Tidings – September 2018
In This Issue
- President’s Message – September 2018 – Chris Wood, USA
- Farewell to Sue Tennant – Gaetan Charland, Quebec
- Finnish Summer Conference Report, 2018 – Laura Suominen-Raatikainen, Finland
- Donating via AmazonSmile
- Why Do We Study The Urantia Book? – Mark Kurtz, USA
- 2nd Latin American Conference — São Paulo, Brazil – Regras Enrique Traver, Brazil
- Italian-French-Spanish Conference 2018 – Danielle La Scala, Italy
- ANZURA Conference Queensland 2018 – Graeme Chapman, Brisbane
- Vancouver 2020 – North America Urantia Conference – Vancouver 2020 Conference Committee
- Private: Pacific Rim Regional Conference – Hawaii – Marian Hughes, Hawaii
- 2021 – International Conference in Peru – Conference Committee
- Testimonials from Book Fair Attendees – Dissemination Committee
- Upcoming Events
Chris Wood, USA
One of the many reasons I love The Urantia Book and I am continuously re-reading it is because it utilizes words which I think I understand, but then in some random paragraph in some random paper, it will define a common word in an uncommon way and suddenly I need to go back and re-read everything with this new definition in mind.
One recent example of this is “personality,” which in a book that has personality survival as one of its main plot points, I feel like I should know what personality is. And walking around in my limited vocabularic bliss I would think that “personality” would be defined as… what? … as a person’s distinctive character, perhaps? A Solitary Messenger tells us that:
…it would be presumptuous to attempt the definition of personality… [Paper 112:0.2, page 1225.2]
but then randomly in the Sojourn at Rome, a midwayer decides that it’s apparently not presumptuous, it’s just, umm… sumptuous? … for us to be told that:
The presence of goodness and evil in the world is in itself positive proof of the existence and reality of man’s moral will, the personality… [Paper 132:2.8, page 1458.5]
And there we go. Now I get to go back and re-read the entire Urantia Book from the beginning with a new definition in mind. Personality is a person’s moral will, not their distinctive character. So now when I read Paper 1 how humans can obtain “perfection of personality motivation,” I can explore it as “perfection of our moral will motivations.”
A Melchizedek tells us,
And of all forms of evil, none are more destructive of personality status than betrayal of trust and disloyalty to one’s confiding friends. [Paper 67:1.3, page 754.4]
Betrayal of trust and disloyalty to friends destroys our moral will.
Social media can be a powerful tool for sharing our growing study of these teachings. I invite everyone who is involved on those sites to share interesting definitions that might lead us to re-read the book with a new frame of reference, as well as to join me in my studies of “personality/moral will.”
It is time once again to elect new representatives for the International Service Board. Our outgoing board represents Urantia students from eight countries on five continents. I hope that you and your local Urantia community will put forward some volunteer members to serve on the next board which will convene in April 2019. We will hold elections for the positions of Vice President and Secretary, as well as the Chairs for the committees on Dissemination, Study Groups, and Communication. A new Judicial Commissioner will also be elected. Will you please join us in our global service?
I hope to meet as many students as possible in November at the upcoming conference in São Paulo, Brazil. I hope you can come too.
Gaetan Charland, Quebec
Sue Tennant, long-time supporter of the Urantia revelation and a dear friend of mine and to many reading this, left this world for the mansion world adventure in March this year.
I meet Sue in 1999 at her home in Silver Springs for a meeting with other readers for the chartering and inauguration of the Urantia Association of Canada. From that first meeting, I knew that Sue Tennant was one of those people dedicated to the welfare of humanity; she was generous, humble and hardworking, and was a woman driven by her love for her fellow brothers and sisters and by her faith in God and his plan.
She gave a good part of her later life promoting unity in the Urantia movement by providing retreats for young and seasoned readers alike at her home in Silver Springs. Always would she minister to everyone with care and attention—as if every person was part of her own family.
Sue acquired many skills during her life that enabled her to be of real service to her fellow men and women. She was loving and inspired in all she accomplished; she was happily married for almost 50 years and was also a mountain climber, Interfaith minister, philanthropist, culinary and wine enthusiast and a devoted mother.
Sue’s legacy of loving service lives on in her pivotal work as founder of FreeSchools World Literacy where thousands of young girls in Bihar, India have learned to read for as little as $15 a year. FreeSchools also became a registered charity in Canada, USA and Australia.
