The Words of the Cromwell Family

The Building of Cheon Bok Gung -- A Summary to Date

Tossa Cromwell
June 2010

Tossa Cromwell is the main interpreter for True Parents, as well as the Korean translator and website editor for HSA-UWC America. He accompanied Reverend Jin Hwa Chung and Mr. Richard Bach in March, 2010 on the Cheon Bok Gung Providence Tour, touring twelve cities throughout the United States as support staff and interpreter for the main presenter. He lives with his wife of ten years and four children in Buchanan, New York.

For our first installment of news on the progress of the building of Cheon Bok Gung, we have prepared a summary of the developments to date. For the sake of clarity, we have provided a background summary of the recent history of the Unification Church in Korea and the public course of the international president of the Unification Church, Reverend Hyung Jin Moon, highlighting his education and training history, and illustrating how his life course and leadership approach have played a part in recent developments of the building of Cheon Bok Gung. We have also provided an outline of the founding purpose of Cheon Bok Gung, successes so far, and how we can all contribute towards the construction of the Completion-stage Cheon Bok Gung.

The dedication ceremony for the Growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung (Unification Peace Temple) was held on February 21, 2010 in attendance of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humanity. Also known as the Unification International Headquarters Church, the new church building is located in Yongsan, Seoul and serves as the new Korean Unification Church Headquarters. The former Korean Unification Church Headquarters building was the well-known church in Cheong Pa Dong, where True Father gave many speeches. The Cheong Pa Dong Unification Church Headquarters had been designated the Formation Stage Holy Ground by True Father, the training center in Kuri the Growth Stage Holy Ground, and the training center in Chung Pyung the Completion Stage Holy Ground.

For many years in Korea, before Reverend Hyung Jin Moon's inauguration as president of the Korean movement on April 18, 2008, the focus had not been on developing the church. In the late 90's, the focus was on bringing people to the Holy Blessing Ceremony. Many Korean men were matched and blessed in marriage to sisters from the Philippines, Taiwan and other East Asian countries. Another important focus in the late 90's and early 2000's was the Chung Pyung providence. Also in the 2000's, as in other countries around the world, reaching out to society's leaders to expand the Ambassador for Peace foundation was an important focus, which included the San Su Hae activities, which involved preparing and organizing group mountain hikes. Another important aspect of the providence in Korea was to build up a real political foundation, represented by the Family Party. In early 2008, one of True Parents' biggest focus was to bring victory in this area, but unfortunately our movement was not up to the challenge and the Family Party gained only 1.1% of the national vote in the April elections. None of the 248 election candidates made it into office.

During this time, Reverend Hyung Jin Moon attended Harvard University, majoring in Philosophy, and graduated in June 2004. From there, he went on to complete his Masters in Comparative Religions, attained at Harvard Divinity School in June 2006. As a divinity student, Reverend Moon made pilgrimages to holy sites around the world, including Rome, Dahram Sallah, China, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines. He met famous religious leaders, such as the Dalai Lama and Buddhist monk Beobjang. Going to Harvard Divinity School was one of the goals True Parents had given to the True Children. Reverend Moon had been Blessed in marriage with Yeon-Ah Lee, daughter of Seung-Dae Lee and Eun-Jeong Joo (777 Couples Blessing Ceremony) on September 6, 1997. When True Parents visited their home on May 13, 2003, they were so impressed with the harmonious relationship between husband and wife that they gave a title to their home: Cheon Hwa Dang (Home of Heavenly Harmony) and to the couple: Cheon Ae Bu Bu (Husband and Wife of Heavenly Love). From August to November, 2005, Reverend Moon oversaw five Cheon Hwa Dang workshops held at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) in Barrytown, New York, in which he taught meditation practices and other methods to advance mind-body unity.

After his graduation, Reverend Moon went to attend his parents at the Cheon Jeong Gung (Dwelling Place of Heavenly Righteousness) for which the entrance and coronation ceremony was held on June 13, 2006. At the time, True Father was so serious about attending God at Cheon Jeong Gung that he was determined not to sleep there. Instead, he took short naps while his driver took him for a drive around the surrounding area. In fact, True Father did not want to leave the Cheon Jeong Gung because he wanted to make sure that God would always feel welcome there. He may have never left the Cheon Jeong Gung if Reverend Moon had not offered to watch over it for True Parents. With their son Hyung Jin attending God at the Cheon Jeong Gung, they felt comfortable enough to leave and attend to other matters. On September 1-8, 2006, Reverend Moon offered 12,000 bows at Cheon Jeong Gung. He also wrote a letter of determination to True Parents.

