Welcome Urantia Book readers in Texas!
Published by the Lone Star UA for its members
November, 2006 --------------------------------------Volume 14 Number 11
These updates are for readers/believers in the Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi region by LSUA. They are a compilation of information and news related to Urantia Association International activities and projects. UAI is a fraternal organization, its mission is to foster study and disseminate the supernal teachings found in The Urantia Book.
- UAI Strategic Plan - Phase One ~ Summary of October's Meeting
- Thanks for (some) Dues!
- Local Contacts and Welcome to New Members/Readers
- UAI Journal Leads with Lone Star Member's Essay
- Announcing the November Edition of TIDINGS Magazine
- International Service Board Nominations Announcement
- Report on the Eden Project ~ Searching for the Sunken Garden
- LINKS TO UAI WEBSITES, READER CONTACT INFORMATION
1. Last month the second long-term strategy meeting took place at Urantia Foundation in Chicago. The first meeting, in March '06, established the Strategy Committee and set the stage to begin a plan.
October's meeting examined where exactly the UAI stands. Some interesting and revealing facts emerged about our organization. Almost four years after its start UAI has a firm beginning, and there is much to do.
Thirteen UAI leaders attended, as did Trustees and Foundation staff (who are also UAI members). They chose the quote, "teaching friendship with God" as their guiding thought. The following is a report from UAI's President:
Dear Members and friends of UAI,
During the year 2007, the ISB and a few active members belonging to different associations meet in Chicago to work on a strategic plan that would steer UAI in its far reaching mission. You will see in this second summary that we are only at phase 1 of this very important plan. We hope that once you have acquainted yourself with its spirit, you will join us in its implementation.
For the Spanish speaking membership, Olga Lopez from Spain has accepted to serve as representative of the Committee for the strategic planning. She will translate and relay any information that relates to the strategic plan when it is released. If there are any members in other community that would like to serve in such a position, please let me know.
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2006
Teaching friendship with God
Strategic Plan – Phase One
During the first phase of the plan a majority of the members of the International Service Board [UAI central administration] accompanied by four other participants, met in Chicago . To date, two meetings have been arranged to lay the foundation for the strategic plan and to engage the process to launch phase one. Out of those two working sessions that lasted whole weekends, many ideas were explored, consensus was reached, decisions were made and resolutions were passed.
It was during our second session that the idea of this group as an acting committee took substance, that this group of people would elaborate and supervise the implementation of all phases of the strategic plan to engage UAI in its mission. We all agreed that our goal is:
To promote, create and support study groups while encouraging the emergence of leaders and teachers in the area of study groups, workshops, conferences, dissemination activities and/or any other relevant projects.
This committee falls under the supervision of the ISB and is chaired by the president of UAI.
The first task of the committee was to find a motto that would respond fully to our mission while being attractive to the membership and readers alike. After a period of soul searching a simple phrase emerged – “Teaching Friendship with God”. You will find this phrase pronounced by Jesus in The Urantia Book, paper 159, Decapolis tour, and section 3. ‘Instruction for Teachers and Believers’ - p.1765.
A resolution was passed by the ISB to adopt this motto as the spirit _expression for our mission. This same resolution will be presented with a series of others to the RC for adoption. (It was decided that all resolutions pertinent to our mission and as regards our strategic plan would be presented in block to the RC so as to maintain coherence and simplicity.)
Establishing the goals of all areas that support the mission was the second task that the committee addressed. These areas affect the welfare of the grassroots organisation on which the success of our mission depends. Like any other decisions, we needed consensus to approach a solution that would respect the autonomy of each association. We also needed to explore individually how those decisions would affect the membership and our relation to it. We agreed that the success of our mission would require many necessary changes in the way we organise ourselves and our ability to achieve cooperation at all levels.
We identified a number of areas that need goals and strategies to accomplish our mission. These areas encompass every aspect of our organisation: dissemination; study groups; communication; conferences and workshops; membership; finance; administration; training seminars and study tools.
In essence, every association needs to take responsibility for the mission of The Urantia Book in their local area. We encourage leaders and members alike to realise and understand that they are the only ones in their local communities and regions who are able to take actions that will contribute to the success of our mission. They need to rely on their own resources to acquire autonomy. While UAI central office can provide tools, books and funds for certain activities, the leaders need to create the means by which their associations can attain financial autonomy and even contribute to the support of the central administration.
Whilst we have to act like The Urantia Book was given to our country and under our watch care, we should also maintain focus on the international arena and coordinate our efforts of dissemination. Team work is essential to growth and success.
