Dallas Hosts Divine Principle, Unification Thought Workshops
More than 70 Unificationists from District 9 listened to Divine Principle and Unification Thought lectures presented by Rev. Gerry Servito, a popular lecturer on the National Ministry Team, during his visit to Dallas, Texas, between March 10 and 18, 2017. Rev. John Jackson, the District 9 pastor, gives his impressions of the various events that took place during those days.
Contributed by Rev. John Jackson, District 9 Pastor
My purpose in inviting Rev. Gerry Servito to Dallas was to give District 9 Unificationists a different perspective with Unification Thought and help them with life applications of the Divine Principle.
The first night, Friday, March 10, was very interesting. We began with a “getting started” kind of program. We were given a brief, historical overview of the last 400 years. The program focused on philosophy and many of the authors of what we call “Abel-type” and “Cain-type” thought, or what’s historically been considered God-centered and human-centered thought.
Rev. Servito asked the young people in the room (mostly college students) if they recognized any of the names on the PowerPoint. Not one of them could identify a single Abel-type philosopher, but they could name many of the Cain-type philosophers. Rev. Servito explained that this is because colleges today mention hardly anyone who believes in God. However, Marx, Feuerbach, Strauss, and Nietzsche are mandatory reading on college campuses. One of the students confirmed this, saying that she is required to read The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx.
On Saturday, March 11, Rev. Servito gave lectures on the first part of Unification Thought, which deals with how value is realized and God’s heart. This first full day was filled with more than 40 people, both young and old.
On Sunday, March 12, Rev. Servito delivered the sermon at Sunday Service, speaking on the Three Great Kingships, or the original ideal of the three-generation family. It was very well-received. We had a group of people whom we had not seen in the church for a good while. They were old friends with Rev. Servito. I am so glad they came.
On Monday, March 13, we started a five-day workshop of the Divine Principle. The first three days were dedicated to studying the Principle with a Unification Thought “twist.” Some of the young people looked as though they were hearing Divine Principle for the first time. It is always wise to bring in fresh people with different ways of expressing the Word, Truth, and Heart of our Heavenly Parent. It doesn’t matter who you are; you learn something new. This was no exception.
Rev. Servito’s presentations laid out the heart of Heavenly Parent in so many ways: God’s heart of Hope, His heart of Sorrow, and His heart of Pain. Many participants were deeply moved by his understanding of God’s heart at the time of the Human Fall. He made special effort to bring to life the four fallen natures and to explain how each of us can guard ourselves against them, reverse them, and gain dominion over our lives.
The last two days of the five-day workshop were so much fun, and I do believe Heavenly Parent was very pleased. We learned how to explain our faith in a simple way by giving “napkin lectures.” This was an awesome close for the kids who were on spring break. The youth and adults who were there formed trinities to teach in a conversational manner while illustrating the points of Principle on a notepad or blank sheet of paper.
We closed on Friday, and on the next day, Saturday, March 18, Rev. Servito presented the second part of Unification Thought. This session focused on Unification Thought views of education, the third of the Three Great Blessings, and the arts. It was amazing!
A total of 70 people were present over the course of the entire workshop. We allowed everyone to join in, even if they were not able to stay for the entire workshop. Many participants had come from out of town: Arkansas and Oklahoma, and the hill country in south Texas. Those people from south Texas had driven over five hours to attend the workshop.
One of them was a young man named Boone. He had met Alison Boothby on his college campus. She was reading her Divine Principle, and Boone asked her what she was reading. When she told him the Divine Principle, he asked, “What is that?” Then she explained that it was her holy scripture. Later Boone went online and found a PDF file of the Exposition of the Divine Principle. The more he read, the more he liked it. He found online that there was going to be a seven-day workshop at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) in Las Vegas, and he registered and paid $500 to attend. He is so happy that he met Alison. He later told me that the price for the workshop was so cheap, he couldn’t believe it.
Rev. Servito did a fantastic job! One young lady said she was reborn and told him that it was all because of him. The way he conveys Heavenly Parent’s and True Parents’ heart is very dramatic: He read from one of our Hoon Dok Hwe (scripture) readings, and I believe that the quote comes from Unification Thought, but he explained how after God witnessed the Human Fall, He was so devastated that He basically lost control and fainted or passed out. Then after coming back to His senses, He went immediately to work to restore His fallen children.
Everyone thanked Rev. Servito for expressing so much of Heavenly Parent’s and True Parents’ heart.
Thank you, Rev. Servito, for coming to Dallas. It was great! I truly cannot wait until we do this kind of thing again.