Tidings – October 2015
In This Issue
Recently, a group of four young Urantia Book students stayed with me and my family for a weekend and of course they wanted to be of service. What task did we set upon this nurse, engineering student, and two small businessmen? They spent eight hours folding letters and preparing our fall fundraiser for the post office. Time itself is often the most valuable gift.
At my local church there was a presentation of “stewardship” which focused on Time, Talent and Treasure. Of course my mind turned to the Urantia Community. The Publication Mandate tells us, “The Book belongs to the era immediately to follow the conclusion of the present ideological struggle.” Our generation is a stewardship generation. I know the vast amount of time Urantia Book students give to build our community. Ten of thousands of hours each week are dedicated to building study groups, placing books in libraries, negotiating shipping to Africa, and, yes, folding letters.
I am reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan. A man has been attacked and many people turn down the opportunity to help. The Samaritan comes along and he gives his Time – he stops what he is doing and spends the night nursing the man back to health; he gives his Talent – providing immediate comfort and dressing the man’s wounds; and he give his Treasure – paying the innkeeper to give further aid to the man promising to pay any additional bills that might arise.
Toward the end of the year we are all asked to take stock of what Time, Talent, and Financial support we have to offer to the Urantia Community. If you can, I encourage you to visit the website of Urantia Association International to find out more about volunteer opportunities and to donate online.
I am very grateful for all opportunity to help shape and direct the contributions of this community. Together we are spreading the teaching of The Urantia Book and helping to bring humankind closer to God.
This summer readers presented The Urantia Book at the following three events that were held in the Ukraine:
The “Country of Dreams” Festival
This festival was held in Kiev at the Country Museum “Pyrogovo” on 20 to 21 June. We presented the Russian and English versions of The Urantia Book at the literary festival site there. Many visitors passed our table and received a brochure with general information about the book. They could also treat themselves to candy and pull out a special quotation from The Urantia Book. People who were interested in the book stopped at our table to talk and ask questions. We were very pleased to introduce the book to festival goers and we hope that some of them who received information will become readers in the future. Overall we were left with a good impression of the event.
The “Green Wave” Book Exhibition in Odessa
This event was held from 6 to 9 August and The Urantia Book display was organized by members of Urantia Association of Ukraine. Alexander and Nicholas presented The Urantia Book to visitors.
Readers of The Urantia Book in Odessa took part in this exhibition for the second time. We prepared posters, brochures and business cards and we sold eight Urantia Books. Alexander also introduced to visitors “The Prophecies of Christ in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” by Archpriest Dimitry Yurevich, which he used for drawing parallels to The Urantia Book in terms of the history of religious thought from the pre-Christian era. Some people were surprised to learn that the entire text of the book is available for free on the Internet. They happily took business cards and brochures with the address of the site.
The most common question asked at the exhibition was “What is The Urantia Book?” In general, people interested in books were surprised by the amount of themes and content of the book.
Reflections in Russian about our experience at this exhibition can be found at the Russian-language forum of The Urantia Book: http://forum.urantia.ru/forum_posts.asp?TID=1681&PID=32670#32670
The Forum of Publishers in Lviv
An annual Forum of Book Publishers was held in Lviv from 10 to 13 September. Urantia Association of Ukraine also took part in this exhibition.
Our tent was located on the central street of Lviv, Liberty Avenue, near the Opera House. During the four days of the Book Forum we spoke with many people. In general, people interested in the book were well-educated and well versed in philosophical and spiritual literature.
Several books were sold and people were able to receive a brochure about the book as well as selected quotes. They asked many questions and a number of people left their contact details so we could send them a free copy of The Urantia Book in PDF format.
Jesus, the Master Teacher
June 9 – 12, 2016 San Antonio, Texas, USA
Celebrating a Partnership Between the Urantia Association of the United States and The Urantia Book Fellowship
Urantia Association of the United States (UAUS) is pleased to announce that the next national conference for the United States will be jointly sponsored by UAUS and The Urantia Book Fellowship (the Fellowship), in June of 2016. The organization of this event will be sponsored by the Lone Star Urantia Association (the Texas Local Association of UAUS) and the Education Committee of The Fellowship.
