Articles in this issue:
The Apostle Paul instructed the Hebrews: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
The First Society entertained angels at their annual miniconference Sunday, April 20, 1997. Northwestern University's elegant Harris Hall, Evanston, IL, was the site of a gathering of an unknown number of seraphim and of nearly 30 human Urantia Book students. Readers from several Chicago area study groups and from downstate Illinois and Wisconsin attended. The angels hailed from Salvington and beyond.
Theologians no longer debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin; for nearly 200 years, since the Enlightenment, they haven't debated about angels at all. With a nod to New Age religions, and acknowledgments to authors Billy Graham, Mortimer Adler, and recent researchers for reviving interest in angels, conference leaders reviewed the history of belief in angels throughout ancient and modern times. The Zoroastrians, Mesopotamians, Greeks and Vikings all had traditions of angels. Muhammad, Joseph Smith (of Mormon fame) and Swedenborg claimed angelic contacts. Martin Luther, John Calvin, Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), and all modern popes paid tribute to seraphic ministry. Poets Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton wove angel themes into their epic works.
A few of the hundreds of Old and New Testament mentions of angels were cited, including angelic appearances during Jesus' and apostolic ministries. Hebrew and Christian traditions were emphasized.
Of the vast host of ministering spirits described in The Urantia Book, just four groups of seraphim were selected for study during the six-hour program: guardian seraphim, transport seraphim, the master seraphim of planetary supervision (the "angels of the churches," "angels of progress," etc.), and archangels. The vital role played by the guardian angel during mortal life, at death and after survival, was the primary concern.
Carolyn Kendall coordinated the presentation and Marilynn Kulieke arranged the refreshments and luncheon.
READERS ENJOY '97 SUMMER SEMINAR
IN THE GREAT NORTHWEST
Mighty Messenger, Summer 1997
By Marvin Gawryn
Approximately 310 people from all over North America and as far away as Mexico City and Hungary gathered in Vancouver for the Fellowship's 1997 Summer Seminar. Local readers worked closely with the Education Committee to develop a program of plenaries and study groups in the mornings, varied workshops and reversion activities in the afternoons, and worship and entertainment in the evenings. For the first time Fellowship and IUA members worked side by side putting on a large conference, a practice which hopefully can continue in the years ahead.
Both preconference retreats were well attended. Participants in the Artist's Retreat are following up with plans for a future conference on creativity and spiritual living. The Spiritual Contemplative Retreat, ever a favorite, seems to be evolving into a regular part of our annual gatherings. The children and teen programs were well developed and continue to evolve; our children are forming deep friendships (e-mail lines are buzzing), sharing their interests in The Urantia Book, and seem eager to attend upcoming conferences. The afternoon workshops offered a rich and varied menu of choices.
While every part of the conference contributed to the quality of the whole, a number of program elements sparked strong responses from participants. Rebecca Kantor's plenary talk on Religion was particularly evocative, challenging us to look closely at what factors contribute to success and failure in organized religious efforts. Sequoyah Trueblood's Native American worship service was a powerful blend of personal story, tribal lore, and participative prayer and ritual, woven throughout with themes from The Urantia Book. Sequoyah, recognized by many tribes in North America as an elder spiritual leader, is a committed reader of The Urantia Book and shares it with many in his world-wide travels. As regards fun and frolic, there was lots of it; the huge Aquatic Center pool and the Saturday night Cajun dance were highly ranked by revelers of all ages. And the many forest and beach paths offered satisfying surroundings for stretching the body, clearing the mind, and nourishing the soul.
Participants all seemed to agree that Vancouver is a great location to return to for IC 99.
On June 10, 1997 the Ninth District Appeals Court reversed a lower court ruling and affirmed the validity of Urantia Foundation's copyright in The Urantia Book. Consequently, all sales of the Uversa Press edition have been suspended. Discounted copies of Urantia Foundation's editions may be ordered by calling Good Cheer at (303) 581-0456. The Urantia Book is also available in bookstores and can be obtained directly from Urantia Foundation at (773) 525-3319.
