A Message from our President
The Fellowship's 2011 International Conference for Readers of The Urantia Book was the highlight of my summer. Many thanks to Susan Cook, Conference Chair, and her amazing Conference team for bringing us this joyful experience in Salt Lake City.
Plenary sessions brought everyone together to start each morning with a shared experience. The first morning was led by our men, the second by our women, then our Youth and Young Adult Committee, and finally, Truthseekers. All four sessions provided a blend of music to nourish our hearts, worship to feed our souls, and speakers to enrich our thoughts. Each afternoon we were offered two sets of eight workshops. After dinner, special events highlighted films, astronomy, art, music, and the ever-popular Club UB.
The third day of the conference was a "light day." There was no plenary session and I finally found time to attend my first workshop. Sara Blackstock and Marilyn O'Neill-Eash designed a workshop called "Bevy of Women" for women from eight to eighty. We shared poetry, music, and stories from our lives. It was profound, humorous, sad, and loving; the connections we made with each other were precious.
The second workshop I attended was David Kantor and Eric Cosh's session, "Exploring the Context of Michael's Bestowal." David gave us background on the historical, religious, and cosmic context into which Jesus appeared; insights into the pattern of how each epochal revelation builds upon previous revelation; and what that pattern might mean for effective introduction of the fifth epochal revelation to the planet.
A highlight of the conference was the worship session on day four. One man told me that he felt this was the best plenary session ever in the history of our conferences. The morning ended with Josh Wilson playing the massive pipe organ from the front of the room while Albert Einstein blew trumpet from the back. One woman described the audience at the end of the session as "400 puddles of tears."
|The Truthseekers send the audience their love....|
The Truthseekers plenary on day five was my personal favorite. The spirit of family our young people demonstrated, their music, their humor, their willingness to share their stories with us... truly amazing. What a way to close the conference! I felt so blessed to have witnessed that session, and feel hopeful for the future because of it.
The audience sends love back..... Whoosh!
I look forward to IC'14!
The International Conference 2011 plenary sessions are now on DVD, to purchase one day or the entire set, please click here: DVD Store
To view images from the Conference click here -> http://ubgraphics.com
To order a copy of the Conference videos click here => videos
The YaYA Committee Speaks!
What a week of inspiring, life-changing events that will forever shape the culture of our movement. As youth and young adults, we felt blessed to be a focus of IC'11: we planned and rocked out the opening night dance party, spearheaded over a dozen workshops for youth, young adults, and families, filled the closing plenary with incredible music and truly moving sharing, and throughout worked to show what's possible for the future of our community. We are so grateful for support from the Fellowship in making this conference one to be remembered.
What we took away from Salt Lake was a strong sense of community, and not just because each of us had about 40 new Facebook friends after we left. It was because we felt an instant, deep connection to our peers at the conference based on values from The Urantia Book. It was truly remarkable to be so in tune with each other and to be able to share on such a personal level.
A few experiences sounded a change in the culture of the Urantia movement. One is the interest we saw from Truthseekers about the UB after we returned from Snow Bird. Never before had we felt such a genuine level of intrigue from young people at a conference. It was very clear that the years of work that have been put into the dissemination of the Urantia Book's teachings and the Truthseekers curriculum are beginning to bear fruit.
We are thrilled that IC'11 was such an amazing success. Now our mission is to take this inspiration and forge it into service to our fellows. As the Urantia Book says, "To 'follow Jesus' means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master's life of unselfish service for man." We can each do something every day to foster a life that is selflessly dedicated to service. And when we do, we find God in others and others find God in us. Our generation is called to serve and we hope our mentors will stand with us hand in hand as we tackle the marvelous challenge of furthering this revelation. This is our commitment!!
Another wonderful development is the approval of a standing Youth and Young Adult Committee of the Fellowship. This is the first new standing
committee in the Fellowship's 56-year history, and we are honored by the great opportunity and responsibility to support young people in their quest for spiritual truth.
