EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER
The most recent meeting of the Executive Committee of Urantia Brotherhood took place at the Chicago offices on the weekend of September 19-20, 1986. This report will summarize for your information the topics discussed and actions taken at this meeting. Inasmuch as we seek in these meetings to represent knowledgeably all the members of our community with as much fairness and wisdom as possible, we encourage and welcome your comments, questions, and input on any aspect of our deliberations.
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN
1. The required minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved with the correction that Steve Dreier, not Steve Law, was appointed to the ad hoc committee to develop more efficient voting procedures.
2. The resignation of Frank Sgaraglino from both the General Council and the office of Vice President of Urantia Brotherhood was accepted with regret and appreciation for a job well done.
3. The following change in the Standards of Admission for Urantia Societies as recommended by the Charter Committee was approved: the period of time an applying study group must have met together prior to application was shortened from five(5) to three(3) years.
4. The Charter Committee also recommended that the decision to set a minimum age requirement for incoming members subsequent to chartering be left up to the societies. This recommendation was defeated.
5. It was agreed that the registration fee for the 1987 General Conference be set at no more than $15.00 per adult, and that the average cost per adult, per day for room and board (for those residing on-campus) be no more than $37.00. The Co-ordinating Committee for the Conference was given the responsibility within these parameters to establish variable room costs in keeping with the quality of accommodations. 6. It was agreed that Urantia Brotherhood will offer the use of both VISA and MASTER CHARGE services for all appropriate transactions, including conference payments, book purchases, and donations. This will begin as soon as office personnel can be trained, and will include the necessary research on normal expected levels of bad debt and the implementation of the internal systems required for us to monitor and track our own level of performance in our various transaction categories.
7. It was agreed that the Design Team report-out meeting be held on the Week-end of January 23-25, 1987 at a location to be determined in the Chicago area. The program will include one final meeting for each of the Design Teams, a report-out session for each team, a synthesis meeting to map out priorities, resources, and timing, and a next steps/implementation review.
8. In order to fill the vacancy created by Frank Sgaraglino's resignation from the office of Vice President, it was agreed that a Special Meeting of the General Council for that purpose only would be called for the same weekend as the Design Team meeting. Specifically, the Special Meeting will be held at 8:00am, Saturday January 24, 1987. The only other order of business to be conducted at that time would be any other election(s) necessary to fill any vacancy among officers or committee chairs resulting from the election of Vice President. It was further agreed that the election of a Councilor to fill Frank's seat would be held at the regular meeting of the General Council next summer. A sub-nominating committee of Charles Burton (chair), Duane Faw, and Lynne Kulieke was appointed to propose two nominees for vice president to the Executive Committee at its November 21-22, 1986 meeting.
9. The Citation to Helen Carlson for long and dedicated service to Urantia Brotherhood, previously voted unanimously by the General Council, was presented to her by the members of the Executive Committee. It read, in part: "The General Council of Urantia Brotherhood, wishing to honor Helen Carlson for many years of faithful service in furthering the cause of the Urantia movement, presents this citation."
10. It was agreed that the ad-hoc committee established to study ways to improve voting procedures (Dan Massey, Steve Dreier, Chuck Burton), also be charged with the responsibility of evaluating the recommendations made that TDA Delegates not be eligible at the same time for the office of General Councilor and that locations other than Chicago be considered for future Triennial Delegate Assemblies.
11. An ad-hoc committee was established to locate possible sites for General Conferences in 1990 and 1993 and to evaluate the appropriateness of the continuation the pattern of holding these conferences every three years. This committee includes: Berkeley Elliott(chair), Steve Dreier, Lynn Kulieke, Marilynn Kulieke, John Hales, and John Hay. The committee will make its preliminary report at the February Executive Committee meeting.
12. It was agreed that discussion of the appropriateness of considering a change in the Urantia Brotherhood name be deferred until the February meeting of the Executive Committee. 13. The Executive Committee approved the request of the Fraternal Relations Committee to tape record certain segments of its program at the 1987 General Conference for internal resource use.
