to live with other people,” “what is love,” “doing the will of God,” and “becoming perfect” were dealt with making use of Georges’ expert practice in guiding discussions.

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YouTube Videos of Conference Presentations

youtube-channelThe plenary presentations held at the recent conferences listed below were video recorded and are now available for viewing. These recordings are of a high quality and are very easy to watch; it’s just like being in the audience so if you were unable to attend the conference, we recommend you take a look. Following are the links to our website pages for each conference. From these pages you will find a direct link to the opening plenary presentation as well as a link to the complete set of presentations on YouTube.

A special thanks to Gaetan Charland and his team for the great work in producing these videos.

Study Groups and Young People

Gaetan G. Charland

Gaetan CharlandAfter 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.

This is a very important question associated with a more important comment. The question is easy to answer as there exist on different organizations’ website many study aids, guides, articles and experiences shared by readers about the value of study groups and how they can be organized and managed. The difficulty arises when trying to respond to a comment like this about the interest young readers have for the actual ways study groups are conducted, organized or managed. Not being a young reader myself and belonging to a very different generation (I am now 67) I find myself somewhat unqualified to provide good solutions to this problem.

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Dutch Urantia Meeting 21st August

Jaap Terra, the Netherlands

gOn Sunday, August 21st the annual Dutch Urantia Meeting Day was held in a nice conference centre “Groot Kievitsdal” near Baarn. It was the 10th time we celebrated the birth of Michael of Nebadon, incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth on Urantia, with readers of The Urantia Book.

We could rejoice with a large number of attendees, including 17 new guests visiting this gathering for the first time. It was nice to see that visitors who had joined us in previous years and those who visited for the first time felt a sense of belonging.

During the introduction, attention was paid to the administrative affairs of the SUN (the Urantia Association of the Netherlands). Bernhard Mertens, who passed away in early August after being in hospital for 40 days, was commemorated. Bernhard Mertens and Johan Vandewalle took care of the various presentations for the last few years at our Urantia gatherings. Also Johan and Bernard were planning to provide the first reading for this year.

There is a Urantia candle that we lit as a symbol of the alliance between the Dutch and Belgian Flemish readers of The Urantia Book as some Flemings were our guest this day.

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The Urantia Book Internet School

Georges Michelson-DuPont, France

ubis-website-imageI would like to tell you about the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS). This adventure of our age is staffed by a team of volunteers; women and men who are devoted to building something substantial and enduring that will assist readers of The Urantia Book.

This undertaking began in late 1998 in order to respond to concerns expressed by isolated readers about their need to study the teachings of The Urantia Book in a structured and stable context while sharing them with other truth seekers around the world. The Internet made this possible.

The Urantia Book Internet School operates on a software platform called Moodle. This open-source software is user-friendly and offers many custom features that the user can choose, as well as a large number of educational tools. Further, its interface has been translated into more than 120 languages.

Overview

The school helps expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception, thereby assisting the authors of The Urantia Book in achieving these aims. It does this by providing an educational environment that is well suited to studying the teachings, while embodying methods that are non-interpretative, non-invasive, and dynamic — resembling the approach that Jesus of Nazareth adopted while he was living on Urantia.

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Inspiration & Healing From The Urantia Book

Susan Lyon, USA

Susan GrzeskowiakRecently I went online to purchase some sports items for my son-in-law Tim’s birthday. A few years ago I set up an Amazon-Smile account. Every time I need to shop for birthdays, holidays or any special event for my family, I can do something that has been very difficult financially for me to do in the past; I can support a cause. Raising my four children as a single parent made it nearly impossible for me to give to worthy charities and causes such as Urantia Foundation and all of their translation projects. Now Amazon helps me to accomplish this by taking 0.5% out of their profits for my total purchase amount, and then they send it to Urantia Foundation. When I need to shop for someone, first I check Amazon-Smile to see if they have something that would be an appropriate gift, and generally they don’t disappoint me. I appreciate the great variety available and reasonable prices.

I know some of my friends have set up similar accounts with Amazon-Smile to support Urantia Association International. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this great opportunity. Many people acting as a large network collectively giving their resources and time can be much more effective than a few wealthy donors carrying the heavy load of expense and doing all of the work of planting the seeds for the fifth epochal revelation.

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The Urantia Pilgrim Center – at the Sea of Galilee

Gabriel Rymberg, Israel

sea-of-galileeImagine a beautifully built, professionally and spiritually managed and deeply inspiring Pilgrim Center right where the Master lived and taught.

Imagine a Hotel and Conference Center that welcomes the one million pilgrims that flock to the Sea of Galilee every year to walk “in the footsteps of the Master”; a Center that spreads the Fifth Epochal Revelation by embodying the Master’s Teachings – right in Bethsaida itself.

A group of Urantia Book readers has located a pristine 25-acre tract of land that is located on the banks of the Jordan River three miles north of the Sea of Galilee and one mile north of the ruins of Bethsaida.

We intend to build and operate a Center that contributes to an acceleration of progress towards light and life on Earth by facilitating the individual’s journey inward.

We ask for your spiritual and material support to take the next steps. If this message stirs your heart, please contact me: email: [email protected], cell phone: +972-544-592514

With Love and in His Service,

Gabriel Rymberg
Chief Translator
Urantia Book Hebrew Translation Project

*Footnote: Urantia Association International supports the efforts of individuals and groups to serve, announce, and discuss worthy service projects in our publications, website, social media, and email systems but the Association does not endorse or approve of such service projects or opinions which have not received the full due diligence and official approval for Association funding or sponsorship. All opinions expressed herein are personal to the author(s) and do not represent the Association’s leadership or its membership regarding policy.

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 along to some of these events and experience the joys of meeting and studying with fellow readers.