The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009
Rev. In-jin Moon launched the Lovin' Life Ministries on April 12, Easter Sunday, to correspond with True Father's initial meeting with Jesus Christ at Easter time in 1935. Honoring Jesus' life and victory on a day commemorating his resurrection, In-jin nim spoke openly and candidly about her father, his mission as the returning Lord and how he has tried so hard to fulfill the calling entrusted to him at that primary encounter with Jesus. As she expressed it: Jesus brought us the good news, but you know what? True Parents brought us the breaking news. It's breaking news time, brothers and sisters. This breaking news is a message of hope, a message of love. It is an invitation to live our lives filled with gratitude and happiness, in celebration and appreciation of each other, not being the kind of religious people who judge but instead the kind of religious people who have an incredible capacity to love, who can raise not only beautiful children but inspire our young people to become a generation worthy of the name Generation Peace.
The key reason for beginning Lovin' Life is to inspire our existing membership of all ages, to raise the quality of our worship and then to be able to reach out to bring new members to our church. If we are alive and excited about church then it is not so difficult to invite our friends to something we love. In-jin nim calls this "natural witnessing." So far many guests have come to the service and loved it.
In her sermons, In-jin nim covers a broad range of topics that include testimony of her personal experiences with True Parents and insights from her (and her husband Jin-sung nim's) experience of raising a family.
Moreover, the Manhattan Center, which True Parents bought a long time ago as a center for our cultural endeavors and into which Hyo-jin nim invested so much of his heart, is the right place to start a new kind of service that incorporates all of the exciting elements Father brought to America in the 1970s.
The small churches in the New York boroughs have merged into the Manhattan Center main service. The former local church pastors serve as assistant pastors, caring for the congregations that live in their areas. Lovin' Life Ministries also has youth pastors, educational pastors and music ministers.
A few weeks after Easter, the ministry began an internet broadcast of the service to the Belvedere (rural New York State) New Jerusalem (New Jersey State) and Forty-Third Street (New York City) churches, which continue their services, but receive the broadcast of In-jin nim's message live during their worship service. Of course, this has brought some upheaval into their church world, but I think most people agree that it has been a wonderful shake up and the results are good for everyone.
Members and guests have been coming from as far afield as Washington DC, Boston and Ohio, and church leaders from around the country come to New York to experience Lovin' Life for themselves. Some are now asking In-jin nim if they can turn their own church service into a Lovin' Life service. The average size of the congregation is about one thousand four hundred members and guests.
In-jin nim is not just delivering her message from the podium. After each Sunday service, she meets and greets every single person who would like to say hello. This can take a long time and is the highlight for many people. She then has lunch with different church groups or ministries, for example, the Young Adult Ministers or a teen group making a purity pledge. Those who have been privileged to participate in these gatherings testify to the intimacy they can feel with In-jin nim representing True Parents.
In-jin nim is aiming to reach all kinds of people, young and old, members and non-members, resting and inspired. She believes she can speak to members of all ages and levels and at the same time make her message relevant to non-members who attend; so far she is dong a great job, as the testimonies let us know.
In-jin nim's own children were worried about the impact on their lives when their mom was appointed to the position she now holds. They were not fully happy at first. No however, her son and daughter are witnessing constantly to bring people. Ariana brings a friend or two each week from Harvard, and Preston has brought guests whom he met near the Manhattan Center. Many members who had never liked church before are really enjoying Lovin' Life; increasingly they bring their friends and family.
In-jin nim was also adamant from the beginning that she wanted to invite other religious leaders to pray at the service. She wants to be connected in heart with all religions and to show them what the Unification Church has to offer. So far, we have had mostly Christian ministers participate, although an imam came and gave an impromptu testimony where he praised our members and especially our second generation as the hope of the world. This coming Sunday we will have a woman rabbi pray.
The clergy are mostly connected with our True Parents through the American Clergy Leadership Conference foundation. They are so excited to have the daughter of Rev. Moon stepping forward in America and they want to support her 100 percent. In-jin nim also wants to show to our second generation that we are an interfaith movement with respect for all religions.
In-jin nim is hands on with all musical aspects of the Lovin' Life service. She has Dr. Brian Saunders as her music minister and they have a talented group of instrumentalists and vocalists, who are all members except for the drummer, who is a close friend. They rehearse continuously.
In-jin nim helps choose the songs and the lead vocalists, and often she is involved in the rehearsals for long hours. In-jin nim knew that the vision of her older brother Hyo-jin nim was to influence the world through music. One of the reasons she chose the Manhattan Center as the venue of Sunday service was because she had at her disposal such a premier facility to put on a fantastic event each week for a fraction of the cost others would have to pay.
When In-jin nim's ministry was being launched, some wonderful first and second generation members dedicated themselves to support in any way they could. As things progress, In-jin nim is inspiring more and more people, and they are catching her vision and stepping forward. She has taken on Heather Thalheimer as Education Director for the American movement and Sheri Reuter as Witnessing Director and will fill in other important roles step by step. Mostly she is looking for people who will not be looking to do "business as usual" but rather those who can embrace a new paradigm of ministry, and who want to work together.
Our church headquarters on Forty-Third Street, where Lovin' Life Ministry runs the Learning Center during the week, is again buzzing with activities. I have been tasked, along with wonderful people such as Rev. Phillip Schanker, David Hunter, Jonathan Gullery, Pastor Juan Morales and others to create Principle-based I learning opportunities. Every day we have introductory lectures at 12:30 and 6:00 PM as well as interest-based programs including marriage education classes, presentations by professional people who have utilized the Principle in their careers, martial arts programs, "open-mic" nights, and so forth.
One guest, Maristella Rodgers, commented, "I have been passing by this building for months wondering what kind of place it was. Now I see that it is a place of love and shining light." •
We have a one-day seminar each Saturday. This features updated methods of teaching Divine Principle for today's audience. We also have two- and seven- day workshop retreats in the traditional style. Supporting these programs, Lovin' Life Ministries has a full time outreach team and a Special Task Force (STF) team in training.
Personally I am inspired by In-jin nim's vision and was happy to be asked to be a part of helping launch her ministry. As with all things, there is far more to do than there are hours in a day to do them. However it has been a delight to work with In-jin nim, as she values the divinity in each person and encourages rather than intimidates. She is not demanding or pushy, but clear and determined. These are qualities I find easy to work with. She loves and appreciates the sacrificial lives of the first generation, but she also knows that the True Children can take the second generation much further than their own parents can.
Building on the incredible foundation True Parents have prepared in America, and especially in New York, In-jin nim is setting out to revive the spirit with which True Parents first touched America. If we unite with and support the True Children then the future will be bright for our movement.
Rev. Thompson serves as In-jin nim's direct assistant pastor for ministry.