14. Inasmuch as the Judicial Committee had no business to transact as a committee during the year ending with last June's General Council meeting, the requirement to hold an annual meeting was waived.
15. It was agreed that the report due from the officers concerning the Removal Amendment Procedure be deferred until the February, 1987 meeting of the Executive Committee. This report will summarize procedures leading up to the amendment change approved by the General Council and make specific proposals concerning improvements in the procedures governing the future processing of amendments and possibly in the removal amendment itself.
16. The Executive Committee approved John Hales' recommendation that we propose to Amadon Corporation, the publisher of Le Livre d'Urantia, that Urantia Brotherhood utilize the services of C.E.R.D.H. as an "order fulfillment representative" in France to help improve distribution and maintain fair pricing. Inasmuch as C.E.R.D.H. does not qualify as a distributor under the criteria which have been established, it was felt that this approach enabled the Brotherhood to work with local French readers to improve the availability of Le Livre d'Urantia in France on a temporary basis until a relationship with a qualified distributor could be established.
17. Applications for Member-at-Large status in Urantia Brotherhood from the following people were approved: Michael Zehr, Waverly, NY; Peter Harvey Webb and Susan Michelle Webb, Yanchep, Western Australia; W. David Robertson, Lake Park, FL; Kevin 0. Goodman, Tampa, FL; Maureen Ann Toy, Cottesloe, West Australia; Philip and Jane Rolnick, Durham, NC. We warmly welcome those who are joining us for the first time, and send greetings to those whose home location has changed.
18. Prompted by a discussion on the Membership-at-Large category due to some applications, an ad-hoc committee of Steve Dreier, Lynne Kulieke, and Duane Faw has agreed to investigate the purposes of this category and make an appropriate report and recommendations for our consideration at the November, 1986 meeting of the Executive Committee.
19. It was agreed that the next meetings of the Executive Committee would be held in Chicago on November 21-22, 1986 and February 20-21, 1987.
20. The meeting adjourned at 5:00pm Saturday, having met since 9:00am and from 8:00-11:00pm the night before.
COMMITTEE ACTIVITY SUMMARY
In an effort to streamline Executive Committee meetings and facilitate lengthier discussion of items considered important, each chairperson submitted a written report to every other member a week prior to the EC meeting. Except for questions and actions required by each committee (any actions are mentioned above), discussion of general committee business was kept to a minimum. I will attempt to briefly summarize these reports hereunder. Please feel free to contact the committee chair if you feel you want further information. Judicial Committee: No report.
Charter Committee: Two requested changes in the Standards of Admissions are noted above. Additionally, Steve Dreier reported on a meeting held in France this summer at which ideas on the "international" status of Urantia Brotherhood were discussed. He suggested that it might be useful for the Executive Committee devote time to consideration of this issue.
Fraternal Relations Committee: Peter Laurence reported on this committee's progress to date in utilizing the Brotherhood Bulletin as a vehicle to "...highlight aspects of these various traditions which might become stepping stones toward a growing sense of spiritual unity among religion-ists from a variety of backgrounds." Thus far, the articles have dealt with these groups: Nichiren Shoshu Soka Gakkai (Buddhist), Baha'i, Subud.
A panel discussion on "Personal Transformation" at the 1987 General Conference sponsored by Fraternal Relations will include speakers from various religious traditions. Thus far, Lex Hixon (experienced in many traditions, primarily Hinduism), and John Daido Loori (Vice-Abbot of a Zen Monastery) have agreed to participate.
Domestic Extension Committee: Harry reports that his committee will be added to the Design Team on "Study Group Development" as adjunct members. The committee will also undertake, at the request of the General Council, a study of guidelines which might be appropriate in the context of current Brotherhood policies for use by persons who find themselves in the position of communicating to groups of people not now associated with our book or our organization. Fraternal Relations is also evaluating this subject, but with a primary focus on contact with scholarly or religious groups.
International Fellowship Committee: Berkeley reported briefly on the recent International Encounter for Readers of The Urantia Book and Le Livre d' Urantia held outside Paris, France this past August and hosted by a group of dedicated French readers. It was attended by more than 100 readers from nine countries, including France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Australia, Canada, and United States. Berkeley noted the tireless efforts of George and Marlene Michelson-Dupont, and his father, Jacques Dupont, and many others in making this encounter a deep and meaningful experience of fellowship and study for each and every participant.
