Our conference this year in August was held earlier than usual due to a mistake with booking reservations after Covid. Actually, it turned out to be a perfect time of the year. The springtime weather had already come to the gardens of the venue in Pymble – the Peter Canisius House, and we spent our morning teas in the lovely surrounds of this former Jesuit College.
There were 27 of us, made up of Urantia Book readers from all over Australia and New Zealand. In our conference folders we found a newly fashioned catalogue for the secondary works products we purchased last year. They were displayed on a large table close to the tearoom so our little ‘shop’, with many interesting publications, was very well supported – all proceeds from sales go to ANZURA. (See the full conference report further in this issue.)
The AGM on Sunday was held with members present, and some other non-members were welcome to attend also. Our business was efficiently dealt with, and elections were held for a new Vice President and Treasurer. Our Secretary, Merindi Belarski beamed in via Zoom! The new board consists now of:
President – Rita Schaad Vice President – Pre McGee (replaced Ian Campbell) Secretary – Merindi Swadling Treasurer – Robert Coenraads (replaced Daniel Swadling) New Zealand Representative – Marion Steward
We welcome Pre and Robert to the board and look forward to working with you both. Many thanks go to Ian Campbell from New Zealand and Daniel Swadling from Sydney who had served their two terms on the board for four years. And we give another big thank you to the Swadling brothers, Daniel and Andrew who worked on the conference theme and program and planned the execution of this conference, which was packed with stimulating presentations, inspiring conversations and even a fun-filled quiz night. May we all meet again next year!
Our next conference will be held in Victoria next year 4 – 7 October 2024. We are lucky to have secured a booking at the Edmund Rice Centre in Amberley, Lower Plenty, Melbourne. We held a conference there back in 2007. Members of the Melbourne Study Group have graciously volunteered to be our hosts and have already begun the organization of this event. See further details in this Arena.
It has been an honour and a privilege to be involved in bringing this conference to Urantia Book readers of Australia and New Zealand which was held 25 – 28 August in Pymble, Sydney. It was well attended with people coming from across Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, WA, New Zealand and the USA. Thank you all for coming! We had a great time catching up with old friends and making new ones, engaging with each other and exploring much about our favourite topics!
The theme for this conference was Talkin’ Bout A Revelation and the problem we wanted to try to address was how we, as a readership, talk about The Urantia Book revelation with people less familiar with it. And despite being avid followers of its teachings, we seem to lack some basic principles and adequate tools or experience in attractively conveying its concepts to new readers. It is hoped that the conversations started at this conference have been helpful and that the problem will continue to be addressed.
“Freely have you received; therefore freely should you give of the truth of heaven, and in the giving will this truth multiply and show forth the increasing light of saving grace, even as you minister it.” 176:3.10 (1918.3)
The act is ours, the consequences God’s. 48:7.13 (556.13)
We were treated to the following excellent presentations:
The next ANZURA Annual Conference will be held at the Amberley Edmund Rice Centre in Lower Plenty, Melbourne. Mark your calendars for 4 to 7 October 2024!
Urantia Stock-Take – Past, Present and Future. How are we travelling? “Are we there yet”? If not, what do we need to do? (Stay tuned for more information.)
The Edmund Rice Centre ‘Amberley’ is a Retreat and Conference Venue situated on a bend of Melbourne’s Yarra River in Lower Plenty overlooking Westerfolds Park to the Dandenong Ranges. Nestled on 20 acres of native bushland, you will be surrounded by the peace and tranquility that only the natural bush setting can provide. The grounds offer walking tracks, tranquil gardens, and a Chartres’s replica labyrinth. Amberley has become a place of reflection and spirituality for all who enter its doors. Guests to Amberley comment on the calm and serene atmosphere of this place so close to the bustle of Melbourne.
Amberley is approximately 20 kilometres from the heart of Melbourne and 40 minutes from Melbourne’s International Airport and has easy access to both the Western Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway.
(Opening plenary presentation at 2023 Annual Conference, Sydney)
Hello everyone and welcome to Sydney! And thank you all for making the journey, and for zooming in, to our conference for Urantia Book readers from Australia and New Zealand. It’s a beautiful part of the world here on Sydney’s leafy north shore, and this is looking like a great venue; we’re very fortunate to have access to such fine facilities here in this college. And we’d like to express our thanks and gratitude to all who have been involved in giving us such a pleasant environment here in which to meet. A warm welcome, and many thanks also, to those who are here and supporting us in spirit, and to our brother, teacher and friend Christ Michael and his comforting spirit embracing us all.
