Near and Far: Tribal Messiahship Is in the Air
Tribal Messiah Commitment Ceremony in Atlanta
On Sunday, May 3, 2015, Atlanta Unificationists launched their new Tribal Messiah Movement. In preparation for the official launch, local couples spent the past few months gathering their contacts, making prayer lists, and coordinating regular outreach schedules in order to seek out those who were guided by Heaven to meet True Parents. In the Sunday sermon on May 3, Rev. Gary Chidester spoke of how Jesus Christ could lay claim to his followers by writing their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. His love and sacrifice covered them so that Satan could no longer have a claim on them. “So now it is our turn,” he said, “to be the messiahs on behalf of the Lord of the Second Advent. We are to write the names of those we love and can serve, doing intentional acts of goodness and love in order to claim them from Satan’s world and bring them into the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, Cheon Il Guk.” Twenty-one couples stepped forward with binders full of names, in a symbolic gesture of taking on the commission of tribal messiahship.
Dr. Balcomb Visits Portland and Seattle
Dr. Michael Balcomb, president of FFWPU-USA, set out for the West Coast on Saturday, May 2, for a last-minute surprise visit to District 10. With the warm reception he received from the Portland and Seattle communities in, it was hard for him to leave the beautiful Pacific Northwest!
The Portland Family Peace Fellowship welcomed Dr. Balcomb on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon as they enjoyed lunch on the church’s new patio. The congregation, made up of about 50 Unificationists, then gathered at 2 pm for their meeting.
Council President Richard Stumpf opened the meeting with a report on the growth in church attendance, the increase in financial strength, and future plans. Dr. Balcomb gave internal guidance regarding tribal messiah outreach, study and unity, and took questions from the congregation. Even controversial topics were addressed. It was enlightening and very helpful for all the tribal messiahs gathered. Interest was high, and most everyone stayed through the afternoon to catch the rich spiritual atmosphere.
The Council then took Dr. Balcomb to dinner at Salty’s, a well-known restaurant on the Columbia River, before a good night’s rest at the Stumpf farm in preparation for his drive to Seattle the next morning.
On Sunday, May 3, Dr. Balcomb delivered the highly inspirational sermon “Our Confidence to God” at the Seattle Family Church. With the 61st anniversary of the founding of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity having occurred two days earlier, Dr. Balcomb reminded the congregation about the humble beginnings of the Unification Church, when its founder had the very ambitious goal of uniting Christianity. He quoted from True Father:
“People in the neighborhood laughed at our sign. They made fun of us, asking what kind of world unification we dreamt of in that tiny little house that ‘you have to crawl to get into.’ They didn’t try to find out why we had chosen that name. They simply looked at us as if we were crazy.”
He said that the church sign “Unification of World Christianity” should be hung in many church cathedrals, but there had been no other places where we could see such a sign except in the Unification Church.
Dr. Balcomb guaranteed that God’s Kingdom will be established on earth as He promised in Isaiah 46:11: “I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” He then emphasized the accomplishment of the kingdom building through tribal messiahship that can occur on a grassroots level through outreach. He then revealed a secret, based on his own experience, on how to successfully reach out to share the Divine Principle. He asked each person to close their eyes and think deeply about a person with whom they have not communicated for a long time but have never forgotten. Next, he asked his audience to turn to the person sitting next to them and spend a couple of minutes telling the person’s name and discussing how they could reconnect to them and love them and, finally, share the Principle. The audience enjoyed the exercise. Several members stood up and told the names of their longtime friends and explained how they could reconnect.
Dr. Balcomb concluded his sermon with prayer and best wishes to all the families and individuals before being presented with a bouquet.
Pastor Nelson Mira of the Seattle Family Church next invited all the May birthday celebrants to come up to the stage to cut the birthday cake, and Dr. Balcomb graciously offered his bouquet to one of them.
Dr. Balcomb continued to answer questions and talk with members of the congregation at lunch. Young and old, all enjoyed the fellowship time with their guest of honor.
Dr. Balcomb was also invited to join the Church Council meeting, where he offered valuable guidance. In addition, Dr. Balcomb also attended the Sunday school for adults an hour before the Sunday service. Despite his busy schedule, he never hesitated to join in and participate in all of the events. In Seattle Family Church, every Sunday the weekly video update from the national president is shown, followed by the international weekly update. Pastor Mira commented that the community was very blessed to hear Dr. Balcomb’s updates not only on video but also in person.
NYC Begins 3-Week Outreach Campaign
Back on the East Coast, Unificationists in New York City kicked off a three-week Outreach Campaign, combining efforts across boroughs. Evangelists from Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Harlem, as well as the Latino Ministry, met at the Family Church of New York (FCNY) on West 43rd Street in midtown Manhattan, on Sunday, May 3.
After uplifting songs from the band, the congregation watched the weekly update from IPeace TV, followed by an inspiring sermon by New York District Leader Rev. Andrew Compton entitled “Reverend Moon, Why Is He So Special?” Rev. Compton encouraged the congregation to participate in this important outreach effort as a special opportunity to attend our True Parents. He also showed an online video with the same title and introduced familyfedny.org, a website that offers numerous Divine Principle lectures as valuable witnessing tools.
Immediately following the service, seventy people joined in a “God’s Hope for America” rally on 42nd Street, just one block away. The group held up “God’s Hope for America” banners, and local Unificationist Mrs. Maria Falconi led them in a few songs. Rev. Compton, Manhattan Pastor Desmond Green and FFWPU-USA Vice President Mari Curry offered short, inspiring messages to the crowd and the rally concluded with a rousing chorus of “God Bless America.” Participants lined up along the sidewalk in front of the banners and handed out almost 1,000 information cards to passers-by during the 20-minute rally.
The Outreach Team regrouped for lunch back at the FCNY, before heading off for an afternoon visit to Belvedere, True Parents’ onetime home and church training center located north of New York City in Tarrytown, New York. At Belvedere they took time to pray at the Holy Rock and walk around the property, learning about its history and the preciousness of the time when our True Parents lived there.
The team had dinner at the “White House,” the nearby FFWPU parsonage, and afterward returned to the city. For only the first day of activities, the NYC Outreach Campaign got off to a great start. The day ended in prayer back at FCNY, with anticipation for the weeks ahead.