Canberra 2013 – Conference Report

The main highlight since the last Arena was the annual ANZURA Urantia Book Readers’ Conference, which was held in Canberra 4-7 October and was a great success.


The theme was centred on the Spirit of Truth which naturally lent to some thoughtful and inspiring exchanges. Excellent presentations were given by Julian McGarry, Esther Beaton and Nigel Nunn.




Open panel discussions were held where many could express heartfelt thoughts and experiences relating to the Spirit of Truth in their lives.

Vern Verass gave an intriguing presentation on an historical flashback of ANZURA’s conferences dating back to the first one in 1983.

Vern and Nigel took us on a tour of Urantia Association’s website and it’s associated Social Network to familiarise us with it and to show us some of the interesting features that make it easy and fun for readers to share on-line with another.

On Sunday morning Rita Schaad led us in a beautifully refreshing worship session.



And of course you can’t go to Canberra in the spring without visiting the Floriade, which we did on Sunday afternoon. The massive display of tulips, that splashed colour and splendour as far as the eye could see, provided a beautiful backdrop for the in-depth conversations held as we strolled around the park together.

Many thanks to Nigel Nunn and Vern Verass who hosted the event this year and made sure all our needs were taken care of so we could relax and enjoy a good quality long weekend together. The work undertaken by readers who put together these conferences that are so helpful in enhancing our understanding of The Urantia Book is truly priceless. Thank you all again and again.

Plans are well underway for next year’s conference which will be held in Auckland, New Zealand 3rd to 6th October 2014.
Mark your calendars for the event, and for the Aussies, start making your travel plans for a holiday to New Zealand next year!
Stay tuned for more information.

ANZURA held its AGM during the conference and elections were held for Vice President and Treasurer. Julian McGarry and Rita Schaad were elected for second terms as Vice President and Treasurer respectively.

The Board members are:

President               –       Kathleen Swadling;
Vice President      –       Julian McGarry;
Secretary                –       Merindi Belarski;
Treasurer                –       Rita Schaad
NZ Representative –     Marion Steward.

In General Business we discussed the possibility of ANZURA sponsoring someone to attend the Study Group Symposium in Chicago in 2014.
We also briefly discussed what we can do about the remaining inventory of Urantia Books. It was felt that it would be better to have them circulating in the community at large than sitting in storage in someone’s garage. It was agreed that the Strategic Planning Committee will meet early next year to formulate a plan.
Meanwhile, if anyone has ideas for gifting books, please send me an email at:

this article and more can be found in this issue of the Arena