GAY & LESBIAN Urantia BOOK READERS
ASSOCIATION NOW FORMING
Readers from the gay and lesbian community are invited to join The Gay and Lesbian Urantia Book Readers Association (GLUBRA), announced Nick Curto, a member of the New York City study group and member of the Society of Greater New York. "It's important that my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who are readers of The Urantia Book know each other and share our unique perspectives with each other," Nick stated. "I want to develop a newsletter, with the help of volunteers, containing articles, poetry, news, music, etc., so that we can all share the beauty of the fifth revelation from our point of view," he continued. Besides new members, the group's wish list includes: writers, artists, designers, web site designers, photographers, poets, musicians, reporters, and funding.
If you are interested in more information, please write to Nick Curto, PO Box 387, New York, NY 10028, or fax: 212-289-1741.
INSIDE THE TDA
By David Elders
Every three years elected representatives from the Fellowship's Societies gather together to elect the new class of General Councilors, that group of 36 people who function as The Fellowship's policy-making body. Typically, 12 new Councilors are elected for 9-year terms at each TDA, but often, due to resignations and the like, more are elected. The idea is to refresh the leadership with new personalities, new energy, fresh ideas, and thoughtful creativity to blend with the remaining experienced people.
Although I have been involved in our organization since the early 1970s, I had never served as a Delegate or Alternate to this Assembly. During the 70's most of the members of the Council were from Chicago and had been holding those seats for some time. I suspect that when the large group of eager new readers of which I was a member descended on the midwest clamoring for a piece of the action, many of the old-timers had the sense that "there goes the neighborhood!" Sort of like the Havona natives must have felt when Grandfanda first arrived from Superuniverse One.
In those days it took a lot of pre-TDA politicking to develop a plan to wrest control from those Councilors who had become rooted to their chairs on the Council. The process was characterized by late-night caucuses, lengthy phone calls (no e-mail then), power struggles between various groups, closed doors, secret conversations, etc. Looking back, while it seemed necessary at the time, it is hard to justify now—especially because it was clear that the inside group, against whom we were struggling, were up to the same activities, something we readily accused them of. While it may have looked a bit like how the U.S. government looks from time to time, it was clearly not the best expression of an open, democratic process. The fact that it worked to break the logjam of the vested interests of that time somehow doesn't seem sufficient justification.
So, as the time for this TDA approached, I didn't quite know what to expect. Well, it wasn't at all like those earlier days. The people who gathered this year were serious about doing an open, honest job—and they did. The air was filled with commitment, mutual respect, and the assumption of responsibility to elect people who would contribute to helping The Fellowship achieve its planetary mission on behalf of this revelation. There was the clear sense that even though we were staffing a body that would need to deal with temporal, often material issues, our mission was higher and broader than that and deserved the very best people we could find.
Finally, despite all of the seriousness of the work and dedication to the task, there was rare good humor and a spirit of cooperation. Some of us will not soon forget:
1. The inadvertent, humorous, and repeated miscounting of our ballots (which, while it did no harm, one would have considered non-habit-forming);
2.The "moved and seconded" artistry of an attending sister and brother team of Delegates coupled with a paucity of seconds for several other resolutions; and,
3. Last, but not least, the failed effort to reintroduce a proposal for direct society representation on the General Council, coupled with its proponents' friendly acceptance of its defeat.
I, for one, feel blessed to have had the opportunity to serve on this TDA with the high-quality, dedicated, and caring souls who served as well. Indeed, it was an uplifting experience that bodes well for the future.
MARIAN T. ROWLEY (1901–1997)
Marian Rowley joined the Forum in January 1939 at the invitation of her boss, advertising executive Clyde Bedell. She believed in the authenticity of the Papers from the outset, declaring, "I was a pushover."
Marian performed many roles in Urantia Brotherhood (predecessor of The Fellowship). In 1955 she was among the original 36 General Councilors and remained on the Council for 30 years. For most of that time she was Secretary-General, but switched to the office of Secretary for a period. She was a member of the Education Committee for 11 years, helping to produce all Brotherhood School textbooks. When First Urantia Society formed in 1956, Marian was a charter member, later serving as president.
Never married, Marian devoted her life to the Brotherhood. In the 10 years following publication she volunteered weekends and evenings at headquarters while employed full time as executive secretary at Pure Oil Company. She was noted for well crafted letters to new readers. Marian always urged them to start study groups and to "stick to The Urantia Book." After "retiring" in 1966, she continued as full-time unpaid worker at the Brotherhood for the next 23 years.
