Background image for the center for unity.

About us

The Center for Unity (CFU) is a non-profit organization, comprised of dedicated Urantia Book students and seasoned leaders, supported by a vibrant community of volunteers.

Our name, "The Center for Unity," draws inspiration from a powerful quote: "The religion of Jesus is the most powerful unifying influence the world has ever known." The Urantia Book, 194:3.17.

We strive to embody this unifying spirit in all that we do.

Our mission

The CFU is a collective of Urantia Book students, leaders, and volunteers united by a shared mission: to foster personal relationships with God through the teachings of Jesus.

We believe these teachings offer a practical and accessible path to spiritual connection for all individuals, regardless of their background.

In a world where many feel disconnected from institutional religions, CFU's projects present the life and teachings of Jesus in a context that resonates with modern truth-seekers.

Our focus is on serving the young truth-seekers of the world, offering them a path to explore and understand the teachings of Jesus in a way that resonates with them.

view from the Mt. of Beautitudes

Origin Story

I woke up one morning in 2014 with a vivid mental picture of the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret, in Hebrew), and then this quote came to mind:

"And it was from these old memories of Nazareth, Capernaum, Mount Hermon, and of the sunrise and sunset on the shimmering Sea of Galilee, that he soothed himself as he made his human heart strong and ready to encounter the traitor who should so soon betray him." 182:3.10

What to do with this, I had no clue. A couple of months later, a friend came from Switzerland and asked me to take her sightseeing around the Sea of Galilee. We came up on a little hill while hiking around the Mount of Beatitudes. I looked down and I saw the amazing vista pictured above. To be honest, I still had no clue what to do with this. A couple of weeks later, my good friend Diane Labrecque came to lead her first spiritual retreat for Urantia Book students to follow in the footsteps of the Master.

A group of people, at the hilltop Mount of Beatitudes.

Among some of that group shown in the picture below, you’ll see (left to right) Rick Lyon, Maramis Choufani, Diane Labrecque, Jeff Wattles, and me (Gabriel Rymberg). We spent many hours talking about Jesus and in those conversations the idea came to build a retreat center for pilgrims. During the retreat, we told the group about this idea, and later we did a group prayer on top of the same hill.
Rick Lyon, a Center for Unity’s executive team member, prayed there with us on that hill. Rick’s recollections of that day are as follows:

"I remember standing there when this photo was taken. You can barely see me in the red striped shirt on the left. Gabriel Rymberg was helping Diane Labrecque guide our Urantia group tour. As we stood on this hilltop overlooking the beautiful Sea of Galilee, Gabriel shared his desire for a Urantia retreat on that very spot. As a way for Diane to keep track of us in a crowd we all carried a small Urantia banner to wave in case we got separated. Inspired by Gabriel’s vision, I suggested a prayer and that we plant one of the little Urantia flags and claim the location for Urantia. What for me began as a prayer and a little ceremony that day has grown from a grand vision of what could be into a grand project of what will be. Our Center for Unity’ projects are increasing in both potential and actuality." – Rick Lyon.

Back in 2014, I (Gabriel) was still fully engaged with the translation of The Urantia Book to Hebrew. I was still in Part II, so I pretty much set aside the retreat center for later.

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Meet Our Team

At the Center for Unity, we're a tight-knit team bound by a shared mission. Inspired by the teachings of The Urantia Book, we understand that teamwork is a crucial lesson in our journey. Our collective effort, guided by leadership, allows us to effectively bring the life and teachings of Jesus to all. Meet the dedicated individuals fostering this unity.

Gabriel Rymberg

Visionary, Project Manager
Gabriel is from Israel and is responsible for the Hebrew translation of The Urantia Book. He is the visionary member of the Executive Team and CFU President. Gabriel personally manages the Discover Jesus project, as well as providing leadership in all areas of CFU activities.
Executive Team
Project Manager

Rick Lyon

Fundraising, Project Manager
Rick is from the United States and is a member of the CFU Executive Team. He has been a student of The Urantia Book for 45 years. As president of Worldwide Ministry of Jesus, Rick coordinates all fundraising efforts and enjoys leading the Jesus Museum project.
Executive Team
Project Manager

Santiago Kneeland

Marketing, Project Manager
Santiago lives in Madrid and is a member of the CFU Executive Team. Santiago is an Admin on our social media pages and is the Project Manager for the Cinematic Jesus project.
Executive Team
Project Manager

Lisa Crawford

Marketing Lead
Lisa lives in the United States. She is a member of the CFU executive team. She oversees Marketing and assists with the Fundraising team among various other projects.
Executive Team

Roland Siegfried

Data Curation
Roland, a retired engineer, is a long-time student of The Urantia Book. He has been doing in-depth research of content, external links and documents for the knowledge graph that serves to enrich the person, topic, location and relationship nodes of the Discover Jesus app.
Data Curation

Martha Pingel

Creative Writer
Martha is the Director and Teacher of The Michaels Foundation. She studied The Urantia Book with a teacher for thirty years. She contributes her understanding as a Creative Writer for the Discover Jesus project.

