The Words of the Downey Family
National Leadership Meeting
Michael P. Downey
Vice Regional Director
June 26, 1999
Dear Blessed Families,
On the evening of June 24, 1999, a "Congratulations and Appreciation Banquet" was held in the Grand Ballroom of the New Yorker Hotel. The occasion marked the change in leadership of the Unification Movement in North America as recently requested by True Parents. The evening was a moving tribute and Thank You to Rev. Joong Hyun Pak for his many accomplishments and years of service to our movement in North America. We were also introduced to and welcomed Rev. Dr. Chang Shik Yang as the new Continental Director of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU). Dr. Yang's inaugural address expressed his feeling, philosophy and determination to lead this nation in fulfilling its historic role as Elder-Son-Nation. The address will be published and available to everyone soon.
The following morning, June 25th, Dr. Yang convened a National Leadership meeting at National Headquarters. At this meeting, Dr. Yang and Dr. Hendricks announced sweeping changes in leadership throughout America. Dr. Yang began by mentioning True Father's emphasis on UTS and his desire that all leaders attend UTS. In this light, it is True Father's desire that all currently serving Regional Directors (RDs) be given the chance to go to the seminary starting next semester. Six current RDs are hereby reassigned to UTS. Of course, this includes our Rev. Weon Geun Kim. All current RDs except for Rev. Kim in Chicago have been reassigned. The new RD for the Northwest Region is Rev. Kong. He is a UTS grad, is currently serving as RD in South Carolina and is blessed to a Japanese wife. I'll pass on more details, as they become available.
In addition, True Father has directed that our National Headquarters be moved to Washington, D.C., the virtual capital of the world. Dr. Hendricks and his staff will be moving shortly. Three new Vice-Presidents were also announced. Rev. Michael Jenkins will serve as Vice President of Mission and Witnessing, Rev. Philip Shanker will be Vice President of UN and Public Relations, and Mrs. Kobayashi will be VP of Kodan and Japanese affairs.
It is Dr. Yang's philosophy that the American movement must be lead by Americans (Westerners). It is his expressed opinion that when American leaders are in the forefront, we will grow and develop. If Korean leaders continue to dominate, things will stagnate and decline. In this light, an American or western leader was appointed as Vice Regional Director. In most cases, the Vice Regional is a senior state leader. Rev. Yang has asked that Korean RDs support from behind. Actual leadership should pass to the American members. Although I am without merit or real qualification, I was asked to serve in this position for our Region. I agreed to take this position and will hold it in trust in the name of all American/Western members. Of course, since I am not a UTS grad, I can only serve temporarily and plan to attend UTS at the earliest opportunity.
Rev. Yang has requested that all changes be made as soon as they can be made in good order. Please prepare your heart to bid farewell to Rev. Kim and his family and to welcome Rev. Kong. As soon as we can make arrangements to properly thank and honor Rev. and Mrs. Kim, we will hold a farewell service. We will also have a welcome service for Rev. Kong. More details are yet to be worked out. Dates and times for these services will be announced soon.
Our most important concern now should be the fulfillment of the 400 million couple Blessing. Rev. Yang has requested that we do the following:
1. Conduct a leadership conference and brainstorming session at Barrytown, NY in mid-July, tentative dates are July 14-17. All leaders, state leaders, or at least a representative couple from each state should attend. The purpose is to hammer out a blueprint for success in the 400 million couple Blessing and for rebuilding our church.
2. Set up three conditional time periods of prayer and special effort to accomplish the 400 million Blessing
July 1 to August 10 = 40 days
August 10 to September 20 = 40
September 20 to October 30 = 40
Through these 120 days, lets build our confidence and momentum to accomplish 80 million young people educated in purity and abstinence.
CARP/PLA already have accomplished a lot and have great hope to fulfill the goal through abstinence education in schools. They welcome our help. I will share more in the near future.
In conclusion, Rev. Yang asked us to open our minds and hearts, let go of the old and focus on rebuilding our church movement in America. We are the Elder-Son-Nation. God has prepared everything. We only need to step up to the plate.
True Parents will return to celebrate the July 1st Holy Day in New York.
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