President’s Message – September 2021

Reading The Urantia Book always amazes me. No matter how many times I read the same paragraph, I often find new meaning—a new revelation and then wonder how I hadn’t seen those meanings and values in my previous readings.

It confirms to me that a revelation can only be perceived when one is ready to see or feel it. Perhaps we are not ready to understand or perceive certain things until we have had certain experiences—ones that enable us to comprehend a message with the intended value no matter how many times the message previously crossed our eyes, our ears and our brain. The “evolutionary” construction of the book is also evident in our day-to-day lives with the many different issues we deal with on a daily basis and the understandings we reach in any given moment.

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24-hour Artists’ Urantiathon Report

Inspirations of the Urantia Revelation—Beauty, Art, Music, and Expressions of the Soul

Urantia Association International produced yet another successful 24-hour Urantiathon held over the weekend of 7th August 2021. This time we tried something different where we joined with artists from all over the world who shared their creative works inspired by the teachings of The Urantia Book. Each artist presented uniquely different creations, so the entire weekend was truly filled with “Expressions from the Soul.” Thank you to each and every one of you who shared your wonderful talents.

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A Fantastic Experience

The 24-hour Artists’ Urantiathon was a new and fantastic experience for me. Our community of readers and students of The Urantia Book proved to be intermixed with many accomplished artists.

The inspiration of the revelation was manifested in their magnificent, creative, and beautiful works, which included music, paintings, digital art, comedy, and literature. We also shared some sublime Urantia teachings because, as my dear friend Irma Aguilar said, “The revelation transforms men.”

And it is true; the revelation transforms us by giving us a greater cosmic consciousness and a knowledge of universal reality. When we live the divine teachings, loving God and Jesus, we are spiritually transformed.

This Urantiathon was a one-of-a-kind event. I think it’s of great value to share the art inspired by the revelation. The love for our Father and his divine truth has stimulated many artists to create music, songs, paintings, literature, videos, beautiful images, and other artworks that reveal the inner spirit’s action in their beauty and harmony. Exhibiting this art is an excellent way to inspire our community of truth-seekers to look inside for strength and courage in these difficult times.

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Science Symposium III

Education Committee of Urantia Foundation Calls for Proposals

Science: The Interface of Evolution and Revelation

Thursday, June 16, to Sunday, June 19, 2022

Since the last Science Symposium in November 2019, scientific discoveries have continued to expand and excite public consciousness. A worldwide pandemic and its aftermath propelled mRNA, CRISPR-Cas9, and the benefits of genetic research into the mainstream. A recent study published by a Smithsonian anthropologist used ancient DNA to trace modern South Asian ancestry back to early hunter-gatherers of Iran. Scientists released the largest 3D map of the universe ever created, producing measurements of more than two million galaxies and quasars. The current worldview of an expanding universe continues to approach that of revealed cosmology, which describes a universe revolving about God on Paradise.

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Center for Unity

Sharing Jesus’ life and teachings and building a temple of the unseen Father near the Sea of Galilee

The Center for Unity is a live endeavor, and the concept has been changing and evolving. Seven years ago, I woke up and right before I opened my eyes, I saw the Sea of Galilee just like this picture. While there was no doubt in my mind it was the Sea of Galilee, nothing else was clear.

Several months later, a friend from Switzerland came to visit and asked me to take her sightseeing around the Sea of Galilee. We went hiking around the Mount of Beatitudes and climbed a hill. When we reached the top, I was staring down at the Sea of Galilee, and it looked exactly as in my dream.That’s when a vague idea started to take place. I felt as if I wanted to do something in connection with the location of the Sea of Galilee but kept asking myself what my next step would be; I have been asking myself that question ever since. I would ask and then listen to see if I could get some clarity that might indicate that “this is the way.”

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The Anxious Evolution of Urantia

It is difficult to escape anxiety and fear in the modern age. If we focus on the news of the world, Urantia appears forever in a state of chaos, with threats of war, a withering climate, oceans of plastic, corrupt governments, poverty, and racial strife.