Before establishing any goals, we needed to make an assessment of the present situation of UAI. The only tool available to us to make such an assessment was the UAI universal database and our anecdotal knowledge of the present situation. I would like to share with you some of the assessments in order for you to comprehend the immense task that lies ahead of us. Whilst the figures I present to you are not completely accurate as they are a reflection of a database yet-to-be regularly maintained by every local association, they are a good estimate. They provide a general picture of where we are, and should give an appreciation of the work ahead of us.
Number of local associations: ………………………. 46
Number of active associations: ……………………... 34
Number of inactive association: …………………….. 12
Number of association using the database: ………. 22
Number of association not using the database: …... 24
Associations with study groups: ……………………. 27
Associations without study groups: ………………… 19
Number of study groups: ……………………………. 85
Participants in study groups: ………………………... 306
Associations with membership fees: ……………….. 8
Associations without membership fees: …………… 38
Associations with a newsletter: ……………………... 10 (estimate)
Associations that send the Journal by mail: ………. 6 (estimate)
As you can see, the picture that is depicted here is not all rosy. Most of the local associations are far from being autonomous and depend largely on their national or international office to function adequately. We determined that for an association to be healthy and help contribute to the work of the mission, it would need to focus on certain essential elements:
1- Membership fees: financial autonomy
2- Communication method: The Journal and/or Newsletter (Tidings or similar)
3- Active study group(s)
4- Regular workshops and mini-conferences: training of leaders and teachers
5- Dissemination activities: for example, public and school libraries
6- Regular board meeting: at least every two months
7- Regular use and updating of the UAI database
8- A strategic plan
Study Group Goals
We wanted to make these achievable goals, not only in number but in quality. The time factor is important and has been set for a period of five years.
Double the amount of study groups in the next five years [actual 85, projected 170]. For those association currently without any area study groups, at least 1 functioning study group within the next 5 years.
Create a listing of all study groups to assist with referrals: (within 1 year)
One responsible person per association for study group referrals: (within 1 year)
Redefining/clarifying study groups functions and criteria: (within 1 year)
Every local or national association to distribute the UAI Journal and Tidings to their members, in electronic or paper format: (within 3 years).
Two mailings (postal) per year to all the members of UAI to report on current activities and work in progress: (within 3 years)
One monthly electronic letter by the president to inform members of the work of the ISB and the RC: (within 1 year)
Welcome packet for new members: (within 1 year)
Pamphlets and brochures for new readers about UAI and The Urantia Book: (within 1 year)
Membership Fees (and Financial stability) Goals
A resolution was passed by the ISB to be adopted by the RC that will encourage leaders to implement some form of membership fees according to their resources. Without financial means, associations are helpless in conducting the necessary actions to encourage the emergence and training of leaders and teachers. They also need financial resources for their dissemination and communication efforts. Time frame – 3 years.
While the central office of UAI will continue to encourage and support newly chartered associations, older associations will have to develop the means to purvey to their own financial welfare for their local activities. We need to change the way we think and begin to ask what we can do for this mission – the sooner the better. We must remember that this is a ‘grass roots' organisation.
Whilst for some, money might be a problem; there are plenty of ways to gather what is needed at the local level when the desire to do something is strong enough. I am sure that a lot of members could share with the rest of the membership different ways they have found to finance their activities.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we did not engage in the development of strategies to attain these goals. We have agreed to meet again at the end of February 2007 to continue our work. In the meantime, every member of this strategic planning committee has been asked to continue this work on their own until our next meeting. I myself plan to meet with a few members of my local association and work to elaborate a local strategic plan in harmony with the international level that could be used as a model for other associations.
I also plan to meet with other members of the committee for the strategic planning to further the work now in progress and prepare for our next meeting.
There is some talk of creating a school to train leaders and teachers. This school would be independent of any organisation and would cater to all of them. Its role would be to provide courses to improve teaching and leadership abilities. It would bring together the best teachers there are in any organisation to teach the ones among us who take this mission seriously and want to become better at disseminating the teachings of the Urantia Book.
Whilst a school of such nature is fully desirable, study groups, workshops and conferences still remain the learning foundations and provide the steps to get there. At future national and international conferences, the focus will be on our mission and workshops will be made available to enhance the experience of study groups and give leadership training.
In the area of organisational leadership, efforts will be made to train local association board members in the art of managing a successful association. Workshops will be made available during conferences.
We encourage associations to start using the database that was created to facilitate the management of the membership. If you are a board member of your local association, and would like to know how to begin using the UAI database, please contact our secretary, Shirley Pelland at : firstname.lastname@example.org .
We also discussed the idea of creating an intranet web site that would help associations with the archiving of their board meeting minutes and reports whilst providing them with the necessary tools to create reports, minutes and financial accounting.
