It is high time that man had a religious experience so personal and so sublime that it could be realized and expressed only by “feelings that lie too deep for words.” [Paper 99:5.9; page 1091.8]
Annual conferences are always the highlight of the year for ANZURA members, but this year was particularly notable because it was the first time in three years that we’ve had a face-to-face conference due to the pandemic. Comfortably accommodated at the beautiful Stewarts Bay Lodge, which is only a short walk from the Port Arthur historic site, we gathered together to focus on the ultimate personal experience – a personal and intimate relationship with the First Source and Centre of the universe of universes, our Universal Father.
Most of the conference was accessible via Zoom, which enabled visitors who were unable to attend from Australia, the United States, Canada, and Uganda. We were also delighted to be able to welcome a record contingent of our brothers and sisters from New Zealand.
Here is a list of the topics and presenters:
- Keynote address: “Walking the ROPE – An Invitation to Intimacy with God” – Julian McGarry
- Faith-trust in the goodness of God – Jeff Wattles and Mahtab Tehrani
- The religion of the spirit versus the religion of the mind – Marion Steward
- The Secret of Survival – Cecilia Bendall
- No need for priesthood or intermediaries: God wants to deal directly with you – Regina Williamson
- Personal effort towards spiritual growth – Geri Johnson & Rob Mastroianni
- The ultimate human experience – Neville Twist
- Spirit unity: harmony within diversity of experience and belief – Phillip Marriot
- The Religion of Jesus -Daniel Swadling
- “Feelings too deep for words” – Rita Schaad
- Doing God’s will: Sharing our inner life with God – Pre McGee
- Spiritual Practices for Walking the ROPE – Robert Coenraads
Some of the presentations were recorded and will hopefully be available soon on our YouTube channel. You will also be able to read a few of the presentations in this and future issues of Arena.
At the ANZURA AGM on Sunday afternoon we welcomed a new President, Rita Schaad, and a new Secretary, Merindi Belarski. Congratulations to both of you. We also showed our appreciation for the dedicated work of our retiring officeholders, Phillip Marriott and Graeme Chapman.
I would like to thank you wonderful people who came all the way to this ‘apple isle’ to enjoy this spiritual banquet. And a big thank you to all of those who were able to join us in Zoomland. Thank you also to all the presenters for making this a truly memorable occasion. I would like to specially mention Phillip Marriott for lending me his technical expertise with Zoom. Thanks Phillip. And finally, I would like to thank our dear sister Kathleen Swadling, who did so much admin work during the early stages of the conference but was unable to attend at the last moment for health reasons.
We are all looking forward to next year’s conference in Sydney on 25 to 28 August, 2023.