USA: District Pastors Convene in Dallas
On July 24 and 25, FFWPU USA District Pastors from all over the nation and national leaders from FFWPU Canada gathered to celebrate the grand opening and dedication of the Dallas Family Church, as well as to meet, share best practices, discuss concerns from each community and plan viable solutions.
District Pastors took part in the Dallas Family Church opening ceremony and special grace ceremony on July 24.
The dedication ceremony for the Dallas Family Church was held on Sunday, July 25, and was a spectacular event full of grace, joy, inspiration and hope. “God’s presence was truly felt,” said FFWPU USA Vice President, Mari Curry. “There was joyful music; warm, inspiring messages; and beautiful ceremonies from ribbon-cutting, tree-planting, and ceremonial braiding from a sister church.”
The bright sanctuary of this former Church of Christ is located on the service road of Airport Freeway, near DFW International Airport. The property is comprised of three separate, well-maintained and modern buildings: the sanctuary; a two-story office building with classrooms; and a full-sized gymnasium. All three buildings are connected with covered walkways.
“We moved into the new facilities on July 1st,” said local Unificationist Laura Hornbeck. “I believe our local Family Church dedication was a powerful reflection of God’s ability to inspire people from diverse backgrounds.”
“The opening of the new church in Dallas, Texas gave a great feeling if unity,” said Gary Chidester, FFWPU USA District 5 Pastor. “It was a sharing of the communities in my district and all across the nation. By contributing together it was really like the saying, ‘a victory for one is a victory for all’.”
Also on Sunday, District Pastors and the local Dallas Family Church community participated in the Special Grace Holy Wine Ceremony and District Pastors were bequeathed the special Cheon Il Guk Holy Items on behalf of their districts, through FFWPU North America Continental Chairman Dr. Ki Hoon Kim.
“This truly was a heart-moving experience, where so much grace was felt,” said Mari Curry. “It was an honor to be given these Holy Items.”
“It was a beautiful ceremony where I felt completely True Parents’ presence,” said Manoj Jacob, FFWPU USA District 3 Pastor. “The most important feeling I experienced was True Parents’ love, and I truly surrender before that love.”
District Pastors met on Sunday evening and for a full day on Monday, July 25, to discuss concerns from each community and plan viable solutions.
Following the ceremonies, District Pastors and national leaders had a volleyball tournament with the Dallas Family Church youth. It was an exciting afternoon and everyone played together for over two hours. The two youth teams won first and third place, with the District Pastors putting up quite a performance and attaining second place.
At the conclusion of this game, Dr. Kim surprised all the youth with a pizza dinner, and District Pastors moved on to hold their first official meeting of the conference, during which they discussed the special grace offered by True Parents and ideas for future church opening ceremonies.
Dr. Kim shared a special testimony about his experience with True Mother in Korea last week, for the 10th anniversary celebration of True Parents’ coronation and entrance into the Cheon Jeong Gung.
“It was truly inspiring to have a glimpse of True Mother’s heart,” said Mari Curry. “We could truly feel her love from this experience.” FFWPU USA President, Dr. Michael Balcomb, and Cheon Il Guk IWs also shared presentations to close the evening.
On July 25, pastors had a full day of meetings. District Pastors broke into groups and discussed topics from community concerns and education to spiritual development, community development, outreach and caring for the next generation.
District Pastor of District 9 and Dallas Family Church Pastor, Rev. John Jackson, instroduced six Generation Peace Academy (GPA) alumni to the group, who then talked about their experiences on this Unificationist gap year program, what they gained, why they went, and why they are still so active in their community. They shared and worked with District Pastors for over an hour and a half, giving pastors insight into the motivations and aspirations of the young Unificationist community.
“This weekend was a time of connection, working with one another, and of regaining hope,” said Mari Curry.