Canberra 2019 Conference Report

Mind Over Matter – Spirit Over Mind

This year’s ANZURA conference was held 27th to 30th September at the Green Hills Conference Centre, Stromlo in a gorgeous bush setting just outside of Canberra. The members of the Canberra Study Group hosted the conference and readers travelled from the various cities, towns and environs in New Zealand, ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS and SA.

The conference was a great success, and thanks to the delightful and capable Canberra crew and the team of presenters and workshop leaders, there was never a dull moment and we were treated with inspiring sessions and much food for thought.

Here is a list of the plenary session titles and their presenters:

  • Utilising Urantia Book Science – Nigel Nunn
  • Growing the Supreme – William Wentworth
  • Spirit Dominating Mind – Vern Verass
  • Spirit and Psychology – Julian McGarry
  • Spirit Aotearoa – Neville Twist
  • As the Spirit Moves You – James McGarry
  • Living with Truth – Andrew Swadling
  • The Ascension Plan – Daniel Swadling
  • Evening Slide Show – Nigel Nunn (for reference see video series at: (Choose videos Part 4, A, B & C)

Some of these presentations are published in this issue of the Arena which you’ll see as you read on, and others will be published in future issues. Some of them can be found on our website at (From the main menu go to Study/Topical Index of Study Aids (or follow this link: and look for the tag titled 2019 Conference-Canberra. There you will see the titles and the first four lines or so of each article. Click on the title to view the entire article.)

In addition to the plenary sessions we broke up into small groups for a workshop on Spirit in SocietyOvercoming Resistance which was orchestrated by Dylan Roberts. Dylan presented us with a series of questions that we discussed in the workshops, then we came to together in the larger group to share highlights of our discussions. Later we split into smaller groups again for a topical study group on Spirit Dominance.

On Saturday evening Phillip Marriott from Adelaide presented us with a very interesting presentation on Sir Hubert Wilkins, a famous Australian polar explorer, pilot and photographer who was knighted for an historic trans-Arctic crossing from Alaska to Norway in addition to his prior work in exploration. Wilkins was introduced to The Urantia Book in 1942 (prior to its publication), and after meeting Dr. William Sadler in Chicago became a member of the Forum. He became thoroughly devoted to the book and would visit Chicago between assignments to read the papers. He has been quoted as saying, “Those of us who go to the far corners of the earth cannot help but be God-conscious…. And when we travel in the lonely, desolate spaces of the polar regions we have time for contemplation. There we feel conscious of the greatness of God….” 

On Sunday evening we enjoyed a social evening with plenty of fun and laughter as we played “Celebrity Heads” where the person in the hot seat had to guess which character out of The Urantia Book was written on his or her headband. This photo says it all:

As usual we held ANZURA’s AGM during free time on Sunday afternoon. The usual business matters were discussed and elections for Vice President and Treasurer were held. Ian Campbell from New Zealand was elected as Vice President and Daniel Swadling from Sydney as Treasurer. Julian McGarry continues as President and Graeme Chapman as Secretary. Susan Hemmingsen replaced Damian Hall as the New Zealand Representative. Next year’s conference in Auckland New Zealand was discussed and it was reported that plans are well underway (read more on that in this issue or on our website at Phillip Marriott from Adelaide volunteered himself and other members of his study group to host the 2021 conference in South Australia. Stay tuned for more details on that one—this is exciting news as it will be the first time a conference will have been held in South Australia.

Thank you to the members of the Canberra study group and all those who made this year’s conference such a meaningful and enjoyable event.

Enjoy this photo gallery of some shots taken at the conference:

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