So where do we go from here? At the conference and through Truthseekers we created a family of friends and gained a level of trust that is in many cases unmatched in the rest of our lives. The only way to keep this connection alive is to stay in touch and support each other in any way we can. As individuals, we are committed to staying connected with each other through phone calls, Facebook, and email. We hope that throughout our community, we can all recommit to reaching out and letting each other know we're on each other's minds. Anything we can do not only means a lot, but also reminds us that the community we are growing is real and doesn't just exist when we're together at a conference. So give that someone a call to say hi, or send them a picture that will brighten their weekend.
As we move forward this year we have many projects for which we would love support. Just a few right off the bat: The website urantianow.com is always in need of contributors and volunteers to help with its promotion. We are also starting our College Outreach Initiative, which means we need volunteers to man booths at colleges all over the country. And our next Youth and Young Adult Invitational is coming up in Los Angeles November 4-6, 2011. We welcome ideas for lodgings, meeting spaces, and service projects in the area-and help getting the word out to young people! Please contact us if you wish to serve any of the projects listed here, or to find out more about our many initiatives.
The YaYA Committee:
Teuvo Orjala, Mae Thompson, Angie Thurston and Tony Finstad
Joshua, age 11, is a homeschooled UB reader. For his schooling every day he reads a section of the Jesus papers by listening to it online while reading it, then he composes a story on it. He also likes to climb trees and work on electronics.
Sue Reynolds (mother)
The following his what he wrote recently:
Jesus Teaches About Prayer
John taught the formal prayer, which was easier to teaching with the people. Jesus taught to have prayer be a spontaneous thing, which means that it was made up, instead of coming out of a book. People should believe and understand Jesus. If you ask God for
something, He will give it. Even if you ask for something bad, God will give something good. If you keep praying and have faith in God, good things will happen. The 25 prayers that were in the book were said in the temple, and out in public. But Jesus told people that when you make up a prayer, it is better to do it in private.
UPDATE ON INTERFACING WITH EMERGENT CHRISTIANS
Imagine that you're seated at a table in the local pub alongside a group of about six or seven individuals of varying ages and effects. You note their lively exchange of heat and humor. When someone mentions "hell" you're drawn in as Love Wins comes up against biblical concepts of judgment and punishment. One mentions how she's now sanctioned as pastor, while another is grateful for the success of his street ministry in freeing sex slaves. After the next pitcher the subject turns with fervor to Jesus and atonement. "How could a loving God do that?" followed by, "Well then, what is Jesus' role!?" The conversation enlivens and concepts fly.
Who are these people discussing deep theology in a pub no less?! All I know is that I would like to be part of that conversation, one that was foretold by our Fifth Epochal Revelation! And I hope you would, too.
"...Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment...And such times of great testing and threatened defeat are always times of great revelation." 195:9.2
Conversations like this began in the late 90's among the cohorts and in the conferences of evolving and emerging Christianity. Over the past 2½ years I have been transfixed by their genius, attending five breakthrough events and studying their abundant literature. As promised, these courageous souls are breaking through the rigid dogmatism of centuries, following the Spirit of Truth wherever it leads. "With each advancing epoch in human knowledge the philosophic concept and the theologic definitions of God must change." 195:5.1.2
These are our brethren in times of great transformation! We have much to offer each other as together we seek the real Jesus. "The hour is striking for a rediscovery of the true and original foundations of present-day distorted and compromised Christianity-the real life and teachings of Jesus." 195:9.5
Discover with the Outreach team how these cross-denominational catalysts are our allies in spiritualizing the planet for the Religion OF Jesus. Join the Urantians already committed to attend. There are two opportunities in October. Click the below links for details.
The annual Emergent Village Gathering in beautiful Glorieta, NM near Santa Fe, October 5-7.
Registration FREE, food cost optional, lodging avail. http://www.emergentvillage.com/gathering/
Especially welcome are voices from non-pastoral or academic vocations... become more relationally connected... transition from observer to participant, meet and talk with people face-to-face that you may know through books or blogs.
