Michael Challis (Fellowship President)
Michael is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and a long time reader of The Urantia Book. He was elected in July of 2015 and we all look forward to his leadership and direction.
John Hales (Vice President)
After college and service in the Navy, John ended up in Brooklyn, NY as a psychiatric social worker. The Executive Committee of what was then the Urantia Brotherhood established a field representative program in which he participated. In 1974 the Executive Committee offered him the job of resident director, to handle reader and member services and book order fulfillment. As the first full-time paid employee of the Brotherhood, at the age of thirty-seven he was “the kid” in the office, which was staffed by a corps of full-time volunteers all over seventy years of age. He observed that he “could not have had better mentors.” As a younger member of the old guard, he was well placed to be a “generational go-between” for the older longtime students of The Urantia Book and the incoming “hippies” who first showed up at the 1973 summer conference at Kendall College. As time passed, he served on the thirty-six-member General Council of the Urantia Brotherhood (later The Urantia Book Fellowship). He has served on the Executive Committee as secretary, secretary-general, president, and currently vice president. He is also active with First Society for Readers of The Urantia Book (successor of the Forum), and currently serves as its treasurer. Now, he and his wife, Suzanne, are still living in the Chicago area, enjoying their six grandchildren, the children of their daughter and son who live nearby. As a project, he has undertaken to become deeply involved with his church community. Of his church family, John points out that “they’re all believers, so they don’t need The Urantia Book as such. It’s reassuring that all our angels are at work expanding everyone’s understanding.” It is this attitude of camaraderie with all people that leads him to prefer the term Jesusonian when asked, “What are you?” since we are all Urantians. This has created an opening to many meaningful discussions, and also leads him to state, “I’m just having a ball, because I’m falling in love with so many newfound brothers and sisters in spirit.”
Steve Dreier (Secretary)
Steve discovered The Urantia Book in 1971. Since then he has been an active member of The Urantia Book Fellowship serving in a variety of different positions, including president, secretary (currently), and chair of the education, membership and judicial committees. He is a founding member of the Urantia Society of Greater New York. Steve enjoys meeting with others to study The Urantia Book, and has a particular interest in the study of the "human sources." Steve taught chemistry for 33 years at New York City Technical College. He’s been married to his high school sweetheart Bobbie for 55 years and enjoys spending time with their son, daughter in law and grandsons.
Larry Bowman (Secretary General)
Growing up in Chicago in the ‘40s and ‘50s, I often wondered where it was that Dad was going on Sunday afternoons. All I knew was that it was something called the Forum. In 1951 my sister Carolyn began attending the meetings. The following year she brought her fiance, Tom Kendall, into the group. In 1953 my mother, a longtime holdout, joined. By this time I knew it had something to do with “the Eurantia Papers” (as I envisioned the spelling of the word). As I heard Mom and Dad talk, I became curious and began to express interest. Finally, on June 30, 1954, a few days after my 15th birthday, I was interviewed by Dr. William S. Sadler and became a member. Less than 16 months later I was the youngest member of the Forum when the Urantia Book was published. I dutifully inscribed in my book: “Published and given to me on the twelfth day of October of the year commonly known as 1955 A.D.” In my adolescent fervor I was certain that, once the Urantia teachings became universal, the calendar would change. I suppose I thought that 7 B.C. would become Year 1.
Nearly six decades later finds me a resident of Arizona since 1973, where I retired from a 34-year career as a librarian in 2001. During that interim I was a charter member of what is now the First Society, a founder of Orvonton Society, and a founder of Grand Canyon Society for Readers of the Urantia Book. I have been a member of the Fellowship General Council since 2010 and Secretary General since 2012. I live in my multihued townhouse with feline buddies Hermes and Marlin.
Emilio Coppola (Treasurer)
Emilio Coppola —Born and raised a Catholic boy in Rye, NY and now living in Virginia Beach, VA. He has been a licensed Financial professional since 1988 and has started and run several small businesses. Currently he is the owner of a firm that manages investments and consults with companies on their financial options for funding their businesses. Emilio started reading The Urantia Book in April, 1996, and has attended study groups in several cities throughout the United States over the years. He has been a member of The Urantia Book society of Greater New York since March 2005, and has served many roles in the society. Emilio has also been a member of the New England Urantia Book Group (UAI) since December, 2007. He has been The Urantia Book Fellowship Treasurer since 2009. He has been the UrantiaUniversity Treasurer since 2010. He has been a member of the The Urantia Book Foundation IT Round Table meetings over several different years. He is strongly motivated to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book, and to serve all of his brothers and sisters in any way that he is able.
