Unification News for July 2004

Hundreds in D.C. Catch the Outreach Fire at the First-ever Quarterly Community Service

by Rev. McCarthy

Over the past year, the Washington Family Church has been undergoing a quiet revolution. Well, itís not so quiet anymore and it seems that itís starting to get downright noisy. Witnessing is about to catch on.

The beginning of the quiet revolution was the gradual process of extending more responsibility to the local community through establishing local elderís boards. This process began under Dr. Chang Shik Yangís and Rev. Phillip Schankerís leadership. In 1998 they challenged the local communities to take responsibility for a local Sunday Service once a month.

Under Rev. In Hoi Lee the process continued and on July 2, 2000, two days prior to Independence Day, Rev. Lee proclaimed "Interdependence Day." This extended more responsibility to the community with three local services and one main service at Columbia Rd. each month.

July 4, 2004, Rev. Jeong Phyo Hong has moved the bar even higher. Each community church will develop outreach efforts around a consistent local Sunday Service schedule. Rather than leaving the local church each month to participate in a main service at Columbia Rd, local services will be held every week. In addition to that, every three months, a community-wide celebration service will be held, hosted by a local community on a rotating basis.

Our first quarterly community-wide service was held July 4th. at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Our service was hosted by our local Northern Virginia Family Church community pastored by Rev. Hiroshi Goto. Over 600 members and guests from around the Washington Metro area were in attendance.

This was our opportunity to provide a celebratory, uplifting, exciting service that would touch the hearts of new guests and, at the same time, display our wonderful heavenly tradition in a manner that expressed a quiet confidence in what we believe

The service was a collage of sounds, images, uplifting music, multi-media, choirs, beach balls flying into the crowd, candy mint projectiles dangerously hurled at peopleís heads nearly putting out everybodyís eye. It was heavenly. . . and the kidís had a great time, too! (especially throwing mints at old heads!)

Most inspiring were the compelling testimonies from new members, and a touching new video produce by Columbia Rd. Productions.

The video presentation, "Crown of Glory," beautifully blended historical photos of True Parents with the lyrics of Fatherís poem, "Crown of Glory" written when Father was just 16 years old. The video was set to a moving musical piece that created such a holy and touching atmosphere. Many were moved to tears, including guests.

The high point of the service, however, was the video presentation, "What Brought Us Here." This was a fifteen minute video presentation of the testimonies of six people who recently decided to join our family. They told the story of what it was that led them to our movement and what caused them to join.

Those involved in outreach couldnít get enough of those precious fifteen minutes and those not yet involved in outreach found new inspiration to try again. Most importantly, those new guests in attendance could hear a most significant message and could begin to recognize the same voice calling from within.

It is clear that God is leading a new generation of Americans to our True Parents. We must value them and thank God for each person who responds to the Principle, many of whom are now reporting of visions and dreams of True Parents. If we donít reach out and embrace the people God is sending how can we have hope to evangelize those that are still laboring under the popular misconceptions of our movement?

There is a growing confidence spreading in the Washington region. It is being fueled by two elements. The first is a growing awareness that God is leading people to our movement and, secondly, that regionally and locally we are investing in quality programs that can bring those people to a full commitment to our True Parents.

In a prepared message delivered by Rev. Phillip Schanker, Dr. Chang Shik Yang challenged all present with the following words:

"Let us prepare for company! As more and more people realize the beauty of God's ideal, the reality of the fall and the hope of restoration, America can rise to fulfill its original purpose and destiny in God's providence."

We have to be ready to turn America around one person at a time.

Our next community-wide celebration service will be in October. One proposed change: no more flying hard candiesÖ next time, try gummy bears!

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