EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
TO: Members of Urantia Brotherhood
Over the weekend of June 12-13, 1987, the members of the Executive Committee gathered together for their second quarterly meeting of 1987. Once again the agenda was full and we met from 7-11:00pm Friday night, and all day Saturday from 9-5:00pm. This was our last scheduled meeting prior to this summer's General Council session and many items needed to be dealt with for presentation to the Council.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
After a time of prayer and meditation, the meeting was called to order with the usual reading of the minutes. For your edification, while the actions which were taken are listed first for your convenience, our usual meeting order is actually reversed; we discuss these issues and vote at the conclusion of discussion, or at the end of the meeting during our formal session.
1. We warmly welcome two new members-at-large in Urantia Brotherhood: Kurt Cira of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Patricia Mills of Sarasota, Florida.
2. We approved the Charter Committee's recommendation that the name of the Wenatchee Urantia Society of Washington be changed to Evergreen Urantia Society of Washington.
3. The Executive Committee authorized the purchase of the display booth developed for use at the American Booksellers Association Convention in Washington, DC and accepted the officers' proposal that the booth be made available for use at conferences as well as future trade shows.
4. Domestic Extension was authorized to allocate up to $3,200 from Its 1987 budget to cover the cost of reprinting the study group directory In a quantity sufficient to cover Its inclusion In a solicitation mailing If evaluation by Finance and Urantia Foundation deems that to be desirable.
5. It was agreed that the Executive Committee would present at this year's General Council meeting a constitutional amendment broadening the language In the responsibilities of the Fraternal Relations Committee to Include " ... organizations devoted to the practice or study of religion... replacing the current language which refers to "churches of various denominations" and "religions of the world..." This change was proposed by Fraternal Relations, drafted jointly by Fraternal Relations and Judicial committees, and was approved unanimously by the Executive Committee.
6. The Executive Committee, with both regret and understanding, accepted the resignation of Mary Lou Hales from the Charter Committee. We agreed unanimously that the minutes would reflect our deep appreciation for Mary Lou's long, unselfish, and devoted service to the Brotherhood's work.
7. After much discussion, the Executive Committee was unable to pass a policy statement on derivative works for presentation to the General Council this summer and will present the results of its deliberations thus far In a report at this meeting instead. This matter is discussed In greater detail below.
8. In response to a proposal for reorganizing the central office made by the Chairman, the Executive Committee agreed to evaluate the proposal over. the next year and established an administrative committee for this purpose consisting of David Elders, Bill Hazen, John Hay, Marilynn Kulieke, and Dan Massey. This committee will work closely with Gloriann Harris, our Director of Office Operations, to enhance the performance and capabilities of the central office to better serve the needs of our work.
9. Permission to show the slide/tape "A History of the Urantia Movement" was given for a July 11, 1987 conference in Wisconsin. Simultaneously, the Publications Committee Is working closely with the Oklahoma Society to update and Improve this slide/tape history for showing at the General Conference In Maine this summer.
10. The Chairman was asked to write to Urantia Foundation requesting that in the Interests of ongoing improvement in communications between our two organizations the Executive Committee and Trustees plan to meet In an informal joint session sometime early next year If sufficient mutual time and an acceptable agenda can be developed.
11. The Executive Committee approved with minor changes the slate of nominees for the Council and Departmental Committee vacancies as proposed by the sub-nominating committee of Bill Hazen, Marian Rowley, and Chuck Burton. A copy of this slate is available from headquarters if you would like to review It prior to the upcoming election.
12. In response to her specific request, and to recognise long hours of voluntary yet full-time work at headquarters, the Executive Committee officially granted Marian Rowley full retirement with a minimal weekly stipend. Marian will be relieved of those daily office duties she so willingly assumed over her years of service and will be welcome at her regular place In the office with the freedom and flexibility to pursue only that work which she wants to do. She also will continue In her role as Secretary of Urantia Brotherhood.
13. The Executive Committee accepted the recommendations of the ad hoc committee on Committee Realignment and by voice vote agreed to forward these changes to the Judicial Committee for review and language drafting preparatory to final evaluation by each of the Standing Committees to be affected by the changes and by the Executive Committee for possible submission to the General Council next year as constitutional amendments:
Removal of the word "Domestic" from the Domestic Extension Committee's name leaving It as the Extension Committee; deleting reference to United States In the constitutional delimiters of this committee's area of responsibility; removal of the responsibilities for society formation and ongoing assistance and cooperation from the Domestic Extension's constitutional charter.
