EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
The last quarterly meeting of the Executive Committee took place in Chicago on Friday evening and all day Saturday, November 18-19, 1988. We began our deliberations with a time of silence to enable personal contact with our common Father and to remind ourselves that our work is not an end in itself but is a means to the achievement of the higher goals set by our planetary overseers in the process of evolution expanded by revelation.
SUMMARY OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ACTIONS
1. By virtue of the approval of the Executive Committee, the following new members-at-large (including transfers from society membership) were welcomed into the worldwide fellowship of Urantia Brotherhood: Lori Lee Adrian, Chippewa Falls,Wisconsin; Larry Austin, Farmington, Michigan; Claudia Ayers, Fair Oaks, California; Tonia Kay Baney, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii; Travis W. Binion Jr., Normandy, Tennessee; Charlotte d'Ingillo, Cheektowaga, New York; Francine Ernst, El Paso, Texas; Cathy C. and Ronald D. Harrell, Monticello, Florida; Marian Hughes, Kanuela, Hawaii; William Robert Jackson, Jr., North Bay, Michigan; Jonathan Johnson, San Diego, California; Janice E. Mayes, Norfolk, Virginia; Beverly Jeanne and Robert T. Meyer, Mammoth Lakes, California; Jo Ann Nelson Nashville Tennessee; Marja Olamo, Helsinki, Finland; Stephanie L. Shaefer, Falls Church, Virginia; Betsy Slavik, San Diego, California; Nick Stefero, Omaha, Nebraska; George Thornbury, Pikeville, Kentucky; Lawrence Emmett Watkins, Charlottesville, Virginia; and Michael Eugene Young, Wichita, Kansas.
2. The Executive Committee approved the 1989 budget for Urantia Brotherhood as proposed by the Finance Committee and as amended during discussion. Due to a substantial increase in central office workload and consistent with our ongoing commitment to providing professional support services centrally, the 1989 budget will require an increased level of both fund-raising support by the readership. The Treasurer and Finance Committee monitor expenses and make there is insufficient support to fund operations. obtained approval in principle of its fundraising including the establishment of a "Matthew Fund" to help support central office services, with specific action on each program deferred until presentation of detailed plans.
3. The changes to the Area Coordinator Program, resulting from a joint Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood meeting, were approved for inclusion in the program/schedule, along with the names of Area Coordinators proposed by Domestic Extension. The final draft of the Program Management Document will be forwarded to Urantia Foundation with the responsibility for formalization of final approvals vested with the Chairman.
4. The proposal to recommend to the General Council a change in the name of Domestic Extension Committee to Extension Committee, consistent with language drafted by Judicial, and discussed in Executive Committee at its June, 1988 meeting, was approved. The appropriate documentation for a constitutional amendment will be forwarded to General Councilors as required in time for the next regular meeting of the Council in June, 1989.
5. It was agreed that the officers would have the responsibility of setting the registration fee for next summer's Intensive Seminars to be held at Lake Forest College beginning June 26, 1989, based upon budget information which will be available shortly.
6. The Executive Committee approved the details of the Library Placement Program, as submitted by the committees involved: International Fellowship, Domestic Extension, and Fraternal Relations. Urantia Foundation will again graciously fund all aspects of these programs to be administered by Urantia Brotherhood.
7. The recommendation by International Fellowship of William Wentworth in Australia, Carlos Zapata in South America, and Brent St. Denis in Ontario, Canada as Area Coordinators was approved by the Executive Committee. Execution of this phase of the Area Coordinator Program also awaits final approval by Urantia Foundation. 8. A sub-nominating committee, comprised of Lynne Kulieke, Gard Jameson, and Bob Bruyn, was established to recommend the slate of nominees for committee vacancies for election at the upcoming June, 1989 General Council meeting.
9. The Executive Committee unanimously approved the Key Word INDEX of the Contents of The Urantia Book (an alphabetized version of the "Contents of the Book" outline beginning on page xiii) as submitted to and approved by Urantia Foundation. This KEY WORD INDEX will be owned by Urantia Foundation and, pending finalization of introductory and copyright language and format, will be targeted for production and distribution by Urantia Brotherhood in early 1989. The Finance Committee is considering the use of this INDEX in its fund-raising activity, and it will be sold on an ongoing basis at a price level to be determined once production and distribution costs are calculated.
10. The chair's proposal to return the original slides in the Brotherhood's slide tape "History of the Urantia Movement" to their rightful owners, and to direct the Publications Committee to proceed with finalization of this work in a video format and obtain the necessary copyright releases for the visuals and music used was approved.
11. It was agreed to accept the report on travel policy submitted by the Ad Hoc committee on travel policy (Gard Jameson, Lynne Kulieke, and Dan Massey) and present it to the General Council at its February midyear meeting for comment and appropriate action. This report includes a change in the rate of mileage reimbursement and a suggested donation to a travel fund from General Councilors who, due to the location of Council meetings, do not incur large travel expenses. This fund would then be used to help defray a portion of travel expenses as both the meeting location and membership composition of the Council changed consequent to worldwide Urantia Brotherhood growth.
