August 16 2008, Chungpadong, Seoul, Korea
And I said it from the very beginning that whenever we do education for the ministers, whenever we do anything, I am always telling them we have to focus as leaders on helping the membership shine. That has to be our focus. It’s not about leaders shining. It’s about creating organizations that help the membership grow and shine. Why? Because the membership as blessed central families are the representatives of True Parents in society, in the neighborhoods, in their families. And as the people of the chosen nation it is our responsibility, no matter how we think about it.
Yeon Ah Nim
Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! (“Good afternoon!”)
The hot weather is settling down a little and we feel refreshed by the cold rain. We know that God is always with us and within us and He is always our loving God. We are always welcoming you in this sanctuary and for those who are joining with us via internet; we are welcoming you as well. Welcome brothers and welcome sisters!
Hyung Jin Nim:
Brothers and sisters, I’d like to share with you from Cheon Seong Gyeong, page 659. Father says here,” The closer we are to the truth and the more we come under its spell the more it will become our center, which nobody can snatch from us. Even when the earth was to fall into chaos millions of times and the universe was suddenly destroyed, people whose minds are securely centered on truth will never be changed or shaken.”
Brothers and sisters, it’s so important in our lives to be true, to be all that God has created us to be, to really live lives of excellence, integrity, honesty, sincerity. And really, Father is telling us that if we keep that at the center of our lives, then no matter the turbulence that may happen in our lives, the ups and downs, we will be on the right track, (on) the trajectory towards fulfilling our destinies
Brothers and sisters, I want to welcome you all to service. And remember, we are not only here to attend or just observe service, let’s be here and participate. You know, today a lot of our brothers and sisters who are usually here, I am sure they are in Cheong Pyeong. They had a music festival yesterday. But we have a nice family gathering today. It’s wonderful! You know, we always know that even if it’s just one person that comes, if we offer (service) with the right sincere heart, then God will listen to the things that are in our hearts and desires.
Brothers and sisters, once again, I’d like to welcome you all, and let’s remember in our service, before service, it’s always important to remember who we are. To remember that we have value as God’s children, to remember that we have identity as the children that God has been waiting for 6,000 years of biblical history, really the fruition of God’s providence. Let’s remember that we have a purpose to really live the blessed life and to extend that to become blessings to others in this world.
Brothers and sisters, once again, welcome, and let’s really not only observe service today. Let’s be really together in our hearts; we’ll meditate together, practice together, sing together, worship together, and pray together. Really let’s participate together. Once again, welcome everybody!
Yeon Ah Nim’s Words:
Many people are surprised that I have 5 children. When I go around with my first son Shin Pal – he is right now 11 years old in Korean age – many people often ask me if he is really my son or not. Even I, myself, am sometimes surprised, “Whooah! I do have 5 children, I do!” But I really feel that I have seen myself grow and become more mature through them, and I believe that our children experience God’s love through us.
So, we (by) being the best mothers and best fathers give them experiences, telling them that God is a loving God. If we are quick to get angry or if we scold them for every little minor thing then we show them that God is very judgmental and He has no patience, or He is a very angry God and He has no ability to empathize with us or see the bigger picture of our children’s entire life. Brothers and sisters, let us become the best parents we can become and let us help our children to see God as a loving and mature God.
Brothers and sisters, we love you so much and we believe in you. Aju!
I heard a story about two churchgoers, who were witnessing, and they were going to the neighborhood, and knocking on doors, witnessing to the neighborhood. At one house they came to, they knocked on the door, a woman came out, and they explained what they were doing. She was very hostile. She said, “I don’t want to hear any of your religion!” She slammed the door in their face. But miraculously the door flung open again. There again they looked at each other very puzzled. She said, “You’d better take your foot out of the door. I know you put your foot in the door. I’m going to call the police!” And she slammed the door again. Miraculously again the door swung open again. At this point she said, “I’m going to call the army. You’d better take your foot out of that door!” She went to close that door again, and the two churchgoers said, “Ma’am (Madam), before you do that again, you may want to move your cat!” (Laughter)
Brothers and sisters, today I’d like to speak to you more than a sermon, it’s more like a report. Let’s talk about being spiritually and physically blessed. If it is true that we are to live the blessed lives, we must learn to be spiritually and physically blessed. See, we now have the blessings of the age. Based on True Parents’ victorious foundation we can inherit not only spiritual fulfillment, peace and joy, but (also) material and physical blessing, abundance and fulfillment. See, being a child of True Parents now opens the possibility for abundant overflow, spiritually as well as physically.
