Bay Area Family Church Revives Lasting Love Workshops
Kevin Thompson, the district pastor in Northern California, describes the Bay Area Family Church’s initiative to hold a Lasting Love seminar. On November 8, 2014, they taught Unification Thought through materials developed by the International Educational Foundation (IEF) in the late 1990s. Over 70 people attended, including quite a few guests. Read the full story by Kevin Thompson below:
As the district pastor for Northern California, I recently have been thinking, “How can we bring greater results through our outreach activities?” Many Unificationists are working hard to introduce True Parents, the Divine Principle and the Holy Marriage Blessing to their guests, but these efforts haven’t taken off yet. Perhaps many people need to hear introductory lectures before they are ready for the Divine Principle.
I discussed this with local Unificationists Christine Froehlich and Markus Von Euw, and we remembered the Lasting Love conferences that True Father initiated for exactly this purpose. The Lasting Love conferences were held in the United States, China and Korea in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They taught Unification Thought through materials that had been developed by the International Educational Foundation (IEF) to use in the Soviet Union and China.
After True Parents met Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, Unificationists were invited to come to Moscow and other Soviet cities to teach educators the “head wing” philosophy, which was needed to rebuild the educational system after Marxism failed. The IEF was created to bring the teachings of Unification Thought to people who longed for a new view of life. IEF developed lectures, books and manuals to teach and empower educators. Unificationists from the United States and Europe volunteered at hundreds of workshops throughout the former Soviet Union. Later, the same materials were used in China to teach educators, police officers, correctional officers and others.
Looking through the IEF materials, I realized that they could be used not only for witnessing to new guests but also for outreach to our own families, Youth Ministry, the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principle (CARP) and Ambassadors for Peace. As soon as I determined to use these materials, I heard that Dr. Joon Ho Seuk was coming to town. Dr. Seuk had been the director of IEF while these materials were developed and used in Russia and China. Upon his visit Dr. Seuk told me that True Mother recently had asked him what had happened to all the IEF materials that were developed and why they weren’t being used. I took that as an affirmation that I was on the right track.
We decided to invite Dr. Robert Beebe, a Unificationist from New Jersey, to California to give an introductory seminar to our congregation and guests. Dr. Beebe, the principal of the New Hope School in Clifton, New Jersey, had been involved in the creation of the IEF materials and also has a wealth of experience from teaching across the former Soviet Union and China.
We hosted our first day-long Lasting Love seminar on Saturday, November 8, at the Bay Area Family Church headquarters in San Leandro, California. We expected 25 to 30 participants, but 75 people attended, including elders, young adults, students and quite a few guests. Attendees were excited to hear the content and discuss ways to expand its use. The guests, who included a high school French teacher, university students and educators, all very much appreciated the content and wanted to hear more.
We discussed how to empower parents to teach their children and get involved in their children’s schools to promote character education. Many parents are not from America and often feel intimidated and unsure of how much they can interact with their children’s teachers. Quite a few participants were teachers, principals and educators, and they offered good input on how we can use these lectures. We also discussed how to educate Ambassadors for Peace and collaborate with them in building godly teachings in schools, as well as how to use the IEF materials to educate candidates for the Holy Marriage Blessing.
The greatest interest was how we can use these materials in witnessing. Many years ago the Oakland, California, church was hugely successful because guests first attended a two-day introductory workshop based on Unification Thought and then a seven-day workshop introducing the Divine Principle. With this method the church introduced thousands of young people to True Parents.
Dr. Beebe gave four talks of the 12 that are available in the IEF content: “The Need for Moral Education,” “The Family as the School of Love,” “Ethics of Love and Sexuality” and “Causes and Resolution of Conflict.”
For our next seminar, Dr. Beebe called on us all to initiate a “new sexual revolution in America” based on the Holy Marriage Blessing given to us by True Parents. We hope that these seminars will be the kickoff for many great things to come.