EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
To: General Councilors, Society Presidents, and Field Representatives
Several of you have asked, and rightfully so, the where-abouts of this letter. All I can say is it has been a lesson in not putting off until tomorrow what should be done today.
General Council meeting August 9, 1980 - Summary
The General Council asked that I share with societies the results of our meeting since many of the resolutions came from society delegates. I wish to thank Executive Committee members for their contribution to these reports.
The following five resolutions passed by the delegates at the August 1979 meeting of the Triennial Delegate Assembly were in turn passed on to the Executive Committee by the General Council for study and action:
RESOLUTION: "That a special fund be established and earmarked for the production of a Spanish translation of The Urantia Book."
The Executive Committee referred the matter to the International Fellow-ship Committee. Their report was presented to the Executive Committee and it was finally agreed that the Executive Committee should recommend that Urantia Foundation should have full control of translation funds, including discretion to select and to allocate money to an appropriate agency of the Brotherhood for fund-raising purposes for translations. A fund for the Spanish translations has been established by the Foun-dation.
RESOLUTION: "That Urantia Societies be allowed to purchase Urantia Books in case lots of five or ten copies, at matching bookstore prices, with the added stipulation that books must be sold at full price or given away."
Since the Executive Committee cannot set the price of books, the matter was referred to the Foundation. After due deliberation the Trustees have decided to direct Urantia Brotherhood Corporation to allow individ-uals (whether Brotherhood members or not) to purchase copies of The Urantia Book in quantities of five or more at a 20% discount. A copy of the Foundation letter giving reasons for making this decision and spell-ing out the terms has been given to each Councilor, and one is enclosed for society presidents.
RESOLUTION: "That it is the sense of this Assembly that the standing Committees of the Brotherhood more actively pursue their constitutional purposes, and that they present in their annual reports to the General Council a statement of the specific goals they have established, and demonstrate positive steps taken to achieve these goals."
At the October 1979 Executive Committee meeting copies of this resolution were given to all committee chairmen for study and implementation. Chairmen were reminded to incorporate their goals and methods in their annual reports to the Council.
RESOLUTION: "That the Executive Committee study the possibility of financial sponsorship of attendees at Brotherhood confer-ences."
It is the consensus of the Executive Committee that it is inadvisable for Urantia Brotherhood to undertake any such funding at this time. Some of the reasons follow:
As a non-profit organization, the Brotherhood is dependent upon contributions to sustain its activity. By taking funds that have been contributed by many, and giving them to a few, some admin-istrative apparatus would have to be established to determine who is worthy of receiving sponsorship.
Any discussion of whether Urantia Brotherhood should pay the expenses of individuals or families to attend a conference cannot be isolated from the important needs of the Brotherhood as a whole. This area, the payment of travel expenses, room and board rates, and registration fees, falls within the larger framework of Found-ation and Brotherhood financial objectives. These include publish-ing, distributing, protecting, and translating of The Urantia Book; salaries of paid employees; and the routine headquarters expenses of coordinating the manifold activities of the movement. The major sources of funds come mainly from the contributors to the Brotherhood and Foundation.
3. For fund-raising purposes, the Brotherhood has to give a full accounting of what has been done with funds. It would seriously weaken our appeal to potential contributors if contributed funds went for the personal convenience and enjoyment of certain of our members or friends, rather than being spent on the essential aspects of spreading the dissemination of The Urantia Book and teachings.
4. The current economic outlook does not present a positive picture especially concerning non-profit organizations. We do not have funds available for such use.
While not recommending the implementation of financial sponsorship, it is not meant to convey that such a fund may not be established in the future when and if enough individuals specifically wish to establish such a fund.
RESOLUTION: "That the Executive Committee examine ways to facil-itate family participation in Brotherhood sponsored events, such as conferences."
In principle, it is the unanimous opinion of the Executive Committee that family participation in Brotherhood sponsored events, such as conferences, is to be encouraged. From this general unanimity, opinions differed as to the implementation of a policy covering this resolution.
Some of the issues to be considered concern the purpose of a specific Brotherhood sponsored event. Our largest gathering, which is referred to as a General Conference, takes place every three years, and the conference planners very consciously include programs for children which we feel encourages families to attend these gatherings with the knowledge that there will be something for all family members to enjoy and benefit from. When organizing small summer workshops, the emphasis has been on adult participation with a minimal provision for child care. The prin-ciple followed in both these examples has been to determine the real needs of the majority of participants, and attempts to accommodate these needs based on the space, manpower, and financial resources available.
It is therefore the recommendation of the Executive Committee to make the above resolution part of the information given to those responsible for planning Brotherhood sponsored events, so that family participation may be implemented to the fullest extent possible in these events.
The above five recommendations were accepted by vote of the Council.
