The Words of the Schanker Family
Unauthorized Spiritual Group In Our Movement
October 18, 2000
I appreciate the sincerity of Damien's perspective in this, but it is an uninformed perspective. Virtually every member of the group or their spouse is a friend or coworker of mine, and I worked effectively and successfully side-by-side with the group's leader in Washington, DC for 2 1/2 years. But I can confirm from my own recent experience a good portion of what Dan writes.
During my leadership in DC, church and district leaders were at times frustrated when a sudden prayer providence would produce an ad hoc line of spiritual authority that, though well-intentioned, operated alongside the church structure, and at times undermined it. But in this more recent situation, church leaders who have won the love and trust of membership became the victim of rumors that were at least irresponsible, and which would more appropriately be described as defaming, even to the point of reports to Father. All efforts to dialogue, communicate honestly, and clarify, were ignored.
More serious issues arose in Japan and Korea from apparent actions taken by members of this group, in the name of the church, without report or accountability to HQ, which later brought accusations and even lawsuits against the church. While I cannot comment on what actually did or didn't take place, nor on the propriety of the official letter, it seems that there may be both legal and spiritual reasons for it.
Damien's reference to the Salem witch trials is interesting, though. In a conversation I had a couple of months ago about this unfolding scenario, one of our church's scholars pointed out that in the history of religion, the only way that women could exercise authority in male-dominated church hierarchies was through the spirit-revelations, healings, and shamanism. The Salem witch-trials are a perfect example of such a struggle between an ad hoc spiritually empowered female movement and the male-dominated church authority that it challenged. The comparison ends there, however, as our leadership's actions seem to me to be not mere condemning or punishing, but a necessary clarification of a situation which has already shown itself to be destructive, with even greater potential for harm.
Rev. Phillip Schanker
October 18, 2000
There's a lot more to this than a simple prayer group innocently meeting on Wednesday nights. The group has separated itself from the DC church, refuses to meet with local and national leaders, engages in unauthorized channeling activities, spreads ugly rumors about people who don't join it, and ultimately refused direct orders from Father and Mother to start coming to church and stop channeling. At least that's the story I get from my sources, which are admittedly 1) Korean sisters who did not join the group and 2) local church leaders who do not support the group.
Those who know me also know I generally take a liberal view toward letting various expressions of Unificationism bloom. This is one case where I think church officials acted with a great deal of patience (like two or three years worth), gently coaxing this group back into the mainstream. They finally took the step of issuing this letter, which may or may not be a good idea. But the group in question is clearly no longer a ministry within the UC, but a ministry opposed to its constitutional authority centering on True Parents.
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