It’s good to see you all again, and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to a great weekend of catching up with each other, listening to inspiring presentations and having some stimulating discussions about everything we’re passionate about.
I have to say, I think last year’s conference in Tasmania was one of the best I’ve ever been to. I had such a great time, and I must thank Julian and the organisers once again for doing such a great job in making all that happen. However, I came away from that conference a little troubled. But as we all know, a little bit of trouble isn’t such a bad thing, we might even say it’s inevitable. There had been several discussions, and at times passionate concern expressed, about how ineffective we seem to be in speaking to non-readers and attracting people to the teachings contained in these Papers that we know and treasure so well. This touched a nerve on a problem that has concerned me for quite some time. And which, as I found out, was a concern broadly shared by many others, some of whom will speak this weekend.
Good morning. The theme for our conference this year—’Talking ‘Bout a Revelation’—is something every Urantia Book reader becomes aware of. While our own ascension should be our main focus, it is hard not to want to share with others, the higher truths that enrich our lives. We should not be overwhelmed by the importance of this task, rather be consciously aware of opportunities when they do come our way.
Remember, Jesus was never in a hurry, and we should keep that in mind.
A story I love is about a monk making an appointment to see his master saying, “Master when will I be enlightened?” The Master said, “when you stop trying to change others and start changing yourself.” The monk said, “Ok, I can do that. But how long will it take me to reach enlightenment?” The Master said 20 years. The monk said, “but if I work really hard, twice as hard as the other monks?” The Master said 40 years.
In this presentation will be some of my thoughts about the conference theme that hopefully will stimulate some of yours. I am very happy to have my partner Christine organise the workshop after my presentation, and I would like to start by quickly telling you about my relationship with The Urantia Book and also with Christine (at age 46 ).
Good morning beautiful people, I’m Christine Bannigan. I’m retired and living the dream. I’ve faced life challenges, learned a lot about being human, and become a person that I’m now happy to be. In my working life I was an Industrial Psychologist, a Corporate Trainer, and… I lived with fear. Of course, I hid that with an overlay of extreme optimism.
In the year 2000 I was diagnosed with grade three cancer, and I walked away from my job. I was terrified about dying and I made a deal with God. I said, “If you let me live, I’ll make a difference for the future.” And, well, here I am.
To heal from the cancer, I worked with the allopathic model and embraced the alternative therapies; I was so drawn to the latter that I trained to become a practitioner of: Meditation, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Reiki, Electro Magnetic Energy Field Balancing, Massage, and Qi Gong healing.
This led me into a new career as a Complementary Therapist where I worked mainly with people who had been diagnosed with cancer. I had learned that at the foundation of every cancer is stress and an unresolved emotional issue (it had certainly been so for me). I worked with my clients to uncover and resolve their issues and began to make a difference for the future.
As 2023 draws to a close, here in New Zealand we have finally got a government, after a few weeks of intense negotiation between the three parties who together gained enough votes to form a majority. The Urantia Book has this to say about elections: “Popular elections may not always decide things rightly, but they represent the right way even to do a wrong thing.” (71:2.2) This paper, Development of the State, makes very interesting reading in the light of the unsettledness obvious in various countries around the world today. While New Zealand enjoys relative stability and peace, compared with many other countries, there is still strong division in society on a number of issues, which show no signs of being resolved any time soon. People take strong positions and increasingly do not listen to others with different opinions and viewpoints, and there are topics which simply cannot be discussed at family or social gatherings, or even Urantia Book study groups, because such discussion will result in heated arguments with consequent damage to the sense of cohesion in the group.
The interesting thing about this is that such variance in opinions would appear to be part of the overall design for the universe!
The religion of the spirit requires only unity of experience – uniformity of destiny – making full allowance for diversity of belief. 155:6.9 (1732.2) emphasis added
You do not have to see alike or feel alike or even think alike in order spiritually to be alike. 141:5.1 (1591.6) emphasis added
The Urantia Book encourages and supports diversity in all areas of human activity, which of course requires ‘forgiving tolerance’ (one of the fruits of the spirit) to enable ongoing communication and cooperation among people with different points of view. The new government in New Zealand is representative of this diversity, and they appear to have considered very carefully how they can work together over the next three years, with compromise and respect some of their stated guiding principles. We can only hope that the angels of nation life (114:6.4) can gain traction in New Zealand, and indeed across the world in “the overcontrol of international relations” and that 2024 sees some progress towards light and life, no matter how small.
