Marvin Gawryn considers himself incredibly lucky. Fifty years ago, when he was seventeen and barely sentient, at his high school job at one of the first metaphysical book shops in Los Angeles, he stumbled upon The Urantia Book. It has shaped his entire adult life from that day forward.
He has participated in and led study groups weekly for forty years, and served in numerous leadership roles with Urantia Book Fellowship and other service organizations. His dearest friends are fellow readers. He is the author of “Reaching High: The Psychology of Spiritual Living”, and has presented workshops at many movement conferences. He was especially fortunate to serve as Chair of the Fellowship’s Liaison Committee during eﬀorts to restore cooperative relations with Urantia Foundation and UAI after the turbulence of the 1990’s. He is currently a member of the Standard Reference Text Committee, and of UUI’s Curriculum Committee.
Marvin is semi-retired after 30 years in practice as a Family Therapist, and currently works as the Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada. He has, over the past thirty years, researched and oﬀered workshops on the socialization of religion material in The Urantia Book, and in 1988 completed a two year Certificate of Theological Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in the history and sociology of religion.
He is President of the Family of God Fellowship (familyofgodfellowship.org), which is dedicated to helping people live their lives more fully in spiritual family relationship, and to spreading Jesus’ gospel as expressed in The Urantia Book — a thrilling and dynamic Way of Life in the Family of God.
Most importantly, Marvin and his lovely and wise wife, Francyl, continue to enjoy the remarkable experience of serving as parents to two amazing young women, their husbands, and two beloved grandchildren. “Such a life on such a planet!” 111:7.5
After three years in the paratroopers, a motorcycle trip through Central America, and two transatlantic sailboat crossings, Buck Weimer finally met Arlene, his future wife, in the Caribbean on St. Thomas. They married five years later, and embarked on two years of travel around the world, at the end of which they were introduced to The Urantia Book in 1972.
Buck and Arlene both finished their first reading of The Urantia Book on a mountain top in Costa Rica, which inspired them to return to their home culture in the U.S. where they began their careers and raised a family of three sons to adulthood in Pueblo, Colorado. They started the first Urantia Book study group in Pueblo in 1975 and have continued to host a weekly study group in their home ever since.
Buck and Arlene have been actively involved in Urantian organizations for many years. They are both members of the Urantia Book Fellowship General Council, and Buck has been chairman of the International Fellowship Committee (IFC) for seven years. In this capacity he has traveled to several countries in Asia, Africa and South America to promote The Urantia Book and give support to local study groups. He and Arlene have been married for 47 years (as of 2017).
Mark Blackham is a long-time reader and student of The Urantia Book. As a young man, he became interested in all things spiritual and was fortunate enough to be introduced to the book in 1973 by a homeless man sleeping in a library.
Over the years, Mark has worn many different hats, being a mechanic, a businessman, and a realtor. But the love of archeology and anthropology inspired him to return to university after his children had grown old enough to look after themselves. In 1999, he earned a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Toronto and spent some years teaching before retiring to Vancouver Island in Canada. His adventures took him to many different places for research, including Jordan, Syria, and Israel, where he also had an opportunity to visit some of the places where Jesus walked.
Apart from several academic publications, he published a novel (historical fiction) entitled Cluny Cross—A Mad Medieval Tale with the hope of drawing attention to the historical context of the ongoing conflict between East and West. He is currently working on a non-fiction book.
Presently, Mark is the vice-president of Urantia Association Canada and an active member of the Communications Committee for Urantia Association international, wherein he provides editorial and proofreading services as well as contributions to website maintenance.
Sherry Cathcart Chavis
Sherry Cathcart Chavis (formerly Sherry Layton) is a lifelong reader and student of The Urantia Book, having been introduced to it during her senior year in high school by a beloved relative. She likes to emphasize that she was introduced to the more spiritualized concepts of divine love through actual relationship, which sparked her interest in further study of the book's teachings. Sherry studies with a small group of readers in Manson, North Carolina, under the leadership of Dr. James Perry and his wife Marion. She has served in various postions within the Virginia Carolina Readers Association as President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Sherry currently serves as Associate Trustee of Urantia Foundation and has served as Editor of Tidings, Associate Editor of The Journal, Worship Coordinator and Presenter for the Fellowship’s annual Sumer Study Sessions, and Program Chair of a joint International Conference in Texas. She is a member of the Fellowship's Education Committee and In-depth Study Committee and has participated in several educational seminars fostered by Urantia Foundation. She has written serveral articles and poems for publication over the years and actively supports those organizations that foster reading and studying of the book.
She lives in Durham, NC, with her husband, is an alum of Duke University, and is currently working in International Development for an international non-governmental organization in Chapel Hill, NC.
Janette McCain is UUI's Self-Directed Study Program Coordinator.