12. The Executive Committee agreed to hold its November, 1989 meeting in Chicago since it is the annual budget meeting, and to consider alternate locations in the greater New York area for the September meeting.
COMMITTEE ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Finance Committee: Gard Jameson reported on his committee's work on a capital fund drive, deferred giving programs, the "Matthew Fund" noted above, and, in conjunction with Gloriann Harris, provided information on categories of IRS nonprofit status and support fraction requirements. It was agreed that Finance would do further research and make the results available both to the Executive Committee and to each society, both directly and via Charter. Judicial Committee: Steve Dreier reported that his meeting with the attorney regarding the Removal Amendment was quite satisfactory and has established a basis on which we can move forward to a conclusion. He also commented on the useful work the attorney had done (initially for the group in Finland) on a revised Sample Constitution and a Commentary to explain its principles.
Charter Committee: Avi Dogim commented that if the constitutional issues with the group in Finland were resolved by the written materials and a visit by David Elders and Quin Frazer to meet with the group's governing committee, it was possible that both the group in Finland and the Ontario group would be chartered in early June, 1989. [Avi has recently reported that the Finnish group could be chartered on June 2-4, 1989 and the Ontario group the week following, thereby eliminating a timing conflict.] Charter will also be evaluating the Sample Constitution and Commentary along with Judicial with the objective of finalizing materials for use with each new group applying for society status, and incorporating what was learned by the interaction in Finland both with the governing group and the Finnish attorneys.
Fraternal Relations Committee: Peter Laurence commented on the program his committee will present at the Intensive Summer Seminars this next June, by virtue of which readers will become more acquainted with the many ways in which an individual's relationship with our common Father is both experienced and expressed in evolutionary religion. He also described a North American Interfaith gathering in which he participated earlier this fall as expressive of an increasing willingness on the part of people from many religious groups to dialogue on their similarities and explore their differences.
Peter made a point of emphasizing the need for readers of The Urantia Book attending such gatherings to interact with other religionists with a level of respect, sensitivity, and responsibility at least commensurate with that displayed by those from the other religious groups who have come together to share their religious experience, not convert others.
Domestic Extension Committee: Harry McMullan gave a report on the meeting he, David Elders, and Marilynn Kulieke had with Martin Myers, Gloriann Harris, and Frank Sgaraglino on November 17, 1988 to discuss and resolve the remaining issues on the Area Coordinator Program. Harry indicated that all of Urantia Foundation's concerns could and would be addressed in the final documentation for the program, and he would proceed to draft the necessary memorandum, requesting that the chairman follow up to obtain final approval.
The target date for appointment of the Area Coordinators approved by the Executive Committee would be January 1, 1989, with training sessions slated for the 90 days following. Three regional sessions to be held to facilitate attendance by all Area Coordinators appointed. It was further agreed that Mike Painter would act as office liaison with the Area Coordinators thus insuring the ACs of both direct contact and ongoing support services from the central office. Finally, Harry noted that the changes and improvements suggested by the Trustees for the AC Manual would be incorporated in time for distribution to the Coordinators once final approvals had been given.
International Fellowship Committee: Berkeley Elliott noted that more than 24 book requests had already been received from the international library mailing sent out recently. She also reported on both the Pacific Conference held in Australia in October and the trip to the Philippines she and John Hales made thereafter. Finally, her written report indicated that the CERDH reader group was planning another international "encounter" in France for early August, 1989 and would be sending out announcements shortly.
Education Committee: Dan Massey's report included a summary of the plans for the Intensive Summer Seminars scheduled for this coming June which will focus on the second half of Part III of The Urantia Book, with a general theme of "Foundations of the Jesusonian Faith," with sub-topics including: Sonship, Brotherhood, Ascending Citizenship, and the Jesusonian Gospel. Dan also reported that his committee is actively discussing the subject of the committee's relationship to other Brotherhood committees as well as other forms of educational activities in which the committee might engage.
Publications Committee: Jim Johnston noted that his committee was due to meet immediately following the Executive Committee meeting at which time they wee planning to discuss the definition of a clear editorial policy for The Bulletin, production process and timing, broadening authorship of articles, etc. Also Publications was seeking Executive Committee direction on the "History of the Urantia Movement" project (see above), and, with the aid of Nancy Johnson, was finalizing a reformatting of the Brotherhood Constitution into a booklet.
Special Projects Committee: Bob Bruyn discussed the composition of both the Ad Hoc Review Committee established to process materials for the Resource Guide for Secondary Works, as well as the guiding materials forwarded to each member to help process the work. Also, Bob has requested on behalf of his committee input from members of the Executive Committee with regard to the "Oral History" Project assigned to Special Projects in response to a TDA Resolution. Committee concerns expressed to date range from the need to move quickly on this project while some of the original Forum members are still available for interviews, to the concern that this project is a form of organizational self-indulgence, and somewhat egotistical. Nonetheless, Special Projects is moving forward in response to the resolution.
