EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: General Councilors, Society Presidents Field Representatives:
The weekend of November 9-11 brought together the members of the General Council for the post-TDA retreat program held this year at Cedar Creek Farm Seminar Center in New Haven, Missouri. As most wended their way home from the retreat members of the Executive Committee stayed on for an official business meeting conducted the evening of November 10 and continuing on through the morning of November 11. This letter will summarize both the retreat program and the Executive Committee meeting for your information, follow-up, or questions, should you have any.
Several years ago, the General Council approved a recommendation by an ad hoc Council committee that a retreat for Council and Foundation members be held shortly after the Triennial Delegate Assembly. It was felt that such a retreat would provide attendees a spiritually oriented context in which to enhance communication build a higher level of personal relationships, and facilitate the integration of new Councilors into their organizational roles to the end that an enlarged sense of friendly cooperation would contribute mightily to our functional work together.
Marilynn Kulieke and Peter Laurence were assigned the task of logistics and program, with the able support of June Fain. Cedar Creek Farm was a wonderful place for the retreat, and the program, designed to stimulate the cross-fertilization of ideas concerning the philosophical basis for our work on the planet, provided a living opportunity for each of us to get to know others better. The obvious good will, openness, high level of thought, compromise and creative hard work evidenced by the participants bodes well, in my opinion, for the potential of this Council for significant progress in the Brotherhood and its work during the next several years. Most importantly, I believe that there was a greater realization of the difficulty both personally and organizationally to combine spirit and matter in a workable and effective unification. My observation is that our abilities to do that in an organizational way are enhanced geometrically by the cooperative input of many committed minds; perhaps this type of cooperation is suggestive of the hand of Supremacy In our efforts.
Although the retreat was not an official meeting, there was a general consensus that we move expeditiously to the next stage of planning in our work organizationally and the Executive Committee was asked to establish the program for the goal and objectives setting stage of the process. Accordingly, at the subsequent Executive Committee meeting it was decided that the Council would gather together again on the weekend of April 19-20, 1986 (tentatively) in Chicago. It was agreed that this meeting would be chaired by an experienced professional facilitator who would guide us In the process area and insure the participants' full concentration on substance.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
The 1986 Brotherhood budget proposals presented by Finance Chair John Hay was approved with formal recognition of the fine job John and his committee and Chuck Burton had done.
The Executive Committee approved a document proposing that the Foundation enable the Brotherhood to purchase a quantity of Urantia Books for placement in libraries around the world at a reduced cost. The proposal will be forwarded to the Foundation shortly.
Ralph and Betty Zehr were removed from the rolls of membership-at -large inasmuch as they have recently joined Urantia Society of Central Connecticut.
Mrs. Nancy Sullivan Moser of American Falls, Idaho, was accepted as a new member-at--large of the Brotherhood.
Tuckey Hayes, a member of Northern Light Urantia Society of Alaska and a resident of Anchorage, was appointed to a vacancy on the Judicial Committee.
The Executive Committee authorized the officers to execute an agreement with Urantia Foundation to facilitate the Brotherhood's use of the registered marks in countries other than the United States.
The Special Projects Committee, chaired by Marilynn Kulieke, was encouraged to proceed with development of a Study Aids Catalog which would list all available study aids, and where they may be obtained by interested students.
The Executive Committee unanimously approved design and staffing for the 1987 General Conference as submitted by Marilynn Kulieke and authorized her to proceed expeditiously.
The next formal meeting of the Executive Committee will be held January 24-25, 1986, at the Chicago offices, beginning at 8:00 PM.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 AM on Monday, November 110 having met since 8:30 AM, and from 6:00 PM to 11:45 PM the night before.
FINANCE: . The majority of time at this Executive Committee meeting was spent on the budget and fund-raising proposals for 1986. John Hay and the committee prepared proposals for three alternative budget levels with full documentation for each. After much thoughtful deliberation, we arrived at a budget for 1986 which is 22% higher than the expected 1985 year-end (see budget summary enclosed). This budget will enable the Brotherhood to execute many of the programs requested by our standing committees, and should stimulate the responsible growth in our work which we believe is appropriate for our level of development. John was careful to underscore, however the need for the full support of our readership in raising the required donations to the Brotherhood of $130,000.
