EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: General Councilors, Society Presidents and Field Representatives
On the weekend of September 27-28, an Executive Committee meeting was held at our Chicago offices. Though Hurricane Gloria prevented the attendance of two of our members to the Friday night portion of the meeting (at least that's what they told us), the attendance of the balance of the Committee enabled us to conduct our meeting anyway. While everyone missed Marian Rowley, who was on a well-earned vacation with her family, John Hales and I especially missed her gentle but determined hand on the procedural tiller.
What follows is our attempt to keep you up-to-date on our deliberations. If you are moved to want more information on any subject mentioned, please feel free to contact anyone on the Executive Committee. We want your input and encourage you to stay involved and in touch throughout the year.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
1. The required minutes of previous meetings were read and approved with only minor corrections.
2. The price of membership pins has been increased to $23.00 from $21.00 to reflect cost increases.
The following Brotherhood members who are Founders of Northern Light Urantia Society of Alaska were removed from the roles of membership-at-large: John Andrews, Renald Cyr, Patsy Hayes, Tucky Hayes, and Barbara Maier.
4. The following persons were accepted as members-at-large: Mr. Jack Otterson, Little Canada, MN; Mrs. Dean White, Elizabethton, TN; Mrs. Melissa Wells, Nashville, TN.
5. An allocation of up to $3,000 from the 1986 budget was made to cover the placement of gift books in libraries should this year's budget not be sufficient to cover the response to the Domestic Extension's direct mail program to libraries. A similar allocation was made to facilitate the International Fellowship direct mail program, should this committee's budgeted target be exceeded. See below for a further discussion of the budget.
6. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held just after the General Council Retreat and is scheduled for November 10-11 at Cedar Creek Farm Seminar Center, New Haven, Missouri.
7. The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 PM Saturday, having met since 9:00 AM and from 8:00-11:00 PM the night before.
Judicial Duane Faw, Chairman, reported that his committee would begin work on the proposed amendment to restructure the names/duties of four committees: International Fellowship, Charter, Domestic Extension, and Fraternal Relations. As part of the process, he will solicit the input of two newly elected committee chairmen, Steve Dreier (Charter) and Peter Laurence (Fraternal Relations).
Martin Myers has submitted to the Executive Committee a document requesting that the amendment to the By-Laws passed this summer concerning the removal of a General Councilor be re-evaluated by the Executive Committee. He asked that, if warranted by the rationale submitted, the Executive Committee present a replacement amendment to the General Council next year. After our discussion, it was agreed that this review should take place and begin with an evaluation by the Judicial Committee.
Duane still has an opening on his committee and asked us for recommendations of qualified individuals.
Domestic Extension. Harry McMullan reported that the Library Gift Book direct mail program being supervised by Tom Allen will begin with a mailing to 3,000 libraries this month. It is rumored that some kind folks in Oklahoma are now addicted to envelope glue!
Waldine Stump will be making calls aimed at updating the Study Group Directory for possible printing this coming year. Dan Massey has some ideas for computerizing both the maintenance and typesetting of the names for the Directory and will work with Harry to develop a specific proposal for consideration.
Harry is working on a project to provide those in study groups with a stepped program to encourage continued and deepened study of The Urantia Book. Once copies of this program are made available to the Executive Committee, we will discuss this project in earnest to determine its merit and whether it is appropriate for organizational distribution or is better suited for personal distribution by the author.
International Fellowship. Berkeley Elliott reported that the Library Gift Book mailing to 3,700 international libraries will be completed shortly.
At its meeting last winter, the International Fellowship Committee began drafting a set of guidelines for readers outside the United States to utilize as a working draft of a unified purpose of organizational activity. These guidelines will hopefully generate the kind of warm, constructive, and fruitful dialogue which can facilitate our progress toward a goal which we all hold dear -- a truly worldwide brotherhood of human workers in the commonality of our commitment to the study and dissemination of the teachings of The Urantia Book.
Berkeley gave an update on the status of the Spanish translation project. She reported that the Foundation intends to have a contract signed by the end of the year and during the process of working on an agreement has been involved in the development of a glossary and establishment of checking procedures for translated copy. (I spoke with Martin today on this subject to provide you with an additional update: the Foundation has just finished reviewing the second draft of an agreement and will be meeting with Foundation lawyers this week to begin the final effort toward a satisfactory contract with the translator).
Education: Lynne Kulleke noted that the Education Committee would be meeting the weekend of October 12-13. They will not only evaluate this past summer's workshop program, but will be designing next summer's, for June 23-27, at Lake Forest. A postcard announcing these plans will be sent to the mailing list this month.
The committee is working with Marilynn Kulieke on a questionnaire which will be designed to help with the development of educational tools that would be of most benefit to our readership. It is possible that other committees could be included in this project, and all chairpersons were encouraged to get in touch with Marilynn or Lynne to define interest.
Publications, Dan Massey briefly discussed the memo on Standardized Citations which he had sent in advance of the meeting to Executive Committee members. He invited participation by those interested in the project.
Dan's approach to publishing of the Bulletin will involve all Executive Committee members, societies, many of those on the General Council, and others in an attempt to make the Bulletin a dynamic and useful tool of communication in our community. If you are interested in contributing in any way to this work, please contact Dan ....or he may contact you!
Special Projects: Marilynn Kulieke whose committee has been given the assignment of responding to the resolution requesting preparation of a history of the Urantia movement reported that the committee needed clarification of the objectives for this project. After much discussion, it was the consensus of the Executive Committee that, considering the many demands and responsibilities currently before our committees, this project should be considered low priority involving little expense at this time. Marilynn will be contacting those persons who have indicated an interest in this work to see if she and her committee can develop a workable proposal for initiation.