This momentous event will be held at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and will be exploring Jesus, the Master Teacher – covering a wide variety of topics and how to apply them in our lives. The conference and pre-and post-conference events will also be held on this beautiful campus. Their website at https://new.trinity.edu has a virtual tour that you can visit before the conference begins.
In the spring of 2015, Chris Wood approached David Kulieke, the Fellowship Education Committee chair, about what he saw as an opportunity for a combined conference based on the intended theme for the UAUS annual conference of training teachers and leaders. He and David had several conversations on the subject, eventually bringing in the newly elected President of the Fellowship, Michael Challis, as well as securing the approval of both the Fellowship and Urantia Association organizations.
Then at the international conference of Urantia Association in Quebec in July, 2015, President Chris Wood announced that the Urantia Association of the United States would present its 2016 annual conference together with the regularly planned 2016 Summer Study Session of the Fellowship’s Education Committee. These Fellowship summer study sessions are designed to enhance in-depth and high quality study of the teachings of The Urantia Book.
Both organizations hope to see many people at the conference/summer study session to celebrate “Jesus, the Master Teacher” as well as the enduring friendships of readers of The Urantia Book.
For more information visit:
Lone Star Urantia Association at http://www.urantia-lsua.org/2016-conference/4590718909 and the Fellowship Education Committee at www.urantia-education.org
Beginning November 23, we will launch a series of free online study group sessions centered on the teachings of The Urantia Book. The sessions will be held weekly and will consist initially of the following modules:
- What The Urantia Book teaches about in-depth study, in combination with relevant practical exercises
- Lessons on teaching and public speaking, along with opportunities for participants to deliver practice speeches
- Growing up with Jesus: How to enhance balanced growth and become leaders by learning what Jesus did at every stage of development, from early childhood to later adult life
- The truths of science in a philosophy of living:
Connecting the truths of science with the new philosophy of living inspired by Jesus’ teaching on coordinating science and religion in our lives
This study group will not be solely intellectual; it’s also about growth and helping one another!
Facilitator: Jeffrey Wattles
Host: Urantia Young Adult International (UYAI)
When: Every Monday beginning November 23rd at 7:00 pm (GMT+1:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna time zone
US Time zones:
1:00 pm – East
12:00 am – Central
11:00 am – Mountain
10:00 am – West
For whom: Mainly young adult Urantia Book readers between 15-40. Any other age group is also welcome!
How to join: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Meeting ID: 617 494 9574
Or join by phone: +1 646 568 7788 (US toll) or +1 415 762 9988 (US toll)
For more information email the Conference Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
The first meeting of Italian readers of The Urantia Book took place in Verona, the beautiful and historic city of Romeo and Juliet.
Danielle La Scala, who organized the meeting, is a former resident of France and Switzerland. The meeting was held from Friday, August 28, to Sunday, August 30. Of the eight Italians who wrote that they would attend the gathering, only three were present for the full meeting. Memo Z., the chief translator of the Italian translation, came Saturday and Sunday, and one person came just for Saturday afternoon. In addition to Danielle, my wife, Marlène, and I, Antonio Schefer from the Netherlands, representing Urantia Association International , were in attendance. A Swiss man from Lausanne was also present as well as three French readers, a woman and two men, from Marseille, France.
Friday night was devoted to socializing and enjoying a good meal at the hotel.
On Saturday morning, Danielle introduced the schedule for the weekend. As an attending Trustee and on behalf of Urantia Foundation, I said a few words of greeting. The President of the Association Francophone des Lecteurs du Livre D’Urantia (AFLLU) delivered a short welcome, and Antonio Schefer spoke briefly about Urantia Association International.
