EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
To: Members of Urantia Brotherhood:
The third quarter meeting of the Executive Committee was held just prior to the General Council retreat in Charleston, W.V., on Thursday evening and Friday, September 22-23, 1988. We began the meeting at 6:15 pm with a moment of silence to allow each of us to thank our Father for this small opportunity to be of service in the actualization of his plans.
Summary of Executive Committee Actions
1. The minutes of the mid-summer meeting of the Executive Committee were read and approved.
2. The following new members at large were warmly welcomed into the growing, worldwide fellowship of Urantia Brotherhood: Linda Coe, Austin, TX: Thom Alexander, Corvallis, OR; Kalevi Eklof, Klaukkala, Finland; Cleo Frank Falkner, Flagstaff, AZ; Burce Fiero, Talent, OR; Alan Fulmer, Coopersburg, PA; Richard Grassmyer, Vista, CA; Cynthia Hopper and Eric Hopper, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada; J. Scott McDougall, Toronto, Canada; Eve McMahon, Phoenix, AZ; Stephen S., Versailles, KY; Helmut Schon, Geinhausen, West Germany; and Nancy Votrain, Corvallis, OR.
3. It was agreed that the office staff would research the method/cost to have the Urantia Brotherhood Constitution translated into French for the benefit of those French-speaking members of the group in Toronto now in process to become a Urantia Society. Once cleared through the officers, the work will be contracted for completion early next year and the cost included in the 1989 Charter Committee budget.
4. The ongoing Library Placement Programs now overseen by International Fellowship, Domestic Extension, and Fraternal Relations Committees were approved in principle for continuation into 1989 pending final documentation to and approval by Urantia Foundation, which organization will continue to provide gift books and funding.
5. John Hay, chair of the 1990 International Conference Committee, presented the committee's recommendation that the conference theme be "Walking with God," translated into as many languages as there are readers of The Urantia Book around the world, and that the conference dates be shifted a day to run from Saturday, July 21 (5:00 pm registration start) through Thursday, July 26 (noon end), 1990 to facilitate travel planning and economy. This proposal was approved in full.
6. It was agreed that the Central Office would print stationery for Societies at their request and cost using recently purchased equipment.
7. Marilynn Kulieke proposed and the Executive Committee approved, in response to the assignment to her of several TDA Resolutions passed by the General Council this past summer, that she establish a Task Force made up of Society representatives to design and conduct a survey among Councilors and Societies to ascertain suggestions for both the improvement of inter-organizational communication at all levels, and means to broaden member participation on the Council and all Brotherhood committees.
8. The Executive Committee approved Bob Bruyn's proposal, on behalf of the Special Projects Committee, to go forward with the Secondary Works Resource Guide procedures as designed by a Foundation and Brotherhood task force group. This approved proposal included the establishment of a review and processing Committee composed of Special Projects Chair (as Committee chair), Brotherhood Vice President, and one member each from Special Projects, Publications, Education, Domestic Extension, and Fraternal Relations -- to be selected by each Committee, respectively.
9. The following 1989 meeting dates were approved:
1st Quarter Executive Committee meeting 2/9-10, 1989 Mid-Year General Council meeting, including Roundtable discussion (see below) 2/11-12 2nd quarter Executive Committee meeting Apr 28-29 Annual General Council meeting Jun 24-25 Executive Committee meeting Jun 25 3rd quarter Executive Committee meeting Sept 15-16 4th Quarter Executive Committee meeting Nov 17-18, 1989
10. The Executive Committee agreed that the Roundtable Discussion, postponed from last year, would be integrated with the mid-year meeting of the General Council. This Roundtable Discussion would bring together representatives of the various groups involved in activities related to The Urantia Book and the dissemination of its teachings, so that each could present their group's goals, objectives, and work (without any lobbying or self-justification) and interchange ideas to improve communication, coordination, and mutual understanding. This program would be a good background and framework in which to discuss, during the formal part of the General Council meeting, the agenda item concerning the relationship of Urantia Brotherhood to other groups and the ethics of dual service.
Committee Activity Summary
Judicial Committee: Steve Dreier reported that he will meet with Urantia Foundation attorneys to review the work done jointly by the attorneys and the Judicial Committee on an acceptable removal procedure for Urantia Brotherhood's constitution. Additionally, he will discuss procedures we might utilize to process constitutional and other legal interactions with groups desirous of becoming chartered Urantia Societies who are located in other countries with legal systems different from ours. This will become increasingly important as Urantia Brotherhood realizes its potential as a global fellowship made up of constituent local groups from each country.
Domestic Extension: Harry McMullan gave an update on the status of the Area Coordinator program. The final details on program materials, training, evaluation, communication, and procedures will be worked out in a task force meeting with Urantia Foundation Trustees just prior to the November Executive Committee Meeting. Assuming full solution of remaining concerns and questions, a schedule for implementation will be finalized.
