President’s Report – Autumn 2015
This issue of Arena may be a good opportunity to remind ourselves that ANZURA is primarily a service organization. Our principal function is to serve readers of the Urantia Book in studying the revelation and assisting their efforts to attract others who may be interested.
While it may be true that readers are confident that the message of the Fifth Epochal Revelation will result in the eventual transformation of planetary culture, the method and timing of that transformation are beyond our current vision. As readers, our best efforts are limited to the slow person to person dissemination of the knowledge of the revelation and the deepening of our personal understanding of its message.
To this end ANZURA helps readers to find other readers, organises an annual conference of readers, publishes this newsletter, maintains the ANZURA website, supports study groups and participates with other reader groups from around the world in various activities from time to time.
Following the outstanding conference last year in Auckland, this year the annual conference is being hosted by the Sydney Study Group at Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches in October. Planning is well advanced and the Sydney group can be relied upon for an informative and enjoyable program. Further information can be found in this issue. It is of interest that the Hobart Study Group has recently been joined by some new members associated with “The Christ Experiment”, and we hope to meet them in Narrabeen in October.
The annual study day has yet to be finalised, but it usually takes place in May with the aim of having study groups from around the world studying the same paper and submitting their comments for publication in the succeeding issue of Arena. Further information is to be announced.
The Representative Council of our affiliate UAI has not been very active over the period since our last issue. A budget for the current year has been accepted, some new members have been elected to the International Service Board to replace those whose terms expired and regular WebEx consultations have been held. Of interest to ANZURA members is that Kathleen Swadling is the new Communications chair. Thanks are due to Bernie Belarski whose term as Dissemination Chair has finished, and to Vern Verass who ended his term as Communications Chair but is still in the process of designing a new logo for Urantia Association International.
In July the UAI triennial International Conference will be held in Quebec. This is an important event and it is to be hoped that some Australian readers will attend. The executive committee of ANZURA will take stock of our financial position, and if possible give assistance to one or several readers to travel to Canada for the conference.
The editorial group has put together an interesting issue which I feel certain will give you much to enjoy and ponder over.
From the President – Winter 15
The highlight of the last few months has undoubtedly been the International Study Day weekend of the
15th and 16th May. Reports from some of the participating groups appear in this issue. This event has been part of ANZURA’s calendar for some years now, having been initiated by Merindi Belarski who internationalised this local event which had previously proved so popular.
This year the Canberra Study Group planned to combine with the Sydney group for a joint session. Only two Canberra members were able to travel to Sydney, but they did combine with the Sydney group for a stimulating discussion of the two papers about Rodan of Alexandria.
It would be good if more joint events could be arranged, as interaction between groups aids mutual understanding and adds interest to meetings. I realise that “the tyranny of distance” is a huge inhibiting factor.
Sydney report that they are well advanced in preparation for the ANZURA Annual Conference in October at Narrabeen. See their report in this issue. It will be a great event. If you haven’t yet registered, now is as good a time as any!
I have requested that the conference committee allows enough time for us to complete the ANZURA annual general meeting, as sometimes at past conferences we have run out of time and had to defer decisions. As the annual conference is really the only opportunity for the membership to get together, it is important to allow time for members to make their points and thrash out areas of disagreement. The executive committee handles matters between AGMs and needs guidance from members at the AGM on anything controversial.
Best wishes to everyone. See you at the conference.
From the President – Summer 15
This is the first Arena since the Sydney Conference in October, so I’d like to thank the Sydney Study Group for hosting the conference. As usual, annual conference is the highlight of our year giving us opportunities for catching up with readers from far away and re-acquainting ourselves with rarely seen friends. There were readers from the four eastern states as well as guests from Finland.
The AGM produced no real surprises electing two new board members to replace Julian McGarry as Vice-President and and Rita Schaad as Treasurer, both of whose terms have expired. We are grateful for the way they served during their terms.
Trevor Swadling takes over from Rita as treasurer, a position he has held before some years ago. Neville Twist becomes the new Vice-President, and ex officio a member of the Representative Council of UAI. This means that there are now two New Zealanders on the ANZURA Board, and I don’t recall this having happened before. Ian Campbell retains the position of New Zealand Representative.
Phillip Marriott continues as secretary.
At the AGM we were reminded that we previously created the staff positions of Administrative Assistant, currently filled by Rita Schaad and Kathleen Swadling. These two perform the most of the work of keeping track of events on the calendar, collecting and collating the content of Arena, reminding the board of its responsibilities, making sure we remain within the requirements of the constitution, and in general being those we call on when we need help with the affairs of ANZURA and Urantia Association International. They have access to records going back for decades, and maintain the data base inherited from Kathleen’s experience with the old Foundation office in Sydney. They remain at the heart of the activities of ANZURA, and on your behalf I thank these two outstanding volunteers.
Finally, I noticed that the number of attendees at the conference was down a bit from previous years. The number of members in ANZURA has not been increasing. There could be all sorts of reasons for this, but we encompass only a small number of those who read the book in Australia and New Zealand.
It may be a good time to remind those readers who receive Arena of the advantages which accrue to them from membership, the enhanced understanding of the revelation which contact with other readers provides and the extra opportunities for service which result from it.