EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
To: General Councilors, Society Presidents and Field Representatives
Duane Faw, Chairman of the Judicial Committee, presented the "Findings of Fact, Conclusions, and Recommendations" on the hearing held by his committee in Houston, Texas, December 12 and 13, 1980. The Executive Committee approved and adopted the report. I wish to thank Duane and his committee members for their contribution, both in time and personal resources to hold the hearing in Houston, thus providing the mechanism by which any Houston Society member or former member during the time in question, could step forward with information that would help determine the legitimate officers of the Society. I had hoped that all of those involved in this situation would have attended the hearing. However, those who registered with the state of Texas as ''First Urantia Society of Houston, Inc." did not attend to support their claim of being the chartered Society of Urantia Brotherhood. Since the findings and conclusions are detailed and lengthy, a copy of the report is enclosed.
The Brotherhood has concluded the constitutionally mandated procedures for determining who represents one of its chartered Societies. Throughout this long process, we have tried to allow a time for the Society to resolve its own disputes. It was only after all such efforts were exhausted that the Brotherhood sought to make a determination of the issues since the greatest good of all Societies was being affected. With this episode behind us, I know that our Houston friends look forward to focusing their energies on the study and dissemination of the Urantia teachings. I hope our findings will help Urantia Foundation reach a favorable and speedy conclusion to the pending Federal court case.
Frank Sgaraglino, Finance Committee Chairman, reported on contributions and pledges which had been received as of December 31 in response to our annual solicitation letter mailed in November 1980. Of approximately 3,000 letters mailed, 330 replies have been received as of the above date. Responses from Society members and members-at-large were 105, totaling $40,000 and 225 non-member responses totaling $23,000. Of the money contributed or pledged, the Foundation received 51.% and the Brotherhood 49%.
Perhaps many of you are aware that Herman Schell before his death had undertaken a personal service project of having blue plastic carrying covers with handles made to fit The Urantia Book. His wife Edna felt she could no longer handle this on her own and shipped the covers to us requesting that the Brotherhood sell them. After discussion it was agreed that we make an exception to our policy of not selling accessory items and put a notice in the Brotherhood Bulletin that there are 336 covers available. They will be offered at $5.00 each, which includes the postage cost. It is not our intention to continue providing them after the supply is exhausted.
Some time ago I had asked David Elders to attend a seminar "Book Distribution Doesn't Have to be This Bad'' sponsored by Publishers Weekly magazine. Many of us have been concerned about the decrease in sales of The Urantia Book. Until recently sales had gradually increased since 1955. The current economic situation has changed this picture.. I asked Dave to attend this seminar in New York city as part of our ongoing evaluation of how to best utilize the book industry network for the physical distribution of The Urantia Book. The presenters were all leaders in the book industry. In summary, the book publishing/distribution industry is now in a very confused, tentative state. While facing many problems, the solutions are in many cases fraught with high risk since they involve major change, e.g. moving from allowing returns to a fully no returns policy, such as Harcourt Brace recently announced. More time and money is spent by publishers selling books to stores than by publishers and stores trying to sell books to the consumer. Book distribution is one of the weakest areas in the industry as well as inventory control and order processing. There is too much paper work and shipping of books back and forth. Back list books (The Urantia Book) are important. The back list contains the proven sellers and lower risk books with higher established margins for all levels of trade. There is no consensus on the returns policy. It is felt that the policy which exists today must be either altered or eliminated (this is the only industry that ends up destroying 40% of its product). Out of discussion of the sales/distribution of The Urantia Book, a project will be developed in conjunction with a Society that is interested in exploring the possibilities of greater numbers of local book stores stocking the book. As a policy we have always wished to use the existing network of bookstores as our major point of contact with prospective readers. This network already exists throughout the world. I will be reporting to you the progress of this project as more experience is gained.
Report from Europe
Mr. Henry Begemann, our Field Representative who lives in the Netherlands, has shared with us his concern over the problems created for Brotherhood activities by the current lack of copies of the French translation of The Urantia Book. The Committee feels that I and another Committee member should visit France if invited to do so. It is a frustrating situation for which there is no apparent easy resolution.
We welcome members-at-large Dr. Mark Baxter, Henderson, NV, and Mrs. Carolyn Griffin, Cumming, GA.
Our next meeting will be April 11. By then the welcomed activity of spring with its traditional signs of rebirth should be more evident. Along with this demonstration of physical renewal, I pray each of us looks to the renewal of the spirit.
John W. Hales, President
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book