Unification News for June 2004
Workshop for Special Category Blessed Children Brings Hope, Understanding, Possibilities
by Rev. Schanker
In April, an historic and hopeful "Special Workshop" for Second Generation who have fallen took place in a private location on the east coast. Its purpose was to unfold a clear path to the Blessing, convey a calling to build a principled, God-centered family, and discover God’s boundless love and great hope for these young people and their families. Despite the short notice, and the struggles of some participants with feelings of guilt, or concerns about embarrassing violations of privacy if they "came out of the closet," more than 20 youth and parents participated in this privately organized, discreetly held workshop.
Applicants were asked to respond privately to Rev. Phillip Schanker, whom Continental Director Dr. Chang Shik Yang has asked to assume personal responsibility for supporting and coordinating this special category nationwide. The location and program was reported privately to each participant, and the program held in a peaceful, natural environment not owned or operated by HSA-UWC. The sincerity and motivation of each participant was carefully clarified, and all participants were sworn to respect the privacy, integrity and secrecy of each participant. Every effort was made to protect the painful, sensitive situation of each family.
Virtually every participant testified (see testimonies below) that they experienced a liberation from hopelessness, a sense of direction and possibilities for the future, and the tremendous heart of the loving God. Some parents and children attended together, exposing and healing deep wounds in the parent-child relationship. Some parents attended alone, gaining deep insight into their role & responsibility to support their son or daughter. Some strategized together, gaining insight and learning how to more effectively embrace their child’s heart and situation. Some youth attended on their own, finding release and encouragement by connecting with others in their same situation.
The opening evening’s sharing was so deep, honest and painful, that I feared it would overwhelm some participants. But the sense of shared difficulty and connection was so strong, and the ability to be open so relieving, that the entire group came together with a sense of purpose, mission and responsibility, and the concrete sense that God and True Parents were reaching out in love, and opening a great door for their spiritual lives. The hard realities of their new course and position were discussed frankly, and the hopeful sense of their eternal value was underscored. Lectures, testimonies, prayer walks, Q & A sessions, and the heartfelt sharing of Dr. Yang moved all who attended. Opportunities to meet by family, situation, or as adults and children separately, were also helpful.
Some comments and reflections from participants are included below. At least one and possibly more workshops for this category will be held later this year. Those interested in participating should contact Rev. Phillip Schanker privately at email@example.com .
"I know this was a difficult trip for many people but I’m sure they are all glad to have been in attendance after this hope filled weekend. I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of our situation by any means but it’s very comforting to have everyone here and knowing that restoration can still take place…This is what we are all about, to help one another no matter how low things get or how difficult the situation." Youth
"Fear and shame were quickly washed away with a very supportive and loving, embracing staff…who laid all the ground work and provided help. Rev. Yang particularly helped us to understand that great love from God and TP for the 2nd Gen and the value of who we are as Blessed Families and reinforced the eternal, unchanging value in front of heaven for that. So much of God’s grace was present. A grace that I could not feel in many other situations but it was cascading and ever-present in this workshop. Hands are reached out to everyone and there are people there to deal with the most difficult of situations, finding the way for each one. Thanks to those who informed us of this time and place." Youth
"When I heard about this workshop I knew as a parent I wanted to attend to gain guidance and understanding myself. But I wasn’t sure if my daughter should come with me or not. We both worried about all the rumors that might come out of this workshop, the fingers pointing that might result both from other 2nd Gen & other parents. We understood there would be the initial experience of feeling shame when other 2nd gen. saw my daughter, how she might feel seeing them too. I must say that this first process… went very quickly for everyone because of the atmosphere of total love, acceptance & even appreciation of these 2nd gen that all the staff and parents expressed & the children felt from the first moment they arrived until the last. Through the course of the workshop our hearts went through many ups and downs, but God’s deepest love was present in such a profound way that no child or parent was left for very long in a place of heartache and pain. I often heard from any blessed child who fell how lonely they feel, especially when they are in the midst of blessed children! By coming here they could realize they are not alone…I felt that in the days & years ahead they will find strength to go the course, knowing those others brothers and sisters are going together with them." Parent
"Your seriousness about creating a non-judgmental, warm environment was quite touching. While you were crystal clear about the challenges of their spiritual situation and about the course of restoration they need to follow, you also offered much hope and affirmation of their great personal value before heaven and in the providence. My prayer is that BC’s who have fallen will feel comfortable to attend this uplifting and supportive workshop. The only confrontation they will have, if any, will be with themselves. There were plenty of opportunities for reflection, counseling and give and take with peers. There is also a strong commitment by both staff and participants-including parents-to confidentiality… I have never felt so close and accepted by my brothers and sisters during my entire 36 years in our church. It was a real liberation experience." Parent
"I was challenged to share my heart in a family meeting with my wife and son. I think this had a good effect on my son and brought us closer than we have been in years. My son could now feel how much I love him and how important his future as a blessed child is to us. It was one of the best experiences of revival & rebirth that I have encountered in many years. Thank you… from the deepest part of my soul for making TP’s love real and God’s providence of the restoration of love so precious and meaningful once again." Parent
"For the past three years, my husband and I have struggled with how we could help our daughter who had fallen. We believe in a God of forgiveness and love, yet within our movement, there seemed to be no solutions as to how we could help her to be restored or at least begin a path of restoration. After the initial hurdle of arriving and greeting other participants. We began to feel an embracing love & support from the staff and could share a lot of our struggle & pain, as well as feel the heartache and deep pain of brothers and sisters of both generations. Yet, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for the courage each young person & each parent had in even coming together in this way. Through the pain and tears, I felt moments of inspiration, that through this deep pain we were feeling, there was a really beautiful, loving, giving heart being revealed each of those who had made a mistake. I felt we were being given love and support----and HOPE! This was an answer to our years of prayer and concern for her when I saw her responding positively to this workshop and feeling more and more comfortable here. I really began to feel the tremendous heart of God, the love that he has for each young person here and the parents who have suffered." Parent
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