True Parents have created the foundation. Now it’s time for us to step up and do that 5%. You know, when we look at it providentially, Jesus was supposed to fulfill God’s ideal of creation, to establish the ideal family centered on God and then extend that blessing to the world. But due to the cross God was very pained, and Christ was only able to provide spiritual salvation. And True Parents have come to fulfill that long lost mission. They have come and fulfilled God’s ideal of creation. They have established the conditions to provide spiritual salvation, but also to fulfill and provide the purpose of creation and establish the realm of the True Family.
Because they established True Family, as we know, whenever Father’s life was threatened, one of his children went on his behalf. We saw it with Heung Jin Hyung, with Hyo Jin Hyung, Shin Ye, etc…The Family members had to pay that price of offering. Upon that foundation they have extended the blessing to the world. We now have 183+ nations of this world where our blessed central families are putting their roots down. And this creates the potential for enormous physical blessings in our lives as well.
(Someone might say,) “But I thought living in abundance is selfish! I thought we were supposed to be spiritually blessed but physically impoverished!” You see brothers and sisters; this is not the blessed life. If we are to help others succeed and be an inspiration to the world, we must, as a community, show that we can live a blessed life, both spiritually and physically. We must show that we can actualize a blessed life and empower others to do the same as well.
When we look at the Divine Principle, part 2, section 2.2, we see that in the course of Moses in the wilderness period had to construct what was known as the Tabernacle, which had the Arc of the Covenant and the two tablets of stone which were God’s word. As we know, the two tablets of stone represented God’s word or perfected Adam and Eve. God ordered the construction of this Tabernacle. Even if the people or even if Moses became faithless, lost his faith, God would be able to use the Tabernacle to resuscitate (revive) the people of Israel. As long as ONE Israelite honored the Tabernacle God could continue to work through that person to restore all the other people.
But remember, the Tabernacle was temporary. That was in the wilderness period until they entered the promised land of Canaan. Once in the Promised Land, they were to build the Temple of God, which could be exalted for the generations to come. But we know, we saw in the providential history, that when the Israelites entered Canaan with Joshua as their leader, they fell faithless and they did not construct the Temple of God. And what happened there? The providence then was again extended 2,000 years until the coming of Christ.
See, we are at this stage of the providence. True Father has ordered the construction of the Temple of God in the fatherland of Korea. It will be a place where even though the leadership or our families become faithless, as long as ONE person can exalt God, God will continue to work. You remember, in the wilderness period we had “A” type churches. They’re almost like the Arc of the Covenant. They represent the Tabernacle, just like in the wilderness period.
And when Father gave us the big goal of creating a 20,000 member church for the first time in our Unification history, when he gave us that goal, we did not understand it at first. So what did we do? We looked back into providential history; we looked back at what happened, at what we were doing. In the wilderness period, in the age of indemnity, we were fighting and keeping the Covenant, keeping the Tabernacle there to preserve our lineage, to preserve our faith. But now, in the age of settlement, in the age of complete liberation and release, when we have come into the land of Canaan, now the construction of the Temple of God becomes so important. It becomes the bedrock in which our families for generations will have to represent and continue to lead this movement to its destiny.
See, as the church develops and improves in this new environment, opportunities and possibilities for our blessed families will continue. They will move through True Parents’ victory. This Temple becomes substantially the place to draw closer to God and substantiate the ideal of creation, that is, to create true families centered on God and True Parents. This will be a refuge which creates partnerships with the membership to grow our faith life, education life, family life, friends’ life, marriage life, kids’ life, economic life, community life, service life, etc.
See, church development and the fulfillment of providing spiritual and physical blessing have destinies that are intertwined (are connected). We have (now) member-centered church growth, really for the first time in our history, where we are focusing on membership care, where we are focusing on the blessed central families to shine. We will have increased care for the members, benefit, resources, education, communication between church and parents etc.
