Study Groups: The Principle of Sharing

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Claire Mylanus

By Claire Mylanus, Brittany, France

Study groups are the most practical and effective way to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book. Many readers in the United States have been studying the book in study groups for decades and have a lot of experience in teaching in many different ways. We European readers are working slowly and steadily towards the same goals.

Good teachers are very important. For 10 years in the 1970s I participated in a study group in the Netherlands, where I lived for 30 years. The teacher of this study group was Henry Begemann, who was at that time the European representative for study groups. He was one of the best teachers I have known. He was a philosopher and a deep thinker. He taught me to have great respect for the Universe Teachers and to use my mind to gain insight. Later on, by being of service, I have learned to use my heart.

After years of attending a study group, many individuals feel the need to serve, the need to do more, and they start their own study group in their area. That is a logical process!

A study group is the "fulcrum" where teachers and leaders are slowly trained and surface. Readers who have been reading the book for years profit from the questions of newer readers because the older readers have to review their knowledge and accommodate the newer readers, and the newer readers benefit from the wisdom and the experience of the long-time readers.

A study group is also the place where people meet to understand difficult concepts and share their personal spiritual experiences for the benefit and growth of all. A study group is about exchanges between personalities, about sharing, and about service and brotherhood. It is amazing to see that people of different backgrounds, who normally in daily life wouldn't have much in common, suddenly become friends and your brothers and sisters in spirit. Because each person is unique and diverse, each study group is different and a tool to learn more. It teaches you teamwork, which is one of the lessons we have to learn on the planet.

My husband and I sponsored and participated in study groups in Malta and in the Netherlands. Now we live in France, and we try to use different methods adapted to the needs of the study group attendees. We have a couple of different formats. We have one study group for beginners or advanced readers. This group studies the French translation. We have another study group in which my husband and I study the book (in either English or French) with one individual only. Our study groups are held in a "homey" context. We try to make it cozy and serve tea or coffee with homemade pies and cakes.

Since 2005 we have hosted five to seven persons who come over from the Netherlands for three days to a week. At these study groups we study the book using the topical approach as a means of deepening our understanding of the basic concepts of the book. It gives these Netherlanders (and us) an opportunity to study the book in depth and to experience beautiful Britanny, France, where we live. They stay in nearby B & Bs, and during the full-day study group, we provide a home-made lunch. We are a spiritual family sharing in all kinds of ways.

There is such a joy! It is each time a blessing and a privilege being together, learning and receiving so much in return! A study group follows the pattern of the universe which is sharing knowledge and experience. "Knowledge is possessed only by sharing; it is safeguarded by wisdom and socialized by love." [557:12]

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