One may wonder where Emilio gets the energy for his service dedication. His answer: "The more I read the "Urantia Book," the more I want to tell people about it!" His daily prayer is to do the Father's will, and he makes himself available for that. Consequently, he finds that opportunities continually flow into his life. Beyond that, for any "figuring out" of how he'll be used, he simply leaves that to God. I want to serve The Urantia Book Revelation in ways beyond just financial donations, but in addition; to serve those organizations with my talents and time.
Paula Thompson (Director & General Councilor)
Paula has been an avid student of The Urantia Book since early in 1976, when, as she says, “It came into my life at a time of great crisis, as the answer to a fervent prayer for some good news.” She has read the book daily for 40 years and has studied it weekly with a group since 1977. She joined The Urantia Book Fellowship in 1982 when it was known as The Urantia Brotherhood. She has served her local Urantia Society as President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Study Group Officer. She started coordinating and facilitating regular public outreach with the book in 1983. In 1989 she went to work for the Jesusonian Foundation and was Executive Director there from 1993 to 2006. In that time she managed Good Cheer Catalog and developed numerous study and outreach aids for The Urantia Book, most notably the website Truthbook.com. She was elected to the Fellowship’s General Council in 1994 where she is currently serving her third 9-year-term as a General Councilor. She served as the Fellowship’s Outreach Committee Chair from 1997-2006 and as Secretary General from 2009-2012. Paula accepted the job as the Fellowship’s Executive Director in 2006 and continues to work in that capacity. Paula has traveled all over the USA as well as to Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and South America to exhibit and introduce the book.
Derek Samaras (Staff & General Councilor)
Chicago Native, now living in Lafayette, CO. Derek is a 37-year-old Filmmaker and Youth Minister, with a degree in Broadcast Journalism/Psychology from the University of New Mexico. He is an advocate for socially sustainable practices that reflect the life affirming qualities revealed in respectful, tolerant, and compassionate fellowship. Derek applied these practices for many years while teaching self-defense in Chicago to women and youth in troubled areas. Derek has been an ambassador for truth, beauty and goodness in multiple continents. He continues to share the message to all who will come and listen: “We are all family; we may never look, act, or think alike, but spiritually we are, and that is what unites us, we are truly one family united in spirit.” Derek has developed his social ministry on the principles of loving service, mindful compassion, and spirit unity: “We are all loved equally by Divinity, freely we have received this love, we must share it freely” You can catch Derek Live on Saturdays as he hosts the radio show “The Cosmic Citizen” on blog talk radio.
Recent projects: •Directing/Writing/Editing a documentary on the commercial sexual exploitation of children •Committee Chair of the Youth & Young Adults (youth ministry and leadership development) •Assistant Director of The Urantia Book Fellowship (nonprofit spiritual) •Current radio host for “The Cosmic Citizen” •Urantia Book vs Ancient Aliens (public presentation Los Angeles)
Geoff Taylor (General Councilor)
Geoff Taylor describes himself in this way: “I am a 69-year-old iterative, innovative, experimentalist techie with a background in Aeronautical Engineering. I had several pilots’ licenses, built one jet and crashed one ultra-light. My career as engineer on turbine engines started in Winnipeg Canada, went to Dallas Tx. then to LA. I grew up Anglican but had dismissed God because I could not see why he needed me. At age 40 I was introduced to the Urantia book by PhD physicist Irwin Ginsburg and this prompted an “awakening” which rekindled my early Christian roots and took me back “home” to Winnipeg but not before I had traveled the world, been inside three Space Shuttles and won a couple of Design awards (the ego was getting too big to manage). Back in “home” I started Vista Medical with my brother, invented stretchable pressure sensors for the prevention of bed sores and a few other doo dads. Having sold the business, retired and lost my wife of 43 years to cancer I am working on the cure. Crashing that ultra-light in 2003, focused me on the things that matter most; relationship with people, cooperation and harmony. Check out my personal web page www.ubgeoff.com for pictures and my “Theory of Everything”, incremental improvement in all things.”
Merritt Horn (General Councilor)
Merritt has been reading the Urantia Book since 1968. He was a charter member of the Rocky Mountain Spiritual Fellowship, co-founder of the Boulder School for Students of the Urantia Book,and is the author of The Call of the Spirit (1984,2008). He has been tracking and analyzing typographical issues in the text of the Urantia Book for many years and is a member of the Standard Reference Text committee. In addition to serving as a General Councilor for Urantia Book Fellowship, he is a Trustee of UrantiaUniversity and has served as an Associate Trustee for Urantia Foundation. Out in the real world, he is the IT Director for a large organic foods manufacturer. Merritt lives in Boulder, CO with his wife, Jeanney, and any of their four daughters who happen to be 'visiting' at the moment.
David Kulieke (Education Committee Chair)
A third generation reader. I joined First Urantia Society in 1973 and have served in several positions, including president four times and T.D.A. delegate a half dozen. I served on the Domestic Extension Committee (now Outreach) and the Publications Committee after publishing a Midwest newsletter, which has now been reborn electronically. I created the first study group database and the Society Conclave.