SOULARIZE - October 17-19, San Diego, CA http://www.soularize.net/
Registration fee only $199 through August 19. (Then $249)
A three day "learning party" that will stretch your mind, fill your heart, and encourage you toward the future... current (and future) conversations in the Church today.
Please notify me if you're inspired to attend either of these events. I'll be happy to assist.
Member at Large, Outreach Committee
Creative Outreach and The Urantia Book Outreach Organization (TUBOO)
By Jo Ann Wiedman
Administrative Assistant for The Urantia Book Fellowship
Paul Klaver and friends have created a Canadian non-profit organization which is "Dedicated to expanding the interest and knowledge of GOD by expanding the interest and knowledge of The Urantia Book ... food for the soul. " TUBOO's mission is to "seed bookstores with hardcover Urantia Books and more." (See below)
The Urantia Book Fellowship is partnering in these efforts. TUBOO sends us a list of ten bookstores every week. Paul finds English bookstores in countries all over the world, and we mail a free Urantia Book to each store on his list, requesting that the store sell the book for $5.00 or less. TUBOO funds the project, the Fellowship fulfills the book orders from our office in Colorado.
The JESUS Birthday 100 Project
In honor of Jesus' Birthday this year, TUBOO has conceived a worthy project. We are sending out 100 books to over 50 countries! Thanks to the volunteers in our local Rocky Mountain Front Range community who are making it possible to get this done quickly. Because of various shipping requirements and customs issues, it can be quite a process to send so many books overseas.
Each book contains a postcards that reads:
Please accept this free gift from UrantiaBookOutReach.com Please sell in your bargain bin for under $5.00. Thank You!
This program is a win/win for the Fellowship and TUBOO. If you would like to see all of the great places where TUBOO and the Fellowship have sent The Urantia Book, please click the links below:
We like to imagine angels hovering over these bargain book bins in exotic places and beckoning people to come over and look through, leading hungry souls to a feast of truth.
Do you have a favorite bookstore you would like to suggest? They send books to the USA and Canada too. Here's an invitation from their website: http://urantiabookoutreach.com/
Here is a message from Paul about TUBOO and other great projects they are working on:
Thanks for your continued support of the "Bookstore Donation Initiative." Our goal for this year (2011) is 600 books and 1100 next year. The purpose of this project is to assist the guardian angels in getting The 5th Epochal Revelation into the hands of Truth Seekers from around the world so they can assist in helping educate our world about our Spiritual Father's love.
We are also 1 year into a 5 year plan to create 10 animations on select papers in Part IV of The Urantia Book. The first animation is on Paper 141 - Beginning the Public Work and is proceeding slower than anticipated, but hopefully will be released on Facebook by the end of the year. Donations to this project would be helpful in ensuring we meet our 5 year timeline. The purpose of this project is twofold, first it will introduce The Urantia Book for the first time to many in the audience and secondly, and equally as important, it will provide an accurate version of the teachings of Christ Michael.
The idea is, it should whet the appetite of the audience to investigate further into The Urantia Book.
Once the first animation is created, hopefully by Dec 2011 and if sufficient funds allow, we would like to create two Facebook ads, one to advertise The Urantia Book and the other to advertise the Jesus animation. These ads would have a market reach of over 450 million people. From our previous experience with Facebook ads, we found the ages of 13-18 were our biggest interest group, and Turkey by far, was the most interested in the ads with 12% of our hits coming from that country, while only 4% of our hits were coming from the USA. In just over 6 months our $10 day Urantia Book ad on Facebook had just over 10 million impressions with 3300 hits for more information. We are very excited to see what kind of results the Jesus animation ad will bring on Facebook.
Those are TUBOO's current goals. We are on target to reach 600 books for the bookstore project by the end of this year, but are falling behind on the animation productions due to budget constraints.
Our mission statement as is indicated on the website is: "Dedicated to expanding the interest and knowledge of God by expanding the interest and knowledge of The Urantia Book."
