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REPORT OF FRATERNAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE TO THE
GENERAL COUNCIL OF Urantia BROTHERHOOD
July 2, 1983
PURPOSE AND PROGRAM OF THE FRATERNAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
I. Commission of the Fraternal Relations Committee
A. The description of the Fraternal Relations Committee's duties in the Brotherhood Constitution is the shortest of all of the departmental committees. We are commissioned to "foster and develop fraternal relations and good will with the churches of various denominations and with the religions of the world." Note the rather limited scope of our responsibilities. We are directed to foster fraternal relations with the religious institutions of the world. The broader commission to promote knowledge of The Urantia Book in our world is given to the Domestic Extension Committee and the International Fellowship Committee.
B. We have spent a generation in preparation. It is now time to start doing what we were organized to do. We must promote an outreach ministry to the religious institutions of the world. This ministry begins with individual members of these religious groups.
II. Implications of Our Commission
A. We can best contact and develop creative relationships with individuals in churches and other religious bodies when we are active members of these fellowships. Loving and patient service within these religious groups is the most effective way to foster spiritual growth. We would encourage all students of The Urantia Book who enjoy such fellowship to participate in the activities of the various religious institutions of the world.
B. The key to fostering fraternal relationships with churches and the religions of the world is to acquaint ministers and other religious leaders with The Urantia Book.
C. We should start laying the foundations for inter-institutional relationships with all religious groups within the context of the ecumenical movement.
III. Our Philosophy of Outreach Ministry
A. Urantia Brotherhood does not aspire to initiate a new religion or become a religious body which furnishes pastoral, sacerdotal, or worship services as do churches and synagogues. The Brotherhood functions primarily as an educational-social institution with a religious purpose. As such, it may be able to contribute an important ecumenical ministry to all of the religions of the world.
The purpose of outreach ministry, therefore, is to constructively influence individual and group growth in the various religious institutions of the world. We would urge students of The Urantia Book not to leave the traditional religious bodies of their heritage and culture but to become active in these groups and thereby serve as a leavening influence in these fellowships. Hopefully, students of The Urantia Book will become better members of churches and synagogues and more enlightened followers of the traditional religions of the world.
We recognize, however, that there are alternative strategies in working with religious institutions; and that there are limits to our adaptability capacities and tolerances. Some people will select various alternative ways of working with the religions of the world. We would encourage this diversity and strive to assist all who are interested in evolving an interface with religious bodies.
B. We believe outreach ministry is best engaged in by individual students of The Urantia Book or by organizations designed for specific types of ministry such as The Family of God Foundation, The Christian Fellowship of Students of The Urantia Book, and BEAM rather than being officially directed and controlled by Urantia Brotherhood. Many organizations structured to minister to particular religious groups will come into being in the future.
These organizations should have no organic connection with Urantia Brotherhood. They will be able to serve resource, ministry, and buffer functions for Urantia Brotherhood. Such service groups will evolve a loose network coordinating creative outreach ministry to all religions and cultural groups on our planet. It is hoped that these organizations will not be deceptive or surreptitiously undermine the religious institutions which they are attempting to serve or fail to support the basic purposes of Urantia Brotherhood.
The Fraternal Relations Committee does not intend to structure the nature of outreach ministry for individuals or organizations but we wish to encourage creativity and diversity of ministry and to furnish counsel and resources for outreach service for those who desire it. We hope that we may be able to constructively co-ordinate outreach activity among the religious institutions of the world.
IV. A Methodological Approach to Outreach Ministry
A. To lessen semantic confusion it is important to provide terminology to designate the various levels of communication and ministry.
First Level -- Living the gospel -- doing good as we pass by in life (Living Level).
Second Level -- Social service -- amplifying the gospel through systematic social action (Social Level).
Third Level -- Traditional concepts -- communicating the gospel through traditional Christian frames of reference or other traditional religious teachings (Traditional Level).
Fourth Level -- Contemporary concepts -- communicating the gospel using all contemporary resources, including bootlegging Urantia Book concepts (Contemporary Level).
Fifth Level -- Urantia Book concepts -- communicating the gospel through the fifth epochal revelation (Urantia Book Level).
B. We should engage in outreach ministry on all five communication levels. As we earnestly seek the Father's guidance in all of our plans and ministry, hopefully, we will discover pathways of wisdom in our service. Which level we use at any particular time may be determined by the evolutionary readiness status of those with whom we are interacting, the comfortableness and creativity we may feel with the various communication levels, and the objectives of our specific ministry.
C. The nature of the Fraternal Relations Committee's commission generally requires that, while not neglecting the first three levels of service, we concentrate our ministry on the Fourth and Fifth Levels of communication.
V. Program for Actualizing Our Commission
A. Preparatory evolutionary ministry is necessary before many people are ready to be introduced to The Urantia Book. The great majority of the people on our world are living at the Third or Traditional Level of spiritual understanding. They will need Fourth Level communication and ministry before they are able to receive the great truths of the fifth epochal revelation. Fundamentalists of all religions are usually the last to be open to new revelation.
1. Fourth Level communication with individual members of religious institutions. a. One on one relationships. b. Leadership relationships - Sunday School teachers, etc. c. Literature, music, art, multi-media.
2. Fourth Level communication with religious groups and society. a. Speaking to groups. b. Radio and television. c. Literature, music, art, and multi-media.
B. Developing fraternal relations with religious institutions is possible for the substantial minority of our population who now live at the Fourth Level of spiritual comprehension. Those individuals who are living at the growing edge of the religions of the world, especially within mainline Christianity, are evolutionally prepared for The Urantia Book, but only a few are psychologically and socially ready to realistically consider new revelation.
1. Fifth Level communication with individual members of religious institutions utilizing personal contact and various media channels.
a. Laymen. b. Ministers and other religious leaders. c. University and seminary professors.
2. Fifth Level communication with religious groups.
a. Speaking to various religious groups in religious and educational institutions. b. Dialogue with individual institutions, denominations, and religions.
We plan to implement our program by encouraging outreach activity. Subcommittees have been formed to give assistance and resource materials for both Fourth Level and Fifth Level ministry. We should like to emphasize, however, that all committee members are interested in and engage in both Fourth Level and Fifth Level communication. If you are motivated to engage in outreach service, we invite you to contact either or both of our subcommittees. Building an interface with the religious communions of our society is an experimental project. By sharing our experience we hope to grow in wisdom and effectiveness.
1. Fourth Level outreach subcommittee:
Vern B. Grimsley - Chm., Bettina Gray, Sally Schlundt
2. Fifth Level outreach subcommittee:
Meredith J. Sprunger - Chm. Jim McNelly W. A. Van Valkenburg, Jr.
VI. An Adventure in Service
A. We recognize that the Fraternal Relations Committee will function with maximum effectiveness if each committee member serves at the professional level of freedom and responsibility. Each member of the committee is urged to feel free to exercise initiative as if they were the chairperson. We should also like to extend this quality of freedom and responsibility to every student of The Urantia Book to help us "foster and develop fraternal relations and good will with the churches of various denominations and with the religions of the world."
B. Movements become a social reality when the truths and vision of a better way of life which they project become indigenous in the lives of people in local communities. Such spiritual growth is the result of outreach service. Pioneering ministry is never easy; it demands vision, courage, wisdom, and perseverance. Each of us has an unusual opportunity to shape the future of this planet by helping introduce a new revelation to our culture. Such a fortuitous event on our world comes to a generation only once in thousands of years. We are standing at the beginning of one of the most promising and exciting eras of human history. We hope you may find fulfillment and joy in sharing with your fellowmen the best Good News of this century!