The Urantia Book Fellowship
Executive Committee Letter – October, 2004
Avi Dogim, President
Dear Fellowship Member:
I am pleased to write to you once again, on behalf of The Fellowship’s Executive Committee, to give you an update on recent developments in The Fellowship.
Summer Meeting 2004: The Fellowship departed from tradition this year and held its summer meeting, generally designated as the Summer Study Session, in conjunction with the Heart of America Society Regional Conference held at Unity Village in Kansas City, Missouri in September. Doing so, avoided a scheduling conflict for the many Fellowship members who chose to attend the World Parliament of Religions in Barcelona, Spain earlier in the summer.
New General Councilors: Following the resignations of Rebecca Kantor, Claudia Ayers and Bill Rocap from the General Council earlier this year, their three vacated seats were filled during the Council’s September 19th meeting held in conjunction with the above-mentioned Heart of America Society conference. The three new Councilors elected and heartily welcomed by the Council were Tom Allen of Oklahoma, John Hay of Colorado and Gene Narducy of California.
New Interfaith Committee Chair: Susan Cook of Missouri, a relatively recent addition to the Council and principal planner of the Unity Village event, was elected to a six-year term as chair of the Interfaith Committee.
New Education Committee Chair: Gary Deinstadt of New York was elected to a six-year term as Chairman of the Education Committee. For the few months prior to his election, he had been actively serving as interim chairman of the committee by appointment of the Executive Committee.
Surprise Resignation of Fellowship Treasurer: During the General Council meeting Harry McMullan announced his decision to resign immediately from his position as Treasurer of The Fellowship. Harry, who has served on the Executive Committee for the past 25 years, stated that he wished to vacate the position so that someone else who is qualified but has put in fewer years of service would have an opportunity to serve as Treasurer. The President, convinced that Harry’s decision was final, accepted his resignation. Harry was thanked for his many years of service on the Executive Committee and for his many contributions to the reader community, including his authorship of a book-size index to The Urantia Book, which is now part of the Uversa Press edition of the book. Harry will remain on the General Council and has pledged that he will continue to work for The Fellowship in any way that he could be useful.
New Treasurer Elected: The President asked the Council if there were any objections to holding immediate elections for the position of Treasurer. No objections were raised. John Hay was nominated from the floor unopposed and was elected Treasurer.
Standing Committee Vacancies Filled: Twelve standing committee vacancies were filled as follows: Judicial – Phil Geiger; Outreach – Mary Jo Garascia, Maria Downing, Bobbie Dreier; Publications – Nancy Johnson, Laura Hay; Membership – Tom Allen; International Fellowship – Christel Schmidt; Education – Nick Stefero; Special Projects – Meredith Tenney, Thomas Orjala, Barbara Newsom. Vacancies were still available on the Finance and Interfaith committees at the close of elections.
New Executive Committee Members: Since the chairs of the standing committees and the officers constitute the fourteen-member Executive Committee, the September elections resulted in the addition of three new members to the EC. These are, Susan Cook, Gary Deinstadt and John Hay.
Book Printing Campaign: Thanks to a $50,000 challenge grant to The Fellowship from a fellow reader for a hard cover printing of The Urantia Book, The Fellowship has begun a campaign to match this generous gift with an equal amount from other contributors. No effort will be spared to have the new hardbacks available in time for the International Conference (IC) ’05 next summer.
IC ’05: Plans are proceeding apace for the conference at Villanova University near Philadelphia. In addition to Fellowship members, conference planners include members of the IUA and readers with no organizational affiliation. A gala affair celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Urantia Book is planned for the final evening. Web based registration will be available and registrants with Internet access will be encouraged to use it.
Joint Fellowship – IUA IC’08 Conference? Fellowship Vice President, Marvin Gawryn, reported to the Executive Committee that he had had some informal conversations with members of the International Urantia Association about the possibility of holding a joint Fellowship – IUA international conference in the summer of 2008. He asked the Executive Committee to authorize him to pursue preliminary talks with IUA representatives in order to determine the feasibility of such an undertaking. The group unanimously approved Marvin’s request and will be eagerly awaiting signs of progress in this potential inter-organizational project.
General Council Retreat Follow-Up: The General Council reviewed the summary of its 2004 mid-year retreat and assigned the various actionable items derived from that summary to the appropriate standing committees. The standing committee chairs will bring their committee recommendations and/or report to the Executive Committee on actions taken with respect to these items by the mid-year meeting of 2005. There was a general consensus on the Council that deadlines must always be attached to assignments and that anyone who takes on an assignment is accountable to the group for its execution.
Avi Dogim, President
for the Executive Committee