International Fellowship: Berkeley Elliott reported that a mailing to over 6,000 international libraries offering a free copy of The Urantia Book for their library collections was completed in September. Also, Kathleen Swadling from Australia indicated they expect more than 50 people to attend the South Pacific Meeting for readers of The Urantia Book, over half of whom will attend from countries other than Australia.
Publications: Jim Johnston informed us that his Committee would meet some time this fall to: review the format, content, and frequency of The Bulletin to seek ways to enhance an already high standard of excellence; continue work on upgrading materials sent out from Chicago; determine the capability of doing all typesetting, as well as printing, centrally.
Finance: Gard Jameson reported that response to the recent extraordinary fund-raising campaign among societies and study groups was faring quite well, with the expectation that the goals set would be reached and even exceeded. Gard also presented his committee's plans for a capital fund drive (the interest from which would help fund office operations), and a deferred giving program to improve the Brotherhood's financial condition over the long term. He also noted that in order to maintain office operations at a level necessary to handle a constantly increasing workload due to growth in the reader community, the readership needs to better understand how important their support is to the organization's ability to achieve its purposes and goals. Included in the Finance Committee's funding considerations are travel subsidies to aid those from outside the United States who agree to serve in organizational roles.
Education: Dan Massey reported on the following items in both his verbal comments and written reports. The computer-based Reference Aid, now in a limited beta test, will be overseen by Education, with the recommendation that consequent upon Foundation approval of procedural details, Education and Publications jointly would sponsor further testing. His Committee will meet shortly to finalize details for the 1989 Intensive Study Seminars scheduled for Lake Forest College, June 27-June 30, 1988.
Charter Committee: Avi Dogim noted that as of now a conflict existed in the scheduled chartering for the Toronto and Finnish groups now in process--both are planning for the first weekend in June, 1989. In view of differences in the law governing nonprofit organizations in the U.S and Finland, however, it seems likely that the chartering there might be a bit later (although we are gladly committed to both, if the timing conflict persists). The constitutions from both society applicants are in the process of evaluation by Judicial, and in the case of Finland, by Foundation attorneys as well in view of the complexity of the issues raised. Avi also reported that Charter would like to act as liaison for societies after they have been chartered to improve communications overall. There is a group in southern Colorado interested in becoming a society.
Special Projects: Bob Bruyn discussed the procedures developed for the Resource Guide for Secondary Works by a joint Brotherhood-Foundation task force. It was agreed that these were both impressive and complete. Bob mentioned that his Committee has discussed the "History Resolution" passed at this year's TDA, and indicated that, in response, Special Projects would not only complete work on the "Record of Decisions" project now partially finished, but also would be submitting proposals to the General Council for a broadened history program. The proposal for the development of Topical/Working/Interest Groups (TWIGS) to enable readers with like interests to work together, has been tabled temporarily, but will be worked on as a Committee project in the near future.
1. Gloriann Harris, Director of Office Operations, reported on the status of the office reorganization. Her presentation included a well-defined office structure providing not only the ability to apply material and personnel resources where needed to handle the workload, but the institution of a new liaison system which provides each Committee with a direct contact in the central office to handle Committee work.
2. John Hales made a report on the status of book sales and distribution. He noted that Urantia Brotherhood proposed and Urantia Foundation approved a recommendation to contract an overseas distributor for The Urantia Book to improve sales and distribution outside this country. He also commented on our participation in the London Book Fair, the ABA Shows, and the steady schedule of trade advertising undertaken by his department to enhance distribution of the book in this country and worldwide.
3. John Hay and Marilynn Kulieke will work with Urantia Foundation to evaluate and update, if necessary, the mailing list policy now in effect for the organization.
Immediately following the Executive Committee meeting described above, we were fortunate enough to participate, with past and present peers on the General Council and many spouses, in a retreat program with a theme which could be described as, "Consensus decision-making as an experience of unity." For me, one of the most powerful realizations of this experience was (and is) the sense that when each of the individuals comprising a group has sufficient depth of commitment to the others in the group, there is no disagreement, no difference of opinion, no difference whatsoever which can prevent the members in the group from working together in a respectful, cooperative way. Further, after a decision has been reached in a consensus manner, the very process which resulted in the decision guarantees that if there is a failure in carrying out the decision, it is not due to any subversion of the process by a disgruntled member of the group -- both as individuals and collectively they knew they had done their honest best.
With this in mind, it would be well to remember as we participate in the work of this Brotherhood that if it is true that a "house divided against itself cannot stand," it might also be true that if we deepen our respect for and commitment to every person with whom we work, no matter what our apparent differences or deeply-held opinions, we cannot fall.
In deepest friendship,
David N. Elders, President
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book