Sandra Rymberg

Data Curation - Human Talent
Sandra is the presence holder. With Gabriel, they have been there from the beginning. Sandra worked (with her mom, Lourdes) on the knowledge graph for the Discover Jesus app. She is now a member of the CFU nonprofit, a member of the Human Talent team and leads the Spanish translation team.
Data Curation
Human Talent
Board Member

Mike Robinson

Data Curation - Creative Writer Editor
Mike a long-time UB student hailing from sunny California, brings his administrative skills in higher education to assist with editing the creative essays and technical tasks for the Discover Jesus app.
Data Curation
Project Manager

Godwin Uzu

Data Curation

André Radatus

Editor and Content Auditing
André lives in the United States and has been a student of The Urantia Book for over 40 years. He has been contributing to the Discover Jesus project and André's scholarly understanding of the teachings has proven him an asset to the team as editor and content auditor.

Luis Miguel Morales Urrea

Luis Miguel is a seasoned reader from Latin America, born in Colombia but lives in Argentina.
Board Member

Mark Kurtz

WMOJ Board – Financial Advisor
Mark, a retired pilot living in the United States, is a long-time student of The Urantia Book. He serves as Treasurer for Worldwide Ministry of Jesus, Inc., a registered not-for-profit company supporting the Center for Unity.
Board Member

Marjorie Ray

WMOJ Board - Fundraising Grant Head
Marjorie, a retired research scientist, lives in the United States; and she is the head of the Fundraising Grant program that contributes to the funding of the Center For Unity projects.
Board Member

Rick Warren

Creative Writer
Rick lives in the United States and is a long-time UB student and published author of many secondary works inspired by the compelling stories found in The Urantia Book. He is currently contributing essays as a Creative Writer for the Discover Jesus app project.

Kerri Blache

Cinematic Executive Producer, YES productions
Kerri is a 3rd generation Urantia Book student living in the United States; and is one of the executive producers for the Cinematic Jesus project.

Susan Lyon

Newsletter Editor, Creative Writer
Susan is from the United States and a student of The Urantia Book for 45 years. She serves as editor of the CFU newsletter, providing content for the website, and assists with data curation and creative writing for the Discover Jesus app.
Data Curation

Maryjo Garascia

Data Curation - Creative Writer
MaryJo is a seasoned Urantia Book student living in the Rocky Mountains of the USA, and having served the revelation and community for many years. MaryJo has brought a scholarly expertise to the CFU; first working on Data Curation for the Data Model/Knowledge Graph, and more recently contributing as Creative Writer for the Discover Jesus app.
Data Curation

Ilunga Adell

Cinematic Writer
Ilunga is a student of The Urantia Book living in the United States. He is an accomplished actor and a screenwriter for shows such as Sanford and Son. Ilunga is part of the writing team for the Cinematic Jesus project.

Katharina Becker

Advisory Board
Katharina is a long time student of The Urantia Book living in the United States. She serves as part of the advisory board of the Center For Unity.

Maramis Choufani

Copy Editor
Maramis is from the United States and assists with various copy editing tasks, such as the CFU newsletter. She was visiting with the tour group in Israel when the CFU dream began.

Gary Tonge

Artistic Director
Gary lives in British Columbia and has worked as an art director for over 30 years; having contributed in many artistic projects for The Urantia Book community since 2001. He leads the artistic direction for many CFU projects, including illustrating the Discover Jesus app.
Art & Design

Paula Thompson

Advisory Board
Paula Thompson has been studying The Urantia Book for over 40 years and has traveled worldwide to introduce it. From 1989 to 2006, she served as Executive Director of the Jesusonian Foundation and oversaw the development of numerous outreach efforts. Paula was elected to the Urantia Book Fellowship’s General Council in 1994, serving for 27 years. She recently retired after serving as Executive Director of The Fellowship for 16 years.

Joel Garbon

Science and Outreach Advisor
Joel counsels the CFU on ways to improve messaging and expand exposure to various demographics, as well as providing guidance on content that may interest the scientific community.

Chris Selmek

Creative Writer
Chris has a background in journalism and was the first Creative Writer to join the Discover Jesus project.

Lisa Tao

UX/UI and Content Creation Lead
Lisa is a multi-disciplinary artist who has experience in the gaming and toy industry. Her main role for CfU is to help out with the UI and UX (user interface and user experience) for their various projects.
Project Manager

Diane Labrecque

CFU Ambassador
Diane is a long-time student of The Urantia Book from Canada, and she is serving as an Ambassador of the Center for Unity.

