The long-anticipated Minnesota Family Church building is finally here! It took more than six months of labor, but the hard work paid off this past weekend. On Sunday morning, December 9, the first ever Unification Church building to be built from the ground up opened its doors for service.
The building, which was designed by collective input and visions from the Minnesota community, features a stunning sanctuary hall, a social hall, and a youth education zone. It is also right next door to a community park, making it the perfect spot to support the growing families that call Minnesota their home congregation.
The Minnesota community has received overwhelming blessings, love and guidance over the last two years from Heavenly Parent, True Parents and Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Regional Chairman of Family Federation North America.
Prior to picking the plot of land where they would build the church, Unificationists prayed earnestly to ask for Heavenly Parent’s guidance on the project. It was with this prayerful mind that they finally chose a spot which truly felt blessed by God. Then the hard work really began. While the project manager, Mr. Keith Anderson, was busy laying the blueprints for the building, others spent months raising the necessary funds to make it possible. As a finishing touch, the creative young design team chose the color schemes and necessary furnishings to truly make the building feel like home.
Since November 19, the congregation has led a 21-day special devotion to prepare themselves to open the doors of their church this past Sunday. Each evening, Unificationists gathered to offer 40 full bows to True Parents and read Hoon Dok Hwe from True Mother’s new anthology. This spiritual devotion has prepared the hearts of the Minnesota family so that the grand opening may be a sincere offering for True Parents and Vision 2020.
The congregation is especially grateful to Dr. Kim for his prayers and Jeonseong (devotional offering) for the community. Minnesota was Dr. Kim’s first assigned district as a leader in the 1980s, and his foundation helped make the new church building possible.
Now that they are equipped with a beautiful and modern building, the Minnesota family has created a new vision to develop their church even further in the new year. They plan to formally open their doors to the public in January and hope the building will serve as a model and reference for any communities who are planning to build a church of their own.
“Reiko and I arrived in Minneapolis just in time – right when things started to come together for a new church. The church community meetings after Sunday service enabled us all to plan our future together. We quickly realized how much the church community loves each other, cares deeply for the community and their warm hearts. We could see many happy, wonderful young families, too. Second generation families are a strong part of making a good future here. Each and every Minnesota family is a treasure. Therefore, how could we not be inspired to help the project of building a new church? How could we not help it become a reality? It was so natural and joyful to want to pitch in.
The 21-day special devotion to prepare for the church opening was a time to deeply connect with Rev. Ha. Through Dr. Kim, we could feel love from True Mother. We feel the community is strongly connected to God and True Parents. This community has been truly blessed. As for Reiko and I, we are grateful to God and True Parents that we have received new spiritual life here in Minnesota. We are very grateful to be a part of such a blessed community.” – Ted and Reiko Forbath, 30,000 Couples 1992 (The Forbaths moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota a year ago and donated $10,000 to the new Minnesota church building)
“Within 6 months from the groundbreaking ceremony, the Minnesota Family Church was able to successfully build a new church. On December 9, we held our grand opening with about 200 people in attendance. A lot of preparation went into the opening but nothing could have been done without the help of each family member. Everyone’s continued prayers, hopes, and commitments have brought us all together as one community.
Keith Anderson offered the opening prayer with tears over the thought of more than 20,000 hours of work being put into building the place. As he shed tears in his prayer, he reminisced about each and every worker that helped put up the walls, connected the electrical wires, and down to laying the concrete floors that made this place a reality. Jim Gavin emceed the event with enthusiasm and passion. Rev. Jim Bard, Minnesota state pastor for 17 years before retiring in 2013, gave a synopsis of the building history of where Minnesota started and how far we have come, including the time when Dr. Ki Hoon Kim was the District Pastor in Minnesota. Finally, Dr. Kim gave the sermon and reported about the works of True Mother. Before arriving to Minnesota, Dr. Kim reminded True Mother about what was happening and why he was traveling here. He asked mother if she remembered signing the church rendering to which she replied: “How can I forget, I didn’t want to sign it but you made me.” It was so wonderful to hear that True Mother loves the members of Minnesota and USA.
21 days ago we started a prayer devotional commitment. We did Hoon Dok Hwe and 40 bows to prepare our spirits, hearts, and minds. We read from the first Anthology book, Global Unity through True Parents. One day, we read words from True Mother which said, ‘We have to quickly show the world that the Unification Church is alive and well and growing continuously. We must have people seek us out on their own….It is necessary to ensure that groups can come seeking for us on their own and then be connected. We cannot postpone this further.’ These words really resonated with me. I do feel a sense of urgency and I have personally witnessed to people who randomly walked through the front doors to see this place even before the grand opening day. Several people have come in through our doors to find out what this building is all about, several people have already asked to rent this place for their church service, and several people not knowingly walked in the day of the grand opening to see the building.
We hope that this building can be a place where God and True Parents can dwell. We hope to create an environment that is welcoming and loving so that anyone can feel at home. We hope to move forward as sons and daughters, brothers and sisters that True Parents can be proud of and our future descendants can live happily.” – Denise To, Secretary General of Minnesota Family Church