Farewell Mark Bloomfield

Urantia lost yet another outstanding individual recently. Mark Bloomfield, just 54, died of injuries after a tragic incident in Swansea, Wales. The matter is still under investigation with the police.

The BBC News reported:

A charity worker who worked with Mother Teresa in India has died after an alleged attack in Swansea. Mark Bloomfield, 54, died on Saturday after he was found injured in High Street in the city centre last Thursday. A man has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm. The family of Mr Bloomfield, originally from Stratford Upon Avon, paid tribute to his charity work across the world saying he “had built a legacy”. They said that as a special assistant to Mother Teresa in Calcutta, he was an essential contributor to her mission.

Mark was a Field Representative of Urantia Foundation in the late 90’s early 2000’s. He was highly skilled in placing Urantia Books in public libraries, seminaries, universities and other places of learning. He was renowned in The Urantia Book reader community for his extraordinary and tireless service to the revelation by personally hand-seeding around 9,000 Urantia Books throughout the world. He was particularly inspired to seed the revelation in developing countries where he’d lived and worked for many years as a humanitarian missionary. Having experienced firsthand the heart wrenching and atrocious plight of women and children, he decided to devote his life to treating the cause of the world’s problems rather than the symptoms. This extract from one of Mark’s reports sums up his reasons for being so driven to get the Urantia revelation seeded in places where innocent millions were caught up in the cycle of ignorance and poverty:

My high school history teacher used to love teaching how Greek civilization was built upon the love of asking the single word question “Why?” Let’s try it ourselves and see where it gets us.

Why…did all those terrified toddlers [in Cambodia] get their skulls smashed against that tree all those years ago?Well, because someone working for Mr. Pol Pot probably thought it was fun.

Why? And then why to that answer and so on.

By perhaps the sixth or seventh “why?” we might have reached an answer something like: “Because the world-saving and world-uplifting mission of revealed religion had essentially failed.”

“Why?”  It ceased to be effective. “Why?” Because (and this is a Urantia Book teaching) it ceased to be attractive. Let’s remember that word ‘attractive.’

Mark left a significant trail of revelation behind in India, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States. The stories he wrote in his regular reports of his journey as he travelled from city to city and country to country placing books make for fascinating reading.

Mark has been called the “Johnny Appleseed” and the “Indiana Jones” of the Urantia movement, but he liked to call himself the “chore boy” saying his favourite historical role model was the young lad John Mark who spent a whole day in the hills alone with the Master. Mark said at the end of one of his reports:

…And all this goes a long way to explain why this particular fieldworker has been doing what he’s been doing these years, for the chore boy of Jesus’ day [John Mark] has long been the nearest he has ever had to a role model.

Here’s what Mark had to say about his Burmese adventure:

Now there aren’t many libraries in Burma. With the 30 books I had with me, I was able to cover all the important bases. Foreigners are prohibited from entering university campuses so needless to say, all the universities I visited ended up as a story in itself. At Rangoon University, I finally managed to befriend the guards who eventually escorted me to the librarian. He happily accepted the book, then showed me next door to the Universities Central Library, the headquarters of the entire Burmese university library system where I had a wonderful long talk with the lady librarian, who was a devout Buddhist. We had much in common, especially the notion of universal brotherhood. At Dagon University on the edge of Rangoon, I waited at the main gate for over an hour whilst a steady stream of guards shuttled between me and the librarian relaying message after message. Eventually she came out herself to receive the books, which she did cheerfully and good naturedly. In another university, I walked straight in and just as I found the library, (which in this case was too small and specialized for the book) I was suddenly surrounded by 5 men who politely though purposefully marched me off the premises…

The FreeSchools Chapter

Mark’s other “claim-to-fame” among many Urantia Book students was his pioneering work with the development of what is now known as “FreeSchools World Literacy.” Many readers who were associated with Mark came to know about his FreeSchools work in India and were inspired to support and become involved. Here’s a bit of history of the schools’ development in the early years (taken from the FreeSchools website, see https://freeschools.org):

1997: In Motihari, Bihar, India, one of the poorest, most populated and backward parts of India, Sr. Mary Crescence, a Catholic nun of the order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, needed help to fund her dream of a free evening school, using borrowed space after hours, to educate those children too poor to access formal education. Following a chance meeting in Calcutta, Englishman Mark Bloomfield, a volunteer with Mother Teresa, provided Sr. Crescence funds to start the first school. For three years, both financial and moral support came from Mark. In 2000, Australian Dr. Robert Coenraads also became involved after visiting the school with Mark. Their joint help ensured the development of two schools and a very successful model. “School-on-a-shoestring” provided basic literacy skills to impoverished but bright and enthusiastic village children. Thanks to an introduction by Mark’s Australian friend Kathleen Swadling to Canadian Sue Tennant, Mark brought the challenge to Canada to replicate the model in both Bihar and among Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand.

Visit the FreeSchools website to read the timeline up to the present day on the incredible development of this charity which is now thriving with many schools based on the original model.

Ben Bowler, who took over Marks’ FreeSchools work in Thailand wrote:

I am shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Mark Bloomfield. It was Mark’s passionate speech in Sydney at the 2006 Urantia Association conference that sent Jildou and I to Thailand to work on FreeSchools, which forever changed our trajectory in life. The month I had “training” in Fang, Thailand with Mark was some of the most amazing days I’ve had on this planet. He was a friend and a guide and was also profoundly inspiring and has changed my life as he has changed so many through his various service initiatives all over the world. 

Our thoughts are with his family, Mark you old “so & so” I shall see you on the Mansion Worlds where no doubt there is much rabble to be roused. You are one-of-a-kind and I love you and miss you. Thank you for everything you have done for our planet and we shall do our utmost to continue your legacy of fulfilling the Fathers will. One of Mark’s great lines of wisdom: “Show me what you value, and I’ll tell you what you’re worth.” Peaceful travels Mark my brother. 🙏

2006 In Australia

Some of us will remember Mark from the 2006 Urantia Association International Conference held at the Women’s College in Sydney. Our theme was titled “Rewards of Isolation—Small Teams in Deep Waters.” Mark gave a passionate and inspiring presentation about the nature and mission of the Urantia Revelation. One aspect of his talk made a big impression on me; he disputed the “small teams in deep waters” part of our theme title by thoroughly reversing the meaning by saying, with all the power of the universe behind us how can we call ourselves that. Rather he’d prefer to think of us as “large teams in little puddles”! By emphasising the magnitude of the mission of the fifth epochal revelation, the masses of unseen celestial friends barracking for our success, and the power of our Faith we should have more confidence and courage to dare to go forth …in the sole company of TRUTH. [103:9.7. 1141.5]

Our heart-felt sympathy and prayers go to Mark’s family and to all those who knew him well and called him “friend” and “brother.” May his resurrection on the Mansion Worlds be joyous and compensate for the tragic manner of his premature departure from this world.

Here are some fond memories of Mark’s visit to Australia for the 2006 Urantia Association International Conference: