Sense of Springtime Strong at the National Ministry Meeting
Contributed by Mi Young Eaton
There was a distinct sense of springtime in the air at this month’s National Ministry Team progress meeting, with both presenters and audience members from among our national leadership expressing enthusiasm about the opportunities opening before us.
Apple Heaven USA led the opening songs for the event, while FFWPU USA Vice President Mari Curry served as emcee. Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) USA President Angelika Selle was invited to offer the opening prayer, and FFWPU USA President Dr. Michael Balcomb read a brief Hoon Dok (scripture) passage honoring the 98th anniversary of the March First Movement for Korean independence
“I was born in the first lunar month of 1920, during the year after the March 1st Movement began. Why was this significant? The Returning Lord must be born in a nation that God can claim, even if He can claim it only conditionally. If the Returning Lord were to be born and come to a nation that had not established such a condition, it would be as if he were floating in the air, without solid ground on which to stand. That is why God led the March 1st Movement. So much blood was shed just for one person–me–to come to earth. That is why the Korean people suffered so much in 1919, both from famine due to a poor harvest and from the loss of life through this heroic but tragic movement. It is based on such indemnity conditions that God’s providence has been advancing.” —Chambumo Gyeong, Book 2, Chapter 1
Reflecting on the historic intersection of True Father’s birth and the March First Movement’s struggle for independence, Dr. Balcomb shared, “As I was reflecting on that in prayer yesterday, the image came to me of the slaughter of the innocents in Jerusalem around the time of the birth of Jesus Christ; you know the story of how Herod tried to destroy the king of the Jews, the one who would save the world decided to kill everybody who might even possibly be a candidate. Of course before that there was the birth of John the Baptist, another sign that the last days had come. And I think it’s very important that everyday, but maybe particularly today, to remember this fundamental teaching of the Divine Principle at True Parents, that these are the last days; this is the time that God had settled in His Providence to build the Kingdom of God on Earth….
“So what I want to say to you this morning, my message from being with True Mother in the last month, is we must unite with absolute conviction. This is the time of God’s anointing. These three years until 2020 are the time when God intends to build His Kingdom to restore nations, to bring about the kingdom of peace. And his question for us is: Do I believe that? Am I convinced that I was born for this hour?”
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Continental Director for FFWPU in North America, began his remarks by sharing a video clip of Archbishop George Augustus Stalling’s impassioned introduction of True Mother at the 21st True Family Values Awards Banquet in Brooklyn last December, a moment of testifying to True Parents that he was very moved by.
“I felt that he invested all his energy into those seven minutes, and he’s still alive. He spent and invested everything in that moment to introduce the Second Coming of the Messiah, not just to introduce Mother.” –Dr. Kim
Dr. Kim’s essential message to those present and to the wider American movement this month is that there is no need to be afraid. Dr. Kim hopes to see us move even God to action through sincerity and prayer as the grounds of our investment in and service of others. He also commended Pastors Mark and Edna Abernathy, board members of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), who recently completed the Tribal Messiahship goal of officiating the Marriage Blessing ceremony for 430 couples.
“Your investment, your sincere dedication, is invaluable. Always God can utilize whatever you invest in. Because of your investment we are here today. You know America dramatically changed in the last four years and we are independent from any financial support from Japan or True Parents…. So I am ready. We should be ready to support others as True Parents did. True Father’s life motto was “living for the sake of others.” With this spirit we can move forward, centering on our tribal messiah and blessing activities.”
Read or watch Dr. Kim’s remarks in their entirety at the link below:
Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP)
Christina Lange, Administrator of the WFWP International-UN Office, introduced the new vision and mission statements of WFWP, crafted over the past 10 months by WFWP presidents and vice presidents from all over the world. Yeon Ah Moon, president of WFWP International, prompted the effort to compose a new vision and mission for the organization in order to bring international chapters into deeper accord with one another.
“Women working together to realize one global family rooted in a culture of sustainable peace.” –WFWP Vision Statement
CSW 61 is an upcoming event of great importance to WFWP. CSW, or the Commission on the Status of Women, is an annual two-week session organized by the United Nations to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. The theme of this year’s conference will be, “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.”
WFWPI will host a parallel event during CSW 61, titled “Women Fostering Peace and Co-prosperity: Creating Intergenerational Collaboration Sans Arrogance,” among other programs. Celebrations for the 25th anniversary of WFWPI and 20th anniversary of its receiving general consultative status at the UN will be held at the same time.
Sungmi Orr, the new editor of the WFWP International-UN Office, was also introduced and provided more details about the parallel event, soon to be made available.
Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
Thomas McDevitt, Chairman of UPF USA, introduced an upcoming series of American Leadership Conferences (ALC) scheduled to take place in the months ahead, which will pick up and expand the efforts of the International Leadership Conference held in Washington, D.C. in December and the 2017 UPF World Summit held in Seoul in February.
“We want to take on the job of educating world leaders, all the way to the top.” –Mr. McDevitt
The events will be organized according to an ALC model which was first used in 2000 as a successor to the CAUSA model. The first conference of the series is scheduled to take place in New York on Saturday, March 25, 2017, and Mr. McDevitt, as well as Dr. Balcomb after him, invited all to register and attend together with their contacts.
