EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: Members of Urantia Brotherhood
The Executive Committee met in Chicago over the weekend of May 2-3l 1986. This report will summarize the deliberations and specific actions taken in an effort to keep you apprised of our activities. Please feel free to contact any member of the committee for clarification, questions, or comments. We welcome and encourage your input.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
1. The minutes of the January, 1986 meeting were read and approved with minor corrections.
2. Approval was given to accept as new members-at-large Kathleen Swadling, Sydney, Australia; Kristen Maaherra, Tucson, Arizona; and Gerald and Robin Wisdom, Roseburg, Oregon.
3. Scott Forsythe's resignation from the Judicial Committee was accepted with thanks for a job well done.
4. The report of the ad hoc committee of Chuck Burton, Steve Dreier, and Dan Massey on reconsideration of the removal amendment passed last year was approved as submitted; the Executive Committee agreed that no further action would be recommended to the General Council at this time.
5. It was unanimously agreed to recommend to the General Council that Helen Carlson be given a citation for long and meritorious service.
6. The Executive Committee approved the Design Team action planning program proposed for immediate implementation (see herein).
7. It was agreed that the General Council meeting for 1987 would be held at Bowdoin College at a suitable time and place to be decided on the weekend of August 8-9 immediately after the 1987 General Conference.
8. A slate of nominees to fill expiring terms and vacancies on each of the standing committees was approved for submission to the General Council in advance of the upcoming meeting in June. 9. The Executive Committee accepted the proposal for a uniform system of citations from The Urantia Book as submitted by Dan Massey for the Publications Committee as modified by committee discussion. Dan was asked to forward this recommendation to the Foundation for their consideration and input before final acceptance and broad scale distribution.
10. It was agreed that the price reduction report/recommendation given by Frank Sgaraglino would be fully reported to the General Council with the recommendation that it be assigned to one of the design teams for further work and implementation planning.
11. The Executive Committee set the following dates for upcoming meetings: Sunday, June 29, 1986 following the General Council meeting at Lake Forest; September 19-20, 1986 and November 21-22 at headquarters.
12. The meeting was adjourned at 4:55pm Saturday, May 3 having met since 9:00am that morning and from 8:00pm-11:20pm the previous night.
Judicial Committee: Duane Faw reviewed the status of the possible amendment for the realignment of committee functions/names. It was decided to move more slowly on consideration of this amendment based upon committee input and further deliberation has been tabled until the September, 1986 Executive Committee meeting. Duane indicated that he had received Scott Forsythe's letter of recommendation from this committee, and that when appropriate a vote of the Executive Committee accepting same was needed.
Charter Committee: Steve Dreier noted that he had received a request for society chartering information from Loren and Ila Hall of Kansas City. He further reported on the progress of revising all charter committee printed materials. Proposed changes for consideration will await final face-to--face committee meetings.
Fraternal Relations Committee: In Peter Laurence's absence, Dave Elders relayed Steve Law's information that the program for the summer workshops is moving toward completion. Also, Steve passed along the Fraternal Relations committee's nominees for the upcoming term expiration elections. These nominees are included in the "Other Business" section of this letter.
Domestic Extension: Due to the changes in the office as a result of re-organization Harry McMullan reported that he would not have a formal statement on distribution in response to the General Council resolution on this subject. It is expected that the subject of distribution will be fully explored by the appropriate Design Team this fall. Harry also noted that the Library Placement Programs under the aegis of his committee are highly successful, in fact, it was reported that virtually all of the 1,200 English language gift books given us by the Foundation will have been placed by June 1, and that the additional funded gift books built into the 1986 Domestic Extension budget will be placed by year end. In an effort to continue these efforts Dave Elders will prepare immediately a recommendation to the Foundation requesting their consideration of another grant of gift books for the balance of 1986 and on into 1987. International Fellowship Committee: Berkeley Elliott reported on the IFC meeting conducted February 15-16 in San Francisco. In addition to her committee, the meeting was attended by Paul Snider, Dave and Marta Elders, John Hales, Phil Rolnick, and Emmanuel Desurvire as guests. With the able aid of Emmanuel, the formal requests made by Jacques Dupont on behalf of his French organization, C.E.R.D.H. were fully discussed and Berkeley agreed to write to Jacques with the agreed-upon responses. It was noted that the committee feels that the most important focus for activity in the international area at this time is the strengthening of personal relationships and interaction. A real opportunity for this type of activity is offered by the French conference to be held this August.
Berkeley presented the "Guidelines for Progress" developed over a long period of time with the input of many international readers and indicated that these "Guidelines," which stress the non-organizational links among all readers of The Urantia Book, would be sent out to international study groups and individuals.