Marian Rowley was a compelling teacher whose expertise was founded on research and a broad knowledge of the book. Conversant with the many orders of beings, it was jokingly speculated that she had lunch with them daily. Marian's oft-repeated topics were: "Life on the Mansion Worlds and Jerusem," "What Makes Urantia Unique?", and "The Lives We Live." Major papers prepared for the Seventy included "Methods of Teaching The Urantia Book" and "The Story of Joe" (unpublished), which projected the ascendant career of an ordinary man from Urantia.
Marian was born and grew up in upstate New York. She attended Wells College and business colleges. In 1989 Marian retired again, to Wesley Manor in Frankfort, Indiana. Her encyclopedic memory for names, dates and events remained intact well into her 90s. She died July 14th at age 95.
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Janet Farrington Graham
When Peter declared that Jesus was the Son of the living God, Jesus replied: "Upon this rock of spiritual reality will I build the living temple of spiritual fellowship in the eternal realities of my Father's kingdom." This is the foundation upon which the fourth epochal revelation stands. Those of us dedicated to the fifth epochal revelation also talk of building spiritual community, of manifesting the revealed truth of cosmic citizenship in our work together.
Our collective desire to build the revelation community is the common ground upon which every reader can comfortably stand. And diversity is our strength, the foundation upon which the fifth epochal revelation depends: every one of us is a unique child of the living God, a cosmic citizen.
How do we build community among unique individuals? How do we acquire enough wisdom to move from the security of uniformity towards the light of spiritual unity? We work together; we commit our lives, our time, our wages; we embrace the whole while seeking to understand each part. We work to build a community so fragrant with the fruits of the spirit, so infused with love, that others with unique minds just awakening to the revelation will eagerly seek communion with us.
We have a great amount of work ahead. Our community consists of isolated individuals, small study groups, and marginally active societies; our family of believers consists of brothers and sisters struggling to raise children, grow relationships, and live spirit-motivated lives. We stand at the crossroads and look to the future; we hold a vision—every one of us—of a strong and loving revelation community. Working together is the only way we can bring this collective vision to life.
In the months ahead those of us elected to guide the Fellowship will be making plans for growth, seeking hands and minds willing to build, asking again for the essential funds. We must diversify our resource base, embrace the broadest possible spectrum of readers, and continue to build a community devoted to bringing the fifth epochal revelation to life—the living temple of spiritual fellowship among cosmic citizens.
We need the help of every member; we need you.
In loving fellowship,
Janet Farrington Graham
TDA ELECTS EIGHT NEW COUNCILORS
Executive Committee Reconstituted
Eight new General Councilors were elected by the Triennial Delegate Assembly on July 10th in Vancouver. New GC members are:
Seven General Councilors were re-elected, bringing the total elected by the TDA to 15:
In addition to the usual 12 9-year seats, 2 were for 6 years and 1 was for 3 years.
Following the TDA, the General Council elected the officers and committee chairs who constitute the 14-member Executive Committee. Officers are:
Committees and their chairs are:
UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE
By Gard Jameson
On June 23rd, 200 delegates from established world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism) and from both newer spiritual movements and aboriginal traditions gathered together at Stanford University. The purpose of the gathering was to consider moving toward the charter of a "United Religions" organization in the year 2000 that would begin, in the words of the initiative's organizer, Episcopal Bishop William Swig, to tap the "untapped solidarity among religions" in relation to the major issue of peace on our planet. With a focus on that value, the delegates will research and develop in 1997/1998 questions of common mission, agenda, organizational design, and building world-wide commitment.
The diversity of perspective ranged from the Buddhist leader of Cambodia, Mahaghosamanda, to Neale Walsch, author of Conversations with God, from Moumi Lea, Kahuna Mui (head priestess of the Hawaiian religion) to Phillip Lane, Chief of the Dakota Nation of Indians. Also in attendance were Peter Laurence, Bettina Gray and Gard Jameson, representing the North American Interfaith Network. A clear sense of focus, direction and excitement was evident by the last day of the conference. The delegates will assemble again annually until the development of the charter is complete, hopefully in the year 2000.
A proposal was made to seek for a 24-hour religious cease-fire on December 31, 1999, to initiate the year of the charter. In the words of Catholic theologian, Hans Kung, "Not until there is peace between the religions will there be peace on the planet." The United Religions Initiative (URI) is the first globally comprehensive effort on the part of the religious traditions to press inwardly, through our spiritual disciplines, and outwardly for such a lasting peace.