Reverend Moon has been engaged in devotional practices ever since his elder brother Young Jin died. He had looked up to his elder brother, who had been studying Eastern religions and was a straight-A student. Determined to take up where his brother had left off, Reverend Moon engaged in religious studies, particularly of Eastern religions, and determined to become a straight-A student himself. On October 28, 2000, one year and one day after his brother's passing; he began his first seven-year course of offering daily early morning devotion at 3 a.m. He is currently in the middle of his second seven-year course, which began on October 28, 2007.

From September 11, 2006 to January 12, 2007, Reverend Moon oversaw Cheon Il Guk Citizen Workshops at the Cheong Shim Graduate School of Theology in Chung Pyung, South Korea. On January 19, 2007, he founded the Cheon Il Educational Center with the purpose of giving proper education centering on True Parents' teachings. From March, 2007 until now, he has visited Japanese churches every week. While visiting Japan, he eats and sleeps in church centers together with members and does not accept special donations that are offered to him.

Reverend Moon's life as an official church pastor started on August 5, 2007. From then until November 25, 2007, he held Cheon Guk Member Services at the Mapo Unification Church Center in the Western Seoul Region. On December 1, 2007, he was inaugurated as the Main Pastor of the Korean Unification Church Headquarters, Cheong Pa Dong Church, in Cheong Pa Dong city, South Korea, based on True Father's direction. From then, he held Cheon Il Guk Member Services at the headquarters church. What started as a 60-member congregation in Mapo city expanded to a 4,000-member congregation by August 2008. Reverend Moon held five services every week: the English service on Saturday, three Korean services on Sunday and one Korean service on Wednesday. As the church leader, his attitude was not to take from members in any way. Rather, he expanded his devotional lifestyle, inviting members to join him in bows, meditation, Hoon Dok Hae, cleaning bathrooms, visiting children's hospitals and other activities, starting at 3 a.m. every morning. He visited members' homes and bestowed calligraphy on the families as True Parents had on his own family. His sermons encouraged and empowered members, asking them to be confident in their faith as members of the Unification Church.

Seeing his exemplary success as a church leader in terms of his devotional lifestyle, his service to church members, and the growth of his church services, True Parents gave Reverend Moon responsibility over the entire worldwide Unification Church foundation, and of the Korean Unification Church specifically, on April 18, 2008. After this appointment, Reverend Moon many times expressed that he felt an immense burden, which had been alleviated in part by True Father's words to him to not worry too much because there would be many people to help him. With less than a year of experience as a church leader, he had to deal with all the complicated issues inherent to running a worldwide movement of faith, as well as attend True Parents representing all the members in the world. While many people may have resorted to a life of meetings and public talks, etc., Reverend Moon kept the same tradition he had developed as a church leader in Mapo city. Even as the international president of the Unification Church, he continued to hold devotional services at 3 a.m. every morning, visited members' homes, consistently gave encouragement to members in his sermons and devoted himself in general to serving members. When he went to give the sermon, he would first go around and shake hands with and greet every member who had come to attend the service. He developed the Seong Ae Sik (Ceremony of Sincerity and Love), at which members came and received Seong Ae Cho (Candle of Sincerity and Love) candles and handkerchiefs in order to remember and keep the special tradition of honoring True Parents' most honored virtues. True Father told Reverend Moon that the most important virtue is sincerity, while True Mother told him that it is love. These two virtues became the virtues that Reverend Moon is working the hardest to emulate, and he also hopes that members will join in this new tradition.

Growth of Cheon Bok Gung

In the middle of 2008, after Reverend Moon's appointment as international president of the church, seeing that he was going to continue devoting himself to ministry, True Parents gave Reverend Moon the mission of growing his church to a size of 20,000. The Cheong Pa Dong Korean Unification Church Headquarters has a capacity of approximately 800 -- 1,000. Even with five services a week, at a membership of 4,000, the headquarters church had reached its maximum viable capacity. There were many instances that there were not enough seats in the main sanctuary so members had to watch the service via a screen in the café on the first floor or while standing at the rear of the main sanctuary.

