AVAILABILITY OF The Urantia Book
The presence of The Urantia Book in bookstores appears to be undergoing further decline. Since The Urantia Book is not currently being provided to major book industry distributors, most bookstores no longer keep it in stock. It can be ordered directly from Urantia Foundation, but a bookstore is unlikely to do that except upon specific customer request. Consequently, the opportunity for someone to come across The Urantia Book while browsing through a bookshop has virtually disappeared. In the past, this was one -of the major means by which, individuals discovered The Urantia Book.
In an attempt to remedy this situation somewhat, The Fellowship has developed the "Adopt-a-Bookstore" program. A description of this program has been sent to societies, study groups, and area coordinators. Anyone wishing to participate in this effort to get The Urantia Book back onto bookstore shelves is strongly encouraged to do so. It is possible to improve availability of The Urantia Book if enough individuals take an active interest in doing something about it. If you need a program description or any additional information, contact the Wrightwood office. The Charter Committee has been asked to contact each society to encourage local participation in this effort to get The Urantia Book back into bookstores.
STUDY PROGRAM AND RESOURCE LIBRARY
Encouraging study of The Urantia Book is a major objective of The Fellowship. Two programs which support this purpose were approved at the September 1991 Executive Committee meeting.
First, a trial program has been instituted to encourage in-depth consideration of the teachings of The Urantia Book. This program will seek to facilitate interaction between individuals who have developed significant expertise on one or more of the topics discussed in The Urantia Book. One feature involves arranging face-to-face meetings between such individuals to encourage sharing of insights. Some form of output would be produced which would be available to all students of The Urantia Book. The product might be a monograph on the subject, or perhaps audio or video tape recordings of the sessions. The general idea is to identify and make widely available the best best of our thinking on subject of general interest and concern. The Education Committee will be arranging pilot sessions for this program. Please feel free to suggest subjects for study, individuals with expertise in particular areas, or other ideas or comments concerning this program.
Second, a resource library will be established at the Wrightwood Avenue office. This library will contain a wide variety of reference materials to support study of The Urantia Book. It will also contain materials pertaining to the history of the Urantia movement. The Special Projects Committee will coordinate this effort, and the participation of all interested readers is encouraged. If you wish to suggest titles for incorporation into the library, or if you have materials you would like to donate, please contact the Special Projects Committee through the Wrightwood office.
1993 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
The Summer 1993 International Conference for readers of The Urantia Book will be held in the town of Saint Hyacinthe, near Montreal, Canada. The theme is "Touch the World" - "Un Monde a Rejoindre." Specific details of the conference program are now under development and will be discussed at the next meeting of the planning committee in Saint Hyacinthe on November 10, 1991. The planning committee projects an attendance of more than 1500 persons, and they will be asking for volunteers to help with the many aspects of this conference.
The IC93 planning committee wishes to solicit suggestions for a conference symbol from Urantia Book readers. They will be sponsoring a little contest to accomplish this. Look for details in the Fall 1991 Bulletin.
AREA COORDINATOR PROGRAM
Area coordinators were first appointed in January 1989 to three-year terms, and the terms of all area coordinators will expire on simultaneously on December 31, 1991. The original design of the program did not provide for staggered terms, and since there are more than ninety area coordinators, this presents a potentially disruptive effect on a valuable Fellowship program.
To remedy this problem, the Domestic Extension Committee has recommended the use of a four-year term for area coordinators. All current area coordinators are being asked to serve another term, or provide the the name of someone willing to serve as a replacement So far a large majority have indicated a willingness to continue for another term. After all have responded, names will be randomly drawn and assigned to one, two, three or four year terms. All future terms will then be four years in length, with one-quarter of the total expiring each year.
TELEPHONE OUTREACH PROGRAM
A telephone outreach program designed to inform people of the existence of The Urantia Book is being tested in Boulder, Colorado. This activity has shown some success in introducing people to The Urantia Book and in increasing attendance at local study groups. The Domestic Extension Committee requested and was given funding to assist others - societies or study groups - in setting up similar telephone outreach programs in their local areas. Funding of local proposals will be on a shared 50-50 basis. The Domestic Extension Committee will also assist interested groups by providing practical advice based upon the Boulder experiences. Groups interested in participating in this program are encouraged to contact the Domestic Extension Committee.
In response to the many suggestions made over the last few years, including the resolutions of the 1991 Triennial Delegate Assembly, the Judicial Committee is proceeding with a consideration of proposed modifications to the organizational design of The Fellowship. Two sub committees have been established to study these issues. One will seek suggestions for organizational change through study of models presented in The Urantia Book; the other will examine evolutionary organizational models seeking ideas which have been tested in experience and found to have value. An effort will then be made to combine these two perspectives - evolution and revelation - into a coherent set of suggestions for structural and functional modification of The Fellowship.