Publications Committee: Dan Massey reported that typesetting the Bulletin electronically directly from disk had saved a great deal of money on production of the last issue. This technique will be utilized from now on. Dan proposed, and the committee concurred with his recommendation, that the next Bulletin scheduled for mailing in late May would contain a special report on the Orlando DesignShop (the material for the DesignShop section was prepared by a team of General Councilors at the Orlando meeting).
Dan updated the committee on the substantial work done on a proposal for Uniform Citation Standards for The Urantia Book. The Executive Committee adopted the committee's proposal with the understanding that Dan would forward the Citation Standard Proposal to Urantia Foundation with a request for input and comment. The Executive Committee felt that this was a necessary step to insure that the proposal took into account plans the Foundation might have for future publication (e.g., translations, an index, etc.).
Finance Committee: John Hay detailed the progress, format, and timing of the follow-up letter on joint solicitation of contributions from those on our mailing list. The Executive Committee agreed that the tone of the letter and the inclusion of a handsome bookmark were indications of the excellent committee work being done by the Finance Committee in its efforts to meet the necessary giving targets for 1986. John feels that donations are currently on track, but indicated that we still need substantial donations in the balance of the year to insure that all our planned programs can proceed as scheduled. Finance will begin work on long range giving program after the summer Council meeting.
Special Projects Committee: Marilynn Kulieke indicated that a member of her committee was working on the history project assigned by General Council resolution last year. The committee is proceeding with work on the *Resource Guide to Secondary Works" designed to provide readers with information concerning the availability of materials developed as a result of personal interaction with The Urantia Book. Education Committee: Lynne Kulieke reported on her March committee meeting including committee members and associates. Work is progressing on this summer's intensive workshop program on Part II of the book. The committee is working on revising the guidelines for small group leaders which can also be utilized by study groups and will be made available broadly once completed. Consideration is being given to a mailing to all new readers indicating to them what is available in the way of study materials and guidelines. They are also working on a system to help local groups with regional conferences. It was a committee consensus that the implementation and management of a scholarship program for individuals to attend Brotherhood events was inherently so complicated to administer centrally that, instead, the committee would encourage local groups and societies to fund and implement their own scholarship programs.
1. Removal Amendment Reconsideration: An ad hoc committee consisting of Chuck Burton, Steve Dreier, and Dan Massey was assigned the task last fall of reviewing the removal amendment passed this past summer in light of considerations raised by a member of the General Council. Chuck reported that his committee was unanimous in recommending that reconsideration not be undertaken at this time. Inasmuch as this committee indicated that there were areas which could be improved in both removal approaches, the Executive Committee this coming fall will further review this area of the constitution to determine if a new amendment could be designed which would improve on both the original and current procedures. Additionally, the officers of the Brotherhood will undertake an evaluation of questions of procedure raised during this reconsideration activity with a target of the September Executive Committee meeting for a report on procedures followed and a recommendation on ways to insure that our procedures are both appropriate for and properly utilized by the various levels of our organization.
2. 1987 General Conference: Chairperson Marilynn Kulieke reported that her coordinating committee had met in April to accelerate the level of organizational activity for the conference. June 22 is the date set for the initial meeting of the advisory committee in Chicago. This meeting will broaden the input of the readership in the development of the theme and other aspects of planning for the conference and will involve society representatives as well as individuals from many areas. It was agreed that an initial mailing of information on the conference, including a response mechanism to determine the level of possible attendance, would be sent to the mailing list in late August or early September.
3. Library Book Placement: The books available for this program both those donated by the Foundation(1,200) and those budgeted for use by the Domestic Extension Committee, will have been exhausted well before the end of the year. Due to the importance of this project, Dave Elders was instructed to petition the Foundation for additional books--either at no cost or direct cost. This proposal would contain a history of placement thus far with detailed plans for the next two years. As part of this program, it was proposed that a pressure-sensitive sticker be designed for placement into the book with a specific box department number in the Chicago address to provide a means of tracking the effectiveness of these placements based upon correspondence from individuals who find the book in libraries in which gift books were placed. 4. Dust Jacket Revision: Dave Elders proposed in order to move this project to the next step that a research program designed to test the current dust Jacket against possible alternate jackets be considered. A specific test design will be proposed (perhaps using an outside research firm), for possible inclusion in one segment of a Design Team recommendation.
