President’s Report, Winter Arena 2024

It’s one of those cold winter days and I appreciate being able to stay indoors, wrapped in warm clothes, listening to music, and having a hot cuppa handy while sending these greetings out to our members and friends.

In the study group I attend every Wednesday, we sometimes come across the term
 ‘the fear of the Lord’ while we remind ourselves of the teachings of the Master who introduced his God as the loving Father in heaven.

But… we know what the early believers meant when using the word ‘fear’ – it was to convey their feeling of awe and respect for the grandeur of the God of all creation.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

When the Master taught that we should accept the Truth from wherever it showed up, he knew that we would have to refer to our experiences and wisdom gained. For us to recognize and discern the Truth-Beauty-Goodness content in any message or action takes some time of reflection. We don’t have to be quick in our assessment, but we do well to pace ourselves when sifting and sorting all information pouring into our lives every day to arrive at a conclusion.

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2024 Annual Conference in Melbourne

4 –7 October 2024

The year is slipping by so not long now for this year’s ANZURA Annual Conference which is being held 4 –7 October at the Edmund Rice Centre in Lower Plenty, Melbourne. Registrations are now open so if you are planning on coming please let us know soon. See further on for registration details.


Urantia Stock-Take – Past, Present and Future. How are we travelling? “Are we there yet”? If not, what do we need to do?

“Are we there yet”? Well, we’re working on it aren’t we? “How are we travelling?” and “What do we need to do to get there”? These are the big question we will attempt to tease out at this year’s conference. The information revealed in The Urantia Book is a treasure-trove of spiritual insight, cosmic revelation, and historical knowledge. The answers to these questions are all in there just waiting to be discovered. The importance and seriousness of this storehouse of priceless gems is almost beyond description. The unveiling of the true teachings of Jesus and who he actually was, and where he came from, gives power to those compelling teachings on Faith, Worship, Service, and Love. We need to be passionate about the entire Urantia revelation—from the Paradise Trinity down to the material worlds—to understand the significance of the big picture we are given of the past, present, and future of ourselves and the cosmos.

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National Study Day Reflections 2024

Every year students of The Urantia Book in Australia and New Zealand meet in their local regions to study the same paper on the on the same day. This year we read Paper 92, The Later Evolution of Religion. Here are some reflections form the some of the groups that met.

Canberra Study Group

Reported by William Wentworth

Four of us met by Zoom on Saturday, 1st June to read Paper 92. We took it in turn to read a section at a time.

There was some discussion of the final paragraph of the first section about the “agencies that have long functioned on Urantia, and they will continue here as long as this planet remains an inhabited sphere”.  We were uncertain under what circumstances Urantia would cease to be inhabited. We could only speculate about the possible extermination of our population.

We took note of how primitive religion grew from the fear stimulus. The love stimulus came with revealed religion. We were also interested to be reminded of the large number of strange rites and rituals which primitive religion has adopted over the years. And also to be reminded again that although religion has often retarded progress, progress itself would be inconceivable without religion.

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New Zealand Corner

It’s easy to feel insignificant when you are a New Zealander. We are a small country, stationed at the end of the world, a long way from the turmoil in Europe, with its influxes of refugees and constant economic and political readjustments. Although we have finally joined the rest of the world in being subject to a horrifying race-based terrorist attack, we are protected by distance from the major theatres of war and are a very minor power when it comes to trade agreements, military alliances and political influence. We are a little fish in a very big sea.

All the same, our reputation is for creativity and ingenuity in the face of hardship. We have always punched above our weight in areas of niche expertise, and as well as excelling in sport – every now and then we produce an exceptionally famous mountain climber or physicist. But more importantly, we have often been willing to stand up for our principles in the face of significant pressure. We were the first nation to grant women the vote. And despite our military alliances with some of the greatest powers of the world, we still do not allow nuclear warships to visit our shores. Perhaps our anti-nuclear position is tolerated because we cooperate with our allies in other significant ways; or perhaps they just like our dairy products so much that they can’t risk losing us to China. Whatever the case, despite our small stature internationally, we have shown the world that it is possible to take a principled stand on what we consider to be a moral issue; it is possible to say “no” to powerful friends, and it is possible to be diminutive in size and still lead by example. Hopefully we have gained respect and made a difference by choosing to “swim against the tide”.

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Understanding People

(This is adapted from a presentation by Andrew Swadling at the 2023 Conference in Sydney)

As the topic of this conference is all about improving our ability to communicate the teachings, principles and values found in The Urantia Book, I thought we should investigate ways of learning to understand people first. Whether talking to existing readers, new readers, or non-readers of the book, it’s important that we learn to discern what kind of person we are communicating with and how receptive they may be to your message before you decide on what to say or how you’re going to say it. The last thing people want is to be preached at, or to be bamboozled with too much strange content. You need to try to figure out what kind of language and approach you’re going to use which will be different for each person. Therefore, we need to take the time to get to know them a little bit, listen well, and discover what kinds of things interest them.

