Newsworthy Decisions From Urantia Foundation’s January 2008 Trustees Meeting

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Mo Siegel

By Mo Siegel, Secretary, Urantia Foundation

The Expanded Board of Urantia Foundation met in Chicago for the January Quarterly meeting of 2008. Some of the areas of discussion and decision making included the following.

Board Assessments

Two years ago the Expanded Board of Trustees adopted a method of self-assessment designed to improve the day to day functioning of the board and staff. The 2007 assessment provided the Board with a number of useful suggestions to consider for implementation over the next year.

Distribution of Le Livre d'Urantia in France

In recent years distributing Le Livre d'Urantia in France has become increasingly difficult. The situation in France is typical of the difficulties the Foundation encounters in distributing the book throughout most of Europe. For Urantia Foundation, being a single-title publisher limits the choices afforded the larger multi-title publishers. Nonetheless, our mission obliges us to solve these regional logistical challenges and to provide the revelation with a viable bookstore distribution in France. A four-member ad hoc committee, consisting of Trustee Georges Michelson-Dupont (chair), Associate Trustee Claire Mylanus, Executive Director Jay Peregrine, and Sales Manager Tamara Wood, was authorized to find an improved distribution system for France.

Disclaimer to be Posted on the Foundation Website

A few years ago, prompted by the urging of Trustee Emeriti Neal Waldrop, the Trustees passed a policy of non – interference in the internal affairs of organizations involved with The Urantia Book. After making this important policy, the Board decided to post a disclaimer on Urantia Foundation's website. This disclaimer made it clear that Urantia Foundation is not responsible for the acts of individual readers, religious groups, or social organizations involved with the book. The disclaimer reads as follows:

Urantia Foundation was established in 1950 to be the custodian of the inviolate text of The Urantia Book and to ensure that the book's teachings are spread, with the help of readers and fraternal organizations, to all people. This site is provided as a service to the community of Urantia Book readers but in no way implies responsibility for the actions of individual readers, religious groups, or social organizations.

Public Statements about The Urantia Book on the Web

The Board invited Dr. Chris Halvorson to work with the Public Relations Committee in monitoring, improving, and rectifying statements about, and descriptions of, The Urantia Book appearing on important internet websites. This decision furthers Urantia Foundation's ongoing commitment to improving people's understandings of the teachings of The Urantia Book.

Amendment of the "Policy Regarding Use of 'Urantia,' 'Urantian,' and the Concentric-Circles Symbol"

At its October meeting, the Board "safe harbored" commercial use of the Concentric-Circles Symbol by allowing limited rights for use of it in connection with jewelry. Providing "safe harbors" means that Urantia Foundation grants an individual or organization permission to use the Concentric-Circles Symbol in a certain way without concern for violating any of the trademarks, service marks, or collective membership marks of Urantia Foundation. In January of 2008, the Board amended the "Safe Harbor" policy passed in October. The policy now includes limited small-scale (not to exceed 100) commercial rights for clothing as well as jewelry.

Reconstitution of Committees

For the past five years, Board committees have become increasingly important in accomplishing the expanding workload at Urantia Foundation. While the committees cannot unilaterally act without Board approval, the committees are encouraged to recommend plans, and if approved, to execute these plans. With three new Associate Trustees and two new Trustees on the Expanded Board, the Board reconstituted the committees as follows:

  • Audit Committee: Chair: Gard Jameson; members: Jan Bernard, Richard Keeler, and Judy Van Cleave.
  • Investment Committee: Chair: Gard Jameson; members: Jan Bernard, Richard Keeler, and Mo Siegel.
  • Governance Committee: Chair: Seppo Kanerva; members: Jan Bernard and Mo Siegel.
  • Public Relations Committee: Chair: Mo Siegel; members: Richard Keeler, Marilynn Kulieke, Olga López, and Judy Van Cleave.
  • Education Committee: Chair: Gard Jameson; members: Marta Elders, Marilynn Kulieke, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Claire Mylanus, and Jane Ploetz.
  • Book Committee: Chair: Mo Siegel; members: Jan Bernard, Marilynn Kulieke, Georges Michelson-Dupont, Jay Peregrine, and Tamara Wood.
  • Committee on the Standard Reference Text: Chair Seppo Kanerva; members: Marvin Gawryn, Merritt Horn, Nancy Johnson, Marilynn Kulieke, and Jay Peregrine.
  • Fund-raising Committee: Chair: Jay Peregrine; members: Gard Jameson, Richard Keeler, Marjorie Reed, Betty Zehr, and Ralph Zehr.
  • Committee on Translations: Chair: Seppo Kanerva; members: Gábor Cseh, David Kantor, Michael MacIsaac, Georges Michelson-Dupont, and Neal Waldrop.
  • Compensation Committee: Chair: Mo Siegel; members: Gard Jameson and Richard Keeler.

If the work of any of these committees strikes your interest, please contact the chair through Urantia Foundation.

Potential Co-operation in Referrals

The Board decided, in principle, to increase co-operation with reader organizations in order to find common ground for reader and study-group referrals. The Executive Director will explore these possibilities and report back to the Board.

Improvements in the Legibility and Book Size of the English Edition and the German Translation

As Urantia Foundation has published more translations and as book sales have expanded globally, the Foundation has found it increasingly desirable to provide readers, in a given part of the world with a book that has the size, appearance, and formatting they prefer.

The Board discussed increasing the size of the font and the dimensions of the English Urantia Book. The Book Committee will submit its recommendations.

In response to the requests of German readers, the Board decided to increase the size of the font and the dimensions of Das Urantia Buch. These changes will be made this spring in the second printing of Das Urantia Buch. The dimensions will be 16 x 24 cm or 6.3" x 9.4" and the font size will be larger for easier reading.

Displaying the Chinese Translation on the Current Website

Based on the Translation Committee's recommendation, the Board decided not to display the first draft of the Chinese translation on the Foundation's website at this time. The Committee felt that the Chinese translation team needs to finish their second or third revision and correction of the translation before the translation is displayed on the Foundation's website. This decision followed a long discussion about the internal consistency of the current translated text.

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