Austria: New Leadership and New Beginning
By Elisabeth Cook, FFWPU Austria
On Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 the FFWPU leaders, Hans & Hillevi Brunnbauer, handed over the leadership of their community to 2nd gen couple Bogdan & Yoshiko Pammer, who had served as assistant pastors since Jan 2016.
The service opened with Bogdan’s sermon which was about “Being physically and spiritually healthy”, in which he made analogies between the physical body and the state of our mind: just as we need to fight germs in our body, we need to deal with negative influences on our spirit and digest them. As a community we are also called to go through hardships and grow stronger by it.
After the sermon, members of both 1st and 2nd generation expressed their gratitude to Hans and Hillevi Brunnbauer for their service to the community over the eight years between 2009 and 2017. Many acknowledged the integrity and correctness in Hans’ character and his ability to always be centered on God and the Divine Principle in solving problems, which gave much stability to the community. Hans’ readiness to learn, to develop his character and adapt to new situations was also a quality greatly appreciated.
As a commemoration of thanks, the national leader Peter Zöhrer then handed over a Certificate of Gratitude to Hans and Hillevi for their years of investment. He also drew to attention that this was a historic event, as Bogdan & Yoshiko represent the first 2nd gen couple in Austria to take on the mission as FFWPU community leaders.
Gifts were then presented by the community to Hans & Hillevi. The next step was to appoint Bogdan & Yoshiko to their new position. Elisabeth Cook, leader of FFWPU-Austria, handed over the Certificate of Appointment, after having highlighted the public responsibilities they had had before they became pastors:
Both Bogdan and Yoshiko had public missions prior to their role as pastors. Bogdan had built up a Service for Peace branch in Austria and organized numerous social projects between 2005 and 2009. After that he was active in UPF in Austria, the UK and on the European level.
Yoshiko was in responsible positions in HARP and Junior STF in the UK, before she involved herself in WFWP in the UK, in Austria and on the European level. Presently she is also part of the Austrian Blessed Family Department.
Elisabeth then recalled personal memories of sermons by both Bogdan & Yoshiko, which revealed their sincere heart and desire to work for the fulfillment of Heavenly Parents’ Will on earth.
In closing of the ceremony, Bogdan led the congregation in 3 cheers of Ok-mansei. Everyone was invited to share a meal together, which opened with the cutting of a beautiful cake baked by one of the sisters. There was time for sharing and expressing gratitude to Hans and Hillevi, as well as good wishes and support for Bogdan & Yoshiko.