The Saturday morning session was devoted to the study of the Thought Adjuster. After five minutes of meditative silence we engaged in the study of the introduction to Paper 107. We sat in a circle, each participant reading one paragraph and commenting. Many questions were raised during the sharing. Cross-references with other paragraphs of Paper 1, Paper 108, and the Foreword were used during the discussion to answer participants’ questions. Many clarifications occurred in the minds of participants, especially the Italians. Participating in a study group like this was a new and significant experience for the Italians, as they had never attended a study group.
Saturday afternoon, after lunch, we gathered again in the same study room and had our five minutes of silence. The afternoon session was devoted to the study of “the divine perfection plans,” using the same study methodology as the morning session. Again, many clarifications came from the questions and cross-referencing with other paragraphs. Each participant could feel the atmosphere of fellowship that comes when truth seekers are gather to find out more about God, and we really experienced the meaning of the first paragraph of paper 100:
The experience of dynamic religious living transforms the mediocre individual into a personality of idealistic power. Religion ministers to the progress of all through fostering the progress of each individual, and the progress of each is augmented through the achievement of all. [Paper 100:0.1, page 1094.1]
We finished with a silent prayer.
A short visit to Verona was organized that evening. After the visit we had a tasty dinner with much fellowship. All the Italians spoke some French, which facilitated our communication and enhanced the convivial spirit of the evening. We discussed 1) plans for future gatherings, 2) the formation of study groups in Italy, and 3) ways to find other Italian readers. Two of the Italian participants expressed a desire to participate in our six-day seminar next summer in Recloses, France.
We devoted the first part of Sunday morning to the study of mind spiritualization. We read and then discussed paragraph 7, section 3 of Paper 1:
In the inner experience of man, mind is joined to matter. Such material-linked minds cannot survive mortal death. The technique of survival is embraced in those adjustments of the human will and those transformations in the mortal mind whereby such a God-conscious intellect gradually becomes spirit taught and eventually spirit led. This evolution of the human mind from matter association to spirit union results in the transmutation of the potentially spirit phases of the mortal mind into the morontia realities of the immortal soul. Mortal mind subservient to matter is destined to become increasingly material and consequently to suffer eventual personality extinction; mind yielded to spirit is destined to become increasingly spiritual and ultimately to achieve oneness with the surviving and guiding divine spirit and in this way to attain survival and eternity of personality existence. [Paper 1:3.7, page 26.1]
A two-hour sharing ensued about the meaning of “the adjustments of the human will and those transformations in the mortal mind” described in this paragraph. Again, clarification of ideas and consequences in human daily life were examined.
After eleven o’clock it was time to pack and get ready for lunch, which took place in a nice, typical Italian ristorante with much frutti di mare and pasta.
The results of this gathering look very positive and promising. Two of the three Italians are dedicated readers and want to become active in the process of creating study groups, preparing other gatherings, and fostering interest among Italians in The Urantia Book. Memo Z. wants to retire from his position as contact person. Danielle offered to take over his position.
Danielle did a great job in taking the initiative and organizing this gathering. She deserves a great deal of respect for this service.
Paulo Cesar Zapello
The National Meeting for Brazilian Urantia Book readers was held in Curitiba, Paraná 9 to 12 October. Regardless of the economic crisis in Brazil, 60 people attended this event. We were pleased to welcome the Brazilian pioneer reader, Mr. Caio Mario Café, and also Andres Ramires from Colombia.
This year we celebrated the 10th Brazilian event, with three magical days of in-depth involvement from all participants. The agenda included four plenary presentations, three workshops, an interactive quiz, and a celebration party. All attendants were constantly active and deeply involved.
The driving theme was: “From Urantia to Paradise” proceeded by an “Introduction to The Urantia Book” with a vision of cosmology and the divine assistance of the Thought Adjusters.
The three days were unforgettable and we are all looking forward to the next event in 2016.