There are many examples in The Urantia Book where character traits are mentioned, particularly in the case of the twelve apostles. We are also told about the nature and temperament of other characters, races, and heritage which highlight a level of importance given to the psychological inheritances and innate urges in individuals and races.

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Evolution and the Revelation

The Method of Seed Planting and Expansion

How did Humanity evolve and Societies expand

(Presented at the 2023 Conference in Sydney)

The aim of this presentation was to summarize the huge story of our evolution and then to give the attendees opportunity to discuss and work on some of the topics, like the Andonite expansion, the Dalamatia times, the coloured races, the Edenic Garden and the Andite dispersion.

Some worksheets, maps and tables were prepared for groups to workshop with, hoping to find parallels and problems of humanity and society that reverberate to this day and how best we can bring these kinds of stories of our evolutionary past into the discourse today.

View Presentation in PDF

Happy Little Agondonter

A while back I awoke with a thought which I expressed in my notebook in the following strange sentence:

I’m happy to be an Agondonter – one who believes without seeing. i.e. not clairvoyant. I am thankful for sustaining faith and the forgiveness of God – without it I would be a Humpty Dumpty.[1]

The Urantia Book only has one reference to the strange but rather intriguing word ‘Agondonter’ the definition being: …evolutionary will creatures who believe without seeing, persevere when isolated, and triumph over insuperable difficulties even when alone. Rewards of Isolation 50:7.6 (578)

‘Without seeing’ can be a good thing in this isolated world; too many dreams and visions, or all-too-real experiences with angels or extraterrestrials, can make life much more difficult than it needs to be. Mystics sometimes go mad, or even become bad as a result of believing what ‘comes through’ to them or what they ‘have seen’. Acting on such ‘seen’ information as if it were true just because a dream or vision or person who had an ‘experience’ with an off- planet being, an angel, an ancestor or a ‘spirit guide’, could be most misleading, and create all sorts of unnecessary dramas. God knows there are enough in daily life.

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Adorning Our Message with Truth, Beauty, and Goodness

(Presented at the 2024 ANZURA Conference)

In a world that is desperate for good news, it is critical that we, as faith sons and daughters of the Universal Father and students of The Urantia Book, learn how to adorn our message of hope to ailing humanity with truth, beauty, and goodness. To achieve this, we need to find answers to the following pivotal questions: firstly, what should be the nature of the message that we want to convey to our fellows, and secondly, how should we go about doing it? These are the questions I wish to address in this article.

It is natural in our enthusiasm for The Urantia Book, the fifth epochal revelation, to assume that we should be encouraging individuals to read this book, replete as it is with a panoramic description of the ascending career, an unparalleled account of the life of our Master, Michael of Nebadon, and answers to almost every question that we have ever asked about God. However, would this be wise? Is it possible that rather than enlightening people, we might inadvertently frighten them away? Indeed, two crucial supplementary questions we need to ask with respect to preaching and teaching are:  what does our Master, Michael of Nebadon want us to do and how can we learn from his example when he incarnated on our planet as Jesus of Nazareth?

Click on the link to see the PDF of Julian’s full presentation at: Adorning Message

Information Centers – A Discussion Paper

A Religious Trend

Pew Research Center in August 2023 found that about 28% of U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated, describing themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular”. This group is often called the “nones”. The survey data shows, a) Most nones believe in God or another higher power, but very few go to religious services regularly. b) Most say religion does some harm, but many also think it does some good. They are not uniformly anti-religious.

This none bloc has grown from about 5% of Americans in the early 1990s to nearly 30% today. The majority of nones once identified themselves as Christians. And it is estimated that church congregations have decreased in number by about 40 million.

Where will these people now find their religious solace? How will they find avenues for social and philosophic sharing? The world is in need of groups of people aspiring to highest values that override class and racial lines, with hope for a better society beyond the deteriorating factors prevailing today.

With the social changes, varying in each age group, religion has to attract people anew in today’s clamoring society. How is religion to function practically in people’s lives? If we consider that The Urantia Book would have some appeal to these cohorts, then what can be done to make the existence of the book known to them?

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For Reasons Right and Wrong

The publication being considered is The Urantia Book, first published in 1955 by the Urantia Foundation in Chicago, USA. Attention is given to the role of the revelators and the people involved in the receipt of the Papers. This analysis also intends to show the book is a genuine revelation to mankind, notwithstanding its detractors and its perilous though prevailing journey.

Some people who knew about the writings may not have realized the significance of their content. So thirty possible misconceptions about the Papers are listed. However such misplaced notions may have supported rather than prevented the eventual publication. Then revelatory concepts in the book are listed. In a final section, the influence of the teachings of Jesus in the world today is considered.

We are thankful to those wise and farsighted people who were dedicated to the secure custody and eventual publication of the Urantia Papers. Opposition still comes from many quarters: Non-religionists, those who might want to persecute Christians, religionists who feel threatened by a new text, and official types of agencies that fear losing control of the public mind set.

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