Building A Heavenly Garden
Photo credit FFWPU
About an hour north of Seoul, tucked away in the sweeping hills and valleys of Gapyeong County in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, is a heavenly garden—a serene place where lush vegetation flourishes most of the year, and home to the Hyojeong Cheonwon Project, a peaceful community for God to dwell.
“True Father came to call this area Cheonwon, which means ‘heavenly garden,’ said historian and editor Julian Gray of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) International. “True Parents were so touched by the beauty here that they felt it was a land prepared by God.”
Sixty years ago, the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founders of FFWPU and affectionately known as True Parents, first visited the sprawling land neighboring the small town of Seorak and Cheongpyeong Lake. Inspired by the beautiful landscape, they envisioned their community project.
“In the 1960s and 70s True Parents purchased the 6,500 acres of land that make up the valley and surrounding hills,” said Gray. “At the time, there were no roads; it was untouched territory.”
“The name Cheonwon also wasn’t used so much,” he said. “But when True Father ascended, True Mother retained the name and added the word ‘hyojeong,’ which means filial heart.”
Today, the region is a tourist hotspot attracting many vacationers to the lake, mountains, and breathtaking views.
The Hyojeong Cheonwon Project has also taken root over the years, steadily growing to include more infrastructure and places of worship like Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center and Cheongshim World Peace Center.
“True Mother consecrated this area to be the Hyojeong Cheonwon Project,” said Gray. “She wants it to be a model of Cheon Il Guk, a model of God’s Kingdom on Earth. We have a university, a hospital, homes, shops, offices, a youth center, and a concert hall—all things that can be used to create a truly good community.”
But more is still to come. A museum and library chronicling the Unification movement is in the works, along with a bigger dream.
Rev. Moon expressed a desire in the 1970s to build an international village representing the best of all the world’s cultures, where they harmoniously coexist through the Hyojeong Cheonwon Project. Dr. Moon, the Mother of Peace, has continued that vision, extending it to include the nearby town Seorak where many Unificationists live and have a church.
“The Hyojeong Cheonwon Project is not an easy task,” said Gray. “We are grateful for many ideas from around the world because maybe some communities in other countries are already further ahead in creating a model for the Kingdom of Heaven. True Mother is grateful for the interest and connection of brothers and sisters everywhere. This is not a local project, it’s a global project.”
You can stay tuned for more updates on the Hyojeong Cheonwon Project on the FFWPU International Facebook page.