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SCIENCE
pdf The Architecture of the Universe and the Urantia Book by Frederick L. Beckner  
pdf Stars, Galaxies, Superuniverses and the Urantia Book by Frederick L. Beckner  
pdf Monmatia Revisited
by Bill Laurune
 
Earth-Moon Evolution
by Dr. Phil Calabrese
A Tale of Two Orvontons
by Dick Bain
pdf Urantia, 606 of Satania
by Israel Dix
 
A.A. Zachow, Revelation Worker
and his article in Cosmic Frontiers, April 1977
archaeology  
Jesus the Boatbuilder and the Ancient Boat by Saskia Praamsma
pdf Ancient Cyprus
by Stefan Tallqvist
 
pdf India: Lost Cities Found
Compiled by Saskia Praamsma
 
pdf Did the Jews Really Not Bury Their Dead? by Charles Arterburn  
Atlantis/Urantia Book Parallels
by Robert Sarmast
pdf First Atlantis/Eden Expedition Analysis
by Commodore Robert Staney Bates
 
urantia community
Building a Temple to the Father
by Fred Harris
Celestial Nights 2003
at Cape San Blas
CN 2004 - A New Spirit of Unity
by Al Wolf
 
Celestial Nights 2008
at St. George Island
A Voice from the Garden
by Meredith Tenney
URANTIA outreach 
pdf Sowing Urantia Seeds in India
by Bhagavan Buritz
 
pdf The Dauntless Norman Ingram
(1999) by Saskia Raevouri
 
pdf Norman Ingram's Venice Beach Booth
by Richard Omura
 
pdf Outreach 2000
Various projects undertaken by readers
 
pdf The Revelation in Capetown
1999 Parliament of the World's Religions
 
Joys of Service - Urantia Book Prison Ministry by Joy Brandt (2003)
The Kenya Sewing Machine Project
by Meredith Tenney
Pipeline of Light
by Michelle Klimesh
South African Book Seeding Mission
Mark Bloomfield's reports
Here and Now
by Mark Bloomfield
A Letter of Gratitude from South Africa
by Simone Cox
India: The 2008 World Book Fair in Delhi
by Paula Thompson
Operation Reach Back
by Pamela Burr and Paula Thompson
Mission to Patagonia
by Pradhana Fuchs

 

Atacama Mission: "Seeding the Desert"
by Jon DeToy [2011]
Mission to South Africa
by Buck Weimer and Charlene Morrow
Mind, Body and Spirit Church of Tallahassee by Fred Harris
Pato Banton in Santa Fe NM 2009
by John Wilcox
Pato Banton's Outreach Ministry
The 2010 Cosmic Road Show
by Andrea Barnes
book reviews and articles   
The Amazing Gerdean Saskia Praamsma reports on The Zo'oid Mission
 pdf Birth of a Divine Revelation
reviewed by Matthew Rapaport
 
pdf Secondary Works - What Works?
by Saskia Raevouri
 
 Gardner, Moyer and Mullins: Three Histories by Matthew Rapaport  
pdf Secondary Works
Reviews and Descriptions, 2002
 
The Urantia Book and OAHSPE
compared by Harold Sherman
pdf Larry Mullins Reports
on The Sherman Diaries
 
Spirits of Promise
by GerdeanO'Dell
God's Orchestra
by Saskia Praamsma
teaching mission  
Correcting Time
by Fred Harris
online Welcome to Change
by Bob Slagle
The Second Revelatory Commission
Related Transcripts
spiritual travel  
Our Visit to Findhorn 1985
by Saskia Raevouri (1985)
Mediterranean Adventure 1998
with Joy Brandt and Saskia Raevouri (1998)
pdf A Visit to Russia
by Cathy Jones
 
Journeys to FreeSchools in India
A cause supported by Urantia Book readers
cartoons and more

JOYS OF SERVICE
Urantia Book Prison Ministry
by Joy Brandt (2003)

THE URANTIA BOOK talks about the "joys of service" and that is exactly what our Urantia Book prison ministry has been for me. It is an answer to my prayers for a worthwhile service project having to do with the Urantia Book. It is an opportunity to share the magnificent teachings about the Universal Father's all loving personality with men who are hungry to hear such things.This service opportunity came about because an inmate from the Oregon State Penitentiary wrote the Urantia Foundation requesting that someone from "the outside" come into the prison and host a Urantia study group.  Prisoners are not permitted to meet on their own, not even for religious purposes, without outside sponsorship. Pat Murnin from Oregon Urantia Association and I (not an OUA member) became interested in the possibilities and decided to do a trial visit a year ago.

The first meeting, eleven enthusiastic inmates showed up!  Since then we have probably had 50 different prisoners attend at least one study group, and we now have a core group of about seven prisoners who attend regularly. Several of them are avid reader/believers in the book, and they tell others about our Urantia study group, so new people continue to come. Besides OUA members,  other Oregon Urantia Book  readers also have volunteered at these meetings.  Everyone leaves with the flush of service-joy on his or her face, vowing to return again for such a grand experience in truth-sharing and brotherhood.

