Letter from the Executive Vice President To Unification Members and Blessed Families
February 09 2013 Familyfed.org
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are now just a few short days away from True God’s Day 2013, and two weeks from Foundation Day. Surely these are two of the most important celebrations and commemorations that our movement has ever observed. I trust and pray that you and your family are finding deep meaning in your preparations and that we will all experience the amazing grace of God and True Parents together.
Five months have now passed since the abrupt change in our national leadership right at the same time of True Father’s ascension. Perhaps now is an appropriate time to reflect on the transitions underway within our American movement. I want to bring you up to date with some of the progress that we have made, and to ask for your prayers and support for the work that is still to be done.
As one of her first acts after True Father’s ascension, True Mother recommended to the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC) Board of Directors that they appoint Rev. Hyung Jin Moon as the President and CEO. The Board followed her recommendation, as they did a few weeks later when she further recommended that I be appointed as Executive Vice President.
Even while he was grieving for his ascended father, the new President and his wife, Rev. Yeon Ah Lee Moon, spent three weeks traveling across America to hear concerns and suggestions from members in the field in all 12 church districts. During his meetings in that town-hall tour (which I joined halfway through), Hyung Jin Nim expressed his own regret and disappointment at the choices and decisions made by his sister, our former National Pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon, which were not in keeping with the teachings and traditions of our church.
Hyung Jin Nim also consistently urged us to “hate the sin but love the sinner,” and encouraged us to move on. Now, with Foundation Day almost upon us, I think it is even more important to put the past behind us in the spirit of forgiveness and new resolution.
A major additional concern shared by many during those early town-hall meetings is that there should be no recurrence of such an incident, and that the church move to strengthen its own internal controls and introduce a new system of management that would make top leaders accountable to others and transparent in its decision-making.
During the last five months, we have overseen a gradual restructuring of the headquarters and local operations and instituted far-reaching reform of governance of the church at the local and national level. As requested by True Mother and by the President, I have been personally visiting all the major communities around the nation – more than 39 so far – to share True Mother’s message of revival and renewal through the teaching of the Divine Principle and to encourage all members of the American church to become confident and consistent Divine Principle teachers. I’ve also continued to collect suggestions and recommendations from church elders and to answer questions and requests for information about the ongoing transitions.
A number of steps have been taken to strengthen the overall accountability of the executive leadership, to improve communications and to encourage wider participation in our ongoing development.
First, as promised, the President did conduct a thorough personal investigation of the management system of the church under Rev. In Jin Moon. He retired the name of Lovin’ Life, while retaining many of its areas of strength. He consulted a variety of advisors and elders on restructuring of headquarters to operate with a professional and accountable management team.
Second, as Hyung Jin Nim promised during the town hall tour, each of our 12 church districts held elections for members of the Interim District Councils. Each of the newly established councils in turn selected an Interim District Pastor. All of these District Pastors were subsequently approved and installed by the National President, with a moving and spiritually rich inauguration ceremony at East Garden.
Most recently, the Interim District Councils have nominated members of a new advisory body – the National Council. The National Council, which is chaired by the Executive Vice President, will provide our national leadership with expertise and recommendations through the work of subcommittees in four areas: Blessed Family Life, Church Growth, Identity and Positioning, and Governance. A National Council Convention is scheduled for late summer.
Whistle Blower Policy
Third, our management team has prepared a “whistleblower policy,” which likely will be ratified at the March meeting of the HSA board. The policy states: “No director, officer or employee who in good faith reports a violation of the Code shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.” This whistleblower policy is expected to establish a method by which alleged violations can be reported and investigated. It is anticipated that this will be one of the functions of the newly seated National Council.
Online Decision Approval System
Fourth, weekly management-team meetings are held each Tuesday morning with the President and Executive Vice President and the heads of each headquarters department, and other major leaders are invited. To support and strengthen the decision-making process of the HSA-UWC executive and management team, headquarters is also in the process of implementing a new online approval system. This system is now under development and is expected to be implemented in the next few weeks. It will track and document the approval process behind every decision involving expenditures or changes of personnel placement.
All Leaders Accountable to Board of Directors
Finally, the President and Vice President of the church are fully committed to honoring the spiritual authority of the True Parents, while remaining accountable to the church’s nine-member Board of Directors. The President, as the Chairman of the Board, has committed to holding Board meetings on a quarterly basis so that the Directors are fully informed and involved in the ongoing church decisions and development. The second meeting since he became President is scheduled for mid March.
While there is still much to do, I am pleased to report that we are filled with a new confidence that the church nationwide is poised for a new period of vitality and growth. The President has created a new department at headquarters dedicated to evangelism and church growth, and he has publicly stated the primary goal is to greatly increase the number of new members as well as to re-energize many who have been inactive.
An important development is the emergence of the “Good Sex Marriage Ministry,” which is building up week by week at East Garden. Each Wednesday, Hyung Jin Nim and Yeon Ah Nim, together with members of headquarters and the ACLC clergy, are conducting spirit-filled praise and worship services in the same holy sanctuary so often graced by our True Parents in the past. The clear, upbeat and distinctive message is being spread through video and the internet to churches all around the nation.
As we move to Foundation Day and beyond, I would like to thank you all for your patience, support and encouragement during what has been a challenging time of transition for us all.
Dr. Michael Balcomb
Executive Vice President