Holy Day Celebration
On June 16, 2015, the 53rd Day of All True Things, the national ministry team and the local New York community held a morning service, celebration and meeting at East Garden. With a beautiful offering table, cake cutting and shared song, the Holy Day was celebrated as our Heavenly Parent intended: together. Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Continental Chair of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) North America, welcomed the gathered group and lit the Holy Day candles. Dr. Michael Balcomb, FFWPU USA President, acted as emcee, and Hugh and Nora Spurgin offered a prayer, appreciating the universe and the natural world that God created for our enjoyment. Mari Curry, Vice President of FFWPU USA, shared a Hoon Dok Hwe (scripture) reading from the Cheon Seong Gyeong. The passages expressed the significance of Creation and True Parent’s role in restoring Creation and all things to God.
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim shared a Holy Day message about the importance of embracing the third blessing and loving nature, our community and the world. He shared that, as much of True Parents’ words are about nature, we can deduce that those who love nature possess a gateway to loving all people. He also shared that the Sunhak Peace Prize this year focused on projects that preserved nature.
Dr. Thomas Walsh came to the podium and provided further details on the Sunhak Peace Prize, an annual award initiated by True Mother to honor True Father’s legacy. The first award will be presented on August 28, 2015, just two days prior to True Father’s Seonghwa (Ascension) Anniversary. Dr. Walsh explained the nomination and selection process. “True Father’s idea of peace is very broad and comprehensive,” he explained. Each year, the award will feature a different aspect of his peace-building legacy, with this year’s award theme being the ocean.
The 2015 Sunhak Peace Prize winners—Kiribati President Anote Tong and Indian fisheries scientist Modadugu Vijay Gupta—will both receive $500,000, a medal, a certificate and a chance to present their activities to an audience of 1,000 world dignitaries on August 28 in Seoul.
Dr. Kim offered a closing prayer. “Let us celebrate today thinking of others and thinking of our surroundings,” he prayed. The Holy Day celebration concluded with three cheers of Og Mansei (victory) and the sharing of some light refreshment and lively conversation.
June National Ministry Meeting
The June National Ministry meeting began with group songs and a prayer by Nandi Benku, calling for a revival of spirit in the coming month. Miilhan Stephens, Vice President of FFWPU USA, emceed the meeting and welcomed the national ministry team with a brief explanation of the significance of this Holy Day. Then, they watched a video with excerpts of True Mother’s messages and prayers at East Garden, the Manhattan Center, and the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) last month, setting the atmosphere for various departments and teams to share their progress, goals and updates in the joint effort to further God’s providence in America.
The Seven-Day Divine Principle Workshop
Naokimi Ushiroda presented a report and photos of the Divine Principle workshop which prepared the space for True Mother’s arrival and the opening of IPEC in Las Vegas. As the first official group at IPEC, the Divine Principle workshop featured top lecturers from around the country, and a unique workshop style. In addition to lectures, sessions began with a reading, and also included time for discussion and Q&A. This element of engagement was a key breakthrough and made for an unforgettable workshop experience.
The workshop was also unprecedented in its diversity of age (ages 15-71) and level of familiarity with the Divine Principle (of the 130 participants, 14 were guests). The Divine Principle, as well as evening programs and activities out in nature, brought the participants together and created lasting bonds between friends old and new.
Naokimi announced the next 7-Day Divine Principle Workshop at the Unification Theological Seminary on August 9-16, 2015, as well as monthly workshops at IPEC starting this July.
The Marriage Blessing Movement
Crescentia DeGoede, Director of the Blessing & Family Ministry, began her talk by asking, “Who is the Marriage Blessing for?” She explained True Parents’ emphasis that the Holy Marriage Blessing is for our spouse, our family, our community and our descendants. It has infinite value in that it gives others the opportunity to experience God through relationships, and it substantiates Cheon Il Guk (God’s Kingdom) with God’s citizens Blessed in marriage. Crescentia highlighted the need for everybody to receive the Marriage Blessing, to which God has a path for everyone to receive it. This initiative is starting in America with several locations holding a local Marriage Blessing Ceremony on June 27, 2015, as well as October 3, 2015. For more information, visit blessingamerica.org.
Cheongpyeong Summer Workshops
Mari Curry gave a presentation on the Cheongpyeong Summer Workshops for International Young People. She described the components and gains of these workshops, including spiritual enlightenment, connecting with other young Unificationists, connecting with the heart of God and True Parents, finding one’s true self free from distractions, experiencing Korean culture, learning from amazing lecturers, and participating in adventure activities.
Karlsun Allen of the Evangelism Team shared a report on this year’s outreach revivals across the nation. Starting in Las Vegas and building momentum in Hawaii, these outreach programs were groundbreaking in helping participants overcome fear, combat feelings of inadequacy, and transform the way they share their faith. Outreach efforts made education not just a two-week program but a lifestyle change. Communities around the nation and investing in regular outreach and education. Recently, the New Jersey community invited Evangelism Director Demian Dunkley to host a seminar on tribal messiahship. The Evangelism Team also supported local communities in follow-up efforts with their new guests.
New York District
Rev. Andrew Compton, District 2 representative, shared about recent happenings in New York. After the outreach revival earlier this year, the New York community built on this momentum and created a small group in Ossining, New York, where family members participated in outreach at the Ossining Street Festival. The passed out “Bookmarks for Peace” to support an orphanage in Hawaii, and asked the national ministry team for support in creating brochures that deal with the common questions and answers a Unificationist can expect to meet when engaging in outreach activities. (A notable resource in this area is the upcoming Apologetics courses at the Unification Theological Seminary).
New Jersey District
Rev. Manoj Jacob, District 3 representative and Pastor of the Clifton Family Church, also shared about recent local events, including the recent Il Shim graduation, Memorial Day Celebration, and Youth Ministry Sports Festival. Each of these events presented opportunities for guests to attend and meet members of the community. Rev. Jacob also shared about two upcoming events regarding the Holy Marriage Blessing: the local Marriage Blessing Ceremony on June 27, 2015, and an education seminar for newly Blessed couples the following day.
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim’s Message at the National Ministry Meeting
Dr. Kim thanked the media department for their recent work during True Mother’s time in the United States last month. True Mother signed three programs of the True Father 1,000-Day Memorial Celebration at IPEC, which Dr. Kim handed out to three individuals at the meeting. He playfully asked the group who should receive these three programs. Names were nominated from the crowd and many were recognized for their hard work in the process, and ultimately the gifts went to Shinyoung Chang, representing the Media Team, Michael McDevitt, the East Garden and Belvedere property manager, and Roland Platt, director of the Generation Peace Academy.
Dr. Kim proceeded to give a message to the team, sharing True Mother’s heart towards America which he gleaned in the last two weeks he spent with her on behalf of the American Unification family members. He described True Mother’s core message as urging America to be responsible for God’s providence and to be the hope for the future. Dr. Kim then read two testimonies of audience members of Springtime with True Parents events, which expressed a yearning and urgency to create individual plants of action, contribute to God’s providence, take responsibility and strive for something more. The testimonies resonated in everyone’s hearts, and closed the meeting with a sense of renewed purpose and focus for the month to come.