EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: Members of Urantia Brotherhood:
The most recent meeting of the Executive Committee took place over the weekend of September 25-26, 1987. We were able to cover all of the items on our agenda, meeting from 7:00-11:00pm on Friday night and all day Saturday. What follows is a summary of the proceedings to keep you well informed of our deliberations and actions.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
After a time of silent prayer and meditation, the meeting was called to order and the minutes from the last meeting were read and approved. While during the course of a typical meeting we move from informal to formal session allowing open discussion and formal action, I have listed below in summary form all of the actions taken at the meeting:
1. Lawrence Schkade, Arlington, Texas and Dale Hall, Bogota, Columbia were welcomed into Urantia Brotherhood with the approval of their membership-at-large applications.
2. Further discussion of any action on the Secondary Works policy statement was deferred until after the Trustees of Urantia Foundation have reviewed this subject at their October, 1987 meeting.
3. The Executive Committee formally voted to authorize Special Projects to proceed with the Record of Decisions Project as proposed in the outline of the work/protocols detailed in Bob Bruyn's memorandum of 9/8/87.
4. It was agreed, after consideration by several members of the broader international reader community and by the members of Domestic Extension Committee, that the designation "field representative" would be retained in the new program being finalized by Domestic Extension and International Fellowship Committees for implementation shortly once the specific action plans and timetables are worked out and the necessary use of our joint mailing list is approved by Urantia Foundation.
5. The Executive Committee agreed that a Fall 1988 Retreat (target date September 23-25, 1988) would be scheduled with the development committee to be chaired jointly by Gloriann Harris and Peter Laurence. We further agreed that (1) we would request that the Trustees be included in planning from the beginning if they would like to so participate, (2) that General Councilors not returning to office after the 1988 TDA would be included, (3) all spouses would be welcome, and (4) as a retreat (not a business meeting) the decision to attend would be individual, not organizational, and the focus would be wholly directed toward the opportunity for the invitees to study The Urantia Book, worship, and fellowship together.
6. Inasmuch as a quorum was not able to attend the planned early August meeting of the Judicial Committee, the requirement for a meeting during the past year was waived.
7. Bill Hazen was appointed as chairman for the committee to develop the plans for the mid-year meeting of the General Council, scheduled for the weekend of January 29-31, 1988, including site selection and program details.
8. The following 1988 meeting dates were approved:
General Council Mid-Year Meeting January 29-31, 1988
Executive Committee Meeting February 19-20, 1988
Executive Committee Meeting May 6-7, 1988
Triennial Delegate Assembly June 25-26, 1988
Executive Committee Nominating July 1, 1988
General Council Triennial Meeting July 2-3, 1988
Executive Committee Meeting* September 9-10, 1988
Retreat Weekend* September 23-25, 1988
Executive Committee Meeting November 18-19, 1988
*Consideration will be given to conducting these meetings on the same weekend/location (sequentially), if possible.
9. Mike Painter was appointed as chair of an Ad Hoc Committee to evaluate the desirability of and, if appropriate, develop a plan to increase the turnover of members of the General Council per the resolution adopted at this past General Council meeting. He will select his own committee members and inform the Officers of those who will comprise it and target the 1988 meeting of the General Council for the committee report.
10. The following General Councilors have been appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee for the evaluation of our Sales Agency Relationship with Urantia Foundation: Charles Burton (chair), John Hales, Marilynn Kulieke, Larry Mullins, and Paul Snider. An initial report is due at the mid-year General Council meeting.
11. The Executive Committee approved the chairman's recommendation that an Ad Hoc Orientation Committee be established to develop an orientation program for new General Councilors. Pending their agreement to serve, the following names were proposed for this committee: Helena Sprague, Scott Forsythe, Polly Friedman, John Hales, David Robertson, and Marian Rowley. It is hoped that a printed piece, approved by the Executive Committee upon completion, could be used for new Councilors, Societies, and new members.
12. Based upon data which projected a 1987 loss of more than $13,000 in sales agency activity versus commission revenue, the Executive Committee authorized the chairman to request reimbursement from Urantia Foundation pursuant to the operating budget approved last November for 1987 (Urantia Brotherhood currently loses $1.07 per book sold).
13. In consideration of a request made this past summer to have observers attend General Council meetings, the Executive Committee voted against inviting observers at this time based upon logistical concerns (planning for an indeterminate number of persons), the desire to minimize potential politicization of decision-making which might result from an audience, and, the desire to provide a forum for open, honest, and confidential communication between Councilors which might be curtailed or forced into other arenas if audiences were present at the meetings.
14. Due to an oversight, a vacancy on the Education Committee due to the resignation of John Andrews was not filled by the General Council this summer. It was agreed that an election to fill this vacancy would be held as part of the scheduled mid-year meeting of the General Council.
15. The rules governing Executive Committee Procedures regarding the processing of Brotherhood Constitution and By-Law Amendments will be modified to (a) insure that prior to any Executive Committee action on these items all necessary Committee work shall have been done including a face-to-face meeting of the Judicial Committee and any other Brotherhood body/committee which is affected by the proposed change, and (b), the Executive Committee is required to consider seeking the advice of outside and independent counsel for an opinion on the proposed Constitution and/or By-Law changes.
16. The Charter Committee will undertake a review of the requirements for member-at-large to see if the current requirements inadvertently make it more difficult for readers outside the United States to obtain the two required personal recommendations (currently a General Councilor or Field Representative and one other member).