5. Book Pricing: Frank Sgaraglino summarized the detailed report prepared in response to the General Council resolution to determine the possibility of reducing the price of The Urantia Book to under $20.00. After much discussion on the material Frank presented and after outlining the alternative actions which could be taken based upon his report, it was decided by the Executive Committee that Frank's report would be presented to the General Council for their final determination of indicated action. It is possible that the Design Team given responsibility for marketing and sales could incorporate this proposal in their action planning. It was generally felt that inasmuch as this price reduction would require raising substantial additional funds from our . reader community on an ongoing basis it would be appropriate to fully consider the impact on other programs of such a reduction as well as our ability to raise the necessary amounts (as much as $400,000 above current donations across four years).
6. Concordex: There was discussion about the options available to the Brotherhood when the Concordex has been reprinted. It was decided that the Executive Committee chairman would communicate to the Foundation trustees that it is the intention of the Brotherhood to carry the Concordex for sale as a service to our reader community; however, we want to be sure that this would be consistent with the Foundation's views and we would therefor request their comments and suggestions.
7. Design Team : The Executive Committee approved a recommendation that the General Council members volunteer to serve on Design Team in six(6) program areas in an effort to bring the planning designs developed at the Orlando DesignShop to the specific action/implementation stage. The six areas are: a. Study Group Development. b. Programs, Services, and Resources Development. a. Book Sales, Marketing, and Distribution. d. The Personal and Spiritual Component in our Work. e. Communications Design Project. f. Internationalization of Urantia Brotherhood.
These design team would develop specific action plans in each area taking into account resources (financial and people), evolutionary timing, testing options, copyright/trademark requirements and commitments, Foundation concerns, etc. A January, 1987 informal meeting of the General Council would be targeted for reporting in all plans, and implementation would proceed as deemed appropriate by the General Council. It was felt that this program would be a positive and constructive next step to our Orlando DesignShop weekend. The Brotherhood Bulletin will have a more detailed account of the process and values of the Orlando DesignShop.
8. VISA/MASTER CHARGE Capabilities: The Executive Committee accepted the recommendation of the Finance Committee to complete the necessary documen-tation to enable the Brotherhood to offer individuals the use of VISA and MASTER CHARGE for services including book purchasing and donations. Once the paperwork is completed, an official announcement will be made and a phasing in of this service will begin. 9. Spanish Translation: Dave Elders reported that the contract was signed with the translator in early April, a glossary was now nearing completion, the first translation pages were expected in early June, and Mike Painter has been appointed by Andite Corporation as the project manager for the translation process. It is expected that translation efforts may take 14 months or more to reach completion.
10. Departmental Committee Nominations for the General Council Meeting: The Executive Committee, acting in its capacity as nominating committee, has developed a slate of nominees to fill expiring terms and vacancies on departmental committees. This slate will be mailed to members of the General Council shortly for their consideration prior to the June meeting and vote.
Over the weekend of April 18-20, 29 members of the General Council and several of their spouses gathered in Orlando, Florida for a 32-hour program of intensive planning for Urantia Brotherhood activities. The process was facilitated by Matt and Gail Taylor who have developed a dynamic approach to group planning which they call a DesignShop. While it would be impossible to capture the experience in a few words here, I would like to say that I believe that this weekend taught us better how to work together in a loving way to maximize the unique contribution each and every person can make to the building of a living, growing, and progressive expansion across the face of our planet of the truth of our relationship with our common Father as described in the fifth epochal revelation.
The essence of the process, as I experienced it and as Matt and Gail described it, is that we can "put aside our notions of agreement and disagreement, and come together in a process of design." Instead of talking about the pros and cons of contending points of view to reach some form of compromise (which is often mediocre), we worked to design a vehicle which would be large enough to encompass both points of view in a creative, practical, and workable design. Instead of working against each other we worked together toward a common objective--we built instead of contending. Instead of EITHER/OR we learned that AND is a profoundly more powerful tool in our work together. Quotes from Matt and Gail respectively will give some expression to the experience:
"What is Urantia Brotherhood's unique way? It is contained in the process of doing the work itself. In the discussion sessions and DesignTeam breakouts members of the Brotherhood were being their work, not just planning it. They were building the spiritual field that contains and nurtures the ideas they produced. That is why the designs have power beyond mere words to argue with."
"The Design team work on spiritual growth stated that the Brotherhood's work was to live and be an example of The Urantia Book philosophy. Organizational structure and program are then built to flow from this core culture and spirit and bring into the world forms that do support the group and do radiate quality and love."
As Jesus taught Simon Zelotes "Simon, Simon, how many times have I instructed you to refrain from all efforts to take something out of the hearts of those who seek salvation? How often have I told you to labor only to put something into these hungry souls?" (1592:5) AND, not EITHER OR!
In fellowship, David Elders, President
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book