President’s Report – December 2019

Dear Friends and Students of The Urantia Book,

Another big year is rapidly drawing to a close. I sincerely hope that this has been a good year for you all. If not, I hope that you have been able to derive comfort and direction from the pages of this incomparable modern revelation.

Once again, ANZURA’s big event of the year, the National Conference, was a most successful and enjoyable occasion. Our brothers and sisters in Canberra did an amazing job hosting the conference, with the fascinating theme: “Mind Over Matter, Spirit Over Mind”. I would like to extend a big thank you to the whole crew! If you were unable to attend, this edition of Arena contains samples from the conference program. Next year, we are crossing the Tasman again to gather with our New Zealand friends at our National Conference in Auckland in October. More details should be available in our next edition of Arena.

This year for the first time, we endeavoured to provide a live coverage of the conference via a Zoom session. Being our first attempt, we not surprisingly encountered a few technical problems which affected the quality of the feed. We have hopefully learned a lot from this experience and will aim to do the same again in Auckland but with a much better quality visual and audio experience.

In addition to the National Conference, it is my hope that next year we will also stage a mini virtual conference, once again via Zoom, which will enable readers and members in remote parts of Australasia and Oceania to connect and participate in a spiritual program together. I hope to have more details for you in our next edition.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome ANZURA’s three new board members:

  • Ian Campbell, who is our new Vice-President,
  • Daniel Swadling, who has become our new Treasurer, and
  • Susan Hemmingsen, who is our new representative for New Zealand.

I would also like to thank their predecessors, Neville Twist and Trevor Swadling, for the valuable contribution they made to the delivery of ANZURA’s service program.

Of course, it would be very much amiss of me if I didn’t acknowledge and thank sincerely ANZURA’s dynamic duo, Kathleen Swadling and Rita Schaad for their remarkable service throughout the year. The organisation simply wouldn’t function without the tireless efforts of these two!

It is almost impossible to read The Urantia Book without being challenged by its extraordinary messages. Here are a couple that I personally find compelling:

Never forget there is only one adventure which is more satisfying and thrilling than the attempt to discover the will of the living God, and that is the supreme experience of honestly trying to do that divine will. And fail not to remember that the will of God can be done in any earthly occupation. Some callings are not holy and others secular. All things are sacred in the lives of those who are spirit led; that is, subordinated to truth, ennobled by love, dominated by mercy, and restrained by fairness — justice. The spirit which my Father and I shall send into the world is not only the Spirit of Truth but also the spirit of idealistic beauty. [Paper 155:6.11; page 1732.4]

Remember that you are commissioned to preach this gospel of the kingdom — the supreme desire to do the Father’s will coupled with the supreme joy of the faith realization of sonship with God — and you must not allow anything to divert your devotion to this one duty. Let all mankind benefit from the overflow of your loving spiritual ministry, enlightening intellectual communion, and uplifting social service; but none of these humanitarian labors, nor all of them, should be permitted to take the place of proclaiming the gospel. These mighty ministrations are the social by-products of the still more mighty and sublime ministrations and transformations wrought in the heart of the kingdom believer by the living Spirit of Truth and by the personal realization that the faith of a spirit-born man confers the assurance of living fellowship with the eternal God. [Paper 178:1.11; page 1931.2]

Finally, on behalf of the ANZURA board, I encourage you all to let us know if there is any way in which we might serve you better. Constructive criticism or comments are always welcome. It would be wonderful to hear from you!

In closing, I would like to wish you readers and your families a safe, joyful, and peaceful festive season.

Blessings to you all!

Julian McGarry
President, ANZURA