February 27 2013
Following is a report from Pastor Henri Schauffler (Co-District Pastor for Washington, D.C. area) to his congregations after his whirlwind five-day trip (three days working in Korea; two days in travel and travel-related).The District Pastors remain engaged in meetings until Friday. This is an interim report of personal reflections.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
First – even traveling in from the airport and between Seoul and Cheong Pyeong, one is struck. If you have not been to Korea recently, what is going on there is simply amazing. There are around 50 million people in South Korea, and 33 million of them live in Seoul. The level of construction and development in Seoul, therefore, is incredible (and the traffic!). Knowing the Korean spirit as we do, seeing all of this is a real testament to their incredible resilience and strength. Only Koreans could have accomplished what they have accomplished since the Korean War.
On the 22nd we traveled early in the morning to the new Cheong Shim Peace World Center for the Foundation Day program. You all participated via live video, so I won't say too much about the event itself. But the arena! What an amazing structure. I envisioned it being full every Sunday very soon, and many other days, with thousands of new members. The hall holds 12,500.
A couple things about the event: The flowers! Amazing on screen, right? More amazing to see it live. We were told that some very special Japanese young people did this floral decorating; the same group that did them for True Father's Seonghwa. They were told to make the flower arrangement even bigger than for the Seonghwa. And apparently special coolers were installed inside the area to ensure the temperature was just right to keep the flowers fresh and looking so amazingly beautiful. Have you ever seen anything like this? My reflection was – this would be fitting for the third-stage Blessing and Coronation of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind. We may see True Parents as the Unification Church founders and leaders, etc. But seen as the actual True Parents and King of Kings, this beautiful environment was fitting.
Secondly, True Mother's apparent demeanor. You probably thought she was kind of somber throughout the Foundation Day ceremony. What you didn't see was how she changed through the day. Right after the Foundation Day ceremony, we went up to the Original Palace for a banquet with True Mother and many VIPs. She was much lighter there, smiling as she gave out True Parents Awards to representative winners from each continent, then as she received many gifts from all the continents. At the end of the banquet there was entertainment from some Blessed Children, and she was moved to wiping away tears during the Japanese Blessed Children’s performance, as many of these young people shed tears just to be making this offering to True Parents. It was a moving moment for all.
The next morning, True Mother presided over the opening of the International Leaders Conference of Family Fed leaders from around the world. She was smiling after being introduced after a long report from Dr. Chang Shik Yang (1 hour and 45 minutes). True Mother said, "Dr. Yang is very greedy – he took up all my time!" We all laughed heartily with her and Dr. Yang. She then spoke for only a few minutes, mentioning the "Vision 2020" plan and the 21-day condition she want us all to do. In sum, I was struck that True Mother had gone a lonely course since True Father's passing – she never imagined that she would have to lead us through Foundation Day without True Father by her side. That's why she has been so serious up till the ceremony itself. But once she could complete Foundation Day along with all of us – that huge burden lifted off her back, and she was happy, shedding tears of joy with the Blessed Children and even joking with us the next day. It is truly a New Day!
More will come soon from Dr. Balcomb regarding the seven-year Vision 2020 plan. But here are some basics: True Mother has established a plan for each of the next seven years leading up to 2020. The overall goal – growth of our Family Federation Churches. Each church will soon be renamed as a "Family Church," such as, "Northern Virginia Family Church, or "The Family Church of Washington, D.C." etc. So, the entire focus for the next seven years will be to grow these Family Churches – both the number of them (by planting new churches) and the number of new members. In short – witnessing, teaching Divine Principle and assimilating and training new members into our Family Churches will be what develop our activities and goals around.
As you know, True Mother is also reviving the centrality of the main Providential nations, Korea, Japan and the USA. As well, she has chosen 17 additional nations from around the world to create a list of 20 (20 nations for 2020, if you will). She believes these 20 nations hold the most promise for results in growth for the next seven years. The list has not been released, so I cannot clarify that list to you at this time. True Mother has also stated that she wants the three Providential Nations to send missionaries to these nations starting very soon. This will be a major initiative for our United States Family Federation this year.
There was much more that went on during those three days, but I won't take a lot of your time with these details. There were around 20 American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) ministers there from the United States, including Archbishop Stallings (from Washington, D.C.) and Rev. T.L Barrett (from Chicago). There was also a big Universal Peace Federation (UPF) conference, with more than 120 leaders from all the free nations of the world. It was very impressive, and Dr. Thomas Walsh and his team worked really hard to create it. We know that the results of these initiatives will be brought to bear in the Vision 2020 plan, but I do not have details at this time.
My overall conclusion is: I felt that True Mother has gone through a special course with all of us from True Father's passing last year, through the Seonghwa, and then during this time celebrating Foundation Day. She seemed sad that True Father was not there with us during the actual Foundation Day celebration. But as we began to move past it, through the banquet and into the leaders' conference, she seemed to have a huge burden lifted off her shoulders and even joking with us as she began to focus fully on Vision 2020. She has not been like that since before Father's passing, at least as far as I know. Many of us felt that as of that morning, she was on a whole new level with us. And she only spoke two minutes! But her presence and sprit were there throughout the international leaders' conference nevertheless, because Dr. Yang and the other leaders that reported were always referencing her words or input. For example, the entire "Vision 2020" project is coming directly from True Parents and God through True Mother. Again, we will know much more about this after Dr. Balcomb arrives back in the United States on March 5th.
Finally, as you know, True Mother made a leadership change for America. It appears that she sent Rev. Hyung Jin Moon to America mainly to help us recover from the shock of the abrupt end of the Lovin' Life era. Perhaps she never intended for him to stay longer than the six months he was with us. But we all received so much from him and Rev. Yeon Ah Moon's ministry during this time. Let us now turn our attention to fully supporting Dr. Michael Balcomb as our new President. His appointment is very significant for us in America. I am sure we all wish him great success and plan to give him our total support as we work in America to respond to the Vision 2020 plan.
District 1 holds much promise to help this mighty church growth effort toward 2020. We have one of the largest districts, while enjoying a vibrant 2nd generation, five enthusiastic local churches, more Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) graduates than any other district, being in the nation's capital, and many other important features that make up our district membership and opportunities. May we work together in unity to bring victory for America, God and True Parents with Vision 2020.
God bless you all,
Pastor Henri Schauffler
Co-District Pastor for District 1