An English and music teacher who now tutors and teaches students in China both online and in Shenzhen, I became a General Councilor and chairman of the Education Committee in 2012. I hold these responsibilities to be a privileges and trusts, and I intend to continue to maintain and expand the Education Committee’s contributions.
Most important in my life are my marriage and family. I live with my wife Marilynn, an experienced servant of the Urantia revelation, in Lincolnshire, Illinois. I have three grown children and four grandchildren who also live in the Chicago area.
Katharina Becker (General Councilor)
Katharina has been a teacher/educator in Switzerland and then New Mexico for nearly 40 years. She has taught social sciences, philosophy, and several languages at the high school and college level and has several years of home schooling experience.
She began reading The Urantia Book in 2002. Two years later she joined the Fellowship and began studying the book with a local study group. She has been serving as a member of the Fellowship's Education Committee since 2007 and was elected to the General Council in 2013.
Katharina immigrated to New Mexico/USA in her early 30's. She and her husband have raised a multiracial family in a traditional homestead in northern New Mexico that they and their four children built from scratch. Katharina has a curious/inquisitive spirit and a deep love for learning.
Teuvo Orjala (General Councilor)
Teuvo first picked up the book at the age of 19. Teuvo says, “I feel the need to give my life over to God. That path is intertwined with The Urantia Book Fellowship. I desire to fully serve in all ways possible which leads me to participate at the General Council level.” He hopes to “bring a new level of vigor and motivation to the Fellowship as a whole.” Seeing the youth as the foundation of this organization Teuvo works hard to make more resources available to the next generation.
Cristina Seaborn (General Councilor)
Cristina is a world class fiddler, violinist, composer, and teaching artist living in Minnesota. Through the many Urantia conferences, she has found her place as a performer and music director for the spiritual upliftment of audiences. She currently serves as a member of the Interfaith Committee of the Urantia Book Fellowship, the Parliament of the Worlds’ Religions 2018 joint Urantia Book Booth in Toronto, and the 2020 Urantia Conference in Vancouver.
Janet Graham (Membership Committee Chair)
Janet is returning for a second term on the General Council after raising three children in a log cabin on the edge of the Oregon wilderness. Her focus on the council is community building between members of the Fellowship and all communities of readers, especially young adults who represent our future leadership. In addition, she serves on the Family Life committee, an adjunct of the Youth and Young Adult committee. The first goal is to archive family materials developed during the past 40 years, then to add new materials as they are developed.
Tony Finstad (Outreach Chair)
Tony was born and raised in Seattle and currently living in Alaska. I found the book at 19 and have been involved with the Brotherhood – Fellowship ever since. I feel so blessed to be apart of this beautiful and diverse family of believers. It’s an exciting time in the Urantia community and I’m honored to be serving on the GC. I’m the current chair of the Youth and Young Adult Committee. Please contact me at anytime to share your thoughts or to discuss my visions for the Fellowship – email@example.com
Thomas Orjala (General Councilor)
I began reading the Urantia Book at 20 when in San Francisco. Later realized I had a passion for telling others and have stayed busy introducing hungry souls over the years. I enjoy serving on the Outreach Committee. When not at work for the movement I run a construction company, make art pieces in my workshop, practice photography, do design work on my computer, spend time with Aurora and our two nutty cats and appease my ukulele addiction daily.
I have been blessed since boyhood with a vivid sense of the personal presence of God. At seventeen, I was ecstatic to receive the longed-for complement to that inner sense. I was introduced to The Urantia Book in high school by my best friend one evening, in response to my question, ‘What is that book your brother is always reading?’ I bought my book the next day, and never looked back. What a joy! What a gift! After university, I worked in Silicon Valley for twenty years, during which time I hosted and attended study groups, and served San Francisco Bay Area Urantia Society as T.D.A. delegate. Since the late nineties I have run a consulting business in system and enterprise architecture, and in addition to study grouping, have served Orvonton Society as T.D.A. delegate, vice president, and president. I live in Southern Indiana with my wife Ruth and our son and daughter. Elected to the General Council in 2012, I am the chairman of the Judicial Committee. I am honored, humbled and thrilled to have this opportunity to begin my cosmic citizenship training in this way. Thank you for all you do to advance needy humanity to greater realization of the Fatherhood of God and the fraternity of all creatures. Even when we try, we barely glimpse our good fortune to be alive on this planet and at this time.
