Claire Thurston, a Trustee of UranatiaUniversity, will have a booth at IC23 where she plans to share the teachings of The Urantia Book and the many programs and classes available with UUI.
Claire’s knowledge, experience, and loving spirit will be a beautiful example for UUI and our Urantia Book readership community.
Read the full interview with Claire Thurston below...
You’ll be introducing Urantia University to many people at IC23. Tell me about why it was important to you that this topic be covered.
In my position as Vice President for Growth at UUI, I'm really excited to tell people about everything that’s happening at this organization, especially international readers of The Urantia Book who may not know about it. I think we're the best kept secret in the Urantia movement and we have students from around the world in our programs, but I still feel like a lot of people don't know about us.
Describe some of the programs that people can learn about when they walk up to your booth.
One is the School of Service, which is focused on supporting people who are doing service projects. It’s a place where people can get expert advice and also support from their peers. And then there’s the Teacher Education Program. We need to reach out not only to future students, but also to future teachers. We need both in order to expand our programs.
And the third thing that I’m really excited to talk about is the Sunday worship at the UUI Cafe. Two of our Cafe moderators have introduced a really wonderful thing: multilingual worship. When Susan Meyers and Jeff Taylor did this, they had people attending who could translate into various languages like French, Spanish and Chinese, and it made for a really wonderful worship experience. This is one way in which we’re trying to expand our international reach.
That’s fantastic. I would imagine that at this upcoming international conference people might be especially interested in UUI’s outreach to people who speak other languages. Are there any other ways that UUI is expanding to have more of a global presence?
We have aspirations for developing branches of UUI that are for speakers of other languages. There’s been some movement lately toward the development of a Russian language branch. Considering what’s going on there right now, I think our course offerings could really contribute some spiritual solace to the people who are there.That’s just one example.
The theme for the IC23 conference is “Living the Teachings: Heart, Mind, Soul.” How will the UUI booth at the conference relate to that theme?
The different schools within UUI each have their own ways of encouraging people to live the teachings. For instance, we have a whole branch of spiritual living which is more heart focused in terms of personal growth and spiritual support. And with regard to the mind, we have many online courses that dive into the text of The Urantia Book so that people can gain a better understanding of the book.
How is your own spiritual journey reflected in the fact that you’ll be working at this booth and telling people about the benefits of getting involved with UUI?
My personal spiritual journey is so much about how best to serve—how best to use my gifts—and communicating has always been one of my gifts. People can really benefit from what UUI has to offer and I’m glad for the opportunity to tell them about it.
But also, I’m really grateful that serving in this way makes it possible for me to meet more of my brothers and sisters. I think that’s soul growth right there—combining your connection to God with your connection to people.When you go to these conferences, it really feels like you're connected through the revelation. It feels so good to be with this special group of my brothers and sisters who also share a love of the Urantia teachings. It's one of the great joys that we get to experience.