In conjunction with these changes, by administrative action the Executive Committee would restrict the Extension Committee to operating within the United States for the time being, and would assign to the Charter Committee the responsibilities of working with study groups interested In forming a society and maintaining ongoing service contact with the societies once they were formed.
14. Due to time constraints., we found It necessary to defer discussion on the following items until a future meeting: Committee Procedures Proposal, Record of Decisions/History Project, Summer Study Program Review, Site Selection Committee Report (1990 and 1993/4), Brotherhood Name Change.
COMMITTEE ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Here Is an update on committee work since the last letter. Written reports from each chairperson are on file if you feel you would like more information; and, of course, you are encouraged to make personal contact with anyone on the committees if you would like to discuss an item noted:
DOMESTIC EXTENSION COMMITTEE: Harry McMullan indicated that his committee would respond to questions regarding the reprinting of the Study Group Directory after his upcoming meeting prior to the conference In Maine. He did request that the funds for reprinting be allocated from his 1987 budget sufficient to cover the possible inclusion of the Directory In a future solicitation mailing to readers.
FRATERNAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Peter Laurence indicated that his committee will target the 1989 summer study seminars to Initiate an ongoing program to enable readers of The Urantia Book to learn about and be exposed to the religious institutions and theologies currently resident on the planet. He reported also that several members of his committee are presently involved in Interfaith activities, bringing them into regular contact with members of existing religious organizations. Peter will be attending In July a Conference on the topic of "The Challenges of Religious Pluralism: Interfaith Dialogue Today." The panel for the Maine General Conference sponsored by the Fraternal Relations Committee will include: Sr. Kathleen Conan, RSCJ; Rev. John Daido Loori, Zen Mountain Monastery; Dr. Lex Hixon, author of Comina Home: The Experience of Enlightenment In Sacred Traditions.
PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE: Dan Massey reported on several Items requiring ongoing committee work. His committee plans to discuss format, content, and timing of the Urantia Brotherhood Bulletin at the meeting to be held In Chicago June 13-14. He also reported that the Brotherhood Survey of the Readership will be mailed with the upcoming June issue to the entire mailing list. Publications will also work with Domestic Extension on finalizing the format of the Study Group Directory. They are also hard at work with the Oklahoma Society In updating and Improving the slide/tape History of Urantia Brotherhood. At their Saturday night meeting, the committee intends to take up the subject of the role Publications can play in the formulation of a unified publications policy for Brotherhood publications and how the committee might serve better the needs of the readership both centrally and In the field. Finally, Dan demonstrated the work he and Nancy Johnson have done on a computer-based reference aid for The Urantia Book. It was the sense of the Executive Committee that, pending a review by Urantia Foundation, If the work met all their copyright requirements, a plan for reproduction and distribution by Urantia Brotherhood should be worked out by Publications.
INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE: Berkeley Elliott reported that her committee will be meeting July 24-26 in Los Angeles, and that members will also meet with the Internationalization Design Team as well as with those readers from around the world who are attending the Maine Conference. It is planned that the committee will sponsor informal "forums" at the Conference to facilitate personal and cultural sharing of ideas.
SPECIAL PROJECTS COMMITTEE: Marilynn Kulieke noted that her committee had met on May 17 In Chicago to review those projects now underway. With the support of the Executive Committee both the Resource Guide to Secondary Works as well as the proposed TWIG's Groups(topical/working/interest/ groups), will be underway this fall. The Record of Decisions proposal, further developed to include procedures and examples, was forwarded with Marilynn's report to the Executive Committee. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, It was not discussed; however, Marilynn and/or Jim McNelly will be making a report to the General Council this summer and further work may be undertaken thereafter.
CHARTER COMMITTEE: In addition to the name change request from the Wenatchee Society discussed elsewhere, Steve Dreier reported that it Is likely that three new societies may be chartered early next spring:
Seattle, Kansas city, and New York City. Further, a group from Toronto has written to express formal interest in beginning the chartering process.
FINANCE COMMITTEE: John Hay updated the Executive Committee on the status of the solicitation program for 1987. The second mailing went out in early June after an encouraging response to the initial mailing. The reader survey developed by John and his committee will be mailed with the June, 1987 BULLETIN and will Include a return envelope. Finance is considering the possibility of Including the updated Study Group Directory In an upcoming solicitation as a gift to readers with the Intent of encouraging Increased study group activity. Finally, the results of the survey might be compiled In time for forwarding to the readership in early 1988 as part of our solicitation contact efforts designed to combine requests for support with service interaction.