Sue was a true expression of love and faith through service to others, she will be greatly missed. Farewell to our dear friend Sue, until we meet again…
Laura Suominen-Raatikainen, Finland
Theme: We Have Been Summoned to Eternal Life
Once again, the Finnish Urantia Book readers held their annual summer conference, hosted by the Urantia Association of Finland 9–10 June 2018 at the Lautsiala Resort, Hauho. Over 30 of us gathered, the weather was lovely and the resort was a beautiful place to hold the meeting. The weekend began with touching live music and singing.
There were several presentations. Ben, aged over 90, reflected on the last 100 years in Finland tying its history to The Urantia Book. He ended his presentation saying, “Whenever we want we can move to a time of life and light.”
There were presentations on “Eternal Life in the Universe” and “Belief and to Believe” concentrating on the personal relationship with the Father.
There was also a personal presentation on “Eternal Life Begins Already in One’s Mortal Form” in which the speaker spoke of her personal growth with the help of The Urantia Book. All in all, the book is an excellent “travel guide” on our way towards eternal life.
In between the presentations we went on nature-walks and discussed our thoughts that were aroused by the presentations. In the evenings we enjoyed sharing lively discussions with one another as we had saunas and went swimming.
We also had the pleasure of welcoming Sebastian Nozzi into our midst. Sebastian is the newly appointed European Continental Coordinator for Urantia Association International. His presentation focused on the growth of study groups, the person-to-person spreading of the teachings and working together with other teams of readers throughout Europe. His message was excellent and very much in accordance with Article 2 of the Association’s Charter. Thank you once again Sebastian.
Overall, the weekend was very successful. The participants went home with a feeling of once again having gained valuable knowledge of the Urantia teachings.
The God-conscious mortal is certain of salvation; he is unafraid of life; he is honest and consistent. He knows how bravely to endure unavoidable suffering; he is uncomplaining when faced by inescapable hardship.
The true believer does not grow weary in well-doing just because he is thwarted. Difficulty whets the ardor of the truth lover, while obstacles only challenge the exertions of the undaunted kingdom builder. [Paper 156:5.20, 21, page 1740.7,8]
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Thank you for joining us in our efforts to spread the teachings of The Urantia Book.
Mark Kurtz, USA
The key word is WHY? May we address its profundity? Here are some thoughts:
Because we seek clarity of our life purposes in harmony with divine plans.
Because we seek a better understanding of origins and destinies as we prepare to lift ourselves and others to new clarity.
Because we seek truth to undergird our desires to know God and His children better.
Because we seek inspiration from the upgrading and clarifying teachings from celestial beings who shared their superior knowledge. They know us better than we know ourselves. We seek their sharing to reduce our confusion.
Because we are preparing our minds for greater service to humanity and later on, during the next life stage, to persons of diverse origin.
Because we seek truth to share with others so that they may seek and have life more abundantly.
Because we seek greater understanding and real, conscious experience with multiple evidence of spirit growth, what Jesus taught as fruits of the Spirit.
Because we want to become more Godlike. Because we seek to follow Jesus honestly!
Because we seek to know more of what love is and what mercy can mean to me and others.
We do not study for selfish reasons, but for selfless sharing to contribute to civil improvement.
We do not study to prove someone wrong or to prove debased doctrine in any religion.
We do not study for positioning self in the Kingdom, or to take advantage over others.
We do not attend study sessions just for social fellowshipping. We study with the aim of helping others feel new growth and understanding. We study for progress for all persons.
We study for spiritual growth of all mankind as we share what we know through Fatherly love for all.
Add your own reasons as you attempt to address this question.
Regras Enrique Traver, Brazil
Only 60 days to go for the 2nd Latin American Conference being held 1 – 4 November 2018 in Guarulhos, São Paulo, Brazil.
We are happy to report that so far 115 participants from 15 countries have registered for the event. This is a positive response from The Urantia Book reader community and we believe our target of 150 participants will be easily surpassed. Even more promising, 21 young Urantia Book students aged between 14 and 30 have registered and are excited about participating and engaging with others about the fifth epochal revelation.
Everything you need to know about the conference can be found at the conference website at https://www.urantiaconference.com. You can also register there.
The theme will be “Living the Teachings,” so this conference will provide a unique opportunity for students to come together in friendship and expand their understanding of the Urantia teachings as they explore ways to integrate them into day-to-day living.
This conference is being organised by the Urantia Association of Brazil, with support from many leaders from other Latin American Urantia Associations. It is sponsored by Urantia Association International, Urantia Foundation and TruthBook and will be conducted in Portuguese, Spanish and English. It will also be possible to follow the presentations in one of these languages through a Zoom internet meeting room.