We cannot deny the truth of these calamities. But the truth has been greatly exaggerated. Despite all the doom and gloom, Urantia civilization continues to make significant advances. Granted, there has been much suffering along the way and we have a long way to go on the path to perfection, but we should at least recognize and celebrate the many achievements to date.

This positive trend is revealed in the data. A few recent publications on the topic are Factfulness by Hans Rosling (2018), Progress, Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future by Johan Norberg (2016), and Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker (2019). These are far from being spiritual works, in fact, they are decidedly material and secular in their approach. Nonetheless, the facts are there for all to see.

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Focus on the Father — Filling and Spilling

Happiness and joy take origin in the inner life. You cannot experience real joy all by yourself. [Paper 111:4.7, page 1220.06]

There are two parts to this teaching, like two folds in the same cloth. The inner life vibrates to frequencies of psyche and spirit. Our bundle of spiritual attitudes (faith, self-forgetfulness, gratitude, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, etc.) determines our outlook and mood, and if we harmonize our psychic and spirit frequencies we vibrate with love.

Happiness and joy are the feeling fruits of loving relationships, the reward bestowed on real persons who desire to do real good for one another. And there are real spirit persons who wish to share in our inner lives, available to all of us according to our capacity for reception—our willingness to align our mindal frequencies and allow our thoughts to be spiritually adjusted. There is, after all, a divine pre-person dwelling in your inner life, a fragment of God bursting with a holy desire to do you good, to share the spiritual bounty of happiness and joy that resides (and resonates) in the circuitry of the divine.

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About Tidings Newsletter

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, and the Representative Council. 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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Ways to Donate to Urantia Association International

Artist: Carlos Rubinsky

The world is changing fast and Urantia Association International is in a unique position to foster the Urantia revelation in so many ways. With localized teams in the form of associations springing up across the globe, we are ready to help anyone, anywhere, to study and spread the teachings that we all hold so dear.  

Also, with the beneficial changes that technology brings, more and more organizations are switching to a subscription model as a way of making donations. Urantia Association has launched the Global Urantia Perspective for those who share a dynamic world vision for The Urantia Book. We are looking for supporters to subscribe for a minimum donation of $10 per month to support programs that work to spread the teachings.

The Association has only one paid staff member to manage and coordinate our worldwide activities. All other services are rendered by devoted students who donate their time (and often their treasure) to the projects that help bring us closer to our heavenly Father. Thank you to our faithful volunteers and donors!  

Here is a selection of ways to donate to Urantia Association: 

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An Artistic 24-Hour Urantiathon

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Inspirations of the Urantia Revelation—Beauty, Art, Music, and Expressions of the Soul

Invitation to the 5th 24-hour Urantiathon

August 7, 2021 UTC time

Only a little less than 2 weeks before Urantia Association’s next 24-hour Urantiathon! The Program is shaping up to be an amazing line-up of talented artists whose works have been inspired by The Urantia Book teachings. (See the link to the draft Program at the end of this message.)

This event will start on Saturday August 7, 2021 UTC time. To make it easier to know when it will start and finish in your time zone, here is a guide for 4 major cities around the world:

Bogota, Colombia: Friday 7:00 pm to Saturday 7:00 pm
New York, USA: Friday 8:00 pm to Saturday 8:00 pm
Paris, France: Saturday 2:00 am to Sunday 2:00 am
Sydney, Australia: Saturday 10:00 am to Sunday 10:00 am

(When working out your own time zone, remember that New York and Paris are on daylight savings, Bogota and Sydney are not.)

As usual, this conference will be interactive via Zoom. To participate in the live Zoom presentations, you must register beforehand via this link. The event will also be livestreamed to Facebook so if you prefer you may view it there. It will also be recorded, and the presentations will be available on Urantia Association’s YouTube channel for those who want to catch up outside of the scheduled times.

Once you register you will be able to view photos and read information on each of the artists.