EDUCATION COMMITTEE: Lynne Kulieke's committee has made perhaps the most extensive use of the telephone conference call as a way of conducting committee business between meetings. In a call this past March, the committee finalized the theme for the 1988 Summer Study Seminars focusing on the first half of Part III of The Urantia Book: "Patterning for Perfection." Also, her committee Intends to discuss in detail how best the Executive Committee may coordinate standing committee needs for seminar or workshop time in the future.
JUDICIAL COMMITTEE: Duane Faw reported that he had circulated to all the members of his committee drafts of language for both the constitutional change in the Fraternal Relations responsibilities (see above) as well as Information concerning possible committee realignment changes which would require Judicial Committee action.
1. John Hales brought the group up-to-date on several Items relating to our sales agency function:
a. A mailing to over 3,000 bookstores was sent to announce our participation in the American Booksellers Association (ABA) convention held over the weekend of May 23-26, 1987 in Washington, DC
b. At the convention and on a trip to China, John reported that he made recent personal contact with all of our current major book distributors and has initiated contact with new ones.
c. John and Dave Elders discussed the ABA Convention experience and distributed Scott Forsythe's report for review. The Conference booth was manned primarily by Scott Forsythe, Dave and Marta Elders, John Hales, and Gary Falk. Our booth, located In the small press section of the convention floor, displayed copies of both the English and French versions of The Urantia Book, as well as copies of our descriptive pamphlets and dealer information and sales material. Of the estimated 1,000 people who passed our booth during the show, more than 100 stopped for conversation, questions, and book purchase. Most of these were booksellers and book distributors. There were many comments from both attendees and other small press participants as to the professionalism and quality of our display. Overall we believe that participation In book and library trade shows will Improve our visibility and reputation In the book industry and help insure increased book availability In standard trade channels and retail book outlets.
2. In his report, Dave Elders noted that:
a. The Foundation had approved the Library Placement Program for 1987 and would be setting up procedures for administering the program (800 books had earlier been released to the Brotherhood most of which have already been placed).
b. The Foundation is targeting the July Issue of FOUNDATION News to announce a program to enable interested Individuals around the world to help In local book placement in bookstores.
c. After two years of evaluation, and In anticipation of increased demands to be placed on the Brotherhood office in coming years, It was recommended that further reorganization take place in the central office to Improve cooperation, efficiency, performance, and to enhance capabilities for the future.
d. The Foundation has responded informally that the research proposal developed by the Design Team on Marketing and forwarded early in the year has stimulated a challenging philosophical evaluation of the balance between the business of selling and distributing The Urantia Book versus the dissemination of its teachings In the context of each organization's responsibilities. After further discussion at upcoming meetings, they will respond accordingly.
3. Marilynn Kulieke reported that planning for the General Conference was proceeding with over 600 people now registered. She requested that those persons willing to volunteer either for workshop leadership or support services should contact Claire Miller, Conference Coordinator, In Chicago.
4. After much discussion led by Marilynn Kulieke, the Executive Committee was unable to finalize the proposed policy statement on derivative works for presentation to the General Council this summer. This issue Is quite complex and has stimulated much thinking and discussion about: the role of Urantia Brotherhood generally, centralization versus decentralization of both control and activity, the best use of time and resources, Individual Interpretation of the teachings versus the standardization of materials (both content and production qualities), the appropriate use of the trademarks (circles and Urantia logo) In Identifying derivative materials, the differentiation between sale/distribution of non-Brotherhood or Foundation works versus sale/distribution of works published by the organizations, the consequences of these decisions both short term (where relatively few works are available) and long term (where there may be an avalanche of derivative materials), the risk of limiting the appeal of The Urantia Book to non-Judeo-Christian peoples by linking it to derivative works which today are mostly of that bent versus the service of facilitating centrally the purchase of derivative works, and the constant question of the balance between the tangible and business activities and services of Urantia Brotherhood and Its less tangible mindal and spiritual responsibilities... just to name a few considerations!
While there Is as yet no final resolution, work Is actively continuing on the approved Resource Guide for Secondary Works to be implemented this fall, and on a proposed Compendium of Secondary Works which would annually publish a selection of high quality derivative materials authored to help deepen the study and understanding of The Urantia Book. This Compendium would be edited/produced centrally (perhaps by the Publication Committee), and distributed by the Brotherhood.
As we daily work on the often trivial and materialistic aspects of our lives it seems easy to forget for a time just what the presence In our hands and minds of The Urantia Book can mean, not only to each of us individually, but to our planet. We are the human members of a vast team assembled to uplift the inhabitants of Urantia Into Its fifth great epoch of planetary achievement. It would do us all well to remember that this opportunity Is not a reward of specialness, but rather, the humbling challenge to live our lives by the teachings we profess to represent.
God bless you.
David N. Elders
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book