Report on the South Pacific Conference Meeting of Readers of The Urantia Book
October 10th-14th 1988
Theme: Cultural Diversity and Spiritual Unity
I would like to give a brief outline of the events at our recent South Pacific Meeting , even though it may be hard for the words I use to convey the meaning and value of the whole experience. I’m sure everyone who participated will agree that it was an “event of a lifetime”. As Neil Francey said in his closing comments: “We’ll all find ourselves simply saying to people ‘you should have been there'” and this is so true. There’s no substitute for experience. Nevertheless I shall endeavour to summarise the week and share with you a glimpse of its value.
Day 1 – Monday was mainly filled with arrivals, reunions, registrations and generally settling in. It began with a bi t of anxiety at the Sydney airport as the plane carrying the bulk of our American friends, travelling from Cairns, was delayed due to mechanical problems. However, they arrived only one hour late and the bus, which we hired, transported a merry crew down to Robertson. Meanwhile, independent arrivals were happening throughout the morning at Ranelagh House.
This venue chosen proved to be a tremendous success. It is an old manor house which was built in the 1920 era and which can accommodate up to a hundred
guests. Everyone was impressed by the quality of the house, the rooms, the service and the food, all at a reasonable low price. Our thanks to Ian Esmore for suggesting it. It was perfect for the occasion; all our physical needs were taken good care of , which left us free to explore more important matters.
We had a brief introduction session where the basic theme of cultural diversity and spiritual unity was introduced. A brief explanation of the programme and
general goals were explained. We were hoping that by using this opportunity of getting to know readers from around the world and sharing our different cultures with one another, we would gain more of an understanding of each others’ ways which would bring us a step closer to the international union of URANTIA Book readers and the breaking down of national barriers, which is so desperately needed for a true Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God.
I feel that goal was achieved in the hearts of those who were present. The evening was passed with much socializing and the first showing of a number of videos which Berkeley Elliott brought with her. These videos (more commonly known as multi-medias) are top value and have a lot of thought, time and effort put into them by URANTIA Book readers in the United States.
Day 2 – Tuesday was the real springboard into the theme. This day was coordinated by William Wentworth who arranged with a representative of every country present, to give a presentation on their country and on events with The URANTIA Book in that country. The countries present were Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Hong Kong, France, Switzerland, England, Finland and the USA. Each presenter reflected his or her own cultural flavour, but their commitment to the revelation was unified.
The quality of the experience left an impression too deep for words and certainly sought to strengthen our bonds with all mankind. I shall leave it to William to give a more detailed summary of this day.
Day 3 – Wednesday. This was a day of leisure and relaxation. A bus took us on a tour of the surrounding district and stopped at some beautiful locations for our visitors to see what a lovely country this is. We ate a picnic lunch near a river
and drove back to Robertson early afternoon. People broke up to wander around the lovely gardens of Ranelagh House, see the animals held in a small reserve, swim or sleep.
Late afternoon was taken up with some informal study and discussion around The URANTIA Book. In the evening we had a “trivial pursuit” of The URANTIA Book. We broke into teams of 6 or 7 and attempted to answer a series of questions concerning the book. This was certainly a lot of fun and produced much witticism and side-splitting laughter. After that we had a talent night where music and poetry was shared. We were fortunate to have in our midst Urs Ruchti from Switzerland who is a concert pianist and who kindly performed for us and consequently sent our souls soaring.
Day 4 – Thursday. This was a day of thoughtful presentations and discussions by various individuals. Ken Glasziou from Queensland presented a topic on the scientific content of The URANTIA Book. This was well presented and extremely interesting.
Trevor Swadling from Sydney presented a topic on ‘survival statistics’ which gave everyone much food for thought. As Betty Glasziou commented at the end: “It has jolted us out of our complacency”. Both Ken and Trevor have prepared detailed summaries of their presentations to place in the 6-0-6 Newsletter.
The afternoon was filled with presentations by representatives of the URANTIA Brotherhood. Mary Lou Hales, a one-time Forum member, shared with us some of her experiences of the “olden days” in the URANTIA Movement. She certainly added a tone of wisdom and composure to the day. Dave Elders, the
president of the URANTIA Brotherhood gave us his philosophical viewpoint on the purpose of the URANTIA Brotherhood and the advantages of having such an organisation. He used a sketch of an upside-down triangle to support his ideas with the URANTIA Foundation and Brotherhood at the base representing
a supportive role, with the societies, study groups and individuals working their way to the top respectively. It was the most sane explanation I’ve ever heard
for the justification of an organisation and hopefully Dave will present a summary for us to include in the 6-0-6 Newsletter.
John Hales spoke on the more physical aspects of the organisation and was bombarded with many questions. Berkeley Elliott spoke briefly on the International Fellowship Committee. I’d like to mention here that the quiet, unobtrusive efforts of this wonderful woman largely (if not wholly) contributed
to the actual coming together of so many on the international scene. Humility, unpretentiousness, genuineness and a good sense of humour were outstanding features (in my opinion) of these URANTIA Brotherhood spokesmen. I think many of us felt that the organisation is a planetary one – not an American one – after this day. It will be the input from all countries concerned that will make it a truly world-wide movement.
Thursday evening was ‘foot tappin time’. An Australian bush band “Sunup” played for us and taught us many new terms such as ‘strip the willow’ ,’dosey doe’ and the heel toe polka. A good time was had by all. It was a good opportunity to work off some of the good food we’d been eating. Next morning saw many wounded bodies as unexercised calf muscles hindered some of our movements.
Day 5 – Friday. How many of us awoke this morning with saddened hearts that it was all coming to an end much too soon? But to quote a verse from a song by Paul Stookey:
“And I was wondering if you had been to the mountain
and looked at the valley below,
Had you seen all the roads tangled down in the valley?
Did you know which way to go?
For the mountain stream runs pure and clear
And I wish to my soul I could always be here.
There’s a reason for living way down in the valley,
But only the mountain knows.”
Perhaps this week was like a visit to the mountain and helped us to see more clearly which of the many tangled roads we must take while living our day to day lives in the valley.
Friday morning saw the last of the presentations. One from Chris Moseley from England on prospects for a world religion.
What a well thought out and’ excellent presentation this was. Chris has a broad general knowledge of state and religious affairs around the world, which made his talk extremely interesting and stimulating. The other presentation was by Peter Webb from W.A. on the truth in all religions. This was a very thoughtful and sincere presentation as Pete got to the guts of differentiating between facts, meanings and values. This stimulated much discussion and sharing of personal experiences.
The rest of the day was involved with photographs, preparations and farewells.
So ended a fantastic event, but one which will remain dear and true to us all forever more. This opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world committed to this fifth Epochal Revelation gives one a feeling of hope and purpose, comfort and security, faith and trust; a feeling of planetary unity and citizenship. There’s a huge task ahead of us as individuals and as members of groups. If we remain true to the highest within us and united in spirit with our fellows, I feel sure we can set this revelation on the road to success. The URANTIA Book does confidently claim that the teachings of Jesus will one day rule this very world. All epochal revelations are designed to upstep our evolutionary spiritual progress on a planetary scale, but it rests heavily on us mortals as to the degree of its success.
”United we stand, divided we fall “. Let’s stick together with this revelation so we can check or support one another as we attempt to live the truths we have gleaned from this amazing book.