American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC): Tribal Messiaship
Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, Jr. began his comments with a hearty, “Good morning, family!”, which elicited a cheerful “Good morning!” from the meeting’s attendees. Rev. Stallings then gave a spirited review of the 21st True Family Values Awards Banquet held in Brooklyn in December as a landmark in the ACLC goals to bless 600,000 couples by 2020, thanking True Mother again for attending and delivering the key note address at the event. Rev. Stallings also elaborated on the achievements of Pastors Mark and Edna Abernathy, who have successfully blessed 430 couples in their congregation, describing the process by which they have educated their congregants about the value of the Blessing.
“What work are we doing as American clergy not only to unite with True Parents but to achieve the vision they have shared with the world?” –Rev. Stallings
Peace King Cup Fishing Tournament
Branch Gaarder, youth director of Ocean Church USA, announced the upcoming 2017 Peace King Cup Fishing Tournament which has been scheduled for the week of May 6 through May 12. Branch invites both Unificationists and their friends who would like to experience the connection between faith and fishing to come out as often as they can during the tournament—a great opportunity to celebrate the Holy Wedding anniversary of True Parents and to testify to their far-reaching vision and mission.
Director of Evangelism Demian Dunkley led the audience in a several short visualization exercises during his presentation, reproduced in part here:
“How many couples are each of you going to bless this year? Hold that number in your mind.
“Now, ask yourself, how many couples can God bless through you this year? How many? Hands up if it’s the same answer as the first number.
“With God we can and will do a lot more. With True Parents we can and will do a lot more. Without God or True Parents, it will be really hard to do all that we want to do….
“Now, ask yourself, what would it look like? How might God work through you to bless that many people? Looking just from me, I can only see what’s immediately in front of me. But if I ask what God could do through me, I can begin to take on the impossible.”
Demian went on to reiterate the national evangelism goals for 2017, which are 12 new Heavenly Tribal Messiahs and 120 “Frontline Tribal Messiahship Families,” family trinities across the nation who will devote themselves and support one another in the development of their tribes; and the development of a vital network with more and more resources for support. He invited everyone to imagine what it would look and feel like to be on stage with True Mother in Korea next February, when she gives awards to this year’s successful Tribal Messiah couples and families.
To learn more about Tribal Messiahship, consider attending one of the upcoming national “We Can Do It” workshops. More details coming soon.
Blessing and Family Ministry (BFM)
Steve Honey, interim director BFM during the three months of Director Crescentia DeGoede’s maternity leave, gave a moving and slightly unconventional presentation about the goals and upcoming events of BFM. Throughout his remarks, Steve shared pictures of young couples at the Blessing ceremony in Korea, elder couples who were Blessed many years ago, and recently Blessed couples, commenting, “This is our hope….And the Blessing is just the beginning. More than the goals and numbers we are trying to reach is creating ideal families, God- and True Parents-centered families.”
“We want our families to be attractive, addictive, contagious. We want to start a pandemic of True Love. Don’t we?” –Mr. Honey
Steve then reviewed the 2017 mission of the BFM, to “continue to develop and expand the infrastructure to help our members match and bless 10,000 healthy and happy marriages and families,” and also invited all to attend the upcoming High Noon Summit, to collaborate in the support of national Marriage Blessing ceremonies, and to join in on one (or more) of the BFM’s many webinars designed to help their attendees develop a healthy family culture.
Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Youth and Young Adult Ministry Director Naokimi Ushiroda was recently named as the head of this new department by True Mother. In his presentation, Naokimi identified the purpose of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry to support but also extend beyond the Collegiate Association of the Research for Principles (CARP) in taking care of all of the young people of the Unification faith in the speech given by True Mother to Unificationist youth at East Garden in December of last year.
Naokimi also outlined the 2017 mission and goals of the new department—“to train leaders who can provide a spiritually nourishing educational experience that empowers all youth and young adults to become citizens of Cheon Il Guk”—and introduced Tasnah Moyer as the newest member of his team, who will join Kaileigh Moffit of the National Youth Ministry, Roland Platt of Generation Peace Academy (GPA), and Teresa Rischl, officially inaugurated today as the new president of CARP, as the coordinator of a newly established Young Adult Ministry.
“I feel really excited for this challenge and the opportunities that are ahead.” –Tasnah
“True Mother recently said that this is the springtime. What I’m really excited about in this new year and season is growing this national team. True Mother has encouraged us to work together, so I look forward to working together with all of you… and exploring how we can work together as one family.” –Teresa
Koichi Nakai, director of the National Ministry Team’s Media Department, gave a presentation about a new idea he has pioneered for the annual American leaders’ meeting, scheduled to take place during the first full week of April this year. In an effort to move away from the traditional style of leaders’ conferences to something new, Koichi proposed that we move toward a conference we are proud of and excited to attend so that in the future even our conferences themselves can testify to True Parents and their vision.
“I don’t know anyone else on earth who is actually building the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Let’s take up True Parents’ big vision: True Mother is telling us seeing is believing, so let’s build it.” –Koichi
Taking as a basis of inspiration the world-renowned Comic Con that takes place in New York every year, Koichi has dubbed this new event and approach “Famicon.” He hopes to see this “Family Federation Conference” become the premiere annual event of the International Peace Education Center in Las Vegas, featuring exhibitions from our many organizations and projects, emphasizing and supporting development in Tribal Messiahship and the Marriage Blessing Movement.
Be sure to ask your pastor for more details about Famicon 2017 if you are interested in contributing to the advance of hyojeong culture and in exploring new ways to testify to True Parents.