Since beginning this first prison study group in April, 2002, one of the prisoners left the Oregon State Penitentiary to move to the Santiam Correctional Facility, a minimum security prison also located in Salem, since he will be released in another year or so. He requested that we start a second study group where he was.  At our request, the Urantia Foundation has shipped a couple of cases of books to that prison, and we now have a small study group going on there as well.  Here the inmates are short term, since they are on their way out of the prison system, so there is higher turnover of study group attendees.  But these men are trying to change their lives to become moral, responsible citizens when they get out.  The truths and inspiration of the Urantia Book should help them do this more easily.

These men are very interested in what The Urantia Book has to say. They come from Christian, Buddhist, and eclectic religious backgrounds. They are excited to hear the gospel message that they are God's children and that God is never angry but is a loving Father full of mercy and understanding. These prisoners ask penetrating questions about the eternal adventure.  They want to know more about Thought Adjusters.  They have open minds and their hearts are receptive to the divine truths that are taught throughout the pages of the Fifth Epochal Revelation.

While the inmates constantly thank us "outsiders" for making each meeting possible, I know that we are getting just as much out of the experience as they are.  We are also very grateful for the opportunity to share this revelation with such hungry souls.  I look forward to each visit to the prison, and I always leave with my heart rejoicing at the miracle of God's truth penetrating through the cement walls and barbed wire of the Oregon State Penitentiary.  Truly, with God, nothing is impossible! 

Details and Logistics
For those who might be interested in getting a Urantia prison ministry started in their state or locale, I would like to share what we have learned so far in our experience of holding Urantia Book study groups in the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP) and the Santiam Correctional Institute (SCI), both located in Salem, Oregon.

In our case, a prisoner who was reading the Urantia Book at OSP wrote to the Urantia Foundation requesting a study group.  The Foundation passed the request on to the Oregon Urantia Association, and a member of OUA contacted the chaplain at that prison, who set up a date and time for us to hold study groups.  They also announce our meetings in the prison bulletin.  There is a very enthusiastic Urantia Book reader at OSP who has encouraged many people to come to our meetings.  Also, a number of prisoners see the notice in the bulletin and are either curious about what the Urantia Book is, or have heard of the book sometime in their past and so attend the study group to check it out.

One regular study group attendee from OSP got transferred to SCI.  He asked the chaplain at his facility for a Urantia study group as well, so we were invited to begin a second group at SCI, which we have since done.
While in our case in Oregon we have been invited to sponsor study groups by inmates inside the prisons, I think it is entirely possible for an individual or a group of Urantia Book readers to initiate a study group themselves.  "Prison Ministry" is a large part of the volunteer services offered in these institutions, and they recognize that such religious groups are beneficial and welcome our support.

Every state penitentiary has a prison chaplain. You must contact this chaplain in order to arrange your first meeting. The prison chaplain will see that the meeting is announced in the prison's bulletin, and will let you know the time, place and rules for your first meeting.  You should be able to get the name, phone number or email of the prison chaplain by calling the prison.

Don't expect the prison bureaucracy to move quickly. It could be months from your first contact with the chaplain before you and your volunteers will have passed all their security clearances.  They will want to know name, address, social security number, driver's license, date of birth, etc. for each outside volunteer.  It takes at least a month or longer before this information is cleared, and even then, we are still having problems with volunteer names being dropped from the list at the front desk of the prison, or even for our entire list of names to be lost.  Also, you may need to go through some preliminary volunteer training before entering the prison, or soon thereafter.  The half day training seminar that we received was very informative and helpful, and I recommend that you get it as soon as possible, if it is available.

Thanks to the IUA and Urantia Foundation, every state penitentiary throughout the United States should have at least one Urantia Book inside its walls.  We found, at our first meeting, that there were already about ten books at the Oregon State Penitentiary.  These books were privately owned by individual prisoners or the property of the chapel and loaned out indefinitely to inmates who requested it.  Over the last few months, thanks to generous donations from both the Urantia Foundation and the Fellowship as well as from individual readers, another six cases of Urantia Books have found their way inside OSP and SCI. These books are donated to the chapel and are all stamped "chapel" inside the front cover. Prisoners can take them back to their cells and borrow them for the length of their stay at OSP, but are to be returned to the chapel when the prisoner is released.

Every inmate who has ever attended a study group has asked to take a Urantia Book back to his cell, and some of the men who regularly attend have asked for a second book to give to a cellmate or friend who is asking to borrow their own book too often.  OSP is like a black hole full of men who are gobbling up Urantia Books.  It's amazing!  While they don't all attend the study groups, we rejoice that these men who have so much time on their hands also have the Urantia Book available to read. 

Our relationship with the OSP Chaplain now allows us to hand carry books in, but they really prefer that books be shipped from the publisher (or from distributors such as Amazon.com).  We also have been able to bring in many How I Found The Urantia Book books, compiled and edited by Saskia Raevouri, as well as Clyde Bedell's Concordex, posters, study group aids, etc.  We requested permission of the chaplain to do this over the months that we've been there.