PROGRAM

REGISTER NOW

A special thank you to our sponsors: Urantia Foundation and TruthBook



President’s Message – June 2021

In April 2021, I started my activity as President of Urantia Association International—the beginning of an incredible experience, full of challenges and opportunities with plenty of joy.

The Association’s challenging mission of disseminating The Urantia Book teachings all over the world to people from different cultures and languages creates an incredible learning environment. What a blessing to be part of this!

It is impossible to live such experiences without adopting the wise teachings of the revelation and without noticing the beauty, the truth, and the goodness present in all the situations encountered on this path.

Of course, it is a matter of the perspective we apply in each of these situations.

It is like a thunderstorm. When you find yourself in the middle of it, seeking refuge, frightened by the wind, lightning, and thunder, everything seems threatening or scary and, in fact, it can be.

But it is a matter of looking, of perception, sometimes of trust and faith.

On the other hand, imagine yourself watching the storm from the outside, watching it happen in front of you at a distance. It is impossible not to marvel at the spectacle and force of nature with its raw manifestation of energy. Even so, your perception could be that of an observer of the beauty of nature or that of an observer of its destructive force, or even all of this together and much more.

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24-Hour Artists’ Urantiathon

Inspirations of the Urantia Revelation—Beauty, Art, Music, and Expressions of the Soul

We invite you to join us once again for another 24-Hour Urantiathon. This time we will join with artists from all over the world as they share their creative talents that have been inspired by the Urantia Book’s teachings. The theme will be Inspirations of the Urantia Revelation—Beauty, Art, Music, and Expressions of the Soul. It will also feature worship, meditation, live presentations, workshops, poetry, amazing inspirational videos, and more.

The event will take place on Saturday August 7th, 2021 UTC time. (If you live in the Americas, it actually starts on Friday August 6th at 8:00pm EDT.)

Here are the times in three cities to help you adjust to your own time zone: 

New York: Friday 8:00pm to Saturday 8:00pm
London: Saturday 1:00am to Sunday 1:00am
Sydney: Saturday 10.00am to Sunday 10:00am 

The program is still being developed but to give you an idea, some of the artists who have agreed to share their Urantia inspired creative works are Gary Tonge, Pato Banton, Antoinette Rootsdawtah, Bob Solone, Rebecca Oswald, Gordon Taylor, Patrick Yesh, Cristina Seaborn, Rick Warren, and James Woodward.

This is promising to be a particularly unique event so mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details!

2024 Urantia Association International Conference in USA

The Nature and Nurture of the Soul

28—31 March 2024
Maritime Conference Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Mark your calendars now for the next exciting Urantia Association International Conference in 2024! This will be the 12th International Conference of the Association and is being organized by Urantia Association of the United States (UAUS) and will be hosted by Urantia Association of Hawaii. 

This conference was first announced by Katrina Glavan-Heise, President of UAUS at the end of the virtual 11th International Conference after the Peruvian team handed her the virtual torch to present the next international conference in 2024. The announcement was preceded by a lovely promotion trailer that you can view by clicking here.

Following is a bit of history of the evolution of this event in the words of Marian Hughes, one of the conference organizers and member of Urantia Association of Hawaii (HULA): 

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Report on Virtual International Conference

Held April 24th – 25th, 2021 and hosted by Urantia Association of Peru

It seemed like only yesterday when, at the end of 2016, we were asked to host the International Conference that Urantia Association International organizes every three years. The Urantia Peru team celebrated when we received the torch at the Amsterdam Conference to be the hosts in 2021 and we quickly placed ourselves under the Father’s command.

Since the beginning of 2017, it became an intense, coordinated job. We had in mind that achieving this challenge demanded doing it onsite with the standards a conference requires. So, we were ready, even with some pre-paid services and facilities. 

But fate provided another challenge for us. The corona pandemic arrived and we asked God: Father, given this new unforeseen situation, do you still want us to go for it? 

We eventually made the decision to make it happen virtually and the 11th Urantia Association International Conference: Towards Cosmic Citizenship… Your Time Has Come! …turned into “A Virtual Experience.”

