EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: Members of Urantia Brotherhood
On the weekend of January 24-25 an Executive Committee meeting was held at our Chicago offices. What follows is a summary of our deliberations to keep you up-to-date. Before beginning, however, I would like to highlight one of the decisions reached by the Committee: specifically, effective with this report, the Executive Committee has agreed that every member of the Brotherhood should receive a copy of the Executive Committee Letter. The office will mail copies to General Councilors, Society Presidents and Secretaries, Field Representatives, and Members at Large, and respectfully requests that Society Presidents and/or Secretaries forward copies to each of their members (if not already doing so). THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR SOCIETY HELP WITH THIS EFFORT We believe that this approach will foster a greater sense of awareness and openness concerning various activities of the organization. Any member who wants more information on any item mentioned should feel free to contact the appropriate person to open a dialogue.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
The required minutes of previous meetings were read and approved.
2. The Executive Committee accepted Helen Carlson's resignation as Joint Custodian with deepest thanks for a job well done.
The Brotherhood President was instructed to write a letter to Urantia Foundation thanking them for their gift of 1,200 English and 200 French Urantia Books for use in the Library Gift Book Programs being administered by our Domestic Extension and International Fellowship committees. Allocation of the free gift books to the committee programs already underway will begin immediately. John Hay and the Finance Committee will be reviewing the Brotherhood's 1986 budget at the scheduled March Finance Committee meeting and will propose alternative ways of using moneys originally allocated to the two committees to fund the gift book programs planned for this year.
5. The Executive Committee agreed with a proposal to hold the next stage of the planning process for the Brotherhood in Orlando Florida on the weekend of April 18-20 at the facilities of and conducted by Taylor Management Group. Since it was deemed exceedingly important that all or most of the General Council attend to insure maximum benefits from the program, approval was contingent upon determining Councilor availability for that weekend.
6. The Executive Committee authorized the officers to approve and implement the telephone replacement recommendation made by Frank Sgaraglino and that required moneys be allocated from capital funds.
The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held in Chicago on the weekend of May 2-3, 1986.
8. The meeting was adjourned at 4:3OPm Saturday having met since 9:10am and from 8:00-11:00pm the night before.
Judicial: Duane Faw reported that Scott Forsythe has resigned from his committee, thereby creating a vacancy. Duane asked that any recommendations of qualified persons be forwarded to him.
Draft Language was submitted for a proposed amendment to the Brotherhood Constitution restructuring the names/duties of four committees to clarify somewhat overlapping functional duties and to eliminate geographic distinctions: Charter, Fraternal Relations, International Fellowship, and Domestic Extension. Harry McMullan volunteered to work with Duane Faw to tighten-up the proposed language in light of comments made by Executive Committee members. Each of us is encouraged to submit any additional comments/changes directly to Duane to facilitate their work. A revised proposal will be mailed to each member in time for final comment and action at our May 2-3 Executive Committee meeting, leaving sufficient time to formalize it for presentation at this summer's General Council meeting if appropriate.
Charter. Steve Dreier reported that the committee is revising a pamphlet on membership and is in the process of updating all materials for society chartering. Charter is also reviewing the current Standards of Admissions and will make any change or revision proposals to the Executive Committee. Steve also reported that he is in touch with a study group in Australia who has indicated an interest in considering society status in the future.
Fraternal Relations. Peter Laurence reported that the committee's plan of utilizing the Brotherhood BULLETIN to print excerpts of the literature of other religious organizations as a means of promoting among readers of The Urantia Book an enhanced sense of spiritual unity with and understanding of these other groups will begin with the upcoming BULLETIN. Peter also reported that this committee will conduct evening programs with a similar objective at the summer workshops planned for this coming June.
Domestic Extension. Harry McMullan reported that this committee is currently working on continuing and expanding Library Gift Book placement programs begun in earnest last year. In addition to the reader aided placement program being coordinated by Tom Allen, and a mail program to libraries throughout the country, Harry made special note of the unselfish personal work of Vin Myers, who single-handedly has placed more than 600 books in libraries during the last year. Vin will continue his personal visits to libraries across the country this coming year with books furnished by the Brotherhood, coordinated by Domestic Extension, and with his travel expenses partially underwritten by the generosity of an anonymous donor.
This committee will be submitting shortly a plan for improving the distribution of the book within Foundation guidelines. This plan will be coordinated with the program of improved distributor contact being implemented by John Hales this year.
International Fellowship. Berkeley Elliott updated the Executive Committee on the approaching IFC meeting to be held the weekend of February 14-16 in San Francisco. Discussion will center around a major committee objective of the true internationalization of Urantia Brotherhood. Berkeley commented that we must broaden our personal dialogue with every reader worldwide so that together we can responsively forge a community which transcends national, cultural, racial, language, and any other barriers and which increasingly and visibly manifests the teachings of the revelation we are helping to bring to our planet. Berkeley noted that there would be additional information available soon regarding the French Conference near Paris in August.
Educational:. Lynne Kulieke discussed the ongoing program of this committee to provide the readership with educational activities which both enhance their opportunity to understand The Urantia Book more deeply, and build leadership and teachings skills at the same time. Additionally, Lynne reported that more than 200 readers have mailed back the postcard indicating their interest in attending the summer workshops. Because of relatively limited space, she encouraged those who have not yet responded to forward their card as soon as possible to make sure that they receive appropriate information/registration materials.
Publications. Dan Massey confirmed that the next BULLETIN will be mailed for an early March delivery (remember, we mail bulk third class which often takes as long as three weeks for delivery). The Executive Committee commended Dan and his committee for the continued improvement of both the substance and timing of this important communications vehicle.
