1996 – Canberra, ACT at Blackfriars Conference Centre, Watson
Common or garden variety readers, spotted at the 1996 Conference
article from Summer ARENA – December 1996
Remember – A carload of eager friends, Joy, Ysbrand, Jessika & me, on a hot October spring day, joy, and how beautiful the country was we drove through, Macquarie Pass, Robertson – the first people we met outside Blackfriars – Christopher and Bridget, the greeting we got from Nigel, Vern and oh, Clyde ready with his first challenge. The pouring rain, just when we wanted to leave for dinner, and how Val and Jess directed us twice around the roundabout, and to the opposite end of Watson – in the darkest and wettest night.
Remember – Saturday, Betty, the introduction to the conference theme – ascenders we are – in an evolutionary Arena, potential seeds, that need to experience – to actualize a universal reality – to become a unified, diversified and supreme creation like the colorful Floriade.
Remember – the trip to “The Club” under a starry sky Jeremy, Bob, Neil – next time it’s my shout… then Sunday morning, Kathy to the rescue(!) After breakfast, into a beautiful shiny day we gave thanks to our heavenly Father and remembered Jesus, our Brother and Creator and his teaching to be each other’s servant, and how gently the light touched our souls, Remember – Ruth, John, Dennis, Robert, David. Then Ken – I’ve learned more about atoms and neutrinos through your joyous explanation than I ever will again!
Remember – The music, Trevor, and the “happy hours” we’ve spent, and the getting through topics in a Forum style on Monday morning – remember the photo session in the outer court and the goodbyes – and how we can live in our corners of Urantia, and daily discern the Father’s will, and do it – and because we said goodbye – we can look forward to saying hello again – better sooner than later.
With heaps of affection and thankyous to all.
The culmination of a project undertaken a year previously by the Canberra Study Group was realized at Blackfriar’s Retreat in Canberra. With a final flurry of activity the conference kits were ready and the attendees were warmly welcomed.
The Canberra team aimed to provoke thought and discussion in presenting the theme of “Evolution”, hoping those present would come away from the conference mentally challenged and spiritually uplifted, inspired to go out and do something.
Four major presentations were made… the Historical overview by Rosemary Miners, an intriguing picture of comparison between the normal progression of events of planetary unfolding and the variation/deviation that has resulted from our chequered history;
Ken Glasziou then presented an incisively researched presentation on the revelatory nature of scientific content of the book demonstrating that human knowledge could not have been the source of this information;
The next presenter was myself and in this session, ‘Where in the World are we now,’ I endeavored to answer a few questions regarding our present status on the evolutionary ladder and predict action we as a society need to concentrate on to grow spiritually, with particular reference to genetic improvement and racial amalgamation.
Bob Sawyer then delivered the evolutionary picture from an individual perspective reminding us that as the individual grows the capacity to love others, society grows; this benign virus infects all society. One message became clear, that we ought to strive to become spiritually fragrant for others to be drawn to seek our company.
We enjoyed a final Monday morning session, which became a culmination and cross-fertilization of ideas as we discussed questions arising from the conference presentations. Various topics were aired, lively debate ensued and the group was uplifted by this opportunity to tease out some of the implications in the conference theme: “Evolution, the beat goes on”.
This opportunity for readers at large to gather together and focus on spiritually related matters has great potential to enthuse and strengthen our individual commitment regarding the unfolding of a revelation.
Now our sights are set on the future and what changes and challenges 1997 will bring. See you in Sydney, and “May your wisdom equal your zeal and your love be infectious.”
My previous and first conference was in 1992 at Elanora, Sydney. Subsequent to that conference I was moved to facilitate the inaugural Central Coast Study Group which lasted for approximately 12 months, meeting on a monthly basis and averaging 4-7 attendees. Subsequent to the 1996 conference, I found myself as secretary to ANZURA following Kathleen and Trevor Swadling’s move to Chicago, USA. Immediately following the 1996 conference again I found myself wrapped up in events which lead to the inauguration of the first Wollongong Urantia Book Study Group, which meets weekly at 6:30 pm on Thursdays.
The Canberra conference itself was so uplifting, words fail me to describe the total effect. The “Canberra Mob” did a wonderful job in making this conference a remarkable success. They all have every right to feel proud in their individual contribution to its success. Personally I feel immensely privileged to be involved with ANZURA and to serve the fostering of The Urantia Book, and any activity which results in the creation of new study groups. The Canberra conference was a unique springboard to the fostering of the “Kingdom”. I look forward to the 1997 conference to be hosted by the Sydney Study Groups.
In conclusion I ask you all to read The URANTIA Book, from page 1739 paragraph 2, to page 1740 paragraph 8.
Presentation from Ken Glasziou – on the Revelatory Status of The URANTIA Book
Presentation by Vern Verass, Canberra – Where in the World are we now
Presentation by Bob Sawyer, Waniassa – Evolution, A Historical Perspective