Young Tribe Week & Weekend: Inheriting True Parents’ Heart for Christianity
From December 26 to January 1, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA Education Department hosted a Seven-Day Young Tribe Week workshop for young adults. As part of the week-long workshop, the Youth and Young Adult Ministry (YAYAM) also hosted a Three-Day Young Tribe Weekend, from December 27 to 29, which focused predominantly on the experience surrounding the Peace Starts With Me Clergy Rally on December 28 in Newark, New Jersey.
The theme for both workshops was “Inheriting True Parents’ Heart for Christianity.” True Parents is an affectionate term used by Unificationists when referring to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and her late husband Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, co-founders of FFWPU. As Dr. Moon has been making bigger strides in uniting with Christianity through the launching of the World Clergy Leadership Conference (WCLC), YAYAM aimed to include and educate participants in her worldwide outreach efforts.
Over 100 young adults from 14 different countries arrived at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, New Jersey on December 26 for the Seven-Day Young Tribe Week. Despite the language barriers, participants bonded through prayer, worship music, activities, and sharing about True Parents, creating a family-like atmosphere that surpassed national and linguistic barriers. “Even though all of us came from many different countries all around the world, we were able to make efforts to step outside of our comfort zone to transcend our own country’s limitations,” shared a participant from New Jersey. “I’m really grateful for everyone for showing up and for investing their time, their laughs, their energy and spirit.”
The next day, 300 more young adults from all over the world joined for the Three-Day Young Tribe Weekend workshop and the two workshops merged together. Participants spent the day learning about the foundation and heart of Christianity and Dr. Moon’s dedication to uniting all religions and bringing about global peace. Participants were able to more deeply understand Dr. Moon’s years of hard work that would culminate at the Clergy Rally the next day.
“True Parents gave so much,” shared one participant. “And now, by standing up and providing this central idea of peace, we can all really bring about a brighter world. Sounds relatively impossible individually, but connecting altogether under this common goal, peace is well within reach.” Many participants expressed a strong desire to connect to Christianity and become owners themselves by connecting to the “heartbeat” of Dr. Moon’s and God’s providence.
On the day of the Clergy Rally, all 400 participants, alongside an additional 400 middle and high school Evolve workshop attendees, filled the aisles and stage to perform the “Tongil” dance in the packed stadium. The experience was an exciting year-end peak for the young participants, as they got to see well-acclaimed pastors share proudly about the Mother of Peace and hear her give a heartfelt speech and anoint the audience with the mission to bring peace to the world.
“True Mother has empowered us with a vision that is bigger than anything our minds could ever conceive,” said one young Unificationist. “I feel determined, hopeful and excited for what is to come! And I strongly believe that hundreds of other young people felt the same today!”
After the big event, the young adults returned to the Robert Treat Hotel to attend the inauguration of Young Clergy Leadership Conference (YCLC), where an additional 120 young clergy and more than 100 American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) members gathered for a banquet. For many participants, the YCLC launch was the highlight of the workshop and a substantial manifestation of the “ownership” that Dr. Moon has been asking of young Unificationists.
On the final day of the Three-Day Young Tribe Weekend, workshop participants visited 21 churches that had been visited previously and invited to the rally, to bring gifts of paper crane chandeliers and poinsettias to the pastors as a “Thank You” for joining on Saturday. One team had a chance to hear the pastor testify about the power of the Prudential Center and Nassau Coliseum events and the importance of an organization bringing people together under the slogan “Peace Starts With Me.”
After the Three-Day Young Tribe Weekend concluded with team sharing and reflections, the Seven-Day Young Tribe Week participants traveled to a Christian workshop center in the Poconos in Pennsylvania for their continued spiritual training. The next three days consisted of a more in-depth examination of Christianity and True Parents’ life course, featuring guest lecturer Professor Gerry Servito of the Education Department, a few guest speakers from ACLC and the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), including Dr. Thomas Ward, president of UTS, and a message from Rev. Demian Dunkley, president of FFWPU-USA.
The Seven-Day Young Tribe Week concluded with New Year’s celebrations, as participants gathered around a bonfire, reflecting and setting goals for the new year.