I hope this summary of our work will help you to begin moving in the right direction. It is a great time of changes and challenges; we have to answer to the call of Michael under whose care this Revelation finds its spirit. This is the greatest project of this millennium and we are at its beginning. Much depends on our actions; much rests on our decisions.
Will you join us in this exciting adventure? Will you answer the call of service? If yes, call your local representative and let him know that you are ready!
Teaching friendship with God
Strategic Planning Committee:
Gaetan Charland, president (chair)
Shirley Pelland, secretary
Judy Van Cleave, assistant secretary
2. The Lone Star Treasurer's office reports three members have sent in dues, THANKS! Please send your dues as soon as possible. They don't amount to much individually, but collectively, contributions become very important. Last year's dues were dispersed to the Chinese translation, reader/victims of Katrina, the UAUS National Association (used to support national and international conferences, prison placement and other projects), the LSUA Michaelmas celebration, and other Association needs.
Dues are $25 for individuals, $35 for family memberships.
Mail check to:
Lone Star Urantia Association c/o David Jaggers
3908 Lakeside Drive
Bryan, TX 77807
3. NEW CONTACTS
Welcome and a tip of the hat to new Update recipients.
Readers emerging in this region submit their names to Urantia Foundation who passes them on to UAI local Associations like ours for contact. Referrals are kept by LSUA Membership chair David Glass, and your emails are added to the Update's roster. David can give you phone numbers and eddresses for these contacts, and others in your area. Write him if you want to start or add to your Study Group, make new UB friends, or just talk to another reader: DGlass63@aol.com
There's a lone, mostly retired still avid reader in Rye, Tx who isn't internet savvy and has no others nearby, but has reached out for contact with fellow believers. If you have a few minutes, and would like to talk UB with a kindred spirit, give him a call. (Rye is north of Houston).
Tom Knight 936 685 4730.
Evenings are best until the end of the year, Tom is mall Santa til then.
Also at your service are the other officers of Lone Star Urantia Association:
President - Debra Guevara email@example.com
Vice President - Betty Tarpley firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary - Rick Guevara email@example.com
Treasurer/Editor- David Jaggers firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications - Rick Warren email@example.com
4. The Journal presents writings and essays inspired by the teachings. In this issue David Glass gives us a "Glimpse of God". Other articles span the readership and the planet. The Journal offers a glimpse of what others are thinking, learning, doing---and not doing. Here is the announcement from editor Guy Perron:
Dear members and friends of UAI
The new issue of the UAI Journal is out, fresh from the Urantia press.
In this issue, you will get a ‘Glimpse of God’ then you will find out how to improve your study of God through a ‘Study group method to enhance communication with your Indwelling Spirit’ in order to serve God better. It might start as an ‘Awkward practice’ but if you decide to stick with ‘The Master’s program’, you will succeed and always be opened to ‘Celestial opportunity’ and live more and more the spiritual brotherhood of man as many of our siblings did last summer down under, which you will relive through the ‘Personal impressions’ of our Australian sister.
The links are in the journal page:
Enjoy it... spiritually.
Warmest regards from all the TEAM of the Journal
Your brother in Spirit and loving service
Editor, UAI Journal
5. TIDINGS is an online magazine for readers created by Cathy Jones, a founder of UAI. Please accept apologies for the omission of a summary of the November edition, owing to a sick computer. Click on the links below for access to all the issues of this quality magazine created out of content from you and other UAI members all around Urantia.
6. The period for nominations to the International Service Board election is over. The positions are all uncontested, and all will be installed next March, pending the Representative Council's confirmation vote. The nominees are:
Vice-president - Merindi Swadling (Aus)
Secretary - Judy VanCleave (US)
Communication Committee Chair - Vern Varass (Aus)
Charter Committee Chair - Travis Binion (US)
Dissemination Committee Chair - Jimmy Mitchell (US)
Study group Committee Chair - Rick Lyon (incumbent)(US)
Send prayers, offer service.
Click this link to go to the Bylaws which describe the nomination and election process:
7. For readers following the search for sunken Eden, the first garden, this update from Behz might interest you:
From Behz Sarmast
Topic: The Eden Project
Published Nov 17 on UBRON:
Hope you're all well. In light of recent developments with the Eden/Atlantis project and the numerous emails asking for more information, I thought it would be good to tell you where things stand. As you can imagine, the idea that the purported wall is natural and not man-made was a big shock to everyone. However, this fact by no means takes away from the fact that we have indeed found the rectangular valley of Atlantis or the "Edenic peninsula" of Eden. We merely failed to bring back indisputable proof that we have found it, which really was a long shot anyway since we're talking about a landmass that went under some 34,000 years ago after being struck by a massive flood. Remember what Indonesia looked like after the tsunami hit it a couple of years ago; now imagine what would happen if a flood that was a hundred times stronger struck it and took it a mile under water for 34,000 years -- what would you expect to find there after that much time passes?