Let’s look at what happened at Bunbu(HQ) Church in the last 8 months. We came here 8 months ago. We were moved from Mapo church, we came here 8 months ago. When we first came here, I remember, the weekly attendance was about 150 people per weekend, and when we got here there were tiles all over the floor. It kind of looked like bathroom tiles, all over the floor. See the cafe now with the beautiful electric door and all the beautiful new facilities, the cafe, the coffee and the tea, all that, that was a storage room. It was totally dark and dingy. I saw cobwebs, and I saw spiders as big as my hands there. (Laughter) Maybe not THAT big but I did see cobwebs.
What happened? 8 months later, what do we see at Bunbu(HQ) church? Let’s compare what happened. We now see a renovated VIP book cafe. We now see more networking possibilities for our members, our congregation. We see trustable accounting of donations. The ministers here cannot touch donations. I cannot touch donations. Our donations are managed professionally by the Chedan financial team.
We have small group faith communities which we’re just starting right now. We have increased one on one care and counseling by minister teams, which will just begin. We have two presidents. These two presidents were actually owners of small businesses. They were here in the congregation. We never knew. But when they contributed to the construction of the Temple, then we found out that they were presidents of small companies. What happens is, every month here at Bunbu(HQ) Church in the first week we have all the presidents from the Tong Il group come, Il Hwa president, Yeong Pyeong president…. All the presidents come out from all over our Tong Il organization. They created a small presidents’ group where they, as presidents, network, where they as presidents further their own work as well as building their faith life.
So we were able to connect these two owners of small businesses into that presidents’ group. And now they are going to be moving into the presidents’ small group and be able to open new possibilities even for their own lives as well, even for their own physical lives. That’s what we’re talking about, not only living a spiritual fulfilled life, but creating an environment where actually physical blessings can come as well.
See, we have now a church that we can be proud of. Look at the remodeling that’s being done in here. Look at the amazing Tworivers Choir. Give it up for Tworivers! Give it up. (Applause) Every week!
We’ve seen membership growth here that started from 150 per week. Now we have 2,000 people coming out to service each weekend. We have over 3,500 registered members now. So we see a huge community that’s coming together. We see in our youth group professional networking opportunities for the young people. We see special activities, education, career development, networking opportunities, an opportunity for finding a blessing partner, a marriage partner. We see with the high school students’ music tutoring from the professionals. The high school kids used to just do it on their own, with their little books and stuff, but our Tworivers Choir, the professionals come in, they offer volunteer work to help with the high school kids in learning how to do drumming, or learning how to do piano, learning how to do the guitar. This is all possible because we have a larger community where we are coming together, really grouping our strengths.
We have more educators. We have all these amazing educators here educating our children. If you come out to the Korean service, you’ll see so many educators that are helping downstairs. Here, too, we have a lot of Filipino sisters that are downstairs even doing martial arts and bringing other types of activities as well. The high school kids just did a pilgrimage to Father’s sacred sites. They just did a trip to Yeosu where they gathered the high school leaders.
We have increased minister care and counseling for the young kids. We have now a Song Hwa Tang Dam minister who specializes in simply working with the young people, the high school kids. We have more successful and faithful role models. As our church community grows, we have people above high school level that our high school kids can look up to, people who are already very successful in their careers, lawyers, accountants, people working at SamSung etc.. Who can be inspirations for them?
When we look at the elementary level, you can see it. We have a new education program that is now up to the middle school level, and we are going to bring it up to the high school level. We have a new VIP kids’ indoor playroom center that you’ve all seen, downstairs like the discovery zone. We have a new VIP library for the kids, where the kids can learn and see the bestselling books that are out there. They can see and learn from those books.
We have new resources for parents, new parenting resources that parents can come in and become stronger in their true family life. We have increased care and reporting and planning. We have regularly scheduled parents and teacher counseling now with the young kids.
So we can see a great deal of benefit that’s coming when we add our strengths together, when we bring all of our strengths together. As we have now this larger church organization, as we move towards the vision and mission of creating a 20,000 member church which is not leader-centered but member-centered, where the central benefit will go towards the membership, we can see now that this is really the providential time for that.
