EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: Members of Urantia Brotherhood
The first 1987 quarterly meeting of the Executive Committee was held in Chicago on the weekend of February 20-21. What follows is a summary of the proceedings of this meeting for your review and comment. Despite the single-digit cold outside, there was much warmth and even a little light inside during our deliberations!
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
After a moment of silent prayer, the meeting was called to order at 7:15pm, Friday night, with a reading of the minutes of the previous (November, 1986) meeting.
1. Two applications for member-at-large status were presented and approved: Roxane Proulx, Montreal, Canada and James Harris, Orillia, Ontario, Canada. Welcome to both of these friends and readers.
2. It was agreed that we would utilize a voting machine, recommended by an ad-hoc committee established to evaluate methods of more efficient voting, on an experimental basis at this year's General Council meeting.
3. Kevin Goodman was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Education Committee.
4. The revised "Application to be Chartered as a Urantia Society of Urantia Brotherhood," was approved as submitted by the Charter Committee.
5. The Judicial Committee was asked by the Executive Committee to draft the appropriate language for an amendment to the Constitution and By-Laws of Urantia Brotherhood changing the name of "DOMESTIC EXTENSION COMMITTEE" to "EXTENSION COMMITTEE." See committee reports hereunder for detail.
6. The Judicial Committee was also asked by the Executive Committee to evaluate a request by Fraternal Relations that the language in its (Fraternal Relations) stated responsibilities in the Constitution and By-Laws be considered for amendment. Upon completion of its evaluation, the Judicial Committee will make its impact assessment and language drafts available for Executive Committee discussion at its next meeting.
7. It was agreed that the following meeting dates would be set:
Executive Committee 1987: May 29-30; Aug 8-9; Sept 25-26; Nov 20-21. Triennial Delegate Assembly 1988: June 25-26 (Chicago). General Council 1988: July 1-2 (Lake Forest).
8. The Executive Committee agreed that until Urantia Foundation approved the Library Placement Proposal submitted February 1, 1987, the fulfillment of books placed by individuals working with Domestic Extension on this program would be funded under the approved Domestic Extension budget..
COMMITTEE ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Here is a brief summary of new items and progress reported by each of the committees:
Publications Committee: Dan Massey reported that, pursuant to the request of the Executive Committee, the Winter issue of The Bulletin was typeset "in-house" by Dan on laser printing equipment, resulting in the maintenance of quality and significant cost savings. In addition, the committee will continue evaluating publishing procedures and will be implementing shortly the inclusion of a French translation of The Bulletin in copies sent to French readers with the help of George Dupont and Yves Chauvin. Dan also reported that his committee is hard at work on a revision of the slide-tape, "A History of the Urantia Movement," and is hopeful of having the work completed this summer. Finally, in response to assignments generated at the January Design Team meeting, Publications will undertake to: review the nature, frequency, and quality of existing publications in order to see if information needs are being met and how better they might be funded; and, undertake an evaluation of the desirability of developing a program, in full cooperation with Urantia Foundation, to make The Urantia Book available to the sight and hearing impaired.
Education Committee: Lynne Kulieke asked that Kevin Goodman be appointed to fill the vacancy created by Marilyn Hauck's resignation.
Fraternal Relations: Peter Laurence reported that Marvin Gawryn was appointed an adjunct member of the committee. He also requested that consideration be given to allocating Fraternal Relations a portion of the 1988 Education Committee Summer Seminar for a program; Peter and Lynne Kulieke will discuss this request further. The Committee is completing the Policy Statement Regarding "Presentations About The Urantia Book To Religious and Academic Groups" for presentation to the General Council in August as requested by the Council last year.
Domestic Extension: Harry McMullan reported that, in response to projects assigned his committee at the Design Team meeting in January, Domestic Extension was working on: development of booklets on having an
effective study group and effectively sharing The Urantia Book; the development of a 10-week trial programmed study guide for study groups; the formulation of a proposal to reactivate and expand a network of field representatives to foster study groups and serve reader needs throughout the world; the development of a useful packet of information which could be sent to newly formed study groups. Harry also reported that the Library Placement Program coordinated by Tom Allen was off to an excellent start this year with individuals all around the country making contact with libraries in their areas.
Finance Committee: John Hay reported that he will have at least two vacancies on the committee to fill in upcoming months, and asked for potential candidate suggestions.
Charter Committee: Steve Dreier noted that his committee had researched the so-called 100-mile radius standard for Society membership and had found that there is no such requirement (the only reference to 100 miles is the suggestion that members-at-large who live within 100 miles of a society be requested to join same). His committee agrees that any such requirement should be the choice of a local society and, further, that consideration should be given to eliminating any reference to 100 mile distances even on member-at-large applications.
Special Projects: Marilynn Kulieke reported that her committee met on December 6, 1986 as a full committee with new members Cece Forrester and Dan Glazer and adjunct member Bob Bruyn. Three items were discussed: a proposal for Special Interest Groups whose work would be facilitated by Special Projects, an idea to examine issues of electronic communications and computers in Urantia Brotherhood, and proposals to deal with matters pertaining to the History Resolution made by the General Council last summer. By consensus the Executive Committee agreed with Marilynn's proposals to: continue committee work on the special interest group program, begin work on the history recommendation by formulating a policy/procedure statement on how fiduciary responsibility concerns will be met as historical materials are reviewed and categorized, and develop a possible list of computer applications to serve Brotherhood needs as a basis for prioritization.
International Fellowship: Berkeley Elliott indicated that once the books for library placement became available, and in addition to the placement programs being undertaken by individuals in Europe, Asia, and in Australia, her committee would undertake a direct mail program using a list of libraries purchased from IBIS. Berkeley mentioned the planned 1988 Pacific Conference and agreed to research the airlines to determine the possibility of group fares.
Judicial Committee: No report.
1. John Hales reported that space for the 1988 Summer Intensive Seminars has been reserved at Lake Forest College for June 26-July 1, 1988.
2. John also informed the Executive Committee that Urantia Brotherhood would have a booth at the American Booksellers Association (ABA) convention in Washington, DC, May 23-26, 1987.
3. Dave Elders noted that two recommendations had been forwarded to Urantia Foundation for action in early February:
a. Library Gift Book Proposal--The Trustees have advanced 300 books against the 2,000 we requested. We will be acting as their agents in placing these books through the programs we have developed.
b. Book Distribution Research Program--One of the products of the Design Team process was the development of a research program to generate objective information/data on book pricing, dust jacket copy approaches, and trade programs to enhance distributor and retailer stocking of The Urantia Book. Urantia Foundation is in the process of evaluating this proposal from both philosophical and practical standpoints and in the broader context of its view of our joint responsibilities in the area of sales, distribution, and dissemination of the teachings.
4. The chairman reported on several other items:
a. About 35% of the initial translation of The Urantia Book into Spanish has been completed with the work progressing steadily.
b. The Trustees have been working on a program to aid individuals in countries around the world who are willing to help build distribution of The Urantia Book in normal distribution channels. Urantia Brotherhood will be working closely with the Foundation in the implementation of this program when it is finalized.
c. The proposal to continue the concept of ongoing General Council work teams was amended to include the following three areas for evaluation: Leadership Development, Development of a Greater Sense of Community among readers of The Urantia Book, and The Revelation "of" versus "about" The Urantia Book.
5. Marilynn Kulieke reported that the mailing of registration materials for General Conference 1987 had been completed to all people who had returned their interest cards. Packets will also be mailed to anyone who contacts headquarters indicating an interest in attending.
6. Harry McMullan detailed a Domestic Extension Committee proposal that the word "Domestic" be eliminated from the committee name so that the name would describe function but without reference to geography. There is no recommended change in constitutional responsibilities at this time. The consideration of such change has been assigned for evaluation to an ad-hoc committee consisting of Harry McMullan, Steve Dreier, Berkeley Elliott, Dan Massey, and Duane Faw, which will make its initial report back to the Executive Committee at the May, 1987 meeting.
7. Berkeley Elliott, chair of the General Conference Site Selection Committee for 1990 and 1993/4, included a brief questionnaire in the current Bulletin to seek input from our reader community.
8. Derivative Works Review: The Executive Committee devoted more than two hours to a continuing evaluation of the implications of decisions concerning this issue. We plan to finalize the EC position at our May meeting for presentation to the General Council this summer. This issue is quite complex in that it has surfaced questions regarding application of available resources (time, money, personnel), centralization versus decentralization, business versus fellowship/study responsibilities, the balance between "official" organizational materials versus personal interpretation of the teachings, and support for the Foundation's work to protect the copyright of The Urantia Book and identifying service marks.
Lately it seems that the issues facing the members of both the Executive Committee and General Council profoundly challenge our thinking regarding the ways in which our Brotherhood can make a difference on our planet. How do we balance the demands of the "business" of book distribution with the need for our fellowship to become a visible example to others of the awesome power of the teachings of The Urantia Book to transform individual lives, and consequently, the life of every one of God's children we come into personal contact with? The clamor for sales and distribution represents one side of the balance; the belief that just living the teachings alone is enough, represents the other. Surely, there is the need to do both, and well. But how? And, who does what? And if we err in any direction, which side has less risk and more reward? And, in the long run, what combination of the material and spiritual will insure that we have accomplished best the task that our overseers have given us to do? Perhaps the following will shed some light and stimulate thought.
A good friend last weekend remarked that while we have sold over 155,000 Urantia Books, we have only 1,000 Brotherhood members and maybe 3,000 active readers--less than .02%! Further, we sell each year (at a rate of 9,000 books) over three times our estimated active readership. Is our problem really sales or is it something much more significant?
"Martin Marty, the University of Chicago historian, recently passed along the findings of a study on evangelism. Why do people who join a church visit for the first time? Once again, mass media didn't account for much--l.6% came because of newspaper, radio, TV, pamphlet, etc. The phone book brought 4.2%, and 3% had gone church shopping. The buttonholing, tract passing, and other versions of "personal evangelism" by anonymous persons was not mentioned once by respondents. And, as always, the burden of the findings is staggering: 32.2% went because a family member invited them; 21.6% went because friends or neighbors invited them; and, when all the percentages of those who got there because someone already important to them did the inviting, it comes out to 65.9%--almost two thirds!" Quoted from the St. Giles Church Newsletter, Northbrook, Illinois.
The Urantia Book states that only transformed individuals can transform the world. In the face of both sets of numbers above, perhaps we need now to ask ourselves courageously if these teachings have sufficiently transformed our individual and collective lives. If fewer than twenty people out of 1,000 who come into contact with the book are moved to join us in this work, one could argue that although we have been reasonably successful materially, we have not yet been able to make a real difference spiritually, and we must!
God bless you.
David N. Elders
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book