I'm Geoff, a self-discovered, second generation reader. I was born, raised, schooled, and am comfortably settled in the San Francisco Bay Area where I work as a chemical engineer (I make memory foam!). If you happen to see me during a weekday morning, you may confuse me with a mad scientist. As for my general character, I am two parts enthusiasm junkie, two parts jack-of-all-trades, and one part global adventurer. Mixed into all that and instilled by the teachings of The Urantia Book has been a real, vibrant, and ennobling personal relationship with God that I have been continuously searching to better understand and strengthen. Having found this vibrant Urantia Book community, I have fallen in love - with them and with an emboldened sense of self (and cosmic)-purpose. I am eternally grateful to be alive. And part of being in this new community and part of showing that gratitude is to help enable other people to find the same. As Robert Byrne states, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose” and we as individuals are able to spread this idea not by telling or explaining but by simply loving. That is the beauty of this community and the thing I want to share. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bobbie Dreier (General Councilor)
Bobbie was a public school teacher for 37 years and retired in 2001. She and her husband Steve recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary and enjoy spending time with two teenage grandsons. Bobbie’s been a Urantia Bookreader since 1971 and was a member of Urantia Society of Central Connecticut and a founding member of Urantia Society of Greater New York. With Steve she has hosted a study group for 40 years. She’s been actively involved in conference coordination and program planning for summer study sessions and international conferences and was the Fellowship’s Study Group Directory Coordinator for ten years. Recently she has created worship programs for Fellowship summer study sessions and facilitated pre conference spiritual retreats for international conferences with Gard Jameson. Over the years she has served on the Education and Outreach Committees and is currently a member of the Education Committee.
Daniel Amyx (General Councilor)
Dan was raised Catholic. As he matured he asked questions that the church could not answer, and inevitably he left the church in search of “the Real” God. After years of studying the world's religions, he found the Urantia Book in a bookstore in 1978, and has since been involved in the Urantia Community.
Miguel is a native of Raleigh, NC, and is a singer and musician now living in the Boulder, CO area. A Urantia Book reader for over ten years, Miguel is President of the Rocky Mountain Spiritual Fellowship, and joined the General Council. He loves the mandate of Spiritual Unity and has joined forces with the YaYAs and other fantastic groups in the Fellowship to help spread this amazing revelation to all. He is currently working with the Brighton, CO community to feed and shelter the poor while creating a Urantia Community Center for all peoples. Please contact Miguel for any help needed and to volunteer services for others, at email@example.com.
Guillermo Deoto (General Councilor)Hello, I am Guillermo Deoto (a.k.a. William, Willy, and recently G’mo, thanks Mr. President). I was introduced to The Urantia Book by my science teacher when I was 14, and we read during lunch. Later that year I attended my first meeting, and the following year I went to my first conference. I served as Treasurer for Florida Students of The Urantia Book for 15 years and I am the current Treasurer of the Agondonter Boot Camp Society of Florida (ABCs.) I hope that my service with the Fellowship will further its cause, strengthen its resolve, and modify that which it may need.
Cabot Eudaly (General Councilor)
Cabot says this about himself, "I had a candle-sized experience in which I gave up my old ideas about God and started from scratch with my own understanding of Him. When I described my conception of God to a friend, he said that he had a book I would like to read.
I do some structural engineering (buildings), go to several meetings (church, AA, Urantia) since the empty nest (2 sons, 20 and 21). My vision is to integrate the Fellowship as the US or North American branch of the UAI, renaming all as the Urantia Brotherhood."
I have been reading The Urantia Book since 1976, and since 1981 my husband and I have had a study group in our home. We have been married since 1976 and have two grown sons. I am a retired Marriage and Family Therapist, and I worked with children and their families for about eight years.
I am first gen reader, my brother introduced me to the book in 2006. I started reading in a study group in 2010 and my first conference was at Techny in 2011. I hail from Omaha but I travel a lot. We have a lot of newer young readers in Omaha and usually meet once a week and every other week in Lincoln. I am married with 3 dogs, a house and a picket fence. My wife isn't a regular UB reader, although she will read with me occasionally. I do Online Marketing by day, and am involved with an online marketing and web design business on the side. I have background in Finance and Accounting as well with a Master's in Portfolio Management and CFA Level II candidate. I love to bicycle, ski, surf. My vision for the future is to be as open and available as possible to help grow UB awareness and foster UB communities.
Canadian born,emigrated to Denver in 1980 to teach learning-difference youngsters in a school founded and fostered by three Urantia Book students where he taught for 15 years. Recently, he spent a year and a half immersed in the French language and Québec culture studying Le Livre d'Urantia with francophone readers in the Laurentians. He has returned "home" to the Front Range of Colorado and currently is utilization analyst for an organic dairy in Boulder. André has three adult children, son Michael and daughters Vanessa and Yvana, two in Denver, one in Seattle. The Urantia Book’s truths have spoken compellingly to André since March of 1976. He has attended study groups regularly and continuously since 1978. André is a trustee, Curriculum Chair, and instructor for UrantiaUniversity Institute and is a weekly co-host of The Cosmic Citizen on BlogTalkRadio.