Virtually all of the programs undertaken by all of our organizational groups require the financial support of the members of our community. In the past, donations have generally exceeded our needs. Now, with our commitment to stimulating more vigorous outreach efforts, through library programs, conferences, enhanced communications distribution activities, and programs to support the individual and local groups in their activities, our need for funding is more important. Each of us serving in functional leadership roles will have to take a more active part In helping to achieve the target which has been set.
In an effort to extend the impact of limited budget dollars in our Library Gift Book Programs, we have forwarded to Urantia Foundation a request that the Brotherhood be enabled to account for the purchase of 1,200 English and 200 French Urantia Books at cost. Initial indications are that they are favorably disposed to this proposal; we expect an answer by December 1.
Judicial: After much deliberation, Duane Faw has requested that further con-sideration of the amendment passed at last summer's General Council meeting on removal of councilors be handled by the Executive Committee or a designated ad hoc committee rather than by the Judicial Committee. Essentially, Duane believes that in proposing the amendment in the first place,, the Judicial Committee had taken a position with which the Council agreed by favorable vote. However, since he believes that the reconsideration request should be evaluated on its merits, it would be more appropriately done by an independent committee rather than asking Judicial to sit in Judgment of its own recommendations. Accordingly, an ad hoc committee consisting of Chuck Burton (chair), Steve Dreier and Harry Mcmullan will handle this assignment with a report due the Executive Commitee at our January 24-25, 1986 meeting.
Duane requested that Tuckey Hayes of Anchorage be appointed to his committee to fill the vacancy. The Executive Committee.was very pleased to approve this appointment.
CHARTER Steve Dreier reported that his committee was hard at work on a rewriting of Society Chartering materials and the revision of a pamphlet on the Meaning of Membership.
FRATERNAL RELATIONS : Peter Laurence reported on the meeting Fraternal Relations Committee had just prior to the retreat at Cedar Creek. At this time, the committee feels that It has a role to play both with students of The Urantia Book and non-readers who belong to other organized religious groups (defined by the committee as those who practice or study religion). A major objective of committee work will be the promotion of a greater sense of spiritual unity between readers and non-readers by the personal contacts which will enhance mutual understanding. Peter reported that the committee began to work on both inreach and outreach programs to achieve the larger objective:
Inreach.: 1) Fraternal Relations will utilize the Brotherhood Bulletin on a regular basis as a vehicle to publish excerpts from the available literature of other religious organizations to help emphasize spiritual unity through a better understanding of conceptual similarities in the thought of those in these other groups and readers of The Urantia Book. 2) Workshops on this same subject may feature speakers from these other disciplines, or Urantia Book readers in inter-religious settings.
Outreach: The committee would develop a list of contact persons active in other organized groups (both readers and non-readers), interaction with whom would help deepen, over time, a broad mutuality of understanding and religious kinship.
As a means of helping to achieve the committee's goals, several resource lists would be Initiated and developed: --A list of readers who would be qualified and willing to speak to other groups about The Urantia Book.
--A list of people (readers and/or non-readers) who would serve as consultants to the Fraternal Relations Committee to help the committee develop better programs to enhance mutual understanding and personal relationships between readers and those in other organizations.
- A list of readers of The Urantia Book who would be willing to respond to local inquiries and questions and maintain personal contact with those in other groups.
Peter indicated that the Fraternal Relations Committee feels that the primary mechanism of building relationships with other religious organizations is person to person, on a local level. Over time, as the number of personal contacts increasing a mutual awareness of organizational relationships would naturally develop hopefully in a way which would minimize the possibility for conflict or antagonism.
