2017 European Cranes Club Conference
Prepared by Cranes Club Europe
Around 70 professional young men and women from around Europe gathered in London between March 31 and April 2, 2017, to attend the 2nd Annual European Cranes Club Conference. This group was mainly brought together by 2 things: firstly, by the shared background of growing up in the community rooted in True Parents; secondly by a desire to offer their experience and expertise for the sake of something bigger than themselves.
This weekend was a great success, primarily because of the strong sense of fellowship created by the participants. There was a relaxed atmosphere as everyone felt like one family, happy to meet old friends and excited to make new friends.
The 2016 General Director, Young Il Ely Lowe, welcomed everyone on Friday evening at the HQ of FFWPU UK, 43 Lancaster Gate, and reported briefly on the past year’s activities. This was followed by an opportunity to get to know the other participants in a speed-dating style of networking.
The following morning, Segundo Marchan testified to the support of the HSA-UWC in developing TONGIL, a successful business in Spain. He explained that in 1975 True Father instructed European members to sell ginseng products to the European market. Faithful to this direction, and eager to develop a business foundation through which to support missionary activities, the young Spanish members started a business which, forty years later, is now employing dozens of staff – both FFWPU members and non-members – as well as creating an annual turnover of millions of Euros. He concluded by emphasizing the importance of creating businesses that can support the community of faith.
The next keynote speaker was Alan Becker, a 2nd generation brother from the USA who has found success as an animator. He shared about his journey, starting as a home-educated teenager who found success with one animation, facing various trials and challenges until eventually he is earning money from his YouTube videos and managing teams of animators and volunteers. He talked about the need to mentor team members, but he reserved special praise for God’s involvement in his life, who has guided Alan through every step of his journey.
There was a networking session in smaller groups meeting by area of interest, which included: business and finance, creative industries, science and technology, medicine and health, education and social work, policy and society. The afternoon was dedicated to more focused breakout sessions, which included seminars and project proposals. These included: a round table discussion for business owners; a creative industries mini-workshop; a project proposal in the area of mental health; a round table discussion about the spirit world and science; a project proposal for an education conference; an online marketing mini-workshop; a project proposal for communications in the Unificationist community; a project proposal for improving nutrition in low- income and middle-income countries; a mini-workshop on being a faithful person in the working environment; and a project proposal for establishing an orchestra for young classical musicians.
After a dinner in a nearby Thai restaurant, former UK national leader Simon Cooper, spoke about the balance between spiritual work and raising a family. This was followed by entertainment provided by some talented London musicians – local 2nd generation members – who delivered an impressively entertaining and interactive musical performance.
The Conference concluded on Sunday morning with an AGM, at which the Cranes Club constitution was discussed and ratified and the 2017 directors were nominated and elected. There was some discussion about membership fees and finances, and a brief discussion priori tising the planned activities for the following year: There will be several conferences planned throughout 2017 that develop some of the projects discussed at the Conference, as well as network brokering to facilitate the introduction of Cranes Club members to individuals or groups who can help them in achieving specific aims or goals.
With attractive benefits for membership, it is likely that the membership of Cranes Club Europe will grow over the next few weeks. With the membership fees collected, there will be a budget for doing activities, and with further funding from elsewhere, it is likely that the great potential that exists amongst the population of 2nd generation members in Europe will be released. With the aim to Network, Mentor and Support young Unificationists in their professional pursuits, Cranes Club will be able to not only strengthen the FFWPU community but also serve the rest of the world.