Spirit Quest 2000 aka IC99
University of British Columbia in Vancouver
August 7 - 12, 1999
Book Fellowship has a
It was very helpful that a scholarship work/trade program was set up for young readers at this conference, which helped a lot of young readers afford to attend. This was my first time being at such a large conference, and I felt overjoyed to meet for the first time so many young people there. There were tons of young people there, though as at all conferences I've attended, the percentage of conference attendees who were young adults who came on their own initiative, and were reading the book, was small, relative to the entire attendance list of over 600. But I think that trend will begin to change.
Being in loving conference environment, and meeting others their age who were bursting with enthusiasm for the teachings, was an inspiration for all the young people I know of who were there. Many of those who hadn't been reading The Urantia Book when they arrived at the conference, said that they planned to have read the whole book by their next conference, and I know of some who have already begun reading earnestly. A young girl, who was not a part of the conference, who served a bunch of us "young readers" beer in the bar on night, said to me, "Who are you people? I've never met such a happy group of people! Whatever group you are a part of, I want to join!" I wish I had been able to give her a book that night. A 19-year-old friend of mine who lives in Vancouver, who I had met in Australia and given a book, came to visit me at the conference one night. He came for the night of the Pato Banton concert, and was amazed that "these are all Urantia Book readers?". I don't think either of us had ever seen such a large group of people bursting with love and positive energy, it's amazing to see how people open up and show their beauty when they are in such a loving environment.
At the past few conferences I've been to, it has really paid off to call a meeting of young readers and attendants. On the second to last day of the Vancouver conference I finally overcame my anxiety that if I tried to call a meeting of young attendants no one would show up. That morning I went around and told a few people to pass the word around, and that evening I found that the word really got passed around. Around 35 youths had got word of and showed up for the meeting. [Pictures from this meeting are on this page.] It was an informal "everybody show yourselves and speak your minds" meeting, an open meeting with no one leading or directing the group. People expressed how grateful they were to be at the conference, and how they wanted to attend conferences more often. The mother of one of the youths in the room, happened to be in the room while our meeting was taking place, and she broke into tears at one point, and expressed the joy she was experiencing in observing our meeting. We enjoyed the meeting so much we didn't want it to end, so we decided, since it was the last night and we wouldn't have another chance to plan another meeting of that nature, we would meet in the rose gardens at 12pm and enjoy the night together.
Word really got around to meet there. When I got there at midnight a big group of those who were too young to be in the bar were there, waiting for the rest of us. After music and good times together in the rose gardens, we decided to move to a warmer location. We all walked together, a group of 50 or so youths, to continue the party in a dorm room. It felt surreal walking through the universe campus, at three in the morning, with fifty or so young readers. I looked at the large group as we walked, and reflected on the fact that we were at a Urantia conference, and we might be seeing each other at Urantia conferences 30, even 50, years in the future.
be of good cheer,
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