If you would like to help us to support this event, we are receiving donations to assist students of the book who cannot afford to participate in a conference. It has been proven that personal contact with fellow students of The Urantia Book helps to stimulate enthusiasm for attending study groups and organizing reader gatherings on readers’ home turf. Your contributions will help us provide cross-cultural exchange and experience for active volunteers and emerging leaders and teachers, that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. All applications are carefully scrutinized before approval is given.
You can donate to this cause by visiting the Brazil Conference website at: https://www.urantiaconference.com and choose from the menu “More” and then “Donation” (or simply look for the “Donate” button at the footer of each page on the website.)
Your donations will be put to good use and are very much appreciated.
Please join us for this very special Latin American event. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.
Danielle La Scala, Italy
Students of The Urantia Book in Italy are holding their fourth Italian-French-Spanish Urantia Book readers’ conference in northern Italy at the Confine Hotel in the city of Lazise (province of Verona) 5 – 7 October 2018.
The theme for this conference is: “Teachings of Jesus” and the focus will be on the doing of Fathers’ will.
This conference is open to all people interested in The Urantia Book. (It will help if you can speak Italian, French or Spanish.) We look forward to welcoming last year’s participants, as well as meeting new friends.
Click here for more information.
Graeme Chapman, Brisbane
On the Cosmic Background: “God Does Not Play Dice”
If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still space available at ANZURA’s upcoming annual conference that’s being held on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia 5 – 8 October 2018.
The theme for this conference is inspired by that ever-topical question by Albert Einstein, "Does God play dice with the universe?" which was raised in response to scientific developments that were playing out even as The Urantia Book was coming together. Remarkably, the prevalent materialism of contemporary science was dissipating just as The Urantia Book was urging that it should. What follows is a preview of where such lines of thought might take us during the conference.
The very general idea that there are unseen background processes operating in the universe is so fundamental that it is practically a background process to thought itself, implicit in all religion and God concepts from their most primitive superstitious or "ghost-fear" origins. Indeed, it is only in the last few centuries that a few philosophies and sciences managed to distance themselves and to defend a materialistic position whereby reality is held to be no more than what is visible or at least measurable.
There is no doubt that science flourished in that well-defined, hard, material reality. But a more mature understanding has developed and in the language of modern science it is allowed that the denial of anything beyond or below ordinary reality imposes an unnecessary constraint that was never certain anyway. Put bluntly we don't mind if other "things" are going on so long as they stay insignificant compared to the precision of our experiments.
Science was able to take a holiday of sorts from deeper concerns but that relaxing time couldn't last. For one thing, when astronomy began to count stars by the billion and distances by the light-year the goose-bumps and that niggling ghost-fear feeling returned. For another, some experiments became so subtle that "things" from the cosmic background were being picked up, too significant to ignore and far too interesting.
On one level, the engineering level, such subtle, so-called quantum phenomena are now understood very well, and they serve us routinely in every solid-state electronic device. On another level, more to do with mind than nature, we continue to wonder at how a measurable particle in one state of being can jump into another state of being without revealing any clue as to what happens in between, as if tantalizingly just outside our reality.
If God is hiding, then here is where he might be. If God is interacting directly with the material world then here is how he might be doing it. If there is free will then the apparent randomness of quantum phenomena is what it might look like. If mind has a role in evolution then here is where ordinary, accidental-looking randomness can transition into purpose.
The human mind evidently delights in perceiving both the strangeness of this inner universe and the vastness of the outer universe, an observation both obvious and packed with meaning such that Roger Penrose even used the phrase, "The Large, the Small and the Human Mind" as a book title.
Perhaps our understanding will make a quantum jump to an inclusive state encompassing physical knowledge and a wealth of other possibilities including God and omnipresence and free will and randomness and purpose. This is a state encouraged by study of The Urantia Book and I hope our conference will take us there in some measure also.
Vancouver 2020 Conference Committee
Lifting Together — United in Purpose, Serving God the Supreme
The Urantia Association of Canada and the Urantia Book Fellowship will be hosting a combined North American conference in Vancouver 15 – 19 July 2020.
Everyone is invited to come together to serve the global community, to work and lift together in spiritual consciousness, to love our neighbors as God loves us, and to expand and promote the comprehension and appreciation of cosmic citizenship.
We envision an atmosphere of gratitude in which we will actively explore constructive ways to contribute to the spiritual growth of all peoples of the world and thereby participate in the evolution of God the Supreme.
