EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: Members of Urantia Brotherhood
The second-quarter meeting of the Executive Committee took place at head-quarters over the weekend of May 6-7, 1988. The meeting began approximately at 7:15pm with a moment of silence to enable each of us to make contact with our Father and seek the wisdom to guide us in our deliberations.
A second Brotherhood-Foundation dialogue meeting was held on Thursday night prior to this Executive Committee meeting. A summary of the report given by Chuck Burton and Lynne Kulicke on this meeting is included hereunder.
SUMMARY OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ACTIONS
What follows is a summary of the specific actions we took at this meeting:
1. The minutes of the January meeting of the Executive Committee were read and approved with minor corrections. The consensus was that the secretary needed to reduce the length of the minutes while preserving the record of our deliberations and actions.
2. The Executive Committee approved the recommendation of the Charter Commit-tee that Berkeley Elliott be designated as the representative of Charter and International Fellowship Committees at a Conference in Finland during the week of June 1-10, 1988, using travel funds already budgeted. This confer-ence is important not only to deepen relationships with our Finnish friends, but also because this group has made a formal application to be chartered as a Urantia Society. Dave Elders will also attend to help answer questions about the responsibilities of Society status and the facilitation of local activities by other segments of Urantia Brotherhood (e.g., central office services). This dedicated Finnish group would be the first Society to be chartered outside the United States and will contribute mightily to the neces-sary elimination of an unintended but perhaps unavoidable "American" cast to early organizational development. Urantia Foundation will send Martin Myers to this conference to discuss and help facilitate completion of the transla-tion of The Urantia Book into the Finnish language.
3. The Director of Office Operations, Gloriann Harris, was authorized to set up the mechanisms necessary to facilitate the "Beta Test" and attendant ex-pense recovery for the computer reference aid for The Urantia Book.
4. A showing of the "History of the Urantia Movement" multi-media by the First Urantia Society of Los Angeles was approved.
5. A motion to accept the office proposal to purchase a new photo-copier was tabled pending submittal of more detailed supporting rationale.
6. John Hay was appointed Chair of the 1990 General Conference Programs Committee. This committee will handle all planning and execution for the program elements of the 1990 General Conference to be held at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado, July 20-26, 1990. Responsibility for logistical support, registration, and financial management will be vested in the central office. John will report on the details of his overall organizational plan at an upcoming Executive Committee meeting.
7. The recommendation by the Site Selection Committee to reserve the Univer-sity of Victoria, British Columbia for the 1993 General Conference was ap-proved conditionally pending final documentation of actual costs and avail-able schedule by the office conference support staff. The Site Selection Committee was dissolved with thanks for an outstanding job for both the 1990 and 1993 General Conferences!
8. After careful consideration, the office restructuring proposal (intro-duced preliminarily a year ago) made by the Chairman was approved by the Executive Committee. The approved proposal is: a. The Director of Office Operations is authorized to initiate steps to combine Urantia Brotherhood and Foundation staffs into a single central ser-vices operation facilitating the deployment of personnel and material resourc-es as efficiently and effectively as possible, without regard for organiza-tional boundaries. This operation would be the functional services group charged with execution of the policy decisions of both organizations as made by the Trustees and General Council/ Executive Committee.
b. Employees of this central services operation shall not be eligible for service on the Executive Committee of Urantia Brotherhood. As part of this restriction, we require that Gloriann Harris, while employed as Director of the Office, resign as General Councilor, but at the same time, require her presence (as Director) at all General Council and Executive Meetings to in-sure full communication between the policy bodies and functional support services (the office). Further, we requested that Urantia Foundation give consideration also to resolving (and avoiding in the future) the conflict created by joint service as both Trustee and Director of Office Operations.
c. The Officers of Urantia Brotherhood will serve as an Administrative Committee overseeing the work of the office.
d. We agreed that this restructuring would be in effect for a period of three years, effective immediately, with a review and evaluation required after two years. At that time, continuation, reversion to the existing sys-tem, or further revision will be made.
e. The Director of Office Operations will forward to the Executive Commit-tee a written policy statement to be used to resolve any policy disagreements between Urantia Brotherhood and Urantia Foundation and how the effect of same on office operations will be minimized. Our clear intent is to maximize the quality and performance of the office staff, clearly separating policy from function, removing political considerations from office operations, all while insuring that this joint office operation does not in any way obstruct the execution of the policy decisions of either organization.
9. Since a quorum was not present to take action on Constitutional changes affecting Domestic Extension and Charter Committees, it was agreed that such discussion and possible action would take place at the June, 1988 meeting of the Executive Committee. If approved at that time for consideration by the General Council, such consideration and action shall be scheduled for a brief formal meeting of the Council at the time of the retreat in September.