Thank you again for the opportunity to expand the awareness of our projects.
Together In His service, Paul
Turkish Translation of The Urantia Book Launched!
This summer the Urantia Book Society of Greater New York (UBSGNY) began a translation of The Urantia Book into Turkish. "This opportunity came our way and we just found it irresistible," said Eileen Laurence, the UBSGNY Translation Oversight Committee Chair. "It so happens," Eileen said, "that long time UB reader, Bill Rocap, lives in Turkey now and has volunteered to facilitate the process." Bill knows a group of Urantia Book readers in Turkey who read the book in the original English. He also helped the TOC find a competent translator and negotiate a contract with him.
"A Turkish translation just makes a great deal of sense," Eileen says. "Turkey is a country of about 80 million people, almost 100 percent of whom are Muslim (mostly Sunni). Unlike most of the other Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Turkey is a reasonably stable, secular democracy with an average literacy rate of close to 90 percent. Turkey straddles Europe and Asia and its political and cultural influence, particularly in the Middle East, seems to be growing. Turkey has for many years tried to become part of the "European community." Given all this, it seems to us that there is great potential for effective dissemination of The Urantia Book through this translation effort with an extremely low probability of official governmental suppression."
The Turkish translation is UBSGNY's third translation project. The New York society has already completed translations of the UB into Korean and Russian. The society considers translations of the UB to be one of the most important and effective tools available for the dissemination of the revelation. Seven of the eight current members of the UBSGNY Translation Oversight Committee have each accumulated twenty years of experience managing translations and related activities. "We consider any translation of The Urantia Book to be a work in progress that can always be improved," Eileen says. "Any translation completed by UBSGNY is and will continue to be freely available to any individual or group of readers wishing to improve it. Our translations are posted on the web and are available for download."
In addition to chairing the society's TOC, Eileen is also the committee's chief fund raiser. "We are very grateful for the contributions that people have already made toward the project," Eileen said. "We have a few large contributors who were on board before we went public with this, and at The Fellowship's IC 2011 in Salt Lake City many General Councilors contributed generously."
UBSGNY has raised some funds toward this effort but more money is needed. Your tax deductible contribution will be most welcome - no amount is too small. To donate, you can use Paypal or a credit card by going to the New York Society's website (www.urantia-nyc.org ) and clicking on "Turkish Translation," or by making your gift payable to SGNY Translation Fund and mail it to: Turkish Translation, c/o Clark, 4 Horizon Rd. Apt. 1202, Ft. Lee, NJ 07024. We thank you for your interest and generosity.
If you have any questions, please contact our chair person, Eileen Laurence, (Laurence@concentric.net)
|Buffy St. Marie has long been a student of the UB and has achieved critical acclaim in the music industry. She just released her 18th album, "Running for the Drum." She performed a concert for us in Vancouver at IC99. Here's her bio: http://www.creative-native.com/biography.php
The following article is by John Creger.
Those of you I've spent time with recently (all of you actually ;~) know I'm seriously smitten by the recent album from Buffy St. Marie. If you know me even better, you might know this all started when I saw her sing at a war protest a few years ago (okay, 40 of them) when I was 18. Rearing back several feet from the mic, she let loose a voice that pulsed with a kind of power and intelligence I'd never heard before, and I watched her leave one of her last 60s audiences spellbound. During the 70s her audience shrank as she explored her own impulses for truth and beauty as she has always done. I picked up most of her many albums used here and there during my 20s, jaw often dropping and heart sometimes stopping with certain songs I found on them.
Last night, celebrating our daughter Rebecca's 21st birthday without her (she was out with friends of course), my wife Meilan and I found ourselves in front row seats for Buffy's show at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland. The event was maybe her first at the venue, and maybe a bit of a fluke. True, one of her songs on the new album, "When I Had You," carries strong vocal and musical echoes of jazz legend Abbey Lincoln. But Buffy doesn't go to genres as much as they come to her, and I wouldn't categorize her even as a country-western artist, as iTunes seems to. If I called her anything, I'd call her more of a Nebadon soul artist. She sings and plays with and through the Mother Spirit. I think David and Winnie would attest to that.