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Spiritual Value in the Peru Conference

What is of survival value for the soul in a conference? Here’s my current harvest from the conference on Cosmic Citizenship hosted by Urantia Peru Association April 24-25, 2021. 

First story. The opening prayer by Collins Lomo of Ghana showed a striking maturity of spiritual concept and spiritual leadership.

Second story. International Conference organizers were encouraged to share something of their local culture as part of a conference. This was done to a high degree. I was struck by the effectiveness of the presentation on the traces of the violet race in the Incas and the videos that supported this theme. The presenter was the head of the conference organizers, lawyer, educator, and mother, Lourdes Burgos-Cisneros. Her presentation beautifully wove threads of connection between the papers on Adam and Eve and papers that describe ten aspects of civilization, using video clips for each aspect to illustrate the extraordinary achievements of the Incas. After the presentations we saw videos portraying Machu Picchu, a number of stunning archaeological sites, aerial views of the Andes that included the region of Cusco, Peru, where the conference was originally planned to take place. I was deeply moved by the brilliant artistry of the assembly of quotes, and the outstanding quality of supporting visuals. On that basis, after the presentation was over and I was watching video footage taken from an airplane above the Andes, I could identify with the perspective of planetary supervisors who planted and nurtured civilization there: a soulful thrill!

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Two Sides of the Same Coin

During a recent Urantia Association conference, a question was posed to those assembled: “How many have been successful in introducing The Urantia Book to family or friends?” The response was not surprising; a quick count revealed that only a smattering few raised their hands. For all those who have tried and failed to introduce the book to family and friends, you are in good company.  

Here we have in our hands a divine revelation, the fifth epochal revelation to mankind, the most amazing treasure since Jesus walked the Earth and yet many of our family and friends are not interested. I’m sure this is a reality for a great many of us and a disappointing one at that!

I’ve been a student of the book for 26 years, yet despite my best efforts to interest family and friends, for the most part they have shown only passive interest, perhaps tolerance or even appeasement would be more like it; none have taken the time to read the book. I was able to get a previous girlfriend to read the book several years ago and she became a dedicated student of the book. So, one person after 26 years of trying—not a great record!  

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Focus on the Father – Thoughts

“It is the motivating thought, the spiritual content, that validates the mortal supplication. Words are valueless” [Paper 7:3, p. 85.1].

Nevertheless, I would share some words with you about thoughts. 

To ponder the creation of thought is an intriguing mental exercise, but one leans into the realm of religious mystery when reflecting on the fact that thoughts can create. “The Original and Eternal Son is the offspring-person of the “first” completed and infinite thought of the Universal Father” [7:6]. 

In everyday life, we often treat thought like sports paraphernalia in the playing field of our mind. We toss them around in our consciousness, generally oblivious to their awesome and divine power. Sometimes they bounce into other thoughts and gather themselves up into ideas. But what is a thought? Physically speaking we know it involves nerve cells, dendrites, axons, neurons, and chemical neurotransmitters. Such neural systems are directed networks, receiving and broadcasting signals that form systems and then bundles of systems. These clusters have been identified as sensory relay stations, integrative centers, memory modules, and emotional control centers.  

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Journal Editorial – May 2021

Welcome to the May 2021 edition of the Urantia Association’s Journal, a publication dedicated to the thoughts, observations, and experiences of Urantia Book students from around the world. This edition offers a broad scope of ideas and reflections, including spiritual insights gained from personal tribulations, approaches to worship and service, tactful ideas for spreading the good news, and novel ways to introduce the ideals and ideas of The Urantia Book to younger generations.

Our first article, No Appointments, No Disappointments: Adversity and the Authentic Self, is a moving and thoughtful piece by Christopher Ross, who describes his tragic experience with a partner who was a spiritual seeker like himself but who could not find happiness in his own life. This sad event inspired him to closely examine his “authentic self” as well as “the mission of adversity and the spiritual value of disappointment” that God and his angels present to all of us in the course of our lives. How we deal with such problems, he concludes, is not by intellect alone but by a daily devotion of oneself to conscious union with God.

