The Words of the Cooper Family

Looking back and going forward

Simon Cooper
March 20, 2012

I stepped down from my position as the national director for our UK Unification Movement last week, and want to say a BIG thank you to all of you from around the country that Chieko and I have had the privilege to work together with over the last four years.

A recent picture of our family, together with Chieko's uncle and my mother It has been a very positive four years where I have had the chance to experience a whole new realm of responsibility with in my working life. Being able to play a role in developing our church has often been stimulating and exciting work. For example going from the Home Town News to the Family Fire Place and now to our new site has been one of the projects that has both challenged and inspired me. It has helped us consider how we want to not only communicate with each other within our relatively small community, but also brought us to ask how we want to articulate our voice and culture to the rest of society.

I never forget the day we had a call from a Sun journalist who had chanced across our site and seen an article from Ron German about a Welsh revival and asked if she could write a human interest story about our movement. Now this morning I will have a BBC religious correspondent over at my home to do an interview with Chieko and I for the Today program on Radio 4.

There is lots more to say but I want to just concentrate on explaining the circumstances around my decision to step down. Over a year ago Rev Song clearly asked Jack Corley to take on the role of managing and leading our UK movement. He had asked me to continue as national leader nevertheless. However, it has to many not been the clearest of arrangements. I met with Rev Song in the latter part of 2011 to offer my resignation, but was asked by him and Tim Miller to continue and a letter was sent out explaining my role as national leader and Jack's role as acting national leader.

However, a fortnight ago I decided to send a more formal letter of resignation explaining why it would make much more sense for Jack Corley to have not only the responsibility but also the position and title for the job he is doing. This time Rev Song accepted my resignation. I am very grateful to him for now helping to clarify the situation, and also to Jack for all that he has been v sincerely investing in the UK mission over the last year.

I am grateful to my wife because she is often the one that offers me the clearest perspective on things. That is why God brought us together I guess… She got me to ask myself some good questions and reflect on where my passion now lies. Over the last 2 years I have felt more and more called to work through the local church, to experiment with different approaches to how we can nurture and grow our community base. (That is another thing I am grateful to Rev Song for as he got me started down that path.) My perception is that as a movement for better or for worse we still have very much a top down rather than a bottom up culture which tends to hamper the level of ownership we can feel for the future of our tradition.

I believe that the future of our movement lies in our blessed families and local communities that manage to root their identity in a vibrant and authentic life of faith. That is what I want to now more fully explore and focus on. How do we live with our True Parents and our Heavenly Father, in our daily life in a personal way, with the initiative to connect to God's providence coming from within. We have found a lot of joy through creatively developing our worship experience in the 43LG community church. Recreating the space inside 43LG so that fellowship and worship can be experienced more fully has also been something I have enjoyed being part of. Our goal was quite simply: to make it easier to connect. But we have so much more to do in order to create a healthy spiritual community where people's lives are saved, healed, and able to prosper in all the ways God hopes for them.

I think I have lost a bit of that sense that God needs me to be involved in His plan, that genuine feeling where I feel a responsibility towards God's will. That is what I hope to rediscover not just for me but for our local church. Each of our communities has a unique calling, and our job is to find out what it is according to our circumstances and reality.

I am hoping to go back to studying later this year in order to better equip myself for my role as a pastor. I want to fill in the gaps in my training and become more effective at leading a community of families which is vastly different from running a team of dedicated missionaries.

If you want to know more about my plans I will be blogging here, as always doing my best to share something that I hope can help others on their journey.

I am off to Korea for two weeks and plan to come back with a renewed personal commitment towards the lives of our 43LG congregation which is a community that strives to honor God and True Parents.

I think the job Chieko and I have being doing this last 4 years has been a tough one to do well. But I hope by working together with all of you we could contribute to developing our culture, our vision for the future and maybe update us a bit for the 21st century, the beginning of what we call Cheon Il Guk. 

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