Light and Peace
Paulo Cesar Zapello
President – Urantia Association of Brazil
Faith and Courage – the Pathway to Paradise and Beyond
This year’s Australia & New Zealand Urantia Association (ANZURA) conference was held 9 to 12 October at the Sydney Academy of Sport & Recreation on the shores of the beautiful Narrabeen Lagoon on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. The members of the Sydney Study Group hosted the conference and apart from the Sydney readers, other attendees travelled from Brisbane, Canberra, Finland, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, New Zealand, NSW Central Coast, Queensland’s Gold Coast, and Wollongong. A special thanks went to our visitors who travelled all the way from Finland, Irmeli Sjolie and Matti Hokka.
Given that the members of the Sydney Study Group are keen to hone their skills in presenting topics from The Urantia Book, the conference planning committee decided to allocate short presentation time slots to allow for a diversity of presentations. Not only did this approach give the presenters a unique opportunity to delve into an in depth study of their topic and to exercise their presentation abilities, it also kept the conference attendees engaged and interested and left them with much food for thought.
Following is a list of the presentation titles and their presenters:
- The Path of Faith – William Wentworth
- Independent Courageous Cosmic Thinking – Trevor Swadling
- Ordination of Faith & Courage – Bernie B
- Daring to Launch – beyond where reason and wisdom can go – Nigel Nunn
- Meditation – the pathway to mental, physical and spiritual activity – Neil Francey
- To Catch a Fraud – Daniel Swadling
- Faith from a Personal Perspective – Neville Twist
- The Act is Ours, the Consequences God’s – Phillip Marriott
- Follow the Yellow Brick Road – Kathleen Swadling
These presentations will gradually be published as study articles in the next few issues of the Arena (ANZURA’s newsletter that can be viewed at http://urantia-association.org/arena-archives).
As well as the presentations there were several other engaging events:
- A break out study session where we all read Paper 196, The Faith of Jesus;
- An “Open Space” session facilitated by Marion Steward where spontaneous discussion groups were created around subjects chosen by various participants;
- An inspiring Sunday morning worship session skillfully facilitated by Julian Martin and Christian Birch;
- A Discussion Panel, facilitated by Merindi B where questions were posed to members of the panel on their personal spiritual journeys. This also stimulated much discussion among the wider group.
- A relaxing stroll around the lake shore;
- An hilariously entertaining evening with the Courageous Capers All Star Talent Show, MC’d and master minded by Julian Martin, whereby attendees had an opportunity to entertain the group with their very talented (or not so talented) creative performance abilities. A panel of four extremely critical judges critiqued each performance and gave out scores. And boy, were they tough J. Funky prizes were given for first, second and last!
Then of course we can never hold a conference without making time for ANZURA’s Annual General Meeting. The usual business matters were discussed and elections for Vice President and Treasurer were held. Neville Twist was elected as Vice President and Trevor Swadling as Treasurer. William Wentworth continues as President and Phillip Marriott as Secretary. Ian Campbell replaced Marion Steward as the New Zealand Representative. Julian McGarry from Hobart volunteered the crew in Tasmania to host next year’s conference. Stay tuned for more details on that one.
Since well before the creation of the Urantia Association in Britain and Ireland (UAIUK), readers and members of the regular study groups in Britain have been holding an annual event we call the ‘Summer Meeting’, where readers gather to discuss a particular theme in the book over a relaxing weekend. We started with meetings in readers’ back gardens, with a simple ‘pot luck’ meal on the Sunday, but since the formation of UAIUK in 2003, the venues have been hired, and the guests have been paying, and the theme and programme have been prepared well in advance. Each year one of us chooses some ‘retreat’ centre in a tranquil beauty spot somewhere in Britain – once even in Ireland. We let others pamper us with the catering and accommodation; we enjoy unfamiliar scenery away from our usual haunts, while we concentrate our minds on higher things.