Click here for more information
Marian Hughes, Hawaii
The Hawaii Urantia Local Association (HULA) in conjunction with Urantia Association of The United States (UAUS) is holding a Pacific Rim Regional Urantia Conference on the Big Island of Hawaii 20 – 23 August 2020. The theme of the conference will be “Nurture Your Soul” in Nature featuring Dr. Ralph Zehr who has found over nine hundred references to the soul in The Urantia Book. He will be condensing his recent 10-week UBIS course over this Jesus Birthday weekend for the attendees.
There will be ample time-out in nature to fraternize with fellow Urantia Book students from all over the world. The aim is to provide a unique soul-filled experience for all which will include magnificent star-gazing evenings in the setting of the beautiful Hawaii Volcano National Park.
Click here for more information.
The next International Conference for Urantia Association International will be held 22 – 25 April, 2021 in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Urubamba, Cusco, Peru.
The Urantia Association of Peru will be hosting the conference and members are promising to make this event unique and special for all. The theme will be “Towards Cosmic Citizenship” and workshops will be held at the nearby archaeological sites, which are the most beautiful and famous sites of the Incas.
The Sacred Valley is a region in Peru’s Andean highlands. Along with the nearby town of Cusco and the nearby ancient city of Machu Picchu (one of the new Seven Wonders of the World), it once formed the heart of the Inca Empire.
If you always wanted to go to Peru, then 2021 is the year to do it! This is a conference that should not be missed.
Click here for a video tour.
The number of people who are exposed to the word “Urantia,” as well as the book and its teachings year after year at book fairs is staggering. The impact on lives—priceless.
Global seeding of The Urantia Book and its teachings at book fairs is changing lives. Lives are changed when students learn how to work together as a team, and how to share their spiritual inspiration with others. Truth-seeking individuals are exposed to the soul-satisfying truths of the fifth epochal revelation. And our unseen friends gain expanded opportunities to lead mortals to the understanding of humanity’s status as beloved children of our Heavenly Father… all of us brothers and sisters.
Following are two stories of people whose lives were changed after finding The Urantia Book at a book fair:
Andrés Ramirez’ Story
I have been a reader of The Urantia Book who read alone since 1995 until April 2001, when I attended the Bogotá International Book Fair. It was there for the first time I met other readers of The Urantia Book at a booth some volunteers had rented. I was so happy and surprised to know about the existence of a group of readers in my city. And, I learned that there was a Urantia Association in this city as well. At that time I didn’t suspect I was going to be so involved in the future with this organization at the administrative and personal level.
I must confess I had some fears about the nature of this organization and the type of meetings they had, so it took me about a year before finally deciding to contact anyone. After getting in touch with the readers and study groups, I soon made very good friends and my understanding of the book started to grow exponentially. And, even though I didn’t understand the differences between the Urantia organizations, their structure or their relationship with study groups, I started to volunteer in the projects of the association, and little by little I learned.
And because of what finding other readers at the book fair meant to me, I continue to volunteer and help organize the booth. I also continue serving within my local and national associations and am currently serving as Vice President on the International Service Board where I am learning even more from working with my brothers and sisters around the world.
Esther Andrade Burgos’s Story
It was a Saturday afternoon in April of 2015 when my brother invited me to visit the Bogotá Book Fair. We toured various booths without much interest and without much eagerness, until we were almost leaving at the end of the afternoon when an image of Jesus caught my attention. So much so that I would dare to say that he invited me to approach the booth where a couple of people shared a smile with me. When I asked what the image of the universe was about, there ensued a 40-minute conversation that captured me, and a certainty arose within me that I had arrived at a place where my questions would be finally resolved. From that day and each day, The Urantia Book is my main reading.
I believe nothing that happens in our lives is a coincidence, and that everything corresponds to a perfect plan and things arrive when we are ready to receive them with gratitude and joy. Having come to know the revelation of The Urantia Book confirmed this belief.
From this initial introduction at the Bogotá Book Fair, I joined a study group; I have integrated with other readers. I have read the book twice. Its teachings really have given me tools to understand my purpose of life, to understand and feel the unconditional love of our Father, and to approach the adversities of my existence in this world with faith, hope and courage.
I am happy each day and I want to share with many people these teachings, that I interpret them as true, in my own way. It is for this reason that recently I shared a talk with readers of Bogotá about the beliefs that impede the task of our Thought Adjuster in our mind.
The benefits of having a consistent presence at book fairs is enormous. However, renting book fair space is expensive. Your donation to Urantia Association’s Global Seeding Fund makes this possible.
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.