From the President – Autumn 2016
With last year’s annual conference now well behind us, the next regular event will be the Annual Study Day scheduled for 28th May. Since this event was internationalised it has become quite popular, and further information about the paper to be studied by allparticipating groups is included in this issue.
Plans are well underway for this year’s 2016 annual conference in Tasmania which is being hosted by the Hobart study group. The theme will be Equipped to be Teachers of the Religion of Jesus – Are you Willing? Are you Ready? Further details and a registration form are included in this issue.I hope many of you can make it along.
You will find more of the presentations from last year’s Sydney conference included in this issue.
Recently, Gaetan Charland, previous President of Urantia Association International and now Chair of the Study Group committee on the International Service Board, has begun the formation of his committee to foster study groups, and has asked for volunteers from ANZURA affiliated groups. ANZURA Vice President Neville Twist, New Zealand Representative Ian Campbell from the Auckland study group and ANZURA Secretary Phillip Marriott from the Sydney group have agreed to serve. They will keep us informed of their activities. I hope more inter-study group contact may be stimulated by their work.
Gaetan also requested that all study groups check their registration details with the Study Group Directory to make sure they are up to date. I updated the Canberra details, as we are now meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. If you run a Urantia Book study group please be sure to add the details of your group to this Directory so others may find you. It can be found at http://urantiastudygroup.org.
Neville Twist and I are ex officio members of Urantia Association’s Representative Council, and although it has been relatively quiet over the last couple of months, the result of a recent vote gave me a lesson in democratic procedure, courtesy of Alain Cyr from Canada. A motion had been moved by Alain and seconded by me about membership of committees, the vote was taken and the motion defeated. Alain analysed the voting record and discovered that the percentage of votes in favour was listed as 47.1%. As a minimum of 60% is required to carry the proposition, the vote was lost. Alain’s analysis pointed out that the figure of 47.1% had been obtained by including abstentions of 17.6% in the base from which the proportion was calculated. If the abstentions had not been included the proportion in favour would have been 57.14%, still a loss, but much closer than 47.1%. Upon enquiry about this procedure it was agreed that the base should be the votes cast, and that abstentions should be excluded. So a failed motion has cleared up some confusion in vote counting. Thanks Alain.
Congratulations to the editorial team for another outstanding issue. Enjoy your reading!
President’s Report—Winter 2016
We do seem to be in “interesting times”. With Britain leaving the European Union, unprecedented peculiarities in US elections, widespread migration of people in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and West Asia, there seems to be more uncertainty than we’ve become accustomed in the last couple of decades. Christianity seems to be in crisis in Europe, while its focus shifts to Africa and Latin America. Islam is taking a more militant stance, brushing against Buddhists and Hindus as well as Christians and Jews. “ But human affairs on the worlds of time and space do not run smoothly for long.” Paper 128.5.7 Page 1414.5.
I imagine that I am not alone among readers in wondering whether the Most Highs are tweaking our political systems, or whether we are just witnessing one of those periodic readjustments of affairs which our social evolution forces upon us. The revelators do point out that times of uncertainty are also times of great opportunity, illustrating that fact by recounting the state of affairs in the Roman Empire and the Middle East in the decades before Jesus’ appearance. As they did then, I am confident that the super-human administrators of Urantia are making use of our current situation to evolve us further towards light and life. Who knows what that means for us in the meantime, whether great events unfold in our lifetimes or not, but our curiosity is certainly aroused and our co-operation called for.
International Study Day took place in May, when study groups from round the world read Paper 170—The Kingdom of Heaven. Reports from some of the participants can be found in this issue. International Study Day is ANZURA’s attempt to reach out to readers on other continents and we hope to continue it in future years.
Julian McGarry and the Hobart Study Group have organised the ANZURA conference for this year at Blackmans Bay just south of Hobart. This is a beautiful site, and the Maryknoll Retreat Centre provides excellent facilities. Julian and his team have put together an inspiring program and we look forward to meeting up with one another once again. Further information can be found in this issue if you have not yet registered.
ANZURA representatives on the Representative Council of UAI, Neville Twist and I, have not been very busy, as the work of the Council has been fairly routine for the last few months. We have been called upon to vote for a few procedural items, but there was no disagreement and the votes were unanimous. One particular item of note was the admission of Malawi as a national association under the presidency of Grevet Moyo. This constitutes another milestone in the spread of the revelation under the auspices of UAI, and readers in Malawi are to be congratulated on the formation of their association.
One of the highlights of the last few months was the visit to the Canberra study group by the Sydney study group last month. For our June meeting in Canberra, a couple of members of the Sydney group joined in, and we had a most enjoyable and productive study of Paper 83. Vern Verass was able to put Trevor and Kathleen Swadling up with his family, and we had our usual meeting with their input to add to ours. It had been our plan to have a member of the Melbourne group as well, but she was unable to come at the last minute. It adds quite a stimulus to study group meetings to have visitors from other groups, and I encourage groups to make the effort. It is well worth it.
As usual our AGM will be held at the Annual Conference. Elections for the governing board will take place then and we’ll acknowledge the new board in the next issue.
See you in Hobart.
From the President – Summer 2016
The 2016 Annual Conference is now behind us, and the Hobart Study Group did us proud. The Maryknoll Centre is an ideal venue for us with comfortable rooms, good catering and exclusive occupancy—we had the whole place to ourselves. The conference room and the nearby chapel provided what we needed for presentations and worship, and the garden and beach are handy for quiet reflection. The keynote presentation was of a high standard, setting the tone for consideration of teaching methods and attracting people to the worship of God. There was the usual lively discussion about a topic about which there are many different opinions. Altogether it was a most memorable conference, and we thank the Hobart Study Group for hosting it. Next year it is Melbourne’s turn, and planning has already begun.
The ANZURA AGM was held on Sunday afternoon of the conference. There were few matters of serious controversy, the only surprise being that we finished the meeting’s business well within the time allotted! The terms of both the President and Secretary of the association having expired, they both stood for re-election and were unopposed. The board thus remains unchanged:
President: William Wentworth Canberra
Vice-President: Nevillle Twist Auckland
Secretary: Phillip Marriott Sydney
Treasurer: Trevor Swadling Sydney
NZ Representative: Ian Campbell Auckland
This issue of Arena contains some of the content of the conference for those who were unable to attend.