There were four additional formal requests made at the General Council meeting in August- 1979, as follows:
MOTION: "That the Executive Committee study a constitutional amendment which would restrict any person from serving on two Departmental Committee; simultaneously and second such an amendment to the GeneraI Councilors 30 days before the next General Council."
Such an amendment was drafted and studied.
The Executive Committee is sensitive to, and concurs in, the view that as a matter of policy no one person should serve on more than one Depart-mental Committee simultaneously. However, since the committee appoint-ments are all made by the General Council (except interim appointments until the Council meets), such an amendment would be applicable, in general, only to bind the Council. The General Council can achieve the desired result simply by not electing members to more than one committee or by requiring a resignation from one as a prerequisite to election to another. In short, the amendment is unnecessary.
Like all rules, there are some which benefit from having exceptions. A constitutional amendment would be self-operative and have no exception. There are times between meetings of the General Council when a chairman-ship of a committee becomes vacant. If a member of a committee is appointed chairman of another committee under all normal circumstances he or she should be removed from the original committee. However, for short periods of time, it may be important to allow the person to remain a member of the original committee also, perhaps to complete an assignment or to provide a quorum at a meeting. Without the amendment the Executive Committee could allow a person to serve on two committees for a short period of time when there were special benefits to be derived from such duality of membership. Since all appointments are "interim" until the meeting of the General Council, the Council can terminate any such dual membership.
For the above reasons, the Executive Committee recommended against the adoption of such an amendment.
MOTION: "That the Council direct the Executive Committee to formulate the constitutional changes needed so that Councilors whose terms are expiring will continue as active members in the Triennial Meeting of the Council immediately following the Triennial Assembly and the new Councilors elected will sit in the same meeting as observers and not become active until the following year. A motion was made, seconded, and carried that the Council ask the Executive Committee to study the constitutional changes. The original motion was then seconded and carried."
The Executive Committee considered this to be a directive to formulate and study the proposed changes and report back to the General Council.
Before the changes could be formulated it became necessary to determine which of several possible "models" would eliminate any deficiencies in the present system and accomplish the objectives sought by the change without themselves creating new and additional problems.
We first sought the things which were considered objectionable under the present arrangement:
a. The embarrassment of outgoing Councilors who have come to Chicago or who have arranged their vacation and transportation for such a trip only to find they are no longer a Councilor.
b. The inability of Councilors whose terms expire to make firm plans to attend or not attend the meeting of the General Council. The lack of knowledge by the new members of issues before the General Council and the lack of time to come up to speed on such issues.
d. The lack of information by the new Councilors concerning the qualities and characteristics of persons who are nominated for office and elected by the General Council at its Triennial meeting.
The objective of the change seemed to be to allow for better planning for attendance by those who would be voting members and to allow for a study of the issues and the persons to be voted upon prior to the meeting of the Council.
The Executive Committee considered several "models" of constitutional the changes to avoid the objections and achieve the results mentioned above:
Model I: Change the term of office of Councilors to begin and end with the adjournment of the Triennial Meeting following the Triennial Delegate Assembly at which they were elected or not reelected.
Model II: Establish a change of office of ALL officers, including Councilors, on the basis of a fiscal or calendar year, such year to begin after the meeting of the General Council following the Triennial Delegate Assembly.
Model III and IV hypothecated a lapse of time between the Triennial Delegate Assembly and the Triennial Meeting of the General Council to allow planning and study of issues and persons.
Each model considered seems to raise as many problems as it resolves. The major objection to allowing the outgoing Councilors to sit in the Triennial Meeting is that it becomes a "lame duck" session, electing officers for three and six years, and the incoming members will have no effective voice regarding the leadership of the Brotherhood until three years after their election.
Other models involving a time lapse between the Triennial Delegate Assembly and the Triennial Meeting of the General Council create a problem of travel for those outside the Chicago area.
On balance, it is considered by the Executive Committee that no model offered sufficient merit to warrant presentation to the General Council for consideration as a constitutional amendment.
The problems created by having a lame duck session elect the principal officeholders for three to six years seems greater than the problems resolved by the change.
If a split in time is desired between the Triennial Delegate Assembly and the Triennial Meeting, this can be accomplished by amending Section 8.7 (c) by deleting the word "Immediately" from the first sentence. Dates could then be set by the Executive Committee to accommodate as many Councilors as possible.
The Executive Committee recognizes the problems which gave rise to this recommendation and desire to find some solution to it. It has not, however, found any proposed solution which does not create as many problems as it resolves.
During the next year we invite each member of the General Council who believe he or she knows of a viable solution to submit such a solution submit such solution to the Executive Committee in writing. It will be given full consideration.
Motion: "That the General Council request the Executive Committee to prepare an amendment to the constitution which would permit the Executive Committee to meet monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly and send such amendment to General Councilors 30 days before the next General Council meeting."