You see, it’s time for a place where the UC family can gain the primary benefit. Our church has to now be committed to helping the blessed central families succeed. We’ve been up to this point doing many many rallies, many mobilization efforts, many many education things, but we have not been able to nurture our communities as well. And it’s now time in our history to invest into our communities, to help the blessed families succeed, to help the blessed families shine.
See, we are experiencing the physical and spiritual benefits of a larger member-centered organization, here at HQs’ church, but with the 20,000 that Father asked us to do, at first I did not know why he was asking us to do that. When we got the mission we did not know why he wanted to create a haven for the members. But when we looked at it providentially, that’s exactly what the Israelites were supposed to do when they moved into Canaan. When they moved into the settlement period, after they passed the wilderness course of indemnity; they were exactly supposed to do that.
See, this Temple will now symbolize the victorious harmony created by True Parents between the spiritual and the physical worlds, and once we are at the level of a 20,000 membership church, guess what? We’re no longer a minor religion; we are major religion, in the major leagues. At that point it’s very easy for us to make win-win partnerships with large organizations, whether they are Christian, or Buddhist or other organizations, because we’re centered on family. We already of course have done so much non-denominational work, so much work that crosses inter-religious boundaries. We can work with many different faith communities. And that’s exactly what will happen once we have a strong organization that is able to blend and create partnerships with other organizations.
It will be the place that remains unchanged through generations and a place where God and True Parents will be exalted in this Promised Land; regardless of whether or not we continue it or not, it will continue to represent the Unification faith. Our potential is too large for our present conditions and circumstance. Our church is ready for development. The member-centered church development will bring increased benefits to our blessed central families. That has to be our purpose. As a church we have to see the majority of our blessed central families, as many as possible, be successful at whatever they do. So the church there becomes the place where the possibilities and opportunities open, where possibilities for synergy, faith building, education, business, networking, blessing and marriage, family support, education, service, helping others in need, are able to be gathered.
And sure there will be those who criticize, saying, “This is not really something that we need to do.” But it’s very important for the success of our communities that we don’t only do outreach or do big rallies, but we do things that will build roots in our communities, help our communities succeed, build a stronger community, stronger network, stronger possibilities that will open up the doors for our blessed central families to succeed.
And we really want to take that focus. That’s what our whole team is doing. For the first time in church history we want to focus on membership growth, membership care, where the members can shine.
You know, we had an interview this week with two major magazines. One was Chun Ang Ilbo magazine, another one was Chosun Ilbo’s women’s magazine, and if you know anything about Chosun magazine, it’s the biggest newspaper in Korea. It’s kind of like the New York Times, here in Korea. And they came and interviewed us this week. We had a wonderful interviewer. She is a very nice lady. She actually attended the Chil Pal Shik Haeng Sa. After the helicopter landing it was Father’s first appearance, where he spoke to the membership and to the public. NBC was there. The major news organizations were there as well. But she came to interview us, a very nice lady. She is very funny, very outgoing.
We started the interview. At some point she was talking about her attending the Chil Pal Shik Haeng Sa. She said to us like this, “You know I thought everybody in your church would be some kind of intense religious militant.” So when she was walking through the aisles at Cheong Jeong Goong with all these people, and she was walking through it, and she looked down the aisles, some people were falling asleep a little bit because they drove a long way. She thought, that was so cute. She thought, “Hey! That’s not religious militant!” (Laughter)
And then at the ceremony they were passing around little plastic bags, and she was wondering, “What kind of cultish items are in those plastic bags?” (Laughter) That’s what she’s telling us. “What kind of strange exoteric items are in those bags?” She went over and saw a neighbor who was opening one of those very secretive bags, and what did she find? She found some Korean rice cake! (Laughter).
And then it was time for the congratulatory song, and she was expecting some kind of cultish chanting, where everybody had intense clapping and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the Tworivers Choir came up, and she heard the smooth and cool rhythms of the Tworivers Choir. Give it up for Tworivers!! (Applause) And she said, “Hey, that’s not that bad!”
She said she called her mom after the event, and her mom said, “Hey! How was the event? I heard you went to the Unification event.” And she said, “Mom, I know it sounds crazy but it was not that bad! It was not that bad. I actually enjoyed it!”
