It had been over 50 years since the General Council of The Urantia Book Fellowship created a new standing committee. To be honest I had no idea! I didn’t find out until the day the Youth and Young Adult Committee became the first new standing committee in 56 years.
So what does it mean for the Youth and Young Adult Committee to have a place on The Fellowship’s General Council? Let me start by sharing the first lines of The Fellowship’s purpose: “The purpose of The Fellowship is the study and dissemination of the teachings of The Urantia Book; the promotion, improvement, and expansion among the peoples of the world of the comprehension and understanding of Cosmology and the relation of the planet on which we live to the Universe…” [italics mine]. To me this mission statement translates into just what Jesus said: “Share the good news!”
Up until this point, the young adults in our community have not had a voice at the decision-making table. When The Fellowship voted to turn our adjunct committee into a standing committee, it was a vote to provide real representation for the younger generation. I have no doubt that this will be the marking point of a whole new era of progress for the revelation. Having funding and support from the greater community is already enabling the younger generation to make a real, lasting difference that will set a foundation of support for years to come. IT IS FANTASTIC!
Growing up as a second generation reader, I witnessed my father’s commitment to the revelation and its dissemination. Even though the word dissemination is in The Fellowship’s mission statement, I didn’t get the sense as a youth that this was a high priority in the community. As I matured in my own study of the Book and began to realize its divine nature and powerful, life-changing tools, I immediately wanted to share it with others as so many before me have. It was then that I noticed a need for community guidance as to how to do this, and, when I was successful, a need for structure into which to welcome a new reader. To provide guidance, structure, and support for others wishing to disseminate the Urantia Book’s teachings has become my life’s purpose, and I thank God for that every day!!!
You’ll hear the story sometimes about the wave of readers who found the book in the early 1970’s, some of whom headed straight to Chicago to learn the Book’s origin and hopefully serve in its family of believers. What they describe finding, though, was a kind, loving group of readers who were not necessarily interested in the dissemination of the papers or living the Book’s teachings as a first priority. In some cases this was a spirit-crushing realization. To have found God in the Urantia papers and then go in search of a family of believers who might also desire to serve–as the Book so clearly instructs–only to find that the “elders” focused on study of the revelation, and not necessarily on putting their study into practice. My goal as a human being is to make sure this never again happens to a young, hungry truth seeker.
Through our new committee we each, as committee members, have many different ideas and feelings about the future. Many forward-seeking individuals had a part in making our committee a realization. We would like to give a deep heartfelt thank you to all the time and patience that went into this endeavor.
Angie Thurston says: To me, it’s an honor and a serious responsibility. I think about how inspiring it would have been to me as a kid growing up with the Urantia Book, to know there was a Youth and Young Adult Committee of the Fellowship that existed to support me–not only in discovering the Book and its teachings, but also in fostering and connecting a community of others my age who were doing the same. I’m so grateful to the Fellowship for realizing the importance of this Committee now and its enormous potential for the future. We’re just getting started!
Teuvo Orjala says: Though I never had real doubt that the Fellowship would recognize the importance of having a Youth & Young Adult Committee, I was in my heart hoping and praying for it to become a reality as soon as possible! I’m honored to be at the head of this charge into the future and know that what we saw at IC’11 was just the beginning of what is possible in our community. This is truly just the start!