From East to West: Living and Learning the Divine Principle
Outreach initiatives around the country have successfully tapped into the depth and power of the Divine Principle, showing us what it really means to live as Unificationists. From bringing our community closer together to inspiring new guests, these efforts give us hope and ideas for our ongoing mission of tribal messiahship (personal ministry). Read these stories and organize your very own local outreach program! Then share your story.
New Hampshire Workshop Expresses Heart of Divine Principle
Unificationists and guests in Manchester, New Hampshire, attended a one-day workshop on January 10, 2015, to contemplate God’s heart with the theme “Deeper with God: God’s Heart in the Divine Principle.” Over 40 participants, ranging from college students to state leaders, attended from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island.
The inspiration behind the theme came from the Unification Thought Theory of Education, which, as explained by presenter Gerry Servito, “omits much of the immense detail in the Divine Principle and refocuses more on the heart of it all, so that when we go back into the details, there’s more meaningful understanding and appreciation for them.”
The workshop organizers, Pastor Heather Thalheimer, Cheryl Roth and Gerry Servito, structured the workshop around 50-minute presentations followed by 30-minute group discussions. The presentations focused on “the Three Hearts of God”: the Heart of God during Creation, the Heart of God at the Fall, and the Heart of God during the History of Restoration.
“I already know the content,” said one participant, “but the heart of God became more clear and impressed on my own heart.” Many expressed similar sentiments, saying that they gained a deeper understanding of concepts as well as a determination to apply them to their own life.
This approach helped create an emotional connection to God, a key part in understanding the First Great Blessing. “Students were not moved by the massive amount of revelation in the Divine Principle,” said Gerry Servito, “but rather by the emotional narrative of God’s hopes, heartbreaks and lifelong effort to recover our Heavenly Parent’s family.”
Longtime Unificationists were able to see and understand the Divine Principle from a new perspective, and a few of the attendees hearing Divine Principle for the first time had powerful experiences as well. Rev. Thalheimer said: “Gerry spoke powerfully to people. As he described the Fall of Man, I noticed one of our first-time guests was crying. Later she shared with me that this new insight about Lucifer helped her understand her life.”
The New Hampshire community has been a hub of education in the Northeast recently, with frequent educational events drawing people from neighboring states. “Having seminars like this gives an infusion of energy in our community,” said Rev. Thalheimer. We look forward to seeing how these participants take what they have learned and apply it to their lives and communities.
Las Vegas Family Church Receives Thanks from Salvation Army
According to a study released on May 8, 2014, by the Southern Nevada Homeless Census, the homeless population of Southern Nevada grew by 28 percent last year, bringing the total to 9,417 homeless individuals. “This breaks our hearts,” the Las Vegas Family Church wrote in its newsletter, “and so when we heard that there were some young missionaries coming from Korea to do some local outreach in Las Vegas, a plan was set to give each one an opportunity to experience the heart of serving.”
For a period of six days, more than 60 volunteers went to the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen in North Las Vegas to serve meals to individuals and families in need. After a short orientation from the Salvation Army chefs and staff, the volunteers went right to work, filling trays with food for the hundreds who come to the center each day.
Each volunteer expressed much love and concern for each person they served, helping uplift their spirit. “Every day that we came to serve, we noticed how the spiritual atmosphere has changed, and we saw smiles in their faces as we greeted them and handed them the food, and they thanked us sincerely,” remarked one volunteer.
The Salvation Army sent a letter to thank the team for its service. Humbled by this experience, the community in Las Vegas cherishes opportunities to connect with less fortunate brothers and sisters. The Las Vegas Family Church thanks each volunteer and the Family Education and Empowerment Foundation (FEEF) for their help in organizing this effort.
Las Vegas Organizations Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Every third Monday of January, Americans celebrate the life and achievements of one of America’s most respected citizens: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was the leading force in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. This year, the city of Las Vegas commemorated this occasion with a city-wide event under the theme “Let’s Live the Dream” in response to Dr. King’s question, “What are you doing for others?”
The Las Vegas Family Education Empowerment Foundation (FEEF), Japanese outreach team, Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) and Universal Peace Academy (UPA) hosted an information table at the Edmond Town Center shopping center during the celebration. Amidst entertainment, train rides, food and other organizations, Unificationists spent time talking with the community and sharing True Parents’ vision and teachings.
The response was overwhelming. Over 100 people, including parents, youth, teachers, school administrators and other professionals, signed up for the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and FEEF’s future educational activities. Many also expressed their desire to volunteer with the group in serving the community. Overall, the day was full of inspiration and gratitude. It is undoubtedly a launching point for many more inspiring events to come.
Five California Churches Hold Interfaith MLK Day Celebration
On Sunday, January 18, 2015, Bob and Maree Gauper brought five different churches together for a festival of dance, poetry and song at the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in the Northern California town of Olivehurst. The Gaupers, residing in Yuba County, California, helped initiate and organize a Community Choral Festival to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The festival, which is now in its second year, brought together a diverse group of people to enjoy an evening of poetry, dance and song. The theme was “Lift Every Voice.”
Mr. and Mrs. Gauper found this to be a relatively simple event to facilitate, and it was very well received by the local community, making front-page news in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. “We recommend such a project as a tribal messiah activity,” they said.
When the faith community can come together, overcoming barriers of denomination, race and different worship traditions, we can create models of cooperation in a world that is desperately in need of such examples.
The Los Angeles Family Church Welcomes Guests
The Los Angeles community has been welcoming new guests to their Sunday service with open arms. Basil, an American born Korean who just got out of the Air Force, was put in touch with the local community after contacting staff in New York through www.dplife.info. Basil had been searching for a spiritual home and was eager to connect. He was inspired by the first lecture he heard on the Introduction to the Divine Principle and the Principles of Creation, and asked many stimulating questions. Hudson, a young Unificationist from Seattle, offered an amazing testimony about how he found God by serving his parents. Another Unificationist, Daniel, also attended and gave his testimony about how he came to realize the value of his family, True Parents, and Divine Principle, through his life experience.
A few days later the community welcomed Anahiit and Ramon. Anahiit came for the second time to hear lectures and continues to be amazed by the Divine Principle. She comes from Iran and a Muslim family and has being doing meditation for some time. She was especially interested in the truth about Jesus’s birth and came to Sunday Service the next day very inspired.
Ramon was introduced to the Divine Principle before as well, but just recently returned. His friend who invited him said that Ramon was, “reborn and happy to know that he is still loved by God, True Parents and our local Unificationists.” True Mother has asked everyone to reach out to Unificationists who have lost touch, so this was very significant for the community.
All of these blessings couldn’t happen without the hard work of the local community donating their time, tithing and efforts. Local Unificationist Keith gave the Introduction and Creation lectures with a dynamic slideshow, and Kaue helped the church fundraise $500 to buy a new projector. Efforts seem to be paying off, thanks to the sincere investment of everyone involved.