The second article, Making Worship and Service the Center of Our Lives by Kathleen Swadling, takes a close look at how we internalize concepts of worship and service, as well as how we can incorporate a meaningful, daily practice of worship and service in our lives. She reminds us of the central role worship plays in any spiritual progress, “worship is really the fountain head, the fundamental premise from which everything else of spiritual value springs.” In particular, Kathleen stresses the point that our relationship with our Father is like any relationship of love; you have to work at it. And this work includes not only worship but also an attitude of sincerity, making the right choices, sharing our lives with God and, just as importantly, offering our loving services to others.

Our third paper, Preparing for Spontaneity by Chris Wood, addresses the methods by which we attempt to share the teachings of The Urantia Book with others, especially those unfamiliar with it. The subtitle of his article, The Necessary Work to Avoid Sounding Crazy, sums it up nicely. I’m sure that many of us, if not all of us, who are greatly enthused by this revelation have encountered awkward situations whenever we attempt to share brilliant quotes from the book. Indeed, we can sound crazy. But Chris has some good advice on how to present the teachings in a way that is both tactful and effective.

And finally, our fourth article, Millennials and the Church:  An Important Lesson for the Urantia Movement by Bruce Jackson, addresses an issue that many of us Urantia Book old-timers have long pondered—where are all the young folk? But this is the same question that most religious institutions are asking today, and I would go so far as to say that it is not just religions suffering this fate of indifference but almost any organization, including service clubs such as Kiwanis International, or even local photography clubs. Bruce takes a look at the considerable research Christian organizations and research centers have conducted in an attempt to understand why millennials are so complacent about joining religious groups and he then applies the same reasoning to people in the Urantia movement. These are thoughts to ponder if we seriously wish to engage our youth in the fifth epochal revelation.

No Appointments, No Disappointments

Adversity and the Authentic Self

(Adapted and updated from a presentation given at The Mission of Adversity and the Spiritual Value of Disappointment Virginia-Carolina Association Annual Mini-Conference, 2018.)

“That Saturday night the Master talked for more than an hour to the assembled groups on ‘The mission of adversity and the spiritual value of disappointment.’ This was a memorable occasion, and his hearers never forgot the lesson he imparted.” [Paper 51:0.1, page 1688.1 emphasis added]

In 1985, when I moved in with my first male partner, we had known each other for only two weeks. And in those two weeks, we had probably been together no more than two or three times. But Owen gave me a key to his apartment almost immediately; thus, when my marriage fell apart rather abruptly and my now ex-wife asked me to leave, I knew exactly where I would go.

Over the next weeks and months, as Owen and I got to know each other, I learned that his taste in books included A Course in Miracles, along with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, a retelling of the legend of King Arthur from the female point of view, Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization, and The Seth Material. Seth claimed to be a spiritual teacher who spoke through author Jane Roberts while she was in trance.

Owen read and reread these books over and over, underlining with a dull red pencil. It occurs to me now that I never saw him meditate or pray, just read and reread these books with his little red pencil.

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Making Worship and Service the Center of Our Lives

(Adapted from a presentation given at the Australia and New Zealand Association Annual Conference in Tasmania, 2010)

We spend a lot of time getting a good grip on the definition of worship and service.  And if I’m to write about “making worship and service the center of our lives” then I’d better concentrate on exploring the hows and wherefores of practicalizing and internalizing the profound truths we discover on these topics through our study of the book.

The key to serving others—to being a dynamically useful individual in the world—is our personal relationship with the Father. I wonder how many of us, on a consistent basis, actually make a point of devoting regular times slots for going off on our own to a quiet place where we won’t be disturbed, to communicate with the Father—to pray and worship. I’d like to raise my hand and say “I do” but if I’m to be truly honest with you I must say that, while I would ideally like to be more regular and consistent, it’s sometimes a bit like trying to allow regular times to exercise—sometimes I get all fired up and establish a regular routine, while other times I let it slip and get out of the habit. 

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