Orlando Florida: Another Chapter Unfolds
By Bill and Share Beasley, Florida, USA
All of Florida had been gripped by a deep freeze for two weeks. As the sun came out and the weather warmed on Thursday, January 14, the Trustees of Urantia Foundation began arriving and preparing for their first quarter board meeting in 2010.
In the background at the Wyndham Hotel in Orlando, things were astir with preparations for a state-wide, one-day gathering for readers of The Urantia Book. The invitations were sent, all the RSVPs were collected, and readers throughout the state and beyond were given the opportunity to meet face to face with each other and with the Trustees to hear about the Foundation's on-going projects.
At noon on Saturday, attendees began arriving at the reception area. Hugs, introductions, and conversation ensued. Just like a family reunion, some people were known, and some were not, but all had something special in common. Goodwill and anticipation filled the air.
The room was set up with round tables. People seated themselves, and the program began with a welcome from Bill and Share Beasley. Afterwards, the attendees participated in an "Enthusiastic Teamwork" exercise. A worksheet was provided, and the teams enthusiastically brainstormed on the following questions:
- • What are some ideas to perpetuate the teachings in The Urantia Book?
- • What talents are needed for these ideas?
- • What are the nuts and bolts of these ideas, and how do we make them happen?
- • Do they require financial support? If so, where does it come from?
- • Are you willing to participate in service of some kind?
It was heart-warming and inspiring to see the teams in action. Margaret Mead, the anthropologist, said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." We could see it happening. "One of the most important lessons to be learned during your mortal career is teamwork. The spheres of perfection are manned with those who have mastered the art of working with other beings." The Urantia Book, (312.2) 28.5.14
The Trustees and Associate Trustees joined the group after finishing their meeting. Sitting at the front of the room as a panel, they gave updates concerning Urantia Foundation's many on-going projects. Mo Siegel led off with an overview of the Foundation's accomplishments in 2009 and the goals for 2010. Urantia Book sales are up, four new translations will be ready by fall, major advancements will be made in translating the website into several languages, support will be given for the growth of study groups, and increased goodwill and more communication will be made with reader groups worldwide.
Henk Mylanus gave an in-depth look at the formidable challenges that distribution of The Urantia Book in Europe faces. Gard Jameson spoke on the importance of being effective teachers and study group leaders and emphasized the importance of becoming partners with the Father in all areas of our lives. Richard Keeler brought the translation efforts alive and, as usual, treated us to his interactive banjo song and dance. Marilynn Kulieke apprised us that, after nearly three years of work and study, the Standard Reference Text was approved for all future printings of The Urantia Book. She detailed the laborious manner used for this accomplishment. Jay Peregrine finished the presentations by sharing strides forward, including Urantia Foundation's new, more beautiful, and more inviting website.
The floor was opened to questions. Goodwill and information flowed freely.
The hour break between the program and dinner afforded ample opportunity for everyone to meet and get to know the Trustees and Associate Trustees. The lively discussions continued until the dinner bell rang. A board member sat at every table.
The evening's grand finale was a heart-felt group worship topped off with Cindy Selph's beautiful voice as she led us in singing "Pray Tell Me How," written and composed by Rebecca Oswald and Michael Hanian.
As we said our goodbyes and returned to our rooms and homes, we knew that the powerful influence of the Spirit of Truth, our Thought Adjusters, and the angels had worked their magic. An excerpt from an email sent by an attendee gives insight into the power of this gathering:
I would like to formally express my gratitude to each of you for this weekend.
I first read the Urantia Papers about 25 years ago in Japan. My correspondence with Betty Lou and Bill and Share was my first contact since then. Despite that, as the Urantia Papers direct us, to learn and teach the true religion of Jesus, has been the guiding force in my life since that time.
Several years ago, after the death of our 9-year-old daughter, my wife and I transformed our grief into something new and established a non-profit foundation in Samantha's memory. With a force of one hundred volunteers, we quietly impact the lives of hundreds of children and families in our county working with an orphanage, elementary schools, the homeless population, and correctional institutions. We have done all this without collecting a single penny, proof that propagating Jesus' message is simple and often just about showing up.
Being a part of this weekend, I believe, is a monumental honor. I will not say more believing that you all understand. I left the meeting with a very clear sense of commission to continue and expand our work, and I will make this happen. Sometimes life's efforts are measured by the effect they have on a single life. Each of your efforts has affected and will continue to affect many lives through this one.
In conclusion, we thank you for sharing another example of the exponential effects of the Fifth Epochal Revelation.
Urantia Orlando Teamwork Exercise
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History