Education Committee: Lynne noted that her committee had met in June, following and for the purpose of discussing the summer seminars. She reported that the next seminars, focusing on the first half of Part III, would be held in June, 1988. Additionally, the committee has undertaken consideration of many issues which are directed to the progressive expansion and improvement of the Education Committee's ongoing activities on behalf of the readers of The Urantia Book. These include: Focus on the educational technique outlined in the book (teaching immediately after learning); An evaluation session of teachers after the seminars; Providing more direction regarding methodology (a multi-faceted approach to topical study); A focus on the fourth day of the program including more effective bridging from three day study of the papers to topical study; Methodology and approach for the three-day study; Plenary session format; Co-ordination with evening programs; Teacher training workshops; Review of study aids and their relation to the work of the education committee. Publications Committee: Dan Massey reported that the Summer issue of The Urantia Brotherhood Bulletin would be mailed in late September. Dan noted that this issue would expand coverage of the discussions of the governing bodies of Urantia Brotherhood to include more information on the substance of the discussions underway on various unresolved issues. Additionally, once the wrinkles have been ironed out there will be more in the way of news and activities from the Societies.
The committee will also undertake the translation of selected articles into French aided by George Michelson-Dupont and Yves Chauvin. The target to begin this activity, contingent upon budget considerations, is early 1987.
Publications has begun work on redoing the slide-tape presentation of the history of Urantia Brotherhood to polish and update it.
Dan has presented to the Executive Committee and informed the Trustees of Urantia Foundation of a proposal for the development of a computer-based reference aid for the study of The Urantia Book. The lead role in the organization of this project will be taken by Nancy Johnson. More detail will be available as work progresses.
Special Projects Committee: Marilynn Kulieke noted in her report that her committee has begun to assess the feasibility of developing a network of groups interested in pursuing projects of mutual interest. Special Projects, while continuing to work on the development of the Resources Guide, is awaiting the Executive Committee's review of the relationship of secondary works to the central organization. Finally, the committee is working on a response to the General Council's request for an opinion on the appropriateness of proceeding with an effort to document Brotherhood history, and if appropriate, how it should proceed.
Finance Committee: John Hay reported that donations to date are well below the targeted $128,000 despite good response to the second solicitation letter containing the bookmarks. Fortunately, expenditures are also below expectations due to a delay in personnel replacement. However, John has indicated that next year's budgeting process must recognize the difficulty we have in generating increased donor funding to expand those programs which are generally considered to be worthwhile by the readers.
The Finance Committee will be meeting the weekend of October 18-19, 1986 to review fundraising efforts this current year, plan next year's program, and develop budget recommendations for review and approval by the Executive Committee at the November meeting.
A concern was raised concerning the budgeting process. It was agreed that while the Finance Committee should evaluate each committee's budget in the. context of the overall budget, and make appropriate recommendations, that it is the Executive Committee's responsibility to prioritize programs and therefore make specific budget deletions at the November meeting.
1. There were several items covered in the President's report: a. The Foundation will not be able to act on our library gift book proposal until after its October 19, 1986 Trustees meeting. In that proposal we requested an additional quantity of books for our library placement programs on a long-term reduced price basis. b. It does not appear that we can effectively consider the desirability of carrying the Concordex for sale at headquarters out of the context of derivative works as an overall category. Consequently,. it would appear that we need to carefully consider all the factors which impact on this decision, both short and long term, and arrive at a policy which can be consistently applied in the future. The chair proposed that the discussion be deferred until the November 21, 1986 EC meeting which is after the Foundation meeting and will also provide time for each Executive Committee member to circulate written opinions on this subject to facilitate an evaluation of the factors impinging on the decision prior to the November meeting.
c. Several of our Societies were contacted by the Foundation concerning the misuse of the registered marks on various materials. These contacts were consistent with the direct licensing by the Foundation of each society for mark usage and the staff work required to uphold the marks. It would appear that each of the societies contacted was unaware of misuse and will take steps to avoid future problems.