(Editor’s note: Gary wrote this article a few years ago. It relates to a debate that has been held by Urantia Book readers for a long time. Some readers here may recall that in 1988 Trevor Swadling gave a presentation at the South Pacific Conference in which he was trying to figure out the same issue based on that same quote. Gary’s conclusions are a lot more positive than some of the conclusions that have been floating around for years. It makes for a good read.)
I recently spent time reflecting on a curious detail in The Urantia Book — something that has caused a number of seasoned and sincere Urantia Book students some considerable consternation. During my reflection, discussion, and study I had somewhat of a revelation about this apparent oddity in the Fifth Epochal Revelation, which I have written about here. Below is the salient paragraph:
It was over two years of system time from the beginning of the “war in heaven” until the installation of Lucifer’s successor. But at last the new Sovereign came, landing on the sea of glass with his staff. I was among the reserves mobilized on Edentia by Gabriel, and I well remember the first message of Lanaforge to the Constellation Father of Norlatiadek. It read: “Not a single Jerusem citizen was lost. Every ascendant mortal survived the fiery trial and emerged from the crucial test triumphant and altogether victorious.” And on to Salvington, Uversa, and Paradise went this message of assurance that the survival experience of mortal ascension is the greatest security against rebellion and the surest safeguard against sin. This noble Jerusem band of faithful mortals numbered just 187,432,811.53:7.12 (608.8) [emphasis added
I can recall a number of other revelation readers discussing this apparently problematic number, many whom I consider to be robust students; André Radatus, Chris Halvorson, and other seasoned and sincere readers I know have tackled this or found contention with the number. I remember a few years ago, Chris had talked around this number in a Perfecting Horizons Institute study and posited, “It represented a small graduation class of Jerusem.” I was reminded of feeling that Chris’ appraisal did not add up for me. I had always felt we must spend a fairly long time on Jerusem as citizens (relatively speaking). Again, more recently André was discussing the likely prolonged length of time we spend as citizens on Jerusem at a Urantia University Institute Cafe I was attending. So what is the meaning of this number?I had a realization, which felt like a “flash of truth from within me” — it was:
Faith is to religion what sails are to a ship; it is an addition of power, not an added burden of life. 159:3.8, (1766.4)
Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain. The master of the mortal vessel should have the wisdom to trust the divine pilot to guide the ascending soul into the morontia harbors of eternal survival. 111:1.9, (1217.4)
Mark your calendars now for the next exciting Urantia Association International Conference in 2024! This will be the 12th International Conference of the Association and is being organized by Urantia Association of the United States (UAUS). It will take place from the afternoon of March 28 through noon on March 31, 2024 (Thursday-Sunday) in Baltimore Maryland.
For more information on the Conference 2024 website page Click here
The conference is a thorough study of the soul, with eight topics divided into two categories. Reading lists will be provided prior to the conference for those who wish to prepare in advance. Check-in opens 3pm Thursday afternoon. There will be a welcome dinner at 6.00 p.m. followed by a meet and greet reception with music and entertainment hosted by the Hawaii Urantia Local Association (H.U.L.A.).
Michael Zehr On behalf of the 2024 Conference Committee email@example.com
This conference is promoted and hosted by Urantia Association International and Urantia Association of the United States. Sponsored by Urantia Foundation and Truthbook.
Presented by the Urantia University Institute (UUI)
What It Is
The Urantia Book Teacher Education Program (TEP) uses the Jesusonian model of teaching and pairs it with the combined experience of teachers and leaders of the Urantia movement who have been sharing the revelation for over 50 years. At its core, the program is designed to provide those who have an inner prompting to share the advanced teachings of the Urantia revelation regarding God, the cosmos, and our planetary history and eternal destiny with a coherent body of knowledge and skill set they can use to communicate more skillfully with spiritually hungry people looking for answers to life’s big questions.
What the TEP Will Do?
Prepare those who feel called to teach or minister to the spiritual family of God in the light of the Urantia revelation and to spread the expanded gospel of Jesus presented in The Urantia Book to their faith communities and the broader culture.
Provide a program of study leading to a comprehensive and integrative understanding of the major themes and concepts of The Urantia Book that enables participants to better articulate the revelation to their native cultures and to a wide and varied audience of individuals and groups.
Nurture the development of the participant’s inner spiritual life towards the goal of authentically embodying an awareness of the Presence of God in one’s life through faith and spiritual practices.
Train for effective ministry based on Jesus’s model of loving service with an emphasis on spiritual transformation and mastering techniques of meeting individuals where they are at in a dialogue of souls.