The Judicial Committee considers it essential that the entire membership have an opportunity to participate in these deliberations. For the first time in our history we have the opportunity to determine for ourselves the nature of our organization. All members are encouraged to share their thoughts on this matter with the Judicial Committee. Societies and study groups are encouraged to discuss these questions and contribute their insights. There are no limitations other than the willingness to put in the effort required to carefully study the matter, and thereby hopefully move beyond superficial and partial perspectives to enhanced insights and augmented cosmic viewpoints. This process should provide us all with a better sense of the purpose of organization in general, and with a variety of specific recommendations for improving our own collective efforts. Executive Committee Letter - Fall 1991 page 3
JANUARY 1992 GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING
The mid-year meeting of the General Council will be held in Los Angeles, California beginning at 7:00 P.M. on Friday, January 31, 1991 and concluding at 12:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 2, 1992. The location is the Holiday Inn at 9901 La Cienega Blvd., near the International Airport. The business portion of this meeting will be limited to Friday evening from 7:00 to 11:00 P.M. The program for Saturday and Sunday will be designed by members of First Society of Los Angeles and friends, with the participation of members from Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona.
This meeting is being held in Los Angeles to encourage interaction between members of the General Council and Fellowship members and friends from the local area. While geography favors members from western local societies, this meeting is open to any members who wish to come. If you are planning to attend, please contact John Hales at the Wrightwood office for registration information.
COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS Larry Geis was appointed to fill a vacant two-year term on the Finance Committee. Lee Rector was appointed to fill a vacant three-year term on the Finance Committee.
The following individuals were welcomed as new members-at-large. John Causland from Ann Arbor, MI; James Greaves from Lufton, SC. and Kathy Norenberg from Winnipeg, Canada.
WRIGHTWOOD AVENUE OFFICE
Activities at the Wrightwood Avenue office are proceeding normally. With the assistance of volunteers, the office staff is managing to keep up with all reader service requests. Consideration is being given to finding alternate facilities to house The Fellowship offices. Several possibilities have been examined, but so far the Wrightwood Avenue office remains the best option. The matter will be discussed further at the November Executive Committee meeting.
Executive Committee - first quarter meeting/Board of Directors - Fellowship Corporation, January 31, 1992 at 9:00 A.M. in Los Angeles, California, at the Holiday Inn, 990112 Cienega. Blvd., near the International Airport, tel- 213-649-5151. General Council Mid-Year Meeting, January 31, 1992, at 7:00 P.M. to noon February 2, 1992, in Los Angeles, California, as above. Executive Committee - second quarter meeting/Board of Directors - Fellowship Corporation, April 24-25, 1992 at 529 Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, Illinois Executive Committee/Annual meeting - Fellowship Corporation meeting of Board of Directors - Fellowship Corporation, June 25-26, 1992, at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest , Illinois General Council - annual meeting, June 26-27, 1992 - 7:00 P.M. at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois Executive Committee - third quarter meeting of Directors - Fellowship Corporation, September 18-19, 1992 - 7:00 P.M. at 529 Wrightwood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois Executive Committee - fourth quarter meeting/Board of Directors - Fellowship Corporation, November 13-14, 1992 - 7:00 P.M. at 529 Wrightwood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Recently I attended a regional meeting sponsored by First Society of Oklahoma. Many speakers were on the program, and each made a statement of about ten minutes length on the theme of "Personal Revelation." The conference planners had been somewhat uncertain about how the speakers would approach this topic, but almost each one chose to describe some aspect of their life struggles. Some spoke of lifelong struggles with feelings of guilt and unworthiness; others described battles with alcohol and drugs; still others recounted their difficulties with personal relationships. This regional meeting was quite different from most I have attended, and I found it a moving -- and valuable experience.
By the end of this meeting it was clear that struggle and difficulty are present in almost everyone's life; sometimes they dominate and condition everything. Yet if these individuals had not described their struggles, I doubt that I would have been aware of the situation. No significant external signs indicated the presence of so much life difficulty.
Most interesting were the descriptions of those things which helped each person confront and overcome their problems. Two factors were mentioned repeatedly: first - the personal relationship with the Universal Father, the consciousness of sonship with God; second - the loving service of friends and family, the consciousness of being loved by one's brothers and sisters in the family of God. Both were presented as essential elements in helping to resolve life's problems.
I was reminded that, evident or not, virtually all of us grapple with problems great and small. A personal relationship with God is invaluable in facing these problems. The loving concern of associates is invaluable also, and sometimes perhaps easier to perceive than that which comes from the Father. I was also reminded how devotedly Jesus loves and serves us, and how persistently he asks us to love and serve one another. The motivation of sincere and unselfish love must underlie all our activities if we are to produce fruit with a divine flavor.
The Fellowship is organized to assist in the dissemination of The Urantia Book, and its teachings. This general purpose gives rise to a variety of programs and activities. Many of us devote much time and thought to these matters, and that is necessary and appropriate - but not sufficient. We cannot accomplish what we attempt by skill and wisdom alone. We must also sincerely love one another, and that love must continue to grow in devotion and maturity. The speakers at the Oklahoma conference presented many striking personal examples of this central truth.
'And you are to all proclaim this gospel of love and truth by the lives which you live in the flesh. You shall love one another with a new and startling affection, even as I have loved you. You will serve mankind with a new and amazing devotion, even as I have served you. And when men see you so love them, and when they behold how fervently you serve them, they will perceive that you nave become faith-fellows of the kingdom of heaven, and they will follow after the Spirit of Truth which they see in your lives, to the finding of eternal salvation." -from page 2044 of The Urantia Book.
In loving fellowship