The Words of the Cooper Family

43, Lancaster Gate: First It's A Church

Simon Cooper
March 31, 2010

Since I started working in our Unification Movement headquarters at 43, Lancaster Gate two years ago I have been on a little road of discovery. In the last year it has dawned on me how precious this place is, how it was established by some very committed and selfless people and how this building (if we listen to its soul) is telling us how it wants to offer our community an opportunity to grow and thrive.

Imagine for a moment that we did not have anywhere in central London for our movement. (Like several other European Unificationist communities). And then imagine we wished for a multi-million pound property in the heart of West London next to London's most famous park, on several bus routes, a stones throw from the Central Line, with all the fast food you could ever want (except of course for Subway, which we would be better off without) just 10 minutes walk away in Queensway, an historical grade 2 listed building smartly placed in the corner of a well known London square. A place where True Parents have taught and blessed many of their disciples.

It would be beyond our wildest dreams. Well, it wasn't beyond the dreams of those who made it happen 30/40 years ago.

So for those of us who are a bit younger and still under 40 this place is a miracle, it has landed in our lap like a gift from God. OK, it needs some restoration, and a good bit of refurbishment, but hey, it belongs to us!

So what are we going to do with it?

The vision of our relatively new Lancaster Gate church which we inaugurated in November 09 is to teach a Divine Principle and bring people to True Parents. Yes, the building does provide some much needed income for managing our FFWPU charity, but in the end this building is first a church; which means it is a place for a congregation of people who want to worship God. Getting that purpose to be at the heart of what goes on here is our exciting challenge.

It involves a whole range of issues from people figuring out who True Parents are in their life to building a healthy creative culture through which God can feel confident to work. Basically we have to find the confidence to live by God's divine principles.

This is happening more and more, and with a range of new programs over different days of the week we are finding our spiritual feet. We are also in the process of raising £21,000 to make this place beautiful on the inside. We then want to raise whatever it takes to make it shine on the outside too.

Lancaster Gate does seem to have some magical magnetic force, and over the last few years it has become a very popular place for young people blessed by True Parents to come and live and hang out. Like I said we have been renting out rooms. More recently though we decided to ask people when they move in to agree to a few guidelines.

This was definitely a positive step and helped to clarify for blessed members what it means to live here. But as more and more people are asking about accommodation here its common sense to make things clearer about the vision and purpose. I don't want to go into details here, but I think it will help people if they get a sense of the culture we are aiming for.

If you are passionate about wanting to build a vibrant, growing, church congregation here at 43, Lancaster Gate and for that reason you would like to rent a room then please get in touch. If you want to come and live here mainly because you think it would be convenient for your personal life, then it is probably not the best choice for you. And of course you don't need to live here either to still get involved in the vision.

We want to keep on developing this place so it is easy for people to come and connect to God and True Parents in as many ways as possible, whether through seminars, worship, culture, art, or music. We have a way to go, but when you start to believe in something it starts to materialize, and I think some of us just started believing. 

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