Unification News for December 2004

Leadership Summit on Witnessing and Education - Empowering Tribal Messiahs, Growing Our Church

By Rev. Burgi Hutcherson

On October 31st the North Carolina Family Church of Peace gathered for a summit on Witnessing and Education at the Christ Rescue Temple Christian Farm under the leadership of Rev. Phillip Schanker, vice president of the FFWPU for education, and Dr. Tyler Hendricks, president of the Unification Theological Seminary. The all-day program was attended by 34 adults and 37 children.

Rev. Schanker was the emcee of the workshop. In the opening session I gave some short welcoming remarks, expressing my gratitude that renowned educators had come to help us learn more about church growth. Then Rev. Schanker passed out some personal evaluation sheets, which helped us to recognize where we were in terms of witnessing.

In the first training session we shared local reports. Rev. Tim Davis reported about the Raleigh church, Mamaru Uyama powerfully shared about his vision of the Japanese Church in Raleigh, Elise Tape spoke about the Charlotte Church, and I concluded by speaking about the birth of the Triad Church. Dr. Tyler Hendricks addressed us with a great PowerPoint presentation on the issue of effectively defining our church. It truly broadened our horizon about who we are.

After a short break we began the second session, called Heart of Witnessing: Open the Gate!, which was about getting excited about our faith, creating gates, and becoming gate openers. Mr. Bob Huneycutt gave a testimony, speaking from his heart about his own challenge in witnessing and his desire to be united with God¹s providence despite personal obstacles. Dr. Hendricks concluded the session with another great PowerPoint presentation, inspiring us to develop our own gifts and talents to offer to the heavenly providence.

Although a working lunch was on the schedule, most families decided to mingle freely and catch up with old friends.

In the afternoon Mr. Takamitsu Sakuwa and Bruce Hutcherson led the youth in sports and games, and Rev. Schanker had a session with them.

The third session dealt with the Heart of Witnessing­ Sharing our Faith, which was about developing introductory programs and witnessing through worship. Dr. Hendricks led that session.

In the break we celebrated all the October birthdays, which included those of Bruce Hutcherson and Dr. Hendricks, with cake and ice cream.

The final session dealt with community building and family-based outreach, as well as integrating new members. Our dear brother Hiroshi Goto, pastor of the Northern Virginia Family Church, led the whole session. He had just arrived that very afternoon in order to give us some very practical understanding of his growing community in Virginia. Pastor Goto did a good job answering all of our many questions.

Time was moving forward so quickly; we had to come to the conclusion. Rev. Byung Seok Cho, our regional leader (Region # 8) shared his appreciation and gratitude for the workshop. Then Rev. Schanker challenged us to write personal evaluations and take at least three action steps.

I would like to say thank-you to all who made this seminar possible. I thank Rev. and Mrs. Cho for their consistent effort to guide our witnessing outreach. Because of their vision, we have a consistent witnessing program on campus. I thank Rev. Schanker for coming to our region and sharing his love, compassion, and heart with our families, and for inviting Dr. Tyler Hendricks and Pastor Hiroshi Goto. Thanks also to the North Carolina leaders who helped to organize the event, Sharon Pace for organizing the meals and snacks, Donnie Niles for working hard as a taxi service, Takamitsu and Bruce for helping with the youth, and all the volunteers for child care.

I appreciated the workshop. It was good for us to expand our horizon about the role and mission of Tribal Messiahship. We want to do our assignment well. Witnessing overall is a big challenge for many families. In order to truly be successful, we need to resolve all family issues and marriage matters. I am planning to have another workshop that will address marriage and family issues, and Rev. Schanker told me that he would like to come back to support our families.

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