President's Letter to the Readership
Announcing Termination of Relationship with Urantia Foundation
November 8, 1989
Dear Members and Friends:
As you no doubt know by now, on October 30, 1989 Urantia Foundation terminated the Confirmatory Agreement which authorized our organization, formerly called Urantia Brotherhood, to use the word Urantia and the Concentric Circles as part of its name identification. In addition, the Foundation also terminated our lease at our 533 Diversey Parkway headquarters and cancelled the Sales Agency Agreement under which we operated as sales agent for The Urantia Book.
Urantia Foundation's claimed justification for these actions was apparently the decision made by the General Council at its September 16-17, 1989 meeting "...to evaluate our organizational goals and plans and to institute such measures as to affirm our existence as an independent, autonomous organization, operating on the basis of group wisdom, and in keeping with our highest understanding of the teachings of The Urantia Book." Rather than support us in this worthy rededication of our energies to the achievement of our shared organizational purpose, the trustees of Urantia Foundation perceived this action as a threat to their claimed control over any activities of our organization which involved the use of the concentric circles symbol and word, Urantia...virtually all of our activities.
Notwithstanding the severity and implications of this action, the Executive Committee, in its determination to act in a manner consistent with the principles stated in the General Council declaration, voted unanimously not to contest the Foundation's action. Rather than risk further debilitating turmoil (organizational and/or legal), and in an effort to avoid placing the marks or the copyright to The Urantia Book in any jeopardy, the members of the Executive Committee agreed to embark on a new course to achieve our destiny as a worldwide fellowship of readers of The Urantia Book. Here is what we plan to do:
1. The organization which was formerly known by the name Urantia Brotherhood will continue on as before, fully under the guidance of its constituted democratic group process and committed to the goals, objectives, and activities already set in motion. Namely, we will hold the 1990 International Conference as planned in Snowmass next summer; we will hold the Triennial Delegate Assembly as scheduled in the summer of 1991; we will expand our work with study groups and enhance our communications, coordination, chartering, and fellowship functions, etc.
2. We will be changing the name of our organization on a provisional basis immediately, and implement a plan to involve the entire membership in the final name selection. The name above, FIFTH EPOCHAL FELLOWSHIP, is our new operating name for the time being. We will contact you shortly to request your participation in the final choice of a name for our fellowship.
3. By the end of November, 1989, we will move into a new headquarters building which we currently have under a purchase contract and which is located at 529 Wrightwood Street, Chicago, south of our current location. It has approximately 3,000 square feet of usable space, is in move-in condition, and is so located that we can retain our current telephone number, P.O. Box Address, and zip code. We are all excited about the prospect of having our own headquarters operation.
4. Members of what was formerly called Urantia Brotherhood are, of course, members of FIFTH EPOCHAL FELLOWSHIP, unless they choose not to retain membership and formally resign. Appropriate membership credentials reflecting the name change will be issued in due course.
5. Inasmuch as this is a name change only and the organization itself is ongoing, the status of constituted societies remains unchanged under the new operating organizational name, FIFTH EPOCHAL FELLOWSHIP. Although societies exist as such by virtue of their organic, representational linkage and formal charter with our organization, they are licensed directly by Urantia Foundation to use the word Urantia and the Concentric Circles symbol in their name. On November 1, 1989, Urantia Foundation trustees notified each of the societies that in order to retain their use of the word Urantia and the Concentric Circles symbol under the Licensing Agreement, they could not at the same time remain affiliated with our ongoing organization, now renamed FIFTH EPOCHAL FELLOWSHIP (provisionally). As far as our FELLOWSHIP organization is concerned, each society will be considered to be in ongoing good standing as a part our renamed organization unless its members formally cancel their affiliation and return their charter. Our FELLOWSHIP has no intention to require the societies to change their constitutions (other than to reflect the organizational name change), their mode of operation, or even their name. That will be between each society and Urantia Foundation as the societies determine the level of representational, democratic process Urantia Foundation intends to vest under the Licensing terms for Urantia Brotherhood Association, the new licensee established by the Foundation.
Furthermore, in keeping with our desire to be an open, inclusive fellowship of readers of The Urantia Book, we would welcome the continued membership in FIFTH EPOCHAL FELLOWSHIP of those persons who may choose to affiliate with this newly formed Urantia Foundation licensee organization, Urantia Brotherhood Association.
6. On November 18, 1989, beginning at 1:00pm, there will be an Advisory Meeting hosted by the Executive Committee and First Urantia Society to discuss these changes with members of the General Council and representatives of each current and prospective society. More information on this meeting will be forthcoming shortly.
7. It is our intention to convene a Constitutional Convention as part of our 1991 Triennial Delegate Assembly for the purpose of making our constitution more inclusive of and acceptable to readers from every corner of the world, based upon changes they and we would like to see made.
The Urantia Book suggests that faith has the power to enable conflict to result in growth rather than in disintegration. We are certain that our decisions and actions, based as they are on our deepening commitment to live more fully by the high principles of the teachings and patterns of The Urantia Book, have helped lead us toward new levels of growth, unity, achievement, and exellence in our organizational activities. Though we have had our name taken from us, our organization lives on and will become the basis for significant evolutionary growth in our abilities to achieve our purposes. We have truly set forth on a great adventure of faith more determined than ever to provide the planetary service we believe was intended by the Revelatory Commission: the evolution of a worldwide, self-governing, and inclusive fellowship of religionists united by a common personal experience with our Universal Father, enlightened by the revelatory teachings of The Urantia Book, and bound together in a common human endeavor designed to manifest the power of these teachings in social sharing and unselfish service.
We need and want your continued participation and support in this grand endeavor. Please call on any one of the members of the Executive Committee if you have any questions whatsoever. Also, one or more of us would be glad to attend a meeting or gathering if you would like to understand these matters further. Thank you.
Yours in fellowship,
David N. Elders, President
For the Executive Committee
cc: General Councilors
A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship