On May 11, the National Ministry Team met for their most recent monthly meeting. A mixed air of excitement and determination filled the room in light of the upcoming God Bless America Family Festival. The sense that we are approaching a significant turning point in God’s Providence in America grew with each presentation given by representatives from Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) affiliates and by the many Unificationists who are pursuing creative, independent initiatives around the country.
Miilhan Stephens, FFWPU USA Vice President, emceed the event, and following a prayer by Rev. Zagery Oliver, Crescentia DeGoede, Director of the Blessing and Family Ministry, read an excerpt from, “America is God’s Hope,” the original speech delivered by True Father at the Yankee Stadium Rally on June 1, 1976.
The American forefathers fled from religious persecution in Europe, came to the new world, and in the spirit of building “One Nation Under God” they brought about a new nation here in America which is now at the threshold of her third century. In a similar way today, people are fleeing from the communist world of slavery to the free world. Many were persecuted for their religious beliefs and ideological differences. The time has come to unite them to build a new world centered upon God. United, the free world must liberate the enslaved communist world. This time our task is to build “One World Under God.”
Crescentia DeGoede reads an excerpt from True Father’s speech, “America is God’s Hope”
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, FFWPU North America Continental Chairman, began his remarks by wishing a very Happy Mothers’ Day to all and especially to True Mother. “We are so blessed to celebrate Mothers’ Day when we have our True Mother with us—the mother of humankind and the only begotten Daughter of God.” Dr. Kim explained that the date for the upcoming God Bless America Family Festival was shifted in order to coincide with the 54th Day of All True Things, the 62nd anniversary of the founding of HSA-UWC (according to the Heavenly Calendar), and True Mother’s visit to the United States. Remembering the rainy and stormy weather of the original God’s Hope for America rally at Yankee Stadium, Dr. Kim promised, “Whether it’s raining, stormy, or windy—it doesn’t matter. Rain or sun, we will come together and sing “You are My Sunshine” together. Let’s make this a new, major turning point in America for God and True Parents. America is God’s hope—America must be the greatest hope for God.”
Dr. Kim also made an appeal to help Unificationists families who have been affected the recent earthquake in Kumamoto, Japan. You can donate to earthquake relief efforts today.
Dr. Michael Balcomb shares about the upcoming God Bless America Family Festival
Dr. Michael Balcomb, President of FFWPU USA, spoke on the significance this moment in history. He explained that in holding the God Bless America Family Festival, we are not only looking back to one of the great highlights of True Parents’ ministry in America, but looking forward to the turning point of 2020. Dr. Balcomb reflected that 2020 marks the 400th year since the arrival of the pilgrim fathers in America and exhorted us to consider the significance of 400 year periods in God’s Providence in history.
“In one case, 400 years after the preparation of Malachi, Jesus came. 400 years after Jesus, Rome became a Christian empire. But also, after the 400 years of the Judges, the Biblical account records that the word of God was rare and that every person did what was right in their own eyes. When I think about America today, I see some aspect of that: a confusion in values, a confusion in direction. In looking forward to 2020, True Mother is thinking about where we are going, and what will it be like when we get there—400 years of American history is consummated in 2020. I think what happens then really depends on us.”
Mari Curry presents on the recent National Council meeting
Mari Curry, Vice President of FFWPU USA, gave a brief overview of the recent National Council Meeting held at the New Yorker Hotel. She reported that Dr. Kim opened the meeting with a reminder of the importance of fostering unity among one another and connecting with True Mother’s vision for 2020. Once the weekend got underway, the Council spent a substantial amount of time reflecting on the situations Unificationists and their communities face around the country in fields ranging from outreach and spiritual development to youth education and marriage enrichment. Mari reported that Dr. Balcomb was present at the meetings to hear and respond directly to council representatives’ concerns, and encouraged all in attendance to communicate with their respective district representatives as a vital part of their local pastoral teams. An overview of the meeting is available at the link below; a more detailed summary of the meeting events is forthcoming.
Angelika Selle shares a WFWP update
Mrs. Angelika Selle, President of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) USA shared about a recent visit to a sister WFWP organization in Ukraine. Mrs. Selle described Ukraine as a country still weighed down by the remnants of communism, explaining that the Ukranian Unificationists with whom she met were so grateful to strengthen ties with an American and a sister Unificationist. During her time there, Mrs. Selle attended several formal events, including a city hall roundtable discussion on “Women, Peace, and Security” and a WFWP anniversary event on “Universal Values and Global Peace,” with WFWP representatives from Belarus, Austria, Poland, and the United Kingdom. She was also able to tour important historical sites, and returned to America with beautiful gifts for Dr. Kim, Dr. Balcomb, and Miilhan Stephens’ family, sent as an expression of gratitude of love from the Ukranian Unification community.
Richard de Sena shares an update from UPF
Mr. Richard de Sena, Secretary General of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) USA, reported on a series of events that UPF was engaged in during the month of April in an effort to build connections across cultures and nations represented here in the United States. He discussed the African Diaspora Leadership Conference held in Manhattan early in the month as well as the participation of UPF in an interfaith conference in Queens. UPF chapters around the country were also active, putting on events such as a youth environmental awareness day, Japanese tea ceremonies, and a community faith breakfast. New UPF chapters established in Texas and Hawaii will host Interfaith Family Festivals on May 15 and May 29, respectively. A Principles of Peace Seminar will also be held in New York on June 25.
Rev. George Stallings presents on behalf of ACLC
Rev. George Augustus Stallings, Jr., National Co-Chairman of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), gave a brief but insightful and heartfelt update about the recent efforts of ACLC. Rev. Stallings testified to the ongoing endeavor of ACLC to provide Christian ministers in America with a full and deep understanding of who True Parents are and of what they came to accomplish. He described how ACLC is taking time to remember this purpose and to find more and more effective ways to realize the common goal of building the Kingdom of God.
David Eaton shares about the new Cheon Il Guk Institute of Music
Cheon Il Guk Institute of Music
During the recent celebration of True Parents’ Holy Wedding Anniversary in Korea, David Eaton and a select group of talented and experienced Unificationist musicians were called together by True Mother to form the board of the new Cheon Il Guk Institute of Music.
Photos from the board meeting for the Cheon Il Guk Institute of Music
Mr. Eaton shared about his experiences meeting with True Mother in Korea and her comments about the blueprint from which True Parents have been working to bring the world back to God since their Holy Wedding in 1960. Upcoming projects for the institute include the compilation and discovery of new Unificationist hymns, or Holy Songs, and preparations to engage the world through principled arts at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea.
Naoko Hiraki receives a gift on behalf of FFWPU USA for her Tribal Messiahship work
Mrs. Naoko Hiraki was invited to share about her ongoing Tribal Messiahship and outreach efforts on college campuses with the Los Angeles chapter of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP). By diligently reaching out to college students, Mrs. Hiraki and her team have opened the door for over 100 students to read the Divine Principle and other Unification scriptures in the past year. At the end of May, Mrs. Hiraki will travel with a group of these students and other CARP members from around the country to visit several sister CARP chapters in Japan.
Photos of Mrs. Hiraki’s activities
Dr. Kim formally recognized the outreach efforts of Mrs. Hiraki and the CARP Los Angeles team with a gift presentation at the conclusion of Mrs. Hiraki’s comments. Dr. Kim also commended the efforts of two young Japanese missionaries who have been supporting American outreach efforts, Yuri Kaneko and Eri Yamashige. Ms. Yamashige was presented an award to thank her for her diligent service here in America.
Dr. Kim presents a gift to Eri Yamashige
Nina Taupier-Urbonya gives an update from CARP overseas
The CARP USA team offered several updates about CARP chapters around the country and CARP USA as a whole. Nina Taupier-Urbonya, International Liaison of CARP USA, reported about her recent trip to visit CARP chapters in Europe. Her presentation to the CARP chapter in Albania made a significant impression on several student-guests in attendance, evincing the continuing relevance of CARP to our greater society. CARP USA is also initiating a Summer Mentoring Pilot this summer to connect incoming, current, and graduating college students with mentors who can support them in the cultivation of their spiritual lives and relationships. Finally, the CARP team announced the 50th Anniversary Banquet for all alumni of World-CARP, scheduled to take place on July 30, 2016.