This change has been proposed before. The intent is to allow the Executive Committee to have flexibility in holding its regular meetings. With the increase in the number of committee members living at great distance from Chicago who pay their own expense to attend meetings, it seems appropriate to meet as necessary but not be rigidly tied to monthly meetings. They might be scheduled less frequently with a longer agenda, or over two days. This amendment will provide the opportunity to gain experience in the most efficient use of time in getting the work done. It was recommended for adoption.
MOTION: "That the matter of determining a quorum on departmental committees by means of telecommunications be returned to the Executive Committee for further study."
It is felt that allowing participation by means of telecommunications will facilitate the transaction of committee business; allow persons to participate actively on committee business without the time and expense of repeated trips to Chicago; make available to committees talented people located at some distance from Chicago who could not otherwise participate on committees. This motion was recommended for adoption.
The General Council voted in favor of all the above recommendations.
The following items were presented to the Council in the form of proposed amendments (see enclosures) to the constitution and by-laws:
Changing Paragraph 3.1. Charter Fees Removing the dollar amount of the charter fee application to allow the Brotherhood to recover the actual current costs for preparation of the charter.
Changing Section 8.7. Meetings - to conform to current practice.
Changing Section 8.3. Qualifications of Councilors - This amendment is designed to handle the situation when a Councilor ceases to be a member of Urantia Brotherhood for any reason. At first reading, it appears that the present wording covers the matter, but this is not certain. Section 8.4., provides for removal of Councilors, and can be argued that provides the only method of doing so. This amendment resolves the issue and avoids the problem. No person is not a member of the Brotherhood should be allowed to serve in policy making capacity for the Brotherhood. The appeals process authorized by the Constitution is lengthy to avoid precipitous action. The effect of the new wording is to suspend the Coun-cilor's membership in the General Council pending appeal.
The above amendments were passed. Enclosed is a set of pages for your copy of the Brotherhood Constitution that reflect all the changes caused by the amendments passed by the Council. Let us know if you need additional
Elections were held to fill two vacancies on the General Council until the next Triennial Delegate Assembly, and expiring terms on the Brotherhood committees. Temporary appointments since the last Council meeting were also confirmed.
General Councilors Mrs. Gloriann Harris Mr. Thomas A. Kendall Departmental Committees Judicial Mrs. Ellen Montgomery Mrs. Helena Sprague Mr. Burton Harris - Charter - Mr. David Renn Fraternal Relations - Mrs. Bettina Gray Mrs. Sally Schlundt Domestic Extensions - Mrs. Mary Burton International Fellowship - Mr. Marvin Gawryn Education - Mrs. Helen Carlson Mrs. Marilyn Hauck Mr. K. David Schlundt Publications - Mrs. Barbara Kulieke Finance Mr. Frank Sgaraglino Miss Charlotte Wensel Mr. Paul Snider
Special Projects Mr. Charles Montgomery
We look forward to the positive contributions from both new and returning members. See enclosed page for complete list.
Finance Committee Reports Frank Sgaraglino, , Chairman of the Finance Committee reported that Harold F. Schomas Sr. has resigned as a committee member due to ill health. We appreciate his time of service. For many years Harold was President of the First Urantia Society of Western Springs. We hope he has a speedy recovery. Paul Snider was nominated and then elected by the General Council to fill the vacant five year term.
Frank's committee has also prepared the proposed budget for 1981. He indicated that the overall requested budget had to be cut 25% due in part to projected lower income for 1981. The finalized budget will be adopted at the December meeting.
In addition to the budget work, preparation for the fund drive for the seventh printing is continuing. As many of you know from the announce-ment at last summer's workshop, the Brotherhood is aiding the Foundation in establishing a perpetual printing fund. The phonathon has been pushed ahead to March in order to allow time to gather all the phone numbers of those on our mailing list, to send information to those who will be contacted, and most importantly, to separate the drive from our general joint solicitation for annual operating funds. We cannot afford to "rob" funds from annual giving. Any of you who have participated in fund drives know the hours of work that must be spent to insure success. The goal of the drive is $210,000. This will finance the 7th printing. As books are sold it is planned to put funds aside for the 8th printing, which gives rise to the "perpetual" fund for printing concept. The December Foundation newsletter has an article covering the fund drive.
I received several inquiries from society presidents concerning an invi-tation to their societies from David Kulieke, president, First Urantia Society, to consider attending a meeting in March 1981. They wondered whether this is a Urantia Brotherhood sponsored event. To prevent any misunderstandings, the Executive Committee wanted me to clarify this was a society function. The First Urantia Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary and the proposed conclave would be part of the anniversary year's activities. The Executive Committee wishes to offer the suggestion that due to the high cost of travel, and assuming there is interest in getting together, that consideration be given to holding a meeting at some time during the 1981 General Conference at Snowmass, Colorado. Most society presidents may be already planning to attend this gathering.