17. The agenda discussion of the format for the Summer Study Sessions was deferred since Lynne Kulieke could not be present for the discussion.
18. In a straw vote to provide a sense of Executive Committee thinking, it was agreed that Special Projects and Publications Committees would proceed with the development of a plan for the publication of an annual "Compendium of Secondary Works" which would feature the highest quality written materials produced by the reader community. This plan would detail the entire process from solicitation of works, editorial evaluation, approval protocols, production, and distribution.
COMMITTEE ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Here is a brief summary of Departmental Committee reports including only information either not summarized previously and/or not indicated in the actions above:
CHARTER COMMITTEE: Steve Dreier reported that in addition to the three groups in the process of seeking a charter (Kansas City, Seattle, and New York--all probable charters in time for the 1988 TDA), he has received a request from an interested group in Finland!
EDUCATION COMMITTEE: Lynne Kulieke reported that the topic for the 1988 Summer Study Seminars would be "Pattern for Perfection" including: the Family as Model, Relationship of Evolution and Revelation, Genetics, and more. Education is working on literature to help study group leaders in their preparations for these seminars. At the chair's request, Lynne agreed that her committee would consider the desirability of establishing a permanent Urantia Brotherhood center for ongoing educational activities.
DOMESTIC EXTENSION COMMITTEE: In addition to putting the final touches on the new "Field Representative Program" approved by the General Council this past summer, Harry McMullan reported that in response to Urantia Foundation's memo detailing its open-ended commitment to the Brotherhood's Library Placement Programs (both domestic and international)--by donating Urantia Books at no cost and covering the majority of attendant placement expenses--he had forwarded to the office a proposed reporting format to insure improved control, reporting, and accountability.
FINANCE COMMITTEE: John Hay has set the weekend of October 24-25, 1987 for the 1988 budget planning meeting. He further reported that income and expenses for 1987 are fairly well on target at this time. His committee will also be evaluating a possible $1.5 million capital fund drive, is working on a pamphlet on wills and donations, and will be able to use the time sheet reports developed by Gloriann Harris to better inform all of us how our contributions are spent by the Brotherhood.
PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE: Dan Massey commented that the video tapes from the Maine Conference were not of the quality which would make them useful for other than historical purposes, and that future efforts to make tapes for subsequent educational purposes would have to be more professional.
SPECIAL PROJECTS COMMITTEE: Marilynn Kulieke reported that her committee will be ready this fall to begin implementation of the Resource Guide for Secondary Works, and in line with the approvals to proceed with the Record of Decisions and Compendium Projects, will begin on those at once.
INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE: Berkeley Elliott reported that she is developing two tour packages for travel to the Australian Conference next fall (October, 1988), as well as a tour to Israel for 1994.
FRATERNAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Peter Laurence commented that Fraternal Relations would offer a program at the 1988 Summer Study Seminars.
1. Marilynn Kulieke reported that response to the Brotherhood Reader Survey was quite good with over 700 responses now being entered into the computer for evaluation and reporting. It was agreed that the open-ended questions would be typed and forwarded to each member of the Executive Committee for categorizing. We have tentatively targeted early 1988 for issuance of some form of report.
2. Marilynn also reported that over 775 people attended the General Conference in Maine this past August. Virtually all the comments received on the Evaluation Forms were positive; however, several members of the Executive Committee noted that the comments may well reflect satisfaction with the social nature of these gatherings, and that we must carefully evaluate whether they help us achieve our broader objectives.
3. John Hales reported on the following items:
a. We placed a listing for The Urantia Book in the September issue of Publisher's Weekly in which was featured an article on "New Age Publishing" efforts. We have been quite aggressive in our utilization of trade publications and catalogs this year, the most recent being ads in the Ingram and Devorsa Catalogs.
b. We are planning to recommend to Urantia Foundation that requests for large book order purchases from outside the United States and Canada be considered on a case-by-case basis until such time as we have established dependable distributor relationships in the international book-selling community.
c. Due to the fact that one of our Societies was engaging in direct book sales to local bookstores, the distributor in the area was not able to sell any books (this was a new distributor we had worked hard to have carry The Urantia Book). In an effort to make sure that we do not lose this wholesaler as a distributor in the area, the Society has agreed that while it will continue to work with local book stores, it will place all orders through the distributor.
As we approach the end of the calendar year and set our sights on our plans for 1988, it might be useful to ask ourselves some questions about our work together:
1. Do we as individuals and does our organization, Urantia Brotherhood, represent a truer expression of the teachings of The Urantia Book this year than last?
2. Do we regard the relationships with the people with whom we work as ends in themselves, or the means to accomplish what we believe is right in support of this revelation?
3. Are our families increasingly expressive of these teachings--both for personal development and experience and as an inspirational example for others?
4. Is the quality of our thinking about both human and spiritual concerns on a higher level this year than last?
5. Do our lives in general and that part of it lived in association with other readers of The Urantia Book reflect the highest standards of moral decision-making, ethical excellence, caring interaction, respectful cooperation, willing contribution of self to the larger community, conscious elimination of bias and elitist tendencies, humility, unceasing honesty, and an unflinching commitment to the integrity and freedom of each and every person's inner relationship with our Father?
God bless each of you.
In deepest fellowship,
David N. Elders
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book