Marilynn has been appointed chairperson for the 1987 International Conference Planning Committee. She has agreed to report back -to the Executive Committee shortly with her recommendation of others to serve on the committee and her plans for the involvement of interested societies and individuals in the process. The conference will be held at Bowdon College in Maine during the week of August 2-7, 1987. Due to the tireless work of Allison Gardner, Chuck Burton, and John Hales, an initial contract agreement has been signed with Bowdon College.
Charter Steve Dreier conducted a fine installation ceremony as Northern. Light Urantia Society of Alaska was chartered in Anchorage on September 1, 1985. 1 hope no one minds the use of this letter to thank those kind souls in Alaska who made each of us who attended feel more welcome even than the local grizzlies we heard so much about. By the way, don't believe any of the fish stories you might hear either.
Steve also reported that he has had inquiries from groups in Australia and the Tampa area of Florida expressing serious interest in beginning the chartering process. The Charter Committee will be undertaking the revision of chartering Information packets sample constitutions, preliminary applications, etc., and will be evaluating the Standards of Admissions -- particularly in the area of the appropriate maximum and minimum sizes of societies to insure that fair voting representation is maintained. If you have input in any of these areas, please contact Steve.
Fraternal Relations Peter Laurence will report on committee business after the committee meets just prior to -the Retreat -- November 8 at Cedar Creek.
Finance John Hay outlined the responsibilities of each committee chairperson in the upcoming budget process. Each must submit to John immediately his/her committee's budget requests for 1986. At our November 10-11 meeting the Executive Committee will evaluate John's submitted budget for 1986, at which time we must reconcile committee needs, available and projected funds, and plans for the upcoming year and vote on the budget at that meeting.
Frank Sgaraglino reported on three items:
1. Office Reorganization: He has met with John and (this week) with each of our staff. He and John will be making recommendations shortly as to changes necessary in assignments, space requirements, personnel, and equipment needs in order to conduct our business on your behalf In as efficient and effective a manner as possible. As we make these necessary changes, we would each do well to remember and personally recognize the tireless contributions made over the years by loyal, dedicated volunteers -- Helen Carlson and Marian Rowley, foremost among them.
2. Book Pricing: Frank has asked that each of us -- every General Councilor --respond to his memo on this important question of book pricing.
3. Conflict of Interest: This agenda item was discussed by the Executive Committee, not for the purpose of developing a point of view or taking any action, but rather, as a reminder that recent events in our community indicate the need for us to at least be aware of the potential. The members of the Executive Committee hold together a broad divergence of opinion on this issue, a healthy and responsible divergence which will insure that any decisions on this in the future will be carefully considered.
In response to a request by Mo Siegel that his foundation be granted a distributorship for The URANTLA, Book, Martin Myers, on behalf of the Trustees of Urantia Foundation, requested that the Board of Directors of Urantia Brotherhood Corporation (the members of the Executive Committee are this Board, and the Corporation is the sales agent vehicle organizationally) comment on this request. It was the consensus of the Committee that, in order to be consistent with the established guidelines concerning the definition of retail bookstores and wholesale distributors, the Foundation should not make an exception to these guidelines; i.e., that each request should be evaluated on its merits based upon satisfaction of the guideline requirements.
Chuck Burton reported on two matters of some urgency:
1. Due to the efforts of Vincent Myers, Worcester, MA, who has been quite successful in placing gift books in libraries, our general gift book fund is overdrawn by $5,000. Chuck and John Hay together presented the recommendation of our accountant that we allocate, by vote, sufficient moneys from our unallocated reserve to cover this amount. ,
2. Chuck and John Hay reviewed the budget situation with the Committee. Inasmuch as contributions are a little soft this year (due partially, perhaps, to the success of the Spanish translation fund drive), out budget is quite tight for the balance of the year. It is even conceivable that projected planned programs and personnel additions may have to be delayed until early 1986.
Although I am aware that past Executive Committee Letters have varied in both length and detail, I chose to report to you this way to emphasize what I believe is an important ingredient in our collective efforts: namely, those persons serving an the Executive Committee put in a lot of hours and effort all while holding full-time jobs, and all with family obligations. No one expects any special consideration for these efforts, and, in fact, would say that the opportunity to serve is thanks enough. However, it is important once in, a while for each of us to think of this when we become impatient with the speed of response or action from the Committee. Likewise those on the Committee know that you, too, are busy with your lives and we will temper our demands of you in that context. But we need and want more of your involvement. Meeting once a year is not a sufficient opportunity for each of us to share the experience, thoughtfulness, and wisdom each Councilor can offer to our work together. Please assume the responsibility to correct this by opening a dialogue with each other and each of us.
Additionally, while the work of the Executive Committee seems often to involve problem solving and the evolution of the tools we can use to further our work --pricing strategy, distribution, dust jacket copy, study aids, conference activities, library book placement, etc., there is another area of work for which we are each personally responsible. That is: the creation of awareness of and demand for The Urantia Book, Because we do not advertise at this time, there is only one way this happens -- by the personal initiative of every reader in our community supported by study groups, our societies, and, most importantly, by each other.
Organizationally, we can support and facilitate this work, but in the end, it is up to the individual to see that it gets done where each and every reader lives, works, and plays with others. Our leadership in this area is critically important. Those who are serving In elected positions have perhaps the most responsibility to lead by example so that study and dissemination of The Urantia Book become a living part of our work together on behalf of this revelation. And, so that not one of us forgets, let's stay in close contact and gently remind each other in the true spirit of friendship derived from our awareness that we are privileged indeed to help our Father in this way and at this time..
David N. Elders, President
Enclosures: Revised Society Officer Address List Revised General Council Address/Phone List Constitution Replacement Pages
CC: Society Secretaries Standing Committee Members
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