A New Framework For International Cooperation

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"To foster study of The Urantia Book and to disseminate its teachings"

When early readers of The Urantia Book came together to form an organization based on its teachings, they recognized that their Protestant Christian backgrounds could have the undesired effect of creating an organizational structure appealing to others with similar backgrounds but lacking the desired international and ecumenical appeal. They sought to "make a sincere and prayerful effort to rise above the bias which is inherent in our backgrounds."

Through the years, the International Urantia Association has grown and evolved to the point where members are now found on five continents. Linguistic, cultural, and religio-philosophic differences abound. As a result of this wonderful diversity, members have developed a framework through which they can join together in brotherly and harmonious action.

In addition to this experience working with people of diverse backgrounds toward common goals, we also have the benefit of valuable lessons from The Urantia Book regarding the outworking of previous epochal revelations on our planet. The members of International Urantia Association have used this knowledge and experience and integrated it in a new organizational Charter.

The new Charter was adopted effective March 1, 2003, and will operate provisionally until new Bylaws have been drafted and ratified by the members. The primary purpose of the organization is "to foster study of The Urantia Book and to disseminate its teachings." IUA continues to work in partnership and cooperation with Urantia Foundation in the dissemination of the teachings of The Urantia Book and supports Urantia Foundation's role as established by the Declaration of Trust.

The challenge has been to develop an organizational structure that will permit associations throughout the world to organize and conduct themselves according to their own cultural preferences while, at the same time, sharing certain core principles, goals, and purposes. The international body, rather than governing, carries out activities of common interest to the national associations, such as publishing an international journal, sponsoring international conferences, etc.

The new structure is based on a representative model recommended in The Urantia Book where there is a balance of power among legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The "Representative Council," composed of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of all the national Urantia Associations, is the legislative body that decides upon the international activities of IUA and empowers the executive body to implement those decisions. The executive body is an eleven-member "International Service Board" composed of the international officers and committee chairpersons. A "Judicial Commission" is available to resolve disputes.

Members of the International Service Board met in Chicago March 7-9, 2003 and continue meeting via email. The Representative Council likewise has ongoing Internet meetings. Due to differences in language and time zone among members, these email meetings conducted with the aid of volunteer translators are currently the best available method for communication.

One new feature of the Charter is the "member-at-large" category. Individuals wishing to join IUA in countries where no association exists, or individuals who live in isolated regions in certain countries where local associations do exist, may join as members-at-large.

We thank those who worked for three years to creatively integrate the fruit of our early experience into the current organizational structure. As their work progressed, the group was successively expanded to incorporate a wider variety of viewpoints. In the final months several other individuals were added to finalize details and to ensure that the Charter was sufficiently flexible to work within the laws of diverse areas of the world where associations may form. Kudos to Charter Committee Chairperson Jo Anne King and to members Travis Binion, Cathy Jones, Seppo Kanerva, Jay Peregrine and Nancy Shaffer, as well as Tonia Baney, Mo Siegel, Kathleen Swadling, Mindy Williams, and the many others who contributed to this process.

This Charter heralds a new era for the IUA and provides many more opportunities for service in the growing family of Urantia Book readers. The Urantia Book reveals a pattern common to past epochal revelations: Devoted individuals, who had received new truths, trained and systematically planned for the infusion of the new teachings into the societies and cultures of their times. IUA provides a framework within which those who have received the teachings revealed in The Urantia Book can band together in teams and work with a spirit of unity and cooperation for the service of mankind.

Mike Wood, Will Sherwood, Cathy Jones, Eddie King, Seppo Niskanen, Jerry Prentice, Shirley Pelland, Jeffrey Wattles, Gaétan Charland, Travis Binion
Members of International Service Board
Rear: Mike Wood, Will Sherwood, Cathy Jones, Eddie King, Seppo Niskanen
Front: Jerry Prentice, Shirley Pelland, Jeffrey Wattles, Gaétan Charland, Travis Binion
(Not pictured: Rick Warren)

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