1. David Elders sought and received Executive Committee approval to travel to Helsinki, Finland with Quin Frazer, attorney for Urantia Foundation, to meet with the Governing Committee of the reader group applying for status as a chartered Urantia Society, on the weekend of November 24-28, 1988. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a constitutional document which would be satisfactory to Urantia Brotherhood, Urantia Foundation (from a trademark standpoint), and to the Finnish authorities.
I can report that this meeting was exceptional both from the standpoint of resolving all the constitutional issues, and perhaps most importantly, by our benefiting from the thinking of readers whose view of our joint organizational work is different from our own. For me, thanks almost entirely to the dedication of this fine group of people, this was not an experience of "Americans" and "Finns," but was rather the humbling experience of planetary citizens working together to begin to form the first bonds of a dynamic structure of worldwide cooperation.
2. In an ongoing effort to improve communications between Urantia Brotherhood and Urantia Foundation, Martin Myers and Diane Elder hosted a breakfast for the new members of the Executive Committee, including Frank Sgaraglino and Gloriann Harris. Many new ideas were discussed and new relationships were formed which be of benefit to both organizations.
3. A final report on the Maine International Conference was given. We lost $1,952.00 on the conference which was attended by 591 adults, 100 children, and 40 infants. While we did not anticipate a loss, the Executive Committee felt satisfied that the conference was a success, that many obstacles were overcome in administering it, and that much was learned which will help us manage future large conferences.
4. Gard Jameson reported that the special fund-raising campaign, offering matching funds for society and study group donations, was a solid success. He plans to write a letter to each of the participating groups to express thanks for their responsiveness.
5. This Executive Committee weekend began with a retirement party for Marian Rowley who seems to be working harder in retirement than before. Lisa Sedlar and Cathy Reed from the office put the party together with help from others. Marilynn Kulieke worked on an appropriate gift, and Helen Carlson graciously shared her apartment. When any of you visit the office in the future, look for Marian's framed nature photographs which now grace the walls, and which prove to all of us that Marian has a good eye for beauty as well as excellence. She especially liked the gift because it was one she both received and gave!
6. Gloriann Harris reported on the status of work at the central office, noting that the workload had increased steadily, and that the new structure provided the flexibility to assign personnel and resources as required to accomplish specific tasks. She also reported, on behalf of John Hales and the book department, that he had done some research on book distribution in Australia while there, and was awaiting response from Urantia Foundation on contracting an international distributor to handle distribution in Europe.
As we ponder the many levels of life experience in which we are all involved, from the situation in the world, our national life, our organizational work, our family, to our individual lives, we are challenged constantly to grasp the relationship between truth and fact, ends and means, faith and belief, and the significance of personality interaction. In this regard, there is a single paragraph on page 555 of The Urantia Book which, for me, is an awesome reminder when I find myself caught up in the often petty and trivial concerns of daily living that our Father demands, urges, and provides the tools for our achievement of a quality of thinking, commitment, and action substantially higher than we might think ourselves capable of reaching.
"Law is life itself and not the rules of its conduct. Evil is a transgression of law, not a violation of the rules of conduct pertaining to life, which is the law. Falsehood is not a matter of narration technique but something premeditated as a perversion of truth. The creation of new pictures out of old facts, the restatement of parental life in the lives of offspring -- these are the artistic triumphs of truth. The shadow of a hair's turning, premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle--these constitute falseness. But the fetish of factualized truth, fossilized truth, the iron band of so-called unchanging truth, holds one blindly in a closed circle of cold fact. One can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth." 555:2
Each new situation which demands our attention, evaluation, thinking, and decision-making confronts us with the responsibility to fully understand the elements which comprise the situation and in which the correct action is hidden. We must learn better to separate fact from truth and having gathered the one, to seek the other. We need also to distinguish ends from means and then not only do what is right, but to do it in the right way. For those of us tempted to use the power of intellectual logic to rationalize an action, the last sentence is a clear warning: "One can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth."
When we are tempted to "judge" our fellows for not speaking honestly, we should not focus only on "The shadow of a hair's turning..." but must also consider the rest: "...premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle..." for it is only together that "...these constitute falseness." The notion that evil is an action against the rules humans devise to manage their affairs is forever changed by the concept that "Evil is a transgression of law [life itself ], not a violation of the rules of conduct pertaining to life, which is the law."
To my knowledge, the only relationship referred to in The Urantia Book as an end in itself is the relationship between personalities-human and divine. The news each day defines a world in which our fellows die or are harmed by the weapons of fact. But I believe few, if any, are harmed by the conscious perversion of truth proof enough for me that our Father's will is being done. The challenge for me, and perhaps for each of you as well, is not just to understand these concepts, but to live in the world in a manner expressive of a wholehearted commitment to the truth of personality relationships--especially when the facts suggest such a relationship is impossible. God bless each of you.
In deepest fellowship,
David N. Elders, President
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book