This year, 2015, was no exception in that sense. Since Jesus’ birthday, 21st August, happened to fall this year at the start of the weekend, why not let the Summer Meeting coincide with that? Usually our timetable for the meeting is adjusted to suit the vacant weekends during the summer at the time of booking the chosen venue, but Jesus’ birthday weekend found Ty’n Cellar Farm, near Margam, South Wales, with a suitable number of vacancies. It turned out to be yet another lovely venue for our Summer Meeting.
The theme, then, was related to Jesus’ birthday: The Times of the Bestowal. At our summer meetings, it’s traditional for each participant to prepare a paper or presentation on a particular aspect of the theme. It’s an ideal opportunity to expand our thinking and knowledge about a part of The Urantia Book which we might skim over more superficially in a study group: a chance to speculate and reflect and discuss in depth, and maybe search for other sources outside The Urantia Book to illuminate the topic.
Over the weekend, we examined the papers relating to the Bestowal of Jesus and considered tier meanings and repercussions. It was as spiritually and intellectually satisfying as it always is – and yet, this year there were just six readers from the UK present. We also had a special guest of honour: Antonio Schefer, the recently elected Conference Chair of the International Service Board. Antonio gave us the opportunity to compare our organized work and meetings with those in other countries he’s visited with local associations, and that’s always fruitful.
Since holding the event, as Secretary I have called for nominations for new office-bearers in the UAIUK. The only nominations received were for the existing team to continue. So it remains to be seen where the UAIUK will go from here.
Readers met in Mérida State, Venezuela 9 to 12 October. This was the eleventh annual meeting of readers to be held in Venezuela. The theme of the conference was “Reactivating the Brotherhood of Jesus According to The Urantia Book”. Following are some comments from some of the attendees and organizers:
It has been a marvellous meeting, mainly for integrating new people in the meeting, where everyone was moved to share the teachings of the Master Jesus of Nazareth, and how to put into practice the recommendations which the Master makes in many of his quotes. Secondly, every one of the participants made a commitment to strengthen the Urantia group in Venezuela, such as developing the web page, blogs, monthly meetings and to monitor the progress with those commitments, among other things.
It has been one of the greatest stimulating and most useful experiences among the eleven meetings that have been held in Venezuela in the past eleven years.
The eleventh meeting of readers of El Libro de Urantia in Venezuela also contributes actions to increase the spread of the book and the training of Venezuelans in using more technical tools, to overcome the financial situation. Congratulations!
Dear Friends of The Urantia Book,
As most of you would know, the mission of Urantia Association International is: “To foster study of The Urantia Book and to disseminate its teachings,” and according to the Publication Mandate, “Thousands of study groups must be brought into existence.”
A few years ago a joint service project was initiated—volunteers of Urantia Foundation, Urantia Association International and The Urantia Book Fellowship created an online Study Group Directory. This Internet resource has been well received and hundreds of study groups around the world are currently listed, making it easy for new or experienced students to locate and attend a study group. To this day, the directory has been translated into French, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese.
Much work remains to be done if we are to accomplish the mission we were given so long ago; the directory needs to be translated into many more languages so that readers from every part of the world can find a study group in their area. And we also need every host to participate by registering their group in the directory. It’s easy to create a profile that provides your meeting information and contact details so that readers can find you and new friendships can grow! The directory also offers the option to list virtual study groups such as the ones taking place with Skype or Google Hangout.
As readers who are dedicated to the mission given to us by the revelators, I ask you to register your study group and encourage the hosts of the study groups in your area to register their group on the Study Group Directory at this address: http://www.urantiastudygroup.org. Not only do we need every group to be listed, we also need volunteers to translate the directory in Finish, Estonian, Korean, Italian, German, Dutch, Chinese, Hindu, Pakistani and other languages. If you would like to be such a volunteer, please contact me at this address: email@example.com.
The Study Group Directory is a work in progress and more useful features will be added as we move forward in our organizational teamwork. It’s a great start in connecting our global village of active Urantia Book students and your participation assures its continued success!
In spirit of brotherhood,
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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.