This past weekend representatives from the Foundation and the Fellowship met in Chicago to exchange information and understanding, both political and personal. We began the process with a social event Thursday evening, gathered all day Friday for an exploration of our diverse organizations, and then again on Saturday night for a beautiful worship and warm expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to socialize with each other.
The results of this exchange must be viewed in dual terms, as a first step in the practical aspects of two organizations seeking common ground for current work, and as a first attempt to define a new paradigm for the revelation community that will lead us into the future.
After a Friday morning meeting in which we explored the structures of our two organizations, we came to understand the fundamental differences between the Fellowship and the Foundation/IUA (International Urantia Association); this understanding opened the door to a more compassionate and accurate evaluation of the issues between us. While the Fellowship is governed by a General Council of elected representatives who guide the direction of the organization but exercise no control over the actions of its members and societies, the IUA is governed by a board of directors, the five Trustees, who decide the policies that guide each IUA group. In the Fellowship, the implementation of General Council policy is the responsibility of the elected officers and committee chairs who comprise the Executive Committee; in the Foundation, this responsibility falls to the Coordinating Committee members who are appointed by the Trustees.
We spent many hours discussing these structural differences and how they affect the outworking of policy within each organization. The Foundation/IUA is united regarding the particular methods of disseminating the revelation, while the Fellowship encourages the unique plans of all members and groups. Consequently, it is impossible for one group to judge the actions of another by organizational standards; the lesson of the snarling caveman became brilliantly clear as we explored our diverse structures.
During the afternoon discussions we discovered common ground in the arena of socialization among readers, and dissemination by believers through various outreach programs. We committed ourselves to increased communication and an exchange of information regarding the activities of our members. You will eventually see comprehensive lists of conferences, expos, book fairs, and other social/service options published in the newsletters and on the websites of both organizations. We are hoping to make all opportunities for socialization, study, and dissemination of the revelation available to all readers within the community. We established communication links between responsible parties from both organizations for the exchange of service invitations and information.
Regarding the resolution of more difficult issues between our organizations, those related to ideology and legalities, we established cooperative teams to explore ways to transcend differences that will benefit both the epochal revelation and the emerging community. These committees will discuss translations, websites, reader referral, combined video efforts, and other issues related to unity and cooperation. It is my personal hope that this exploration will result in the illumination of a new paradigm for revelation service, one that will encourage all members of a unified community to freely disseminate an inviolate text.
We need a new paradigm and a new language. If we sincerely seek a resolution to the issues that divide this community and waste our personal resources we can no longer speak in terms of us and them, absolute control or unlimited freedom. We must transcend our diverse ideologies and discover a vision that leads us into the new millennium, a vision in which individuals and groups serve the revelation and the community in ways that promote the fundamental value common to all: the dynamic dissemination of an inviolate text. If we can focus on this goal while exploring win/win solutions to the issues created by our diverse methods, progress is within reach.
During the Saturday evening remembrance supper many of us were moved to tears by the sight of brothers and sisters joined in heart and mind by the Masterís presence. The motivation to resolve these issues springs from love, from the strength of personality contact between unique believers committed to unfolding an epochal revelation on a confused world. Letís do this work together; letís embrace supremacy in our revelation service.
Janet Farrington Graham President