Dear Fellowship Members and Interested Readers of The Urantia Book:
This has been a productive year for The Fellowship. We have reached out to groups outside the US and have formed ties with them that promise cooperation and coordination. We have worked on ways that would make it easier for groups to affiliate with The Fellowship and for individuals to become members. We have made progress in our effort to decentralize and virtualize our office operations. We have published excellent articles written by members of our reader community in a fine looking journal and have continuously communicated with thousands of readers through quarterly newsletters, a dynamic website and periodic letters to our members. Through our five member negotiating team, we have continued our dialogue with Urantia foundation on technical aspects of the memorandum of understanding signed on March 17, 2001, while successfully shielding the rest of our organization from becoming bogged down with these necessary but unproductive matters. We have improved our mechanisms for coordinating the work of volunteers. We have benefited from the creative energies of a large and diverse group of individuals to produce an outstanding, truly international, conference. And through great determination and meticulous hard work brought to publication a high quality indexed version of The Urantia Book within one year of the book’s emancipation into the public domain.
And if you think this was hard work, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This is where we get started. We have taken on the challenge of reaching out to the world, and we’d better get ready for it when it comes knocking on our door. We’ll need to wisely market the book. We’ll need to quickly and effectively respond to inquiries from all over. We’ll need to fill book orders. We’ll need to continue to develop and maintain our website. We’ll need to expand our communication and coordination with groups worldwide. We’ll need to develop a facility for responding to questions from the media when it gets wind of us.
Some of the work associated with the appearance of the Uversa Press edition of The Urantia Book has already begun. Our Book Marketing Committee is in high gear. With the help of our PR Committee, we have designed a response to inquiry protocol. Some volunteers have already been designated as responders to inquiries. Many more volunteers will be needed for this and other tasks. Our Special Projects Committee, which over the past year has taken on the responsibility of volunteer recruitment and coordination, will gladly accommodate people who wish to serve. In some instances we will need to hire the services of professionals. We have already done so in the areas of web development and marketing. As we grow, our need to outsource professional services for specific, time limited projects is likely to increase. And that presents yet another challenge – fund raising – that interlaces all of our other challenges.
That our challenges are great is an obvious fact. That we, as a group, are equal to these challenges is, to my mind, a certainty. I have not a shred of doubt that a group of individuals motivated by the fifth epochal revelation, imbued with the purpose of The Urantia Book Fellowship and wholeheartedly committed to true self-governance will succeed in its mission.
We are a multifarious lot. Among us are some who believe in aggressive dissemination of The Urantia Book and some who believe it should be soft-pedaled; some who think we should become a church and some who would give up their lives to see that we don’t; some who think it’s okay to correct some minor “obvious” errors in the Urantia Book and some who believe not a comma should be added to or omitted from the 1955 printing; some who think that a good way to get people interested in The Urantia Book is by printing Part IV separately and some who think that to do so is nothing short of default; some who think that post epochal revelation superhuman teachings are being channeled through people they know and some who disbelieve that with varying degrees of intensity; some who think that, as a group, we ought to get off our butts and become an instrument of social change and some who firmly hold that to do so would be to pervert our goals. Some of us look at this variegated human conglomeration and despair at its apparent unmanageability and some think that this group’s ultimate ability to manage itself will have become an act of supremacy.
Our success will depend, to a large extent, on our persistent determination to reconcile a wide range of viewpoints as we pursue our common objectives. Each of us must learn to balance his or her strongly held views against the varied views of those around us. Patience, tolerance and our sincere efforts to understand each other are indispensable to this process. Let’s not forget that as strange as we think some of our dear brethren are, they are not nearly as strange as some of the characters we are bound to meet and with whom we will need to work cooperatively during our morontia career. Consider our experience here as the cosmic equivalent of pre-school. Let’s make the best of it.