THE BIRTH OF THE URANTIA BOOK TEACHINGS IN UGANDA
The Urantia Uganda Conference 2022 was the first ever in Uganda. The conference was to have been held in August 2020 but, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, limited funds, and leadership challenges, it was not possible until this August.
The Urantia Book and its teachings have finally arrived in Uganda, the pearl of Africa. It is with great hope and faith that the truth seekers here will greatly enjoy the teachings of the book as they enrich their ever-growing spirituality, guided by love and the will to service. This is but a start to a long journey of spiritual adventure towards Paradise but most of all for all Ugandans, it brings spiritual enlightenment that shall create unity and harmony (brotherhood of man) among Ugandans in their affirmation of God as the Father (Fatherhood of God) within them. We thank God it has come to pass that The Urantia Book and its teachings have been initiated publicly in Uganda.
Under the sponsorship of Urantia Association, five of us were funded to attend this conference and I do thank God we did because our attendance shaped the program and designed the conference to meet a Urantia Book conference standard. We were asked by the secretary Matte to help develop a program on the day we arrived. We designed the program and the next day we presented an introduction to The Urantia Book, its history, the Publication Mandate, and leadership structure worldwide.
During this presentation, the pace and focus on the book and its teachings were set, and every presenter followed accordingly. It should be noted that the presenters, being Pentecostals, had designed the conference such that sermons/preaching could be given by the bishops, pastors and other members within the congregation. But after our recommendations, those were all dropped.
Most of the presenters sought advice from us about how their presentations could meet conference standards. This call helped us guide them, and indeed we had good presentations from them; the entire conference successfully achieved its purpose of uniting—encouraging social cohesion among Urantia Book readers in Uganda.
During this conference, the participants learned how to form and manage study groups in their different regions and districts across the country, how to read and reflect on the book’s teachings (through our morning meditation sessions), and how to pray and worship. Participants got to understand concepts of The Urantia Book such as promoting and fostering the brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God among all Urantians. Participants learned that they were all students and have a duty to practice/live a loving service to their fellows, which in turn promotes their spiritual growth. Some misconceptions about the book’s teachings were clarified, for example, whether The Urantia Book is a new religion, and if The Urantia Book is a religious book, or not. Group discussions were centered on how best to promote The Urantia Book and its teachings in Uganda and the focus was on fostering study groups. Among suggestions were: visiting institutions/organizations to share the book’s teachings through seminars and workshops, visiting families and communities to share the book’s teachings, and our personal experiences.
Generally, the conference was a success, and being the first, we learned a lot about conference organization and management. This experience will make the next conference better. Successfully we managed to:
- Identify potential group leaders
- Identify various study groups
- Design a national structure for Urantia Book readers in Uganda
- Embrace diverse denominations; Christians, Muslims, Bishops, Pastors, etc.
- Identify new readers and people who need books
- Learn how to better organize and manage the next conference
The following were observed during the conference:
- Most readers, including the leaders, were new to the revelation and needed guidance and more time to synthesize the concepts of the book
- The conference seemed to have been organized in a hurry and so there was no clear program until we designed one
- The program was so full that there was no time for relaxation and personal reflection
- The conference room was congested, not suitable for our numbers
- There were so many participants that some may not have benefited much
- There were no criteria of who and how one should attend the conference
- Participants thought that they were going to be preached to, like it is with the Bible or Quran
- Most participants were not briefed on what the conference was about in terms of purpose and objectives
With the above observations, one can appreciate that being the first conference of its kind, most things were done haphazardly. This means that next time with good mentorship and guidance we shall have better organization, and a clear objective and purpose. We hope that by that time many will have read the entire book at least once and various groups will have been formed.
During the meeting with conference organizers and group leaders we discussed and agreed on the following:
- To have a core group that would act as an umbrella group for all the study groups in Uganda. The core group will be registered in Uganda as a not-for-profit organization with the sole purpose of promoting The Urantia Book and its teachings
- Have seasoned readers help in mentoring and guiding study groups, especially the study group leaders
- All leaders should have read the book entirely at least once
- The Urantia Book is not to be preached to avoid personal interpretation of its teachings to individuals.
- Design a clear leadership structure within the study groups and at the core level (country level)
- Most participants wanted simplified reading materials. These can be sourced from organizations such as Urantia Association, Urantia Foundation, Urantia Book International School, etc.
Truly, there is thirst and hunger for truth and God among Ugandans. This is fertile soil to nurture and grow the seeds of truth, spiritual growth, God consciousness, and to promote the concept of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. With this, we hope and are assured of Ugandan brothers and sisters to be able to share the love of God and be of loving service to their fellows.
Cosmic Citizens in Uganda