Urantia Book International School Virtual Study Groups

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Erika Webster

By Erika Webster, Oklahoma, United States

Urantia Book International School (UBIS) has long been recognized for offering quality courses to Urantia Book students. We have always followed a “log in at your convenience” asynchronous model, alternating between periods of reading and responding to questions, and weeks of discussion in an online forum. Now there is a new option—a virtual study group! As virtual platforms have become more accessible and popular, we recognize the importance of taking advantage of this modality as another tool to ensure that our students have a quality connection and study opportunity with one another.

I had the pleasure of participating in the first two UBIS study groups in the Spanish branch, along with my co-host Eduardo Altuzarra. The first time, the virtual option was offered to new readers as a test, following a similar model offered in the English branch. This second time we have been focusing on the needs of a variety of both new and experienced readers. Using the Zoom platform, participants enjoy a two-hour session every Sunday for eight consecutive weeks.

We have found that reading four or five paragraphs at a time works very well with new readers, while more experienced readers are inclined to prefer one to three paragraphs at a time. As facilitators, we face a certain amount of uncertainty in planning how much to cover in any given week. In a written course, the readings are clearly outlined in advance, with a full week allotted for each paper, and there is rarely a need for deviation from the plan.

Eduardo and I have learned to supplement our weekly sessions with emails and WhatsApp messages to keep the participants engaged. This provides us with a wonderful opportunity to receive questions, and to allow time to reflect on what was covered.

Andres Forero of Colombia commented that “it has been a very gratifying experience to participate in this UBIS virtual study group. It provides a place of expression when reading The Urantia Book together, in an environment of respect, tolerance, patience, and fellowship."

It has been rewarding to moderate these virtual sessions with Eduardo. The most important thing for me is to make sure that the participants feel that they are in a safe space to express and share their thoughts and opinions, to expand their understanding of the revelation, and most importantly to value their fellow readers and establish new bonds of friendship.

Representing UBIS means providing a quality session, free of interpretation, exemplifying the highest spiritual values, and gently pointing the students in the right direction. Our meetings become a living example of a simple, yet high-functioning, study group. It is our hope that the format will be replicated by students within their own community.

The next UBIS study group will be offered in English during this April trimester. Registration will open on Monday, April 17. Keep an eye out for the email!

Urantia Book International School Virtual Study Groups
Urantia Book International School Virtual Study Groups

Foundation Info

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