10. Twelve new members-at-large were welcomed into Urantia Brotherhood at this meeting, the largest group considered at one time to date:
Gordon Bellamy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Terry Sue Beuret, Kaneohe, Hawaii; Colin Cooper, Durban, South Africa; Robert Davis, Raleigh, North Carolina; Evan Engstrom, Betsy Engstrom, Eugene, Oregon; Lenard Faller, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Arley Grubb, Flag-staff, Arizona; Geraldine (Geri) Johnson, Kaneohe, Hawaii; Peggy Johnson, Dick Johnson, Phoenix, Arizona; Gordon Stahl, Venice, Florida.
COMMITTEE ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Judicial Committee: Duane Faw reported that his committee had met with the Foundation attorneys to discuss various removal procedures which could be considered as part of the evaluation work now being done by Judicial. His committee also developed and was forwarding to the Executive Committee for discussion and action language which would, if approved by the Executive Committee and General Council: (a) change the name of "Domestic Extension Committee" to "Extension Committee" and eliminate its United States geo-graphic restriction, and (b) change the name of "Charter Committee" to "Mem-bership Committee."
Charter Committee: Steve Dreier confirmed the successful chartering of three new Urantia Societies--Seattle, Kansas City, and Greater New York. He commented that a group in Finland has made formal application for charter and a group in Toronto is in the process of doing so as well. Both groups are seeking to be chartered in 1989. Steve proposed, on behalf of his committee, that Berkeley Elliott be appointed (and funded) to represent Charter and International Fellowship Committees at a conference in Finland in early June (since neither Steve nor any of his committee can attend). She will attend with Dave Elders; Martin Myers will represent Urantia Foundation at this conference and will also be discussing the finalization of work on the Finn-ish translation of The Urantia Book.
Fraternal Relations Committee: Peter Laurence requested that his commit-tee would like to become a part of the ongoing gift book program underwritten by Urantia Foundation for the purpose of placing copies of The Urantia Book both with members of the clergy and scholars as part of their work. It was agreed that this request would be forwarded through the Director Of Office Operations as outlined in the procedures agreed upon with Urantia Foundation. Domestic Extension: Harry McMullan reported that the initial mailing announcing the new "Field Representative" Program had not elicited much re-sponse to date, and requested that Executive Committee members take the time to suggest persons for consideration. Additionally, at the request of URAN-TIA Foundation, it was agreed that alternate names for the program, more clearly suggestive of its "people helping people" essence, be considered. There was some agreement that the name "field representative" had some histor-ical connotations and seemed more expressive of an "organizational" or "sales" representative in the field, and did not clearly reflect the resource service, or facilitator concept behind the program. Harry requested that alternate name suggestions should be made to him in writing immediately so that his committee could undertake evaluation. Finally, Harry noted that David Kulieke had done an excellent job in organizing the Society Conclave to be held just prior to the Triennial Delegate Assembly, on Friday, June 24.
International Fellowship Committee: Berkeley Elliott reported that a mailing to 6,000 international libraries will be posted soon. At our histor-ical response rate of 5%, we expect to place approximately 300 new books in libraries around the world. She was also pleased to pass along a report from Douglas Fraser that excellent progress is being made on the Spanish transla-tion and that the quality, in his opinion, is good and getting better.
Education Committee: Lynne Kulieke noted that her committee had met in March and finalized the questions for this summer's seminars, wrote a letter to each society and major study groups personally inviting participation at the seminars, finalized other seminar-related business, and forwarded an initial response to the proposal requesting that the Education Committee give some thought to the concept of a Urantia Brotherhood Center. This latter response posed some thought-provoking questions for further consideration, a process which may be initiated at a future time.
Finance Committee: John Hay's report focused on an increase in number of donors, but a fall-off in actual dollars for this year compared to last. His committee will meet right after this Executive Committee to design a plan to make more active and personal contact with those persons willing in the past to support the work of the organization with larger donations. John's analy-sis indicated that contribution needs during the last several years were sub-stantial to fund the transition in the office from a largely volunteer to now almost totally professional office staff--a transition which was necessary to keep up with the growth in the workload. He anticipates a leveling of this growth, an observation supported by the five-year plan submitted by Gloriann Harris. There was general consensus that the readership is deeply committed to this work and would be more supportive if fully apprised of current and future needs.
Publications Committee: Dan Massey reported that the next issue of the Urantia Brotherhood Bulletin will be printed and mailed in late May. His committee is also working with the Oklahoma Society to revise the "History of the Urantia Movement" slide-tape program to videotape format, and once final rights and approval details are worked out, will be able to make this more broadly available on a loaner basis. Dan is also working on a redesign of the pamphlets mailed out from headquarters to improve the quality of their appearance; they should be available for use shortly, along with the Domestic Extension booklet, "Urantia Book Study Groups--Ideas and Suggestions." Special Projects Committee: Marilynn Kulieke commented that work on the Resource Guide was progressing steadily and was greatly aided by Martin My-er's input when he attended their committee meeting. Urantia Foundation will be involved with copyright guidelines, and profit restrictions, and Urantia Brotherhood will need to monitor content. The committee will propose a mecha-nism for doing this after careful evaluation. Marilynn will also work with Dan in reviewing an article/report on the Brotherhood Survey Information for distribution via the Bulletin.