2. John Hales proposed and the Executive Committee agreed that all single book orders from bookstores would be treated on an open account basis thereby allowing a 24 hour turnaround on fulfillment.
3. The current policy on the joint Brotherhood/Foundation mailing list was presented detailing how individuals are placed on the list and the reasons why this list is maintained for the exclusive use of the organizations. In conjunction with this report, it was also recommended and approved that those unduplicated names/addresses offered by the Rocky Mountain Urantia Society of Denver for inclusion in Brotherhood/Foundation mailings be added at once and a letter sent to each explaining their addition and offering the option to be dropped from the mailing list. A suggestion was also made that each Society be contacted to see if there was a willingness to have readers on their local lists who may not be on the Brotherhood list be added to same.
4. John Hales reported receiving correspondence from both a bookseller and a distributor voicing a concern that subsidized price discounting of The Urantia Book could lead to de-listing by the retailers on the basis that our own organization appears to be competing with the wholesale and retail trade. This is an important concern inasmuch as it is generally agreed that the maintenance and expansion of our retail distribution and availability is one of our major responsibilities on behalf of the book. Further, de-listing for any reason raises an unacceptable prospect--that an interested person could only obtain The Urantia Book from the membership of the Brotherhood.
5. It was reported that there were some complaints from Lake Forest College personnel regarding behavior on the part of some of the attendees at the seminars this past summer. Specifically, it was noted that some sheets were taken and a number of keys had not been returned as requested. Comment was also made that the dormitory facilities allocated for our seminars were not up to the standard of past years and that if Lake Forest is to be used again we should specify the accommodations we require. 6. Peter Laurence reported that further discussion with the American Academy of Religions had resulted in the possibility that they may authorize another workshop at their 1987 annual conference. It was also reported that there will be a booth featuring The Urantia Book as well as the Concordex and Paramony at the November, 1986 AAR meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
7. Chuck Burton reported that we saved over $2,000 by in-house hiring of a new employee rather than utilizing an agency. Our new employee is Marina Panos who started with us earlier this month,
CLOSING COMMENTS This past summer's encounter (which the organizers called it instead of a conference) was, at least for me, an extraordinary experience of the power of the inner spirit resident in each person to enable us to overcome virtually every apparent difference and relate on the level of true brotherhood. The differences of culture, racial heritage, life experience, and language simply became an integrated part of the identity of each unique personality and in so doing lost their usual function as a shorthand definition of group character. It became clear to me that the true building block of planetary brotherhood is the uniqueness of individual personality as it is expressed in a caring, loving relationship with every other unique person, unified in that relationship of meaningful diversity by the common Father who gives us our very existence.
We spent a great deal of time eating together in a natural form of communion which somehow seemed most expressive of what Jesus intended the remembrance to become. It was a simple and conscious sharing of a universal life experience, the replenishment of material energy furnished by our Creator Son and his Spirit Consort for just that purpose, in loving association with brothers and sisters, gathered there to share our common spiritual heritage and destiny. The simple act of eating together in this way seems to combine in balanced symmetry all levels of reality experience together with the self-consciousness of sonship shared with the Creator Son who IS one with our Universal Father.
A quote from "Letter 11," the most recent communication from C.E.R.D.H., the organization founded by readers in France as a mechanism for their work together, states most succinctly what the impact of this encounter can be:
"We lived not as students and teachers but only as individuals in search of other individuals in order to understand and love each other. Everyone was so different, but still gathered together with a common denominator: the consciousness of being children of a unique and loving Father and the desire to live this sonship and the consequent brotherhood which follows. ... What we have been able to realize between us, why not try to realize it around us? It behooves each of us, in our own everyday surroundings, to enter into this process.
Open wide the seed pods and spread the leaven of love around us. If we are conscious of being the loved daughters and sons of the Universal Father of love, then we are conscious that all men and women are our brothers and sisters, not only those who read The Urantia Book."
In deepest fellowship,
David N. Elders
A Service of
The Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book