DOMESTIC EXTENSION. This committee is planning an upstepping of its Library Gift Book Placement Program for 1986; at least two programs would be continued -- a direct mail program begun In late 1985, and the reader placement program begun by the committee under Tom Allen's leadership a year ago. Tom is planning to use one or more regional newsletters to encourage more readers throughout the country to work locally to place books in libraries. INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP: Berkeley Elliott reported that a date in mid-February has been targeted for an International Fellowship meeting in San Francisco to discuss ways to insure that the Brotherhood organization evolves into a truly international community designed to serve the needs of readers wherever they may reside. It was also reported that the Foundation has completed its drafting of the contract for the Spanish translation of The Urantia book and will begin the final stages of interaction with the translator to expedite contract execution and the initiation of the translation process.
Education: Lynne Kulieke reported briefly on the Education Committee meeting held over the weekend of October 12-13, in Chicago. Plans for the coming summer's workshops scheduled for June 23-27, 1986, are being finalized. Committee members will attempt to attend as many conferences as possible over the next year to experience the teaching/learning approaches developed on a local level and ascertain the educational needs of the readership in order to continue the evolution of the committee's educational program.
Publications: Dan Massey is in the process of finalizing the next issue of the Urantia Brotherhood Bulletin, which should be in the mail later this month. The committee is especially interested in reporting on effective local and individual activities that have been successful in integrating the teachings of The Urantia Book (and awareness of the book itself into the local community.)
Special Projects: Marilynn Kulleke presented her proposal for committee staffing and program development for the 1987 General Conference in Maine; her recommendations were approved unanimously. She soon will be communicating personally and through the Bulletin to begin work on the conference.
After much discussion of the Study Aids Catalog, it was agreed Special Projects would begin implementation of a program to gather information about the study aids available to readers throughout the world for the purpose of publishing a catalog describing these aids and indicating how they may be obtained. It was generally agreed that Urantia Brotherhood should not assume direct responsibility for the actual production and distribution of study aids, but should instead act as a facilitator for the interchange of information about what is available. Although Special Projects will not act as a censor in any way, It is hoped that the author of each of the aids submitted for inclusion in the catalog will solicit the committee's input on quality and the manner of obtaining Foundation approval for any aid which requires this approval. Please direct any comments to Marilynn.
John Hay reported that the annual solicitation letter for 1986 would be in the mails by the end of this month after undergoing review by the Executive Committee and Foundation Trustees. Additionally, based upon the aggressive budget target set for next year, the Finance Committee would be proposing for approval at the January 24--25 Executive Committee meeting a program of personal follow-up. It was the general consensus at the Executive Committee that if we are to be about the work we have been given to do, we will need the active support and involvement -- financial and otherwise -- of every reader of The Urantia Book committed to the job of responsibly bringing the revelation to planetary consciousness.
Frank Sgaralino reported on two subjects:
A. Book Pricing. Frank has received (at 11/10) only 14 responses to questions an this issue. Please respond to him immediately if you want your views considered.
B. Office Reorganization. The Brotherhood has been allocated more space by the Foundation. Frank and John Hales are laying out the most effective use of same. John now has weekly meeting with both the office staff and Frank to insure the continued evolution of the office into an increasingly productive, responsive service group for organizational needs. The reorganization has freed up one-third of John's time for work on distribution of The Urantia Book. Next year's budget will enable John to make the necessary trips to our distributors to improve availability in bookstores generally. Individuals locally can help with the problems of distribution by requesting a copy of The Urantia Book once in a while from local booksellers and directing new, interested readers to stocking stores to insure that level of purchase which will maintain distribution.
For me one of the most important realizations from the retreat experience was (and is) the depth and quality of the commitment on the part of each General Councilor to the effective blending of spirit in our material endeavors. While we may differ on approach or the arrangement of priorities, there is no difference in the dedication to manifest both personally and collectively the very teachings we are attempting to disseminate around the world. There seems to be an increasing sense that one of the most important tools of our work is the consistency of our words with the actions and interactions of our collective endeavors.
David N. Elders, President Urantia Brotherhood
cc: Society Secretaries Standing Committee Members
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book