See, brothers and sisters, whether or not we accept it, still we are being seen by many as a cult. We are still seen as a very intense militant religion. But the reality is that we’re not. We are moving way past that. Our foundation is large now. Our foundation is large, our community is getting stronger. We’re building now. We’re investing in our communities, building small groups, building our community networks so we can gather our strengths. But even though we have the big foundation they still view us like this, continue to view us like this. At my inauguration I spoke of regaining our pride as the Unification church, as Unification members. And it’s very unfortunate because for many years, before Father asked us to step up and take responsibility; we had seen the pride of UC falling and fading away with each passing year. Every year we saw the membership get weaker in terms of their faith. Every year we saw they get lower in their self-esteem as Unificationists. “Did I actually do the right thing? Did I actually make the right decision?” And many times I had to make hard decisions in position of leadership. We had to make hard decisions that would stop for example activities that were very intense and we had to move them into a more reasonable avenue which would create win-win relationships with any of the parties involved.
See, at this point in our history, we are now so big in terms of foundation. But the one place that we haven’t been able to develop is our membership, is the care that we offer our blessed central families, is the focus on having blessed families succeed, not only our organizations, our big projects succeed.
And this is why whenever I hear Father’s mission for us to build the Temple, and then I’m inspired. Because this is the point at the time where our members now need to receive benefit from the church. Up to now our members have had to constantly mobilize for big events or things like that. Our ministers are aging; the 2nd Gen. is not entering into ministry. But it’s time to show that we are substantial religiously, that we are transparent, that we are professional, that we are moving towards a real professional type of organization that is trustable, that is transparent., that is accountable.
And it’s time to show the world that we can truly shine. You see, it’s time for our church growth to coincide with helping our blessed central families, to allow them, to facilitate them fulfilling the destinies that True Parents have ordained for them. And of course, we can’t solve everybody’s problem. We have over 3,500 people that we are trying to help in their faith life. We cannot solve all the problems, but what the church can do, is become partners and help our families overcome issues, empower them to become the great representatives of our True Parents.
You see, that interviewer told us that as an outsider looking in, she feels that there’s a huge change that’s sweeping in the Korean UC. She feels such a huge change. Now people in the society see new leadership in our church. They see a member-centered church development plan in our church now. They see election systems to weed out political games in our church now. They see new facilities and development at our HQs’ church for members and they see progress. The interviewer was telling me that she feels it’s a new wind that’s sweeping through the UC.
See, we will continue to work to do our best. And I said it from the very beginning that whenever we do education for the ministers, whenever we do anything, I am always telling them we have to focus as leaders on helping the membership shine. That has to be our focus. It’s not about leaders shining. It’s about creating organizations that help the membership grow and shine. Why? Because the membership as blessed central families are the representatives of True Parents in society, in the neighborhoods, in their families. And as the people of the chosen nation it is our responsibility, no matter how we think about it.
I first was confused when Father gave us the order to build a 20,000 member church. I did not know why he wanted it. But as we looked at it more closely, as we saw that our church has not been focusing on building a member-centered growth, where we focus on trying to help members succeed, then I realized that this is very important. Of course providentially as well, we had to enter into Canaan and there build the Temple to sustain and provide a safe haven for families to unite. See, by doing that, we know that we will see our families become the great representatives that True Parents have us destined to become.
See, what can we learn today? We’ve talked about many things. True Parents theologically not only provide spiritual but physical salvation as well. They provide us with love, life and lineage. And see, as the church it is very important that we also create the means for our families to not only receive spiritual fulfillment, blessing and abundance, but also where we may be an institution that helps the possibilities increase for physical blessing as well. There’s always of course the 5% responsibility of each person to be their best, to work hard, and to do their best in life. But the church has to be invested in trying to create the environment, the institution, the gathering place to facilitate faith communities, to facilitate partnerships, synergy, networks, learning, service, activities, etc…
As we approach the 20,000 and as we actualize it – and we will – we will have done what the church has not been able to do in its history. We will see improvements in education. You’ve seen it in the Bunbu(HQ) church, the many things that we talked about before. We will have new network possibilities, like the presidents that are now networking. We will have those kinds of things that are beneficial for our families and we want to see that. We want to see our families succeed.