Special projects. Marilynn Kulieke reported that her committee was awaiting a proposal for a history/resource approach which would be both satisfactory and efficient. After committee evaluation, she would present the proposal to the Executive Committee for consideration and action. I
Marilynn has opened a dialogue with Urantia Foundation on copyright approval guidelines for processing materials for the Study Aids Resource Catalog program to be implemented by Special Projects. The committee will report back shortly on timetable, budget, materials to be included, etc. In her capacity as 1987 General Conference Chairperson, Marilynn is in the process of developing the staffing for the various committees which will actualize this conference, to be held at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine during the week of August 2, 1987. She will begin to contact persons selected in the near future; her submitted and approved plan is designed to involve as many different persons in the process as possible.
Finance: John Hay indicated that his committee will be meeting in March to evaluate the results of fundraising to date versus our approved budget. The committee will at that time consider the necessity of developing and implementing a program of personal contact to generate the support necessary to fund our programs this year. He underscored that each of us in leadership positions has a responsibility to help make people aware of our needs. At our May meeting the Executive Committee will take action on the Finance Committee's recommendation, if it is necessary to do so.
OTHER BUSINESS & REPORTS
John Hales reported that due to illness and a resignation, the office is working at a significantly reduced staffing level. Fortunately, Virginia Kuenster has accepted part-time employment and is helping to keep work flowing. John and Frank Sgaraglino have begun to implement a replacement program to bring the staff up to full strength to insure minimal work interruption. John also informed the committee that Edith Cook is quite ill in the hospital. Hopefully, she will be remembered in our prayers.
Marian Rowley read Helen Carlson's letter resigning as a Joint Custodian. It was agreed that her resignation would be accepted with deepest thanks for the outstanding work Helen has done over many years. No replacement will be assigned until an evaluation of the position is completed.
Duane Faw gave a brief summary of the American Academy of Religion Conference at which Jim Mills and Meredith Sprunger were among the five presenters giving papers on The Urantia book. The proposal for a five-year consultation program was turned down by AAR. This should not, however, be allowed to overshadow the positive nature of this first major step toward bringing this revelation into the arena of religious scholarship.
Frank Sgaraglino summarized the findings/comments to date by participants in The Urantia Book pricing study underway since the last General Council meeting. Frank is targeting April 1 for submission to the Executive Committee of his recommendations for discussion at the May meeting. These proposals will then be forwarded to the Foundation for their review and comments.
Dave Elders reported on the following:
1. Spanish Translation. Andite Corporation has indicated that their finished contract was forwarded earlier in January to the translating company for final review and execution. Although Euramerica(the Translator) did have some initial questions and hesitation concerning some procedural details, we have been informed that there will be a meeting shortly to iron out any lingering difficulties with the hope that a final agreement, combining the often mutually exclusive goals of excellence and efficiency, will be reached soon, signaling the commencement of a project we've all been awaiting patiently.
2. Removal Amendment Review. Since Chuck Burton, head of the ad hoc committee assigned to review the Removal Amendment passed by the General Council last summer, was absent due to illness, discussion of the committee's determination was tabled. Chuck wil be forwarding a written summary of findings to each Executive Committee member for review prior to discussion and action at the May meeting of the Executive Committee.
3. Planning Process. John Hay and Dave Elders recommended that the next stage in the General Council Planning Process take place on the weekend of April 18-20 in Orlando, Florida, contingent on Councilor availability that weekend. This session, comprised of two12-hour and one 8-hour days, will be conducted by Taylor Management Corporation at their facility in Orlando. John and Dave met with Matt and Gail Taylor in their Washington, D.C. offices on January 23 to review their proposal. Both were highly impressed by the maturity, experience, philosophy, and approach of these professional planning facilitators (further, John Hay has personally participated in two sessions and is extremely positive about the value of the program). The facilitator costs, including meals during the sessions, will be covered by independent donations; Councilors will personally pay their travel and accommodation expenses. The desire and willingness of the members of the General Council to continue the planning process as expressed at Cedar Creek is a positive context in which this program can be of significant value to our work.
Sometimes organizational activities consume a great deal of time and energy. This is especially true on Executive Committee weekends when fourteen people spend Friday night and all day Saturday discussing the type of subjects summarized above. Many of you also participate in Society organizational activities, or in organizations in your community. All of this work is necessary and useful, but, to me personally, is not without risk: it is too easy to become satisfied with organizational activities as one's share of the work of this revelation. But, is it?
The organization, by its very nature, is scaffolding, not substance. It must act as a facilitating channel for both the most and least aggressive members of our community. This means that the organization must proceed in a measured way to insure that it can serve the needs of everyone who wants to be part of the structure. But, there is no limitation whatsoever on the work of the individual in living and acting in such a way that these teachings come alive increasingly in the hearts, minds, and souls of our fellows across the face of this planet.
Our Father does not indwell our organization, so our organization cannot live these teachings as an example to others. The light under the bushel is the God in each of us, and it can be made visible in the world only through the willful determination of the individual. In my opinion, every one of us has a personal responsibility to bring this truth to the attention of our fellows. And, while quantitative measures are irrelevant in personality relationships, if each of us acts this year in such a way as to bring at least one(or more) of our fellow mortals into awareness of sonship with our Father first, and then awareness of these teachings, we will have doubled the number of kingdom members who are also committed to learning more about the Father through The Urantia Book. Ironically, this work of personal ministry will also increase the value of the work of organizational ad-ministry.
David N. Elders, President Urantia Brotherhood
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book