Once such a Urantia prison ministry is established, it is important to the stability of the study group that someone from the "outside" attend every scheduled meeting.  Sharing the commitment among a group of Urantia Book readers ensures that someone will always be there to hold the meeting. Often the prisoners are giving up other privileges, such as movies or baseball games, to attend our study group, so we don't want to disappoint them by not showing up. The chaplain suggested to us that we try to set up two volunteers to attend each time, so that in case one person must cancel at the last minute, the other will still ensure that the meeting occurs.  There is also a certain comfort level, especially at the beginning of establishing the group, about volunteering in twos.  Jesus sent his apostles out two-by-two, and we have experienced the wisdom of this.

After a year, we still have not completely decided on a study group format.  We began our reading with Paper 1, allowing lots of time for questions and discussion because we have so many new readers. But reading through the Urantia Book in order does not seem best because we constantly have new readers showing up, and some of those papers in the middle of Part I and be confusing to someone being introduced to the Urantia Book for the first time.  It's difficult to find something that is suitable for everyone, and this is complicated because prisoners and even outside volunteers change with each meeting.  We do want the meetings to be spiritually rich and inspiring for these men, so at this point we choose papers which are easier to understand and provide spiritual comfort.  I think each study group is different and should experiment with formats until they find one that is most comfortable.

We volunteers from "the outside" see our main service as providing the opportunity for the inmates to meet together and discuss these concepts, thus strengthening their personal reading.  We do not wish to set ourselves up as "experts" in the Urantia Book, and it is a constant effort to remember this, because the prisoners naturally look at us that way.  But as in typical Urantia meetings, everyone likes to talk and give their own opinions and interpretations about what the book is saying.  These meetings are very lively, but everyone is polite and tolerant of each other's ideas.  We have a lot of fun.  We laugh, get off on tangents, debate, and conduct ourselves in much the same way as any typical Urantia study group.  The biggest difference between the prison group and a regular group is that here we have more new readers and new or changing attendees with each meeting.  We are still in process of finding out what works best among our fluctuating group members.

Officially, our study group meets for two hours.  However the first half hour is usually informal chit-chat as we wait for everyone from all of the cellblocks to arrive.  Also, an additional half hour before and after the meeting is required for volunteers to go through the security checks when entering or exiting the prison.  We are escorted in and out by the prison chaplain.  Our group meets in a small room in the back of the chapel.  The prison provides chairs, table, water and fans, and extra Urantia Books are stored in a nearby closet for new attendees.  Buddhist and Mormon groups also meet in other parts of the chapel simultaneously with our Urantia study group.

Since this has turned into a long-term service project, several of the regular "outside" volunteer UB readers who attend the group regularly have taken a 5-hour long training for all prison volunteers provided by the Oregon Department of Corrections.  There are many rules and regulations to be aware of, and this training also permits us to volunteer without requiring that our names be kept on a list at the front desk.  Names have been inadvertently dropped from the list or sometimes the entire list has been lost with the changing of prison guards, so this will be more convenient for all concerned.

Attendance has fluctuated from as few as one to as many as 25 prisoners at our study groups, with the average number at OSP about seven, not including outside volunteers. There are a handful of prisoners who have been reading the Urantia Book on their own for some time and who are definite "believers" in it.  A few more are beginner readers, but are very enthusiastic.  Some have attended only once or a few times, borrowed a book to take back to their cells, and we never see them again.  All of us know that everyone has their own speed at reading the book and recognizing the truths therein contained, and so we are not at all concerned with how many come to the study group.  We are just happy that these men are interested enough to take this big book back to their cells and read it as they may.

As a woman volunteer, I can say that I have never ever felt intimidated or treated with disrespect by any of the many prisoners who have attended the group.  I feel completely comfortable with these men, especially those who attend every time.  I would not hesitate to go alone to a meeting if the situation should ever arise.  In fact, I feel somewhat "protected" by a couple of the men who always attend our group and who watch out for me if I happen to be near other prisoners from the other religious groups.

The chaplain suggested to us when we began that we keep personal details of our lives and of their lives out of our discussion, and so we try to do that.  We never ask any of the prisoners about their sentences or crimes, and we don't give our last names or other such personal details about ourselves.  Over time, however, some details emerge in discussion, such as our occupation.  Also, we realize that when some of these prisoners get released, they may be interested in continuing to attend Urantia meetings held in our homes, and our phone numbers or even addresses of study group hosts are easily found.  We have discussed it among ourselves and none of us feels trepidation about that occurring.  Perhaps we have a very special group of men who attend our OSP study group, but so far we would not hesitate to welcome, upon their release, those who have attended the OSP group regularly into our home study groups without fear.

It is truly a privilege and a joy to be a part of this thrilling service!  I am convinced that I get just as much if not more out of the experience than the prisoners.  I am a happier person because of this prison study group!


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