President’s Report – Autumn 2018
William Wentworth , ACT
The autumn issue of Arena always mentions two important events of the coming year—the International Study Day and Annual Conference.
This year the International Study Day will be on the weekend of May 19th and 20th. The paper for study will be Paper 36—The Life Carriers. This paper contains descriptions of the seven adjutant mind spirits, those entities which form the basis for creature mind experience and constitute the foundation for the evolution of creature mind culminating in the mind of will dignity—human mind. We hope that study groups from around the world will participate, and send reports of their study to Arena for publication.
The Annual Conference this year is being hosted by members of the Brisbane Study Group. They have secured the Alexandra Park Conference Centre in Alexandra Headland on the Sunshine Coast for Friday 5th October to Monday 8th October. This is an excellent venue which held the conference in 2012, so it will be familiar to some. With mild weather, beach nearby and comfortable facilities it is an ideal spot for us to meet and consider the theme; “On the Cosmic Background”, with wide ranging discussion taken from all four parts of the book.
I’d like to make mention of an initiative of Dylan Roberts from the Canberra Study Group. Dylan has requested as many readers as possible to email him their personal reactions to The Urantia Book—what the book means to them and what they regard as its main message. Dylan plans to make an analysis of readers’ reactions to see what points are common and what differences are revealed. A dozen or so reactions have already been received and more would be welcome. Details of how to participate can be found in this issue.
Finally, it will not have escaped readers’ notice that our planet is undergoing a period of political instability, and some people have begun to question whether democratic institutions and representative government are worthwhile in this situation. Some people seem to be suggesting that as long as wealth is growing and material comfort is assured then the values by which we live are of no concern. It may be a good time to study Papers 70 and 71. Paper 70 deals with the evolution of government and its functions, while Paper 71 describes the conditions for the government of nation states, and firmly establishes the value of representative government. And it warns that any attempt to progress civilisation while negating spiritual values must fail.
I look forward to seeing you at Alexander Headland in October.
President’s Report – Winter 2018
William Wentworth, ACt
The International Study Day was held in May and there was a notable discussion generated. The Paper chosen was paper 36—The Life Carriers—and reports are published in this edition. There was extensive commentary from two American readers, Bonita Shapiro and Bradly Tharp, which took place on Urantia Association International’s (UAI) forum, and that has also been included. This is an extended in-depth discussion and is well worth following by interested readers. And of course the Australian and New Zealand groups who took part are also included.
By now everyone would know that this year’s annual conference is at the Sunshine Coast: Alexandra Headland near Mooloolaba, on 5th to 8th October. Hosted by the Brisbane Study Group, it embraces a theme melding science with the philosophy behind it and should encourage some interesting discussion. And there is always the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. It’s a great venue, and a good chance to visit sunny Queensland. The brochure is included in this issue for anyone who is still to decide.
The project undertaken by Dylan Roberts of the Canberra Study Group received 21 submissions and analysis has begun so that a report will be ready for the annual conference. Submissions vary a lot, indicating the differences in approach taken by various students of The Urantia Book. Whether statistically significant results can be obtained from so small a sample remains to be seen, but it looks like an interesting exercise, and one which may be worthwhile repeating every few years.
Canberra had a great study group on the 10th July as two members of the Sydney study group joined us to read paper 107—Origin and Nature of Thought Adjusters. We have made it a habit over the last few years of exchanging visits with the Sydney group and it really adds to the study to have the extra points of view in the discussion. It’s something I’d like to encourage other study groups to experiment with. The Canberra group will certainly return the favour.
Readers will have noticed the sudden major changes in the International scene in the last few months. The emerging pattern does seem to be very unstable and God-knowing mortals will reap the benefit of a firm spiritual anchor. Times are always uncertain, but these particular times do seem doubly so. Seeking first the kingdom of heaven remains the best approach to life.
This will be my last President’s report as my term as president expires at the AGM. My best wishes go to the next president, and my thanks to the Committee and particularly to the Administrative Officer and her assistant.
President’s Report – Summer 2018/19
Julian McGarry, Tasmania
I feel a genuine sense of privilege and honour that the ANZURA board elected me as President at our recent AGM. At the outset, I would like to acknowledge the dedicated service of the man I took over from, William Wentworth. Will was a founding member of ANZURA and over the years, he has served the association with distinction in a number of different capacities, including several stints as President. Will has been a steadying influence within the Urantia movement, particularly during times of rapid change and internal upheaval. His wisdom and deep love for the Revelation is noteworthy and much appreciated by his fellows. Will, on behalf of the membership and readership, I would like to thank you for the enormous contribution you have made to ANZURA. I personally look forward to your continuing counsel, support, and collaboration into the foreseeable future.
In case you might be interested, here are a few words about myself. My first contact with The Urantia Book was back in 1992 but I didn’t become a serious reader until 2004. I attended my first conference in 2006 at the Sydney International and have been a regular participant in our national conferences ever since. I live in Hobart Tasmania with my wife Trish and two sons, James and Hugh, whom, I am pleased to report, happily accompany me to the conferences. I am a member of the Hobart study group and I’ve had the privilege of hosting two National conferences here in Hobart.
As 2018 draws to a close, it is appropriate to reflect on the achievements of the year. Our National Study Day in May has become a regular feature on the calendar. Indeed, it has become an International Study Day as study groups around the globe synchronize their schedules so that we all study the same Paper over the same weekend. This year we studied Paper 36, The Life Carriers, and it certainly provoked some fascinating discussions both in the local groups as well as on the Association Forum.
From October 5th to 8th, we returned to the Sunshine Coast for our annual National conference, which once again was held at the Alexandra Park Conference Centre, in Alexandra Headland. I would like to thank Graeme Chapman and all his able assistants for putting on a wonderful conference. It’s a big job so thank you once again for all your efforts!
Speaking of Graeme Chapman, he was elected as our new Secretary at the AGM replacing Phillip Marriott. Congratulations to Graeme and thank you Phillip for your services on behalf of the association. Phillip and his wife are about to move to South Australia. We wish them well and hope that perhaps in the near future we will have a conference hosted by our South Australian members.
So what will the coming year bring? There is no doubt that we live in exciting and turbulent times, with change and uncertainty around every corner. The Urantia Book states this emphatically! We stand on the brink, on the cusp, of something truly momentous. Urantia is about to experience “one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment.” [Paper 195:9.2, page 2082.7] What does this mean for each of us as individuals, and what are the implications for the Urantia movement as a whole? This edition of Arena will consider these questions and more. I hope you enjoy the read!
As President, there are several areas of change that I would like to pursue. One that is often talked about is the quest to make ANZURA more inclusive. By this I mean an attempt to encourage greater participation from readers of The Urantia Book in parts of Australia and New Zealand, and indeed Oceania, who may find it difficult due to distance and cost, to attend a conference or study group. One possibility is to have online conferences via ZOOM sessions, similar to virtual study groups that function within capital cities and even across the globe. Another idea is to develop a library of conference presentations that could be accessed online by those who couldn’t for whatever reason attend the conference itself.
In closing, if you as a reader or association member have a helpful suggestion or an idea you’d like to talk over regarding ANZURA, please feel free to contact me at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a blessed holiday season, as you continue to seek the Father’s will, guided by his spirit and the spirit of his Son, the Spirit of Truth.