That analogy should help you understand the magnitude of our undertaking and the chances of bringing back irrefutable proof. We had a world-class geologist with us on the ship, Patrick Lowry (he'll be sending us an official report by next week). He is the same man who created all of our maps and 3d models for the last six years. He was instrumental in helping us get a solid answer. We used what's called a sub-bottom profiler which can penetrate silt and look up to 100 feet under the seafloor. It was the world's very best technology and it took me six months to put the whole thing together. The results are conclusive, the purported wall is natural. The ridge was pushed up through time and it's some kind of fault or fissure. I've shown that image to many many specialists and at least 75% have told me that it looks man-made, that it looks like nothing they've ever seen natural under water. I chose that hill some six years ago as the most likely spot, based on the info in the UB. That was later confirmed even further by Plato's descriptions which pointed out a "low mountain" about 3 miles in diameter, right in the middle of the rectangular valley which faced south, and at a distance of 7 miles from the sea. All of this matched. There was no hill to look at other than this particular one. I put the coordinates of it in the book and published it as the most likely spot.
A year later we got better and newer data that allowed us to map higher resolution maps of the area, and that's when we first saw the hill up-close. We were absolutely shocked to find a flat summit with two rivers coming down to meet a canal halfway down the hill, and then continuing down to meet the extremities of a walled canal at the base of the hill which was 1.5 miles away from the summit. It was a shock because these anomalies that turned up on this higher resolution map were an EXACT match with Plato's description of the Acropolis Hill (Central Sector). The odds of this being coincidental are just out of the ball park. I want to repeat that our latest research in no way discounts the idea that the Garden has been found. We learned several things with the data just acquired. We learned that the ridge is not man-made, but we also learned that the whole hillside had "slumped" to create that extremely unusual geological feature, and that it had happened a very long time ago, way before humans were around. This means that when the Garden was inhabited, these features were already there which of course means that it would have been a very coveted location. It would create a ready-made and ideal location that would provide safety (hill to the back, rivers/walls to either side, and a wall at the base of the hill) and irrigation. With just a little bit of work, they could have made it an ideal home for thousands of people. I believe this was the case; it's just that we can't prove it because even if they had dug canals at the inside of the ridge or tunneled through it etc., the silting through the ages this area has been underwater would have completely eradicated any signs of it .
At this point we have exhausted the technological means in proving our case except for one. A "core sample" of the seafloor in the area would provide indisputable proof about the last time it was above water. If it was above water 35,000 years ago, the core sample would show it. Technology is constantly improving in underwater research and this research will continue practically despite our efforts. Another very positive effect of this last expedition was that I can finally take my focus off of it for now and continue to look at the rest of the valley. The sub-bottom profiler data that we acquired is quite valuable to scientists and I'm currently trying to trade it with them in exchange for the rest of the high resolution data for the area, so we can look at the whole Edenic peninsula with great clarity, including the "neck." This is where the walls to the Garden were located and it's close to the Syrian shore.
Who knows what else can be found. We'll be studying the data just acquired for the next several weeks and it's still too early to close the case. Knowing the lines along which my own mind often runs, and seeing how it's already moving on to the next phase, I really doubt our research is coming to an end. This if far from over.
In the meantime, there'll be a great documentary about the expedition this January on the History Channel. I'll keep you updated.
8. LINKS TO UAI WEBSITES:
Websites offering information, study and contact for all levels of our organization are abundant. Starting at the Local level is the Lone Star website where Study Groups are listed, newsletters are archived and many other items concerning LSUA, UAUS and UAI. Submit your items to one of the governing board members for inclusion on the site.
These are LSUA Local Officers contacts:
President - Debra Guevara
Vice President - Betty Tarpley
Secretary - Rick Guevara
Treasurer/Editor - David Jaggers
Communications/Editor - Rick Warren
This link below will take you to the National level where there are photos, UB inspired music and art reviews, and yet other germane info for readers:
At the international level, you will find the Charter and Bylaws, UAI projects involving study and dissemination, event information, membership requirements, and many, many other items of interest to members.
Newsletters from other Associations around the planet can be found here:
Most of these sites have links to yet other sites associated with study and dissemination activities. To view all the Association's links, go to:
If you would like to join UAI and participate in its mission to foster study and disseminate the teachings, there are several options for application on the UAI website's membership page:
If you want to know or show the sort of projects UAI is involved in, please go to the UAI Projects Page:
Rick Warren, firstname.lastname@example.org