Many old friends were reunited and new relationships formed among the more than 350 attendees at the Urantia Book Fellowship’s International Conference in Amherst, MA last month. Conference goers were inspired to Grow Godward amidst beautiful music, wonderful workshops, and outstanding plenary presentations.
IC’14 was bursting with creativity, including nearly 50 workshops, a bustling Jerusalem Marketplace and values program for children, a new youth group, live performances of UB-inspired compositions, a film premiere, an original musical, and imaginative contributions from societies including a UB Quiz show. Please enjoy the photos below and on Facebook, and the words of a few attendees.
I do not doubt that The Urantia International Conference of 2014 was joyously inducted into the annals of Supremacy by the recording angels. In a ten-story concrete bunker of a hotel we gathered, sang worship songs, attended workshops, and nightly ascended the grey tower to conduct our familiar rituals of group talking, dancing, or singing. Beyond the courts of the central tower was the cherished Jerusalem Marketplace where were to be found toddlers dressed as Arabian rulers, women selling their artistic wares, and a few skateboard-riding Roman centurions. Ensconced by friendly trees, the university campus was well situated to host our energetic group of readers from hither and yon. Scores attended; all were uplifted in some way.
During the memorable evening socials, youth mingled with the aged, sobriety was overthrown by good humor, and a modern techno remix of a familiar Beatles song drew generations together. The spirit of fraternity lit fires of affection, wonder, or cheer in the eyes of many and sleep came late or not at all. War between Adamites and Nodites was staged in a hotel hall. Powerful discourses of love or dissuasion pulled sisters together or set brothers apart. The events of each evening were the “bread for tomorrow.”
During the day, moods and minds were tempered by the contemplation of troubling workshop questions regarding the real size of Orvonton or the true identity of Elves. Costumes added flavor to average social situations. A human dressed as a giant First Edition Urantia Book attended lunch and was requested to be photographed with the UMass dining hall staff. This “living revelation” mascot was later seen riding an escalator, riding a skateboard, and philosophizing at the Jerusalem Marketplace. Plenary speeches and a love-filled play about Jesus’ sister Ruth inspired and uplifted the group gathered in the main auditorium. After the conference concluded many lingered for a day or more in the pleasant afterglow of the grand event. Take note: A gathering works in the same way as a whirling galaxy. Beginning with one and two beings, it grows in mass, power, and beauty, until the crucial moment of peak personality harmonization when it begins to fling participants back out into the vast stretches of space and time. Only when all have been energized, motivated, and cast out can it be said, “The conference is over.”
Until next time, friends, be of good cheer.
-Devon L., Pennsylvania
It’s been over a week since I’ve been back from the IC’14 adventure, and I’m still energized by the feast of fellowship I enjoyed there. I’m still worshipfully singing songs from Angie Thurston’s play, and I’m still laughing to myself as I recall people wearing the Urantia Book costume that Devon Landis made. I’m filled with thankfulness for all the love and work people put into making this conference so special.
One aspect of the conference that I really appreciate is the love the older generations have for the younger ones. It was so refreshing to get to know Lila and Avi Dogim, Mike Wood, Emilio Coppola, and Tony Finstad (to name just a few), and to witness their sincere love for and interest in those of us who aren’t blessed with as many years of experience. That reaching out in love is a beautiful manifestation of our heavenly father’s way, and I’m happy to see it being carried on by my peers.
Finally, it was just a lot of fun to meet great people and with them to mutually appreciate that we will be friends for eternity! Thanks Fellowship for a lovely conference; I’ll be looking back with delight on this one throughout my eternal career.
-Ben Z., Massachusetts
We would like to thank all of you for making possible our participation in IC’14. We are very grateful for the loving service all of you provided to us. We felt the brotherhood of man for those few days. Our son Gabriel cried because he did not want to leave his new friends behind. All of you touched our lives deeply with so much kindness and love. Thank you and God bless you for providing such a great event!!
-The Deoto Family, Florida
It was the first time for me to experience the well-known (which I learned and experienced later) vibe of a big event of The Urantia Book readers. I had been expecting a strong solidarity emanating from this large-scale gathering of the readers, but I found something more than that. Fraternity in a deeply loving form was prevailing in every event of the conference, and the sheer joy of being together was visible in the eyes of all individuals who had a chance to be at the conference. In IC’14, I witnessed how much power The Urantia Book possesses in binding individuals into each other physically and spiritually. It was unique for me to observe that every reader was willing to know the other not in a social habit, but in the desire of being more close to one’s other fellow. After the conference, this observation made me think why we cannot manifest such a profound care for everyone in our social life.; why we cannot make this short experience into our daily life activity. I felt not specially The Urantia Book’s teachings bring us together, but something at the centre of all of them: God’s love. So, I am thankful to every person who has made my trip to Amherst, MA possible and who has let me become familiar with all of this during my time at IC’14.