‘We’re In A New Era:’ Digital Connection, Community Care
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It’s been two weeks since the lives of millions of Americans radically changed—seemingly overnight. Government officials in several states have imposed restrictions and lockdowns in hopes of stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through self-isolation and social distancing. Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA is among the countless parties affected, as it now pioneers a new course.
“This is an exciting opportunity,” said FFWPU-USA President Rev. Demian Dunkley. “We’re in a new era and we need to go digital.” Rev. Dunkley encouraged community members to champion this time to uplift and connect with each other during an online video meeting with more than 50 Unificationist pastors and leaders on March 26. With Sunday services now available online, along with various support and activity groups—including Youth and Young Adult Ministry (YAYAM) and the National Children’s Ministry—Unificationist leaders will be focusing on a ‘Heavenly Action Plan’ of four key areas: the Offering Table; community care; reconfiguring the community to work online; and budgeting to manage existing resources.
“Now is the time to call around and see how everyone is doing,” said Rev. Dunkley. “This is essential; this is the culture of heart.” As Unificationist leaders seek to strengthen community relations, they will also reorient ministries to be most effective, aligning with the 2020 Offering Table. Economically, it’s been a challenging time for many people as large swaths of global industries are impacted by COVID-19. Still, Unificationist leaders emphasized the importance of giving to and attending God even in our most difficult hour. “It is only through a crisis that one can be said to be a true filial child of God,” said Rev. Dunkley, directly quoting Dr. Hak Ja Moon, co-founder of FFWPU and affectionately known as True Mother, in a speech given on December 25, 2012.
Dr. Moon and her late husband, FFWPU co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, often spoke of perseverance and hardship, stating that ‘living for the sake of others’ is paramount. FFWPU Korea recently donated to COVID-19 relief efforts, including prevention, testing, and treatment. “True Mother is doing great, exceptional work even during these circumstances,” said Dr. Kim, regional chairman of FFWPU North America.
With a giving heart and mind, Unificationist leaders aim to look beyond personal circumstances as they cultivate more support within their communities. “We set up a ‘benevolent fund’ for community members who are struggling,” said Alan Jessen, FFWPU-USA state leader of Iowa, as he shared an inspiring story. Jessen relayed how one young Unifcationist woman from his community had moved to New York City and recently lost all of her income. “Within two days, nine people had already donated toward a care package that we want to send to her,” he said.
Such stories underscore the value of digital donations and tithes, as FFWPU-USA looks to ensure all communities set up an online donation site. “Now is a good time for every adult to be giving,” said Rev. Dunkley. “Not to give is humanist thinking.” And in an era that now heavily connects us online—perhaps more than ever before—it is a prime opportunity to embrace change. “We are currently in a grace period, but that may not last,” said Rev. Dunkley. “That is the grace that God is giving us now in this time of challenge.”
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