To get the best seats we could, Meilan and I arrived at the restaurant two hours before the show. Waiting for dinner, we drew three concentric circles on a sheet of white paper, and colored them in with a blue marker. Settled at our stageside table when Buffy came to her fourth song, we caught each others' eyes. The song was "Little Wheel Spin and Spin." Propping up our blue circles sign against our arms resting on the table, we left it to her to notice. The song finished with her opening her eyes and looking our way. Pointing quickly at our sign and smiling, she said brightly to us through the mic, "Yes, I know!" Turning quickly back to the whole audience, she smiled again, this time for everyone. "I see new friends and old friends here tonight and I'd like to give all of you a hug after the show. But I have to apologize: the next act is coming in right after we finish, and we have to stay busy." How many Academy-Award winning artists are this willing to dispense hugs?
We threw up our sign once or twice more through her 15-song set. Twice I imagined her intoning meanings with Fifth Epochal import. Once it was a song from her Sweet America album called "Look at the Facts." Warning of the human race and Mother Earth hanging by a thread, the song gave me a strong impression of Mother Spirit grieving for harm done to her creation. Her song "Starwalker" also conjured up a very large frame of reference in my mind: our next lives on the mansion worlds.
The show was filled with powwow-rocking joy and musical, consummate showmanship and vocal talent that stretches an audience's joy into new spaces. On the way out, I decided to make one attempt to connect. Spotting a guy I thought might work for Yoshi's, I thought who I might talk to about requesting a return engagement. The guy turned out to work for Buffy. He gave me their evening set list, and I gave him a message to take to her. As part of this message, I asked him to tell her that her music has nourished my deep parts ever since I was teenager. He left smiling to take her my message.
My suggestion is that we explore the possibility of having Buffy and her band do a full show at IC14. Some of her songs on the new album--"Easy as the Snow Falls Down" and "Still This Love Goes On" could, I think, make beautiful introductions to meditation and prayer in a plenary. The first three songs on the album are punchy, in-your-face convictions of corporate greed and violations of nature, and could fit in an evening concert. Others are sweet love ballads, rockabilly, New Orleans, soulful jazz, Elvis-style tunes and more. Check out the album at:
More than any other artist I know, Buffy Saint-Marie's songs, music, and vocals communicate messages from the consciousness we learn about through Fifth Epochal teachings and experiences. She is also an educator, championing better schools for native Canadians, Americans, New Zealanders or others. Unlike most artists today, or anytime, Buffy's audience has a clear sense what she stands for. Whether or not everyone in the Urantia movement stands for just the same things, I believe it is a good thing for us to be exposed to the artistry of one who has chosen to stand for certain spiritual values--and has done so for 50 years and more. She is a timeless beauty.
Sorry if I've gone on a little long here. I hope we can think about this suggestion.
love 'n light,
Fall Retreat in Beautiful Sonoma County for Readers of
THE URANTIA BOOK
Dates: Sept.30-Oct.2, 2011
Place: St. Dorothy's Rest, Camp Meeker, CA (Sonoma County)
Cost: $150. for the full week-end plus the cost of one meal
prepared by a cooking crew. Day use only is $25.
Deposit: Please send deposit of $50. made out to Golden Gate Circle
by Sept. 15th to: Dolores L. Nice 3638 Farm Hill Blvd.
Redwood City, CA 94061
Space is limited and rooms will be assigned on a first paid first
served basis. We will try to arrange for car pools
Can You Volunteer?
The Urantia Book Fellowship is looking for a few good men and women! We now have an online sign-up form that takes only minutes to fill out. There you will be asked to list your skills and interests and when a job becomes available we will contact you for service. Please register today at www.urantiabook.org/volunteer.html