DIALOGUE REPORT/OTHER BUSINESS
1. Lynne Kulieke, Chuck Burton, and Dave Elders met with Gloriann Harris, Frank Sgaraglino, and Martin Myers on Thursday evening to continue the ongo-ing dialogue between members of both organizations.. Chuck and Lynne charac-terized the meeting as open, involved input from all six attendees, generally driven by Brotherhood concerns, and with a focus both on specific issues of concern as well as philosophy. In response to a question as to how the Trust-ees view the relationship with the Brotherhood, the Trustees were unanimous in seeing it not as "parent/child" but as "husband/wife" wherein there are both shared areas of responsibility and action, and those areas specifically the province of one or the other. Both groups concurred that there had been insufficient levels of communication until recently, and both agreed to con-centrate on improvement in this area. Responding to comments that the Trust-ees had not been as visible of late at Brotherhood functions, the participat-ing Trustees agreed, but noted that the turnover in members, increasing work-load, and the fact that there were only five of them, made it more difficult; however, they plan to rectify this situation as much as they are able. Lynne and Chuck both agreed that this dialogue was a positive step toward improving understanding and cooperation and felt that it should be continued, on a rotating participant basis for the time being, with the option for a "team" effort on a particular joint project when appropriate.
2. John Hales reported that he, Scott Forsythe, and Dave Elders attended the London Book Fair in an effort to improve distribution of The Urantia Book in England and Europe. He felt that it was a successful participation and enabled us to make contact with distributors who handle the European market, learn more about both book distribution and library placement in that area, and facilitate the formulation of a distribution program which will be firmed up and recommended to Urantia Foundation shortly after attendance at the American Booksellers Convention in Anaheim, California later this month.
3. Bill Hazen presented a summary of the program on the continual evaluation of Brotherhood priorities which he will oversee at upcoming meetings of the General Council.
4. In response to a question posed by Chuck Burton on the desirability of continuing the discussion of the Sales Agency Relationship with Urantia Foun-dation, it was agreed that the consensus at the January Council meeting was to table it for now, concentrating instead on improving communications with Urantia Foundation in all areas.
5. After due consideration and in response to a question raised about grant-ing permission to "non-affiliated" organizations to use the name "Urantia Brotherhood" on materials developed and distributed by those organizations, the Chairman was directed to write to state that, as a licensor of the name, Urantia Brotherhood could not authorize such a use, suggesting instead that the request be directed to Urantia Foundation.
What follows is a brief summary of part of my annual report to the General Council for the year ending June, 1988.
In my view, the fellowship of religionists we identify as Urantia Brotherhood has been called, by virtue of its very involvement as one of the human corps privileged to carry the symbol of our Creator Son, to lead the way into the uncharted potentials of Urantia's fifth epoch of evolutionary growth. I believe that if we settle, consciously or unconsciously, into the paths trod by those who came before us, we will not have made a contribution to this fifth epochal undertaking, but will instead have simply repackaged new truth into old but perhaps slicker containers. It is only by forging into the frontier that we will help blaze the way for those who follow after us.
Clearly words aren't enough, for if they were, simply reading The Urantia Book would transform. Are we not called upon to set a new standard of living, one which would express, even to a hardened atheist, that there is something or someone contributing to the power of our lives? In the fourth epoch, the potential revealed in the life lived by Jesus seemed to be the ability for one to live in a confused and struggling world in communion with and wholly dependent upon the spirit and will of our Father. What has this new revelation of truth added to that potential which we are called upon to demonstrate to our fellows? While it may simply be an enhanced and ever more sophisticated ability to re-express the truths others have expressed before, with more eloquent logic and appealing packaging, it must also be much more than that. At the least, it is a call to the best in each of us to live our lives more fully as a testament to the Father within, and in a way which adds something to the fourth revelation. But what? Consider the notion that if the fourth epoch gave living expression to the Father-Son relationship and the richness of the inner life, perhaps the fifth, in revealing the Supreme, gives expression to the Son-Son relationship in the outer life--God in living community. Even if this is only a fragment of the potential for our fifth epoch, it provides us with a vision of the unique role we might play as the human workers in this grand undertaking of which we are a part.
The challenge is summed up for me in a statement made in The Urantia Book by a Divine Counselor: "The religious challenge of this age is to those far-seeing and forward-looking men and women of spiritual insight who will dare to construct a new and appealing philosophy of living out of the enlarged and exquisitely integrated modern concepts of cosmic truth, universe beauty, and divine goodness. Such a new and righteous vision of morality will attract all that is good in the mind of man and challenge that which is best in the human soul. Truth, beauty, and goodness are divine realities, and as man ascends the scale of spiritual living, these supreme qualities of the Eternal become increasingly coordinated and unified in God, who is love."(p.43:4)
We can write, say, or produce what we want, but if we don't dare to rise to the challenge of living before us, what is our legacy to those who follow?
In deepest friendship,
David N. Elders, President
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book