See, we will be able to enter into Canaan, to build the Temple that will remain eternal, unchanging, and absolute, regardless of the times that change and regardless of whether or not we as followers change. As long as the Temple is there – just as God ordained with the Temple in Canaan – as long as there’s ONE person that exalts, that worships God, that remembers their position, He will use that person to continue to build the community. Unlike the Israelites who entered Canaan and became faithless we will enter Canaan in the settlement age, build the Temple and build our faith life, and be the proud blessed central families that we are destined to become.
See, it is now our time in history for our blessed central families to have pride in our UC. We are not something that’s small any more. We’re a real community. We are substantial. Now is the time when our families can stand (up). We don’t have to be arrogant, we don’t have to be boastful, but I’m saying we have to be confident in who we are. And when people see that, when they see that confidence, when they see the success, they will want to partnership with that. They will want to work with that. And that is what we want to see our destinies move towards.
See, brothers and sisters, I really do believe that when Father gave that order, we didn’t understand at first, why did we need to do that. We were in the wilderness period, we had A type churches and we had this building, and it’s a big building, but it’s not that substantial. And we know that this was the HQ representing our entire heritage. And we know that we are not at that stage any more, we are at such a higher level in our church history now. And when Father gave that order, we realized that we were in the wilderness period, we had those tabernacles, but now is the time to come into Canaan, in the land of liberation and complete release. In the age of settlement of Cheon Il Guk it’s time to come into Canaan and build the Temple, where we can come together, empower each other and really live that blessed life.
Brothers and sisters, I believe that if we do that we will find ourselves with more victory, we will find ourselves with more illumination, and we will find ourselves with more peace, and we will truly live the blessed life that True Parents have blessed us to live.
Brothers and sisters, if you receive this message, let’s give it up for God and True Parents (Applause).
Now is the time for our blessed central families to shine and we really want to be committed as a church organization to move everything into that field.
Brothers and sisters, let’s move together and enter into our final prayer.
Hyung Jin Nim’s prayer:
Father, we thank You so much for this day that You have blessed upon us. As we now come into Your presence, Father, we know that You have planned for Your blessed central families, Your children, just like Moses who had to walk through the wilderness course, and the leadership that was changed to Joshua, moving into Canaan, Father, in the age of settlement. But Father, we know, looking at the providential history, that Your children became faithless in Canaan, that they were not able to substantiate the gathering ground for Your community.
But Father, at this time True Father has told us, even before we came to HQ Church, of this important mission. Father, we know that we will have to substantialize this, Father, to be able to have the central place in this land of Canaan, so that our families can gather, Father that our families can grow in their lives of faith, in their lives in abundance physically and spiritually.
Father, we pray that You may ordain this, that Father, You may give us the strength that we will need to fight through the many battles that are up against us. Father, we pray that You may fill us with a strong faith that can move through the challenges, the archangels, the obstacles that will come into our way.
But Father, let us always have compassion, and let us know that as we move and focus not on the benefit of the leaders but the benefit of the members, Your children, Father, we know that Your house will be a house of blessing, that Your children will be able to shine, that our church will move into a new history and a new age that we will be able to witness.
Father, thank You so much for this day. We pray that You may pour Your abundance and blessing upon each and everyone of these families today, and we pray that each one of the family members around this world may be, Father, consoled, may recognize that, as Father has asked us to step into leadership, we are focusing not on the benefit of the leadership but focusing on letting our blessed families shine, allowing them to move closer to True Parents, allowing them to truly live a blessed life.
We believe that if we do that as a church, as a family, Father, we will be able to transcend boundaries and we will be able to work with other organizations, Father, religions that can help establish Your ideal Peace Kingdom on this earth. Thank You so much, Father, for this blessing that You have blessed upon us, and Father, let us move with confidence into this new age where we can now represent our church and all that it represents for the rest of history, Father. Thank You so much. We pray these things with an everlasting love and gratitude from the depths of our hearts,
In our names, Aju!
Transcribed by:Rev. Beatrice Clyburn
Edited by: Rev. Bruno Klotz