Ed Cantin

Investment Consultant
Ed and his wife Deanna live in the United States and are long time students of The Urantia Book. He is an investment banker that is helping the CFU as an investment consultant.

Fraser Gorrie

Full stack developer
Fraser is our lead full stack developer for the Discover Jesus app. WIth more than 40 years of experience in all things software and a lot of thought and hard work, Fraser simply makes software happen like magic.

our philosophy

Icon for Jesus before Christianity - A person holding a big heart.

Jesus Before Christianity

We believe in exploring Jesus as a person, not just a religious figure. Jesus was a Jewish man who lived long before Christianity existed. His teachings are relevant to everyone, regardless of their beliefs.

Our projects aim to share his wisdom with people from all walks of life, without regard to their identity or origin. We are committed to fostering exploration and understanding, rather than asking you to change who you are.

Icon for Personal Relationship with God - A heart plant.

Personal relationship With God

Here at CFU, we're all about helping you find your own personal connection with God. We believe you can find God in your own way, on your own terms, and within yourself. We use the life and teachings of Jesus as a guide, but we believe there are many paths to discovering God.

Our goal is to help you, especially if you're a young truth-seeker, to find and foster your own unique relationship with God. It's all about your journey, and we're here to support you along the way.

Icon for Spiritually Inclusive - two hands from a different person, holding onto a heart.

Spiritually Inclusive

We believe that a spiritual journey is a personal one, unique to each individual. Our goal is to share the life and teachings of Jesus as one of many paths to discovering God for yourself.

We do not believe in following a set of rules or fitting into a box. Instead, we aim to learn from life's tough moments and grow stronger.

Whether you're facing challenges or coming from a different background, we welcome you to explore this journey with us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Urantia Book, and why are you using it?

The Urantia Book, also known as The Urantia Papers or The Fifth Epochal Revelation, is a spiritual, philosophical, and religious book that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States, sometime between 1924 and 1955. The authorship of the book remains a matter of debate. It has received various degrees of interest, ranging from praise to criticism, for its religious and science-related content, its unusual length, and the unusual names and origins of the authors named within the book.

The text introduces the word "Urantia" as the name of the planet Earth and states that its intent is to "present enlarged concepts and advanced truth." The book aims to unite religion, science, and philosophy. Its unique content, which includes a large amount of information on topics of interest to science, sets it apart from other documents said to have been received from celestial beings. Among other topics, the book discusses the origin and meaning of life, mankind's place in the universe, the history of the planet, the relationship between God and people, and the life of Jesus.

We primarily use Part IV of The Urantia Book because we believe it is one of many revelations that humanity has received, and because it provides an extended version of the Bible's teachings on the life and teachings of Jesus. Part IV, titled "The Life and Teachings of Jesus," contains almost 445,000 words, almost twice the length of the New Testament.

What is the timeline for each of the projects?

  • Discover Jesus web application is live at having launched on November 15, 2023. The mobile version will launch in February of 2024.
  • The Jesus Experience is currently putting together an interfaith steering committee. We anticipate launching a unique crowdfunding campaign to raise the seed funding of $250,000 in the first half of 2024.
  • AskJesus is now in experimental alpha. Version 0.4 was released in November 2023. We are working on the next version.
  • Cinematic Jesus is currently in its early conceptual phase. There is no set schedule for this project.

How will my monetary contribution be used?

The CFU team is almost exclusively volunteer-based. We greatly appreciate your contribution, as it allows us to access the specialized services that our volunteers cannot provide. Your support is crucial for us to continue our mission effectively.

How can I participate as a volunteer or ambassador of the Center For Unity?

It's incredibly simple. Click here for the Volunteer application, and here for the Ambassador application. Fill out the form, and we'll schedule a meeting with you. Your time and contribution will be greatly appreciated!

How can I make a monetary contribution to these projects?

Thank you so much for considering supporting us! Any amount of contribution would be greatly appreciated.

Please visit the 'Contribute' page to make a donation online.

To donate via wire transfer, please contact for further instructions. If you prefer to talk over the phone or a zoom call, that can also be arranged as well.

If you wish to send a check, please email for instructions.

How is the CFU different from other ministries?

Our ministry is unique in three ways:

  • We use The Urantia Book (specifically, the Jesus Papers) as a primary source.
  • We promote the idea of “Jesus before Christianity”. This means that we suggest that Jesus existed before Christianity, that he was, in fact, Jewish (Joshua ben Joseph), and that anyone can safely connect with Jesus and his teachings without changing their existing beliefs or religious affiliation.
  • We promote the idea of "a personal relationship with God", which means that anyone can find God for themselves, by themselves, and in themselves. Sharing the life and teachings of Jesus is one of many paths to finding God as a personal experience, and it is the path that we choose to focus on.