As I mentioned in my July letter a hearing was held in Houston, Texas, on the Foundation's motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin First Urantia Society of Houston, Inc., from using the trademark Urantia in its name, or otherwise, pending a trial on the merits. The Court, without making any ruling regarding the mark itself, viewed the matter as an internal controversy, and for that reason denied the preliminary injunction. Urantia Foundation has indicated its willingness to coop-erate towards the settlement of the controversy. To this end the Foundation sent a letter to the Brotherhood which says in part:
"While Urantia Foundation pursues the appeal procedure, the central issue. appears to be: Which group is the authorized Houston Urantia Society? Inasmuch as this is a matter under the jurisdiction of Urantia Brotherhood, Urantia Foundation now requests that Urantia Brotherhood make a full, complete and binding determination as to which group is the true Houston Society, and thereafter determine whether the Houston Charter should in fact be revoked. "
After discussion the following resolution was passed unanimously:
"RESOLVED, that the Judicial Committee, in its capacity as the supreme arbitrating body of Urantia Brotherhood, make a full, fair and complete investigation of the facts and circumstances surround-ing the schism in the First Urantia Society of Houston, and deter-mine which of the contending groups is the authorized Houston Society. This determination should be made without regard to any prior determination of this matter which may have been made by officers of the Brotherhood. "Once it has been determined as to which of the contending groups is the authorized Houston Society, the Judicial Committee shall further determine whether a Licensing Agreement purporting to have been executed by the Houston Society was, in fact, properly exe-cuted by such Society.
"If it is determined that the Licensing Agreement has not been properly executed by the Houston Society, the petition of the Charter Committee to revoke the Houston charter is considered to be in effect, and the Judicial Committee is requested to reopen the question of revoking the charter of the First Urantia Society of Houston for contravention of the spirit and purpose of Urantia Brotherhood by virtue of its failure to execute the Licensing Agreement, and to proceed in accordance with Section 5.6 of the constitution of Urantia Brotherhood."
The Judicial Committee sent to society members a notice of a hearing to be held in Houston, Texas, beginning December 12.
Two events took place which I hope will have long range consequences for the Urantia movement. Carlos Zapata of Colombia, South America, and fellow countryman Douglas Fraser, currently working in the U.S., came for a long planned visit. They met with the Foundation Trustees to discuss translation matters. It is fortunate that Lynne Kulieke, who teaches Spanish could spend a great deal of time acting as interpreter for Carlos who does not speak English. Without her help, meaningful commun-ication would not have been possible. There were many opportunities for informal social events where Carlos was able to meet fellow students as well as those active in the organizational aspect of the Brotherhood and Foundation. As could be expected, the face-to-face meetings are helpful in building bridges of trust and understanding of mutual problems as well as unique ones facing a Spanish-speaking group.
The International Fellowship Committee also held a meeting coinciding in part with the visit of Carlos. French speaking guests attending the meeting came from Quebec, Canada. The full agenda spread the meeting over two days. There will be a concerted effort to place books in bilingual libraries around the world. Our informational material will be translated by volunteers whose native language is French and Spanish.
Out of its deliberations a motion was passed that was to be given to the Foundation:
"Given that: the need for translations is extremely urgent, the lack of translations presents the gravest threat to harmony between Urantia Book readers of different nationalities,
''Therefore IFC (International Fellowship Committee) recommends that:
the rapid creation of acceptable translations be given the highest priority possible. "The IFC is committed to enhancing Fraternity and harmony among the peoples of the world, especially wherever the Urantia Book may find its way. Notwithstanding the serious concern for the need for translations, the IFC will do everything to promote a balanced understanding of the practical problems involved in making suitable translations available. And furthermore, the IFC will encourage the translation of pamphlets and other informational material concerning The Urantia Book, Urantia Brotherhood, Urantia Foundation, and their respective activities."
Enclosed you will find a current list of society officers.
The following have been accepted as members at large: Mr. Guy Stewart, and Mrs. Ruby Stewart, Blackfoot, Idaho; Mrs. Louise Van Valkenburgh, Atlanta, Georgia; Miss Roselyn Van Benschoten, Culver City, California; (soon moving to Brazil). We welcome them to our mutual efforts.
I am aware that some of the subjects covered in this letter may not be familiar to all of you, especially new society presidents. The intent of this communication is to keep the leadership of the Brotherhood informed of our activities. Society officers may share this information with their members using your best judgment. However, I hope the organizational news does not in any way interfere with your study meetings. I also encourage you to write or call me if you have any questions concerning topics discussed in these letters.
I hope all of you are refreshed by the holiday season with its traditional celebrations with family and friends.
John W. Hales jwh/sk Encl: 10 pp of amendments to constitution of current society officers List of Council and Committee members Foundation letter, 20% discount (for society Presidents)
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book