Reflections on the 11th meeting of Urantia Book readers in Spain
By Olga López, associate trustee, Barcelona, Spain
Spanish readers of The Urantia Book gathered together in the beautiful city of Seville during the weekend of May 11. It was unusually hot in Spain for this time of the year, but this was not a hindrance to enjoy brotherhood and good humor.
Our meeting began on Friday afternoon with three speeches given by Eduardo Altuzarra, Mariano Pérez, and me. Our purpose was to share what we had learned at the UAI Leadership Symposium, which was held last July at Techny Towers, Chicago, IL, USA, combined with our experience as members of the national board of the Spanish association of Urantia Association International (UAI).
This meeting was special for several reasons. First, it was held in Seville, the birthplace of the Urantia movement in Spain. Second, we enjoyed the presence of several international visitors, including Georges Michelson-Dupont, vice-president of Urantia Foundation, Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie, former associate trustee, Rogério Reis da Silva and his wife Cleci Lourdes Moraes Mattos from Portugal, Jean Duveu from France, and Werner Sutter from Vancouver, Canada. And third, we witnessed the formation of a new national board of the UAI.
This meeting gave me the opportunity to reflect on what has happened in Spain during the last eight years. When I became president, there were many readers in Spain, but the association was not operational―it was not even legalized according to Spanish laws. We had three study groups, two of which had been in existence for only a few months. Our association had a few more than thirty members. We had much work to do.
We began by developing a website for our association so that we could reach more Spanish readers. Slowly but steadily, and thanks to the internet, our database of readers grew, we found potential leaders, and we started to make connections with other readers throughout the world. From these connections, we learned from more experienced readers and leaders how to build a strong and lasting association.
Little by little we achieved most of our goals: We legalized our association according to Spanish laws; we completed the website with many secondary works and study aids in Spanish; we doubled our membership; we had annual meetings every year; we made presentations about The Urantia Book in several major cities; and we fostered the formation of more study groups. Right now there are ten throughout Spain.
What pleases me the most is that we are well known in the Urantia movement, thanks in no small measure to the international conference of the UAI, which was held in Spain in 2009.
There is an old Spanish song with the word “dos españoles, tres opiniones” (“two Spaniards, three opinions”), meaning it’s very difficult for two Spaniards to reach an agreement about anything. But the Spanish readers enjoy a unity of purpose, and all the leaders in Spain are well aware of the challenges ahead and are willing to face them in the most effective and loving way.
In these times of uncertainty due to the financial crisis in Spain, I think there is a great opportunity to make the teachings of The Urantia Book known to our fellow disenchanted and secularized Spaniards. More Urantia Books are sold in Spain than in any other European country. I believe this is no coincidence, and that the time is ripe to further the dissemination of the teachings here.
This generation of young adults in Spain is the most educated ever, and they are suffering the effects of the financial crisis. So I think we should focus our attention on them and give them hope for their future.
I am fully confident that the new, just elected national board will lead the Spanish association of the UAI to a new level in the work of disseminating The Urantia Book and its teachings.
New and old members of the Spanish National Board
Top row: Mariano Pérez (study groups), Ismael Gracia (secretary), Andrés Pérez (former treasurer), and Olga López (former president).
First row: Jaime Marco (vice-president), Carmelo Martínez (president), and Eduardo Altuzarra (former vice-president, now treasurer). Santiago Rodríguez, former secretary, was absent due to job commitments.
International visitors from left to right: Werner Sutter (Canada), Theo Herzog (Germany), Rogerio Reis da Silva and his wife Cleci (Portugal), Margit Klingen (Germany), Jean Duveu (France), Georges Michelson-Dupont (France), and Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie (Finland).
11th meeting of Urantia Book readers in Spain
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History