Austria: Leaders’ Meeting & Leadership Handover Ceremony
Prepared by FFWPU Austria
On Saturday, 25th Nov 2017, 35 Austrian leaders of FFWPU, UPF, WFWP, CARP, HARP and the different departments of FFWPU, gathered for a national meeting in order to redefine the directions and goals for the Austrian movement, as well as to share experiences of the last months.
After the Hoondok reading, those gathered watched the cheerful and encouraging video “Europe – Middle East No.8”, in which we could see brothers and sisters from many countries of our region, celebrating the recent 58. True Children’s’ Day, as well as other activities.
In the first session of the meeting, Elisabeth Cook gave an overview of Dr. Balcomb’s new directions for the European-Eurasian region, concluding with True Mother’s recent public speeches and her core message.
Peter Zöhrer then introduced the new department: “European Department for PR, Media and Legal Affairs” of which he has recently become the chairman. After his presentation the leaders discussed the media work in the Austrian movement. At the end of that session, Elisabeth Cook asked Hans Brunnbauer if he would be responsible for the Media mission in Austria, which he accepted – approved by the leaders present. Some of the next steps of that mission are sending True Father’s autobiography to libraries and schools, as well as writing texts about relevant topics, which would better represent our views on those topics.
In the afternoon Bogdan Pammer, Community leader of the Region of Upper Austria, gave a presentation on “How can we, pass on Heaven’s Blessing?” which is aimed at guests with a Christian background. The presentation provides excellent material for tribal messiahs to prepare Christian couples and/or groups for the Blessing. A group discussion followed, in which there was time to share what the communities need in order to be confident to bring people to the Blessing. In the last session of the day, each community- and department-leader gave a 6-8 minute report on their recent activities.
In the evening we watched a video of Dr. Balcomb’s sermon “Be the Lighthouse of the day” which he gave to the British Unification community, in which he raised the question “Have you shared the good news today, one week ago, one month ago?” – a topic that was at the core of our leaders’ meeting as well.
The next day, Sunday, Dr. Dieter and Ana Schmidt, Regional Chair couple of the Central European Region, led the first session of the leaders meeting, in which everybody present introduced him/herself briefly.
At the Sunday service following, Dr. Schmidt gave the sermon: “The Second Touch”. He reflected on Jesus’ disciple Peter who denied Jesus in the hour before the crucifixion, but when Jesus looked back to Peter, he did it with so much love, that Peter could repent deeply and make a new start.
Dieter explained that we also get second chances – many times – and that we should seize them – rather releasing the experiences and memories of the past. Many brothers and sisters were moved deeply, in the atmosphere of love and acceptance created.
After the sermon Dieter and Ana conducted the ceremony of handing over leadership in Austria: with much love they first thanked Peter and Gaby Zöhrer for their service as National Leaders of Austria over the past 17 years, then called up Elisabeth and Anthony Cook to be the new National Leaders of Austria. Words of gratitude and presents were exchanged, in a cheerful atmosphere – biding hope for the future of Europe and Austria.
In the afternoon the leaders meeting continued, with a UPF report about recent events, among which were the inauguration of IAPP Austria at the UN, as well as an evening about Eritrea, which was organized by representatives of that country. A short video about the latter event was made, highlighting UPF at the center. That video was shared thousands of times on the internet, thus substantially spreading the reputation of UPF.
After a break, two brothers Christian and Andy reported, explaining about the outreach seminar, which they had recently attended in Camberg with Mrs. Naoko Hiraki, about one-to-one witnessing. Christian shared manuals and material with each community leader. CARP Vienna is going to try out that method.
Finally, Elisabeth Cook concluded the meeting with a report about Austrian headquarters’ activities and future steps planned – like upgrading equipment, systematizing historical materials and new steps for outreach-projects by the FFWPU. Lastly, goals until Foundation Day were set, and ‘to-do- lists’ written down.
With a heartfelt “Eok Mansey!” the meeting was finished.