The Summer Conference in San Antonio

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Joanne Strobel

By Joanne Strobel, Urantia Foundation, Illinois, United States

Over three hundred years ago, in 1691, a small expedition of Spanish explorers traveling north from Mexico advanced some 150 miles into present-day Texas. On June 13, they stopped to set up camp near a Coahuiltecan Indian village along the river. The Franciscan chaplain of the small expedition suggested that they call the place San Antonio because they had arrived on the feast of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of finding things or lost people.

On June 9, 2016, a large group of Urantia Book readers converged on this same town, almost to the date of its founding. * The topic was “Jesus, the Master Teacher”; the location, remarkably, was Trinity University. Jointly sponsored by the Urantia Association of the United States, Lone Star Urantia Association, and the Urantia Book Fellowship, with additional funding from Urantia Foundation and Truthbook, it was a Texas-style conference in every sense of the word. The enormous efforts of our local hosts, President Katrina Glavan-Heise and a herd of volunteers, culminated in superb hospitality, well-orchestrated plenaries and workshops, and a welcoming Fiesta that showcased legendary Tex-Mex cuisine, a talented ensemble of budding mariachi musicians, and a kickoff plenary from Mo Siegel.

David Linthicum rode shotgun with Katrina at the podium every day. Inspirational plenaries were delivered by Carrie Preston, Jeffrey Wattles, and David Kulieke. Each morning and afternoon we had our choice of concurrent workshop sessions, and if I could be in two places at once, I would have been!

Friday morning workshops were led by Marvin Gawryn, Stuart Kerr, Mark Kurtz, James Woodward, and Jeff Wattles. After lunch we enjoyed sessions with Gaétan Charland, Elaine McLellan, Lucy Norwood, Paula Thompson, and Angie Thurston. Friday afternoon featured groups led by Miranda Clendening, David Fabe, Sharon Lanier, Derek Samaras, and Tom Vasile. And that list doesn’t include the full-day in-depth study workshop led by Katharina Becker, Marilynn Kulieke, and Barbara Newsom.

Saturday was another full day, with morning sessions featuring William Rux, Angie Thurston, Chuck Thurston, co-presenters Katharina Becker, Doreen Heyne, Carolyn Prentice, and Line St-Pierre, and co-presenters Barbara Newsom, Nick Stefero, and Clint Stucky. After lunch we had a choice of encore workshops or a shuttle van that ran continuously all afternoon between Trinity and the famed San Antonio River Walk. Many of us enjoyed boat tours and walking tours of the Alamo.

The Saturday night entertainment was beyond description. Cristina Seaborn and Bob Solone simply outdid themselves as they performed together on violin and piano. Looking out over the evening skyline, we were enchanted and transported by the magic of their soaring collaboration.

It would not have been a proper conference and summer study session without Urantia merchandise, and CosmicCreations did not disappoint. Rick Lyon and his partner Susan Grzeskowiak set out an impressive array of just about anything you could think of in the foyer of Chapman Center, where it served as an impromptu gathering place for fellowship.

I returned to Chicago with a renewed appreciation of how Jesus lived, worked, and taught on this earth. I feel humbled and blessed by the sheer number of volunteers and the amount of planning that took place over the past year by dedicated individuals from several thriving organizations. We are indeed a loving family, united by the Spirit of Truth, each of us children, brothers, and sisters of Jesus, our master teacher.

* To see photos from the conference, please view the pdf

Foundation Info

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