True Parents’ Special New Year’s Gathering with Cheon Il Guk Leaders
By Julian Gray, FFWPU International Headquarters
“Thank God it’s Friday,” we might say if the focus of our week is two days off at the weekend. Yet today, Friday, January 5, some 600 leaders representing the main providential nations were given reason to thank God many times over during the course of True Parents’ Special Gathering for Cheon Il Guk Leaders to kick-off the New Year, held at Cheon Jeong Gung in Korea. But their gratitude was not because they were looking forward to relaxing, but because they experienced here (at each stage of the program) the grace of God’s love in their life-long commitment to build a better world.
One hundred leaders from Japan and some thirty from the United States made the journey to Korea to participate in this event, which was not dissimilar with the God’s Day leaders’ meetings of decades past. All the Korean church leaders and many other public officials from the movement in Korea swelled the numbers.
On True Mother’s behalf, Mrs. Wonju McDevitt welcomed everyone in the second floor chapel. There followed reports from the four regional groups (by video) and then primary leaders from Korea, Japan and the United States took the podium representing the main providential nations. In the few minutes allotted, each leader described their best work from 2017 and outlined strategies for this year, 2018.
Dr. Chung-shik Yong, regional group chair of Asia, mentioned the seven 7-day workshops they had held for second generation members this year, and that the last was attended by 230. They are training young leaders with a view to dispatching 2,000 around the world as missionaries by 2020. This year, they have resolved to launch IAPP and YSP in all the nations of Asia. Dr. Yong also alluded to the extensive work now being done to educate the many who have become tribal members to the point where they will consider themselves full members of the Family Federation.
South America’s regional group chair Rev. Kim Sang-Seok explained about the many young-people’s workshops being held in South American nations, and that many are preparing to become a new generation of church leaders. They are holding Divine Principle workshops for parliamentarians, some of whom are now receiving the Blessing, while many local dignitaries are forging connections with us.
Regional group chair for Africa, Bakary Camara attributed the blessing and heavenly fortune giving rebirth throughout the continent to the conditions Mother has been making to build one family under God. He alluded to the growing heavenly tribal messiah movement centered on tribal chiefs, and explained that Mother wants to promote a bright and Heavenly Africa. Many leaders and members are now preparing for the summit in Dakar, Senegal. He explained that African political leaders want to come to Dakar because they want to meet True Mother and receive her blessing.
Emcee Dr. Yun Young-ho interspersed his insights and knowledge based on his daily attendance of True Mother. He explained that already some 75 young European members (mostly French speaking) have gone to witness and do service activities in support of the Senegal summit, which will include a diverse program of events. He mentioned, also in relation to developments in Africa, that Archbishop Johannes Ndanga is working to bring his many churches into line with the Family Federation. They are donating a parcel of land that will be used to begin a coffee project with the hope that our movement in Africa can become financially self-sufficient.
Kathy Rigney (Special Emissary to Africa)
Former missionary to Benin and Côte d’Ivoire Kathy Rigney also reported by video. She shared deeply, including the following insights:
True Mother pushes us to bring a lot of high-level people. When Father ascended to the spirit world, True Mother said, “If you unite with me, miracles will happen.” At first we walked, and then we ran! In the past 21 days we have visited and informed 43 heads of state and we are praying for them. If necessary, we will give our lives for this endeavor. We will keep looking to open doors that we know are there because of True Mother’s effort. True Mother, thank for your incredible love.
Emcee Dr. Yun Young-ho spoke about other developments in Africa, including the plans to develop the Saemaul “New Village” movement, which revolutionized the south Korean economy on a local level within a generation. He mentioned the Hyojeong character education project that has been created in nine volumes (in Korean) and which will be introduced and hopefully adopted by nations for their schools. One West African nation has already decided to use this curriculum.
Briefly reporting on wider providential initiatives of the past year, he mentioned the following:
Mother asked that we restore 7 nations and she is creating a model community in the HyoJeong Cheonwon complex in Korea. Mother has emphasized witnessing as key to effecting national restoration.
This year we need to hold rallies of hope in nations around the world in order to advance the providence. If we unite with Mother, both Father and Mother will help us to bring great victory. The International Headquarters is not a control tower but a bridge between Mother and the mission field.
The Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) will be launched in each nation. Moreover, we hope to invite one head of state to Korea each month in order to convey to him or her a deeper understanding of our principles and of True Parents.
Our movement has 42 schools worldwide. But some 10,000 schools around the world are using our character education materials.
We are attending True Parents in substance so we should have faith greater than David when he stood up against Goliath. Do you all have firm faith and resolve? [Yes!]
After a short break, everyone gathered to listen to True Mother. Mrs. McDevitt, Chief of Staff of True Mother’s Secretariat, read briefly from a recent speech Mother had given. Mother then spoke to the assembled leaders and members around the world. Knowing that many would be watching via the live internet broadcast, Mother began her speech with the words, “Beloved leaders, blessed families and members….”
[The following are just some parts of Mother’s speech in note form; please do not rely on these as an authoritative statement of what Mother said.]
The situation of the world today leaves people with little hope, even though much effort has been made to realize a world of peace and happiness. Through True Parents, we have been given life. We are truly blessed. Yet that comes with responsibility to live not for our own sake, but for the sake of our family, tribe, nation and world. The way to achieve this is to become victors in heavenly tribal messiahship. How much devotion have you offered to become heavenly tribal messiah victors?
I have been thinking how we can bring all the people of the world to attend God, not merely believe. How can we create a nation of heavenly tribal messiah victors and show an example?
I have restructured the three main providential nations. I restructured Korea as a region, and divided it into 5 sub-regions. I changed the name to Family Federation for a Heavenly Korea and installed Lee Gi-seong as the president.
I have asked you to reveal the truth [to the world]. Due to your lack of confidence, I have proclaimed it myself. The ministers of ACLC in America welcomed my proclamation. What are you afraid of? The secular world has gone as far as it can go. There is no hope for this world as it is. Science predicts dire things in the future.
I have restructured the United States and they have pledged to me to accomplish. Dr. Kihoon Kim? [Yes!] Korea? [Yes!]
The three main providential nations [Korea, Japan, the United States] must work together as one, as a trinity, in mutual support. Today I will restructure Japan into five sub-regions. [Mother announces the new sub-regional leaders and other leadership announcements that will be confirmed by official memo in due course.]
What remains is for you to succeed as tribal messiahs. Your investment will be the catalyst for everything to be offered to Heaven. The Genealogical Center (Cheon Bo Won) is being prepared to record your achievements. I hope you will become glorious sons and daughters whose names are recorded there.
After Mother concluded her speech, everyone walked down the stairs to find banquet tables set up for lunch. Lunch was Seolneongtang (beef slices in soup, with rice), prepared by our own restaurant now open in the HJ Cheonwon Complex.
Towards the conclusion of lunch, a representative of the newly installed Korean Family Federation leadership came out and gave a short declaration of Korea’s determination to fulfill its mission. The Korean leaders then joined together for a song. The Japanese leaders followed. Thirdly, representing the United States, Demian Dunkley came to the podium. He told the story of how his family had prayed on the hillside overlooking their town to begin the new year at midnight on January 1. He and his wife and children then walked back down to the town. On the street they met one couple – at a few minutes past midnight. Demian and his family then persuaded this couple to receive the Blessing right there. He said this might become the first spiritual child in the US in 2018.
The leaders from the United States included siters Angelika Selle of the Women’s Federation and Crescentia de Goode of the Blessed Family Department, and they stood at the front leading the American leaders in a hearty rendition of “Sailing with Our Father” and “Generation of Righteousness,” two stirring original songs written by members in the early years.
The luncheon session concluded with three cheers of Eok Mansei led by Rev. Richard Buessing, president of the Family Federation for a Heavenly America.
After lunch the leaders moved down to the site of the construction of the CheonJi SunHak Won, the museum and cultural center that will be built to record and exhibit True Parents’ life and work. There, a prayer ceremony was held to begin the actual construction (in earnest this week), with prayer for the work to be carried out safely.
Following this, the leaders moved to the CheongPyeong training center’s Jeongshimwon Prayer Hall, where they participated in a 40-minute chanyang session. They then crossed the plaza to the main building where preparations had been made in the grand auditorium for all 600 to play Yut together.