San Antonio Joint Summer Study Session
Foster New Spirit
The spirit of the combined Urantia Association United States Summer Conference and the Urantia Book Fellowship Summer Study Session lives on long after it occurred. A feeling of good will between the readers of the two organizations emerged from the event, held June 9-12 in San Antonio. As a consequence, meetings between leaders of the two organizations to discuss future cooperation and unity of purposes are being held.
More than a year ago, Chris Wood, president of the UAI, approached David Kulieke, chair of the Fellowship Education Committee. Since the theme of the UAUS conference was to be "Jesus the Master Teacher," Chris felt that its educational theme would make it the perfect opportunity for a joint conference by combining it with the Education's 2016 Summer Study Sessions for in-depth study of The Urantia Book, a two out every three year event.
Once the leadership of the Fellowship agreed, the joint conference was on.
The planning was the charge of the UAUS with Katrina Glavan-Heise, of San Antonio, doing much of the day to day work. Katrina's herculean efforts paid off with a fine attendance of about 200 people, with healthy representations of many organization as well as unaffiliated individuals. There were people from all over the world, including a strong representation of young people, who both presented and met together.
The Fellowship Education Committee was given responsibility for the program, and the Program Committee consisted both of members of Education and others. It was ably chaired by Sherry Layton, an adjunct member of the Education Committee. Sherry said, "We were blessed to have the time and talents of our workshop presenters, plenary speakers, and conference organizers, and youth volunteers. Those talents were put to good use for the greatest good."
There were four main plenary speakers: Mo Siegel, Carolyn Prentice, Jeffrey Wattles, and David Kulieke. Their presentations can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgow2g1KJz0&list=PLQYC6XW8Ev1dVcV1kTXosnJ4CpMU0dbWI&index=2. Videos of the conference as a whole can be found at https://youtu.be/BlQCAxLaYjI.
As to be expected in a first-time, joint event such as the San Antonio conference, there was plenty to be learned. David Kulieke stated, "In the end it was extremely valuable to have had this joint event. While it became clear to many of us that such combined efforts in the future will work better if both groups are involved at the beginning, it was also clear that many individuals made new friends with other readers of The Urantia Book and that we liked being with each other. The Fellowship Education Committee was pleased that the conference met expectations for a worthwhile educational experience."
The desire to continue work together of leaders in the two organizations also reflected the value of this conference.