From 2007 Autumn Arena – New Zealand Corner
Neville Twist has replaced Ian Campbell as New Zealand’s representative on ANZURA. Ian replaced Marion Steward when her term expired last year, but he accepted a position in the UK earlier this year, and the Kiwis decided to appoint Neville in his place. Neville writes that a study group hosted by his wife Trish and himself in December attracted two new readers. It was a great success, but they have not followed up yet.
Neville is in the process of updating listed contacts in New Zealand in preparation for the annual study day in June.
From 2007 Winter Arena – New Zealand Corner
From 2007 Summer Arena – New Zealand Corner
Reflections on the Melbourne Conference
Once again I made my annual trek across the ditch (that’s the Tasman Sea to us Kiwis) to spend a weekend communing with fellow readers, and, once again, it was a very worth-while and spiritually enriching experience. The venue was very well placed, and the glass wall in the chapel was amazing — so easy to worship the Fa-ther while gazing at a part of his wonderful creation. The theme, the Book and I, led to some deeply personal and moving stories of the journeys people have made on their search for spiritual truth. As I write this, more than one month later, three things in particular remain very vivid in my memory :
- the amazing display of paintings of Michael with children that Robert showed us in his presentation on the FreeSchools – while the product of many artists’ imaginations, they were all truly beautiful and I think accurately captured the love and care felt by Michael towards all his children. Not so long ago here in New Zealand, we had the sad spectacle of fervent Christians marching in the streets protesting against a Bill in Parliament that proposed to make physical punishment of children by their parents illegal. I wonder what the effect might have been if they could have seen these paintings and thought about how Jesus treated children in his time here on Earth.
- the inspiring story shared by Julian about his time with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and what trials he had to undergo in his unflinching search for the truth. That was a very special experience for us all. • walking the labyrinth — this was very interesting, and gave a whole new dimension to the idea of a walking meditation — ever coming to Cross-roads, and coming nearer to God at the centre then moving out again. I loved the deep symbol-ism of it all, so reflective of life’s journey for us all.
Prison placement program bears fruit
Several years ago, one of our readers undertook to place a Urantia Book in all the prisons in New Zealand, as part of the Foundation Prison Placement Program. In one prison in particular, this attracted the interest of several inmates, one of whom has bought at least 10 books to share with his fellow prisoners and, since his release, with family and friends. Recently, one of these new readers, recently released, came to visit me and to buy several books. I was not expecting him — he knocked on the door one Saturday morning and said “I’ve been reading your book”. I had to tell him it wasn’t my book but I opened the door straight away —Urantia Book readers are always welcome! He shared his story with me — he had been a drug dealer for over 40 years, and finding The Urantia Book had finally persuaded him to try and change his life. He was very aware that it was not going to be easy – changing such a long life habit was going to take huge commitment, with no guarantee of success. He said that he prayed often, and was reason-ably confident that he could do it. It was a very interesting encounter, and hopefully he will remain on his new path.