Given this goal of growing the church to 20,000 members, Reverend Moon encouraged members to witness to our True Parents, to let the world know that the Messiah, Savior, Returning Lord and True Parents are here on the earth! A large sign covered the front of the Cheong Pa Dong sanctuary, which said, "Vision 20,000-3." The "3" signified that members should each make the goal to witness to three members. If each member could at least witness to three new members, then it would be possible for the church as a whole to grow to a size of 20,000. Reverend Moon did not want members to be afraid by the goal of 20,000, so he added the "3" to the end to show what he expected from each member. He also started a fundraising campaign for the new church building.

Though 20,000 was a large goal, apparently True Parents felt that it was not a large enough number, considering the size of the Korean nation. True Father gave Reverend Moon a new goal: to increase the size of his congregation to 210,000. In October 10-14, 2008, True Parents organized the very first Original Divine Principle Workshop in Kona, Hawaii, the official title of which was, "The Education Session Proclaiming the Completion of the Liberated Realm of the Portion of Responsibility in God's Providential History" There was a steep fee to participate, yet everyone who was invited came faithfully. This was one of the first official workshops True Parents organized in order to educate the Boonbongwangs (True Father explained their role to be that of kings who unite people or groups that were previously divided). Boonbongwangs are among the most senior Korean Unification Church leaders still active. Each is responsible for a nation, and though they do not replace the National Messiahs, many are also National Messiahs of a nation; whereas, National Messiahs are responsible to save their nations as Messiahs, Boonbongwangs are responsible to bring their nations to become part of the Abel UN and to represent True Parents as the King and Queen of Cosmic Peace in their nations.

It was at this workshop, which hosted virtually all the top leaders of our movement internationally, including all the major leaders from Korea, Japan and America, as well as True Children Reverend Hyung Jin Moon, Reverend In Jin Moon, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, Kook Jin Moon and, that the Cheon Bok Gung providence was announced. On October 12, True Father bestowed the title Cheon Bok Gung for a new temple that would bring world peace and unity. He told the leaders, "Cheon Bok Gung, to be built in Korea, the new Jerusalem and homeland of faith, will serve as a foundation for substantiating Cheon Il Guk by January 13, 2013. Because this temple will complete the Abel U.N. providence, all peoples around the world should consider this their greatest responsibility and work together for its completion."

At Hoon Dok Hae the next morning, True Father asked Reverend Hyung Jin Moon to report to the leaders about Cheon Bok Gung. Showing the paper with True Father's calligraphy bestowing the new title, Reverend Moon explained about the vision for Cheon Bok Gung, and especially about a dream in which his brother Young Jin had appeared and said, "Returning Resurrection!" He said that he realized that the message his brother wanted to give him was connected to the teaching in the Divine Principle related to returning resurrection. Namely, spirit people of all faiths are supposed to guide people on the earth who share the same faith to the Second Coming of Christ. Through doing so, and when the people on the earth serve and attend the Second Coming, the spirit people can attain returning resurrection. This realization was part of the foundation for the design of the Prayer and Devotion Room, which is one of the revolutionary features of the Growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung. More on that soon.

Through Reverend Moon would have liked to immediately start building a sanctuary for 210,000 people, an intermediary step was prudent. Therefore, plans were drawn for three-stage development of Cheon Bok Gung. First, the Cheong Pa Dong Korean Unification Church Headquarters was renamed the Formation-stage Cheon Bok Gung. Second, a church building with a capacity of 20,000 would be prepared as a Growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung. Third, and finally, the Completion- stage Cheon Bok Gung will be built, as not only the World Unification Church Headquarters but also the international headquarters of the Abel UN and all providential organizations founded by True Parents.

Tongil Group Chairman Kook Jin Moon played a major role in the fundraising and logistic preparations for the building of the Growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung. The Tongil Group and its subsidiary companies donated a total of 4.9 billion won () for its construction. Members in Korea donated 26.2 billion won. Members in Japan donated 75.3 billion won. Members in other continents donated 2.9 billion won. True Parents and True Children donated 3.4 billion won. So a total of 105.6 billion won was donated, of which 85 billion won was spent on purchasing the building that was later renovated into the Growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung: the new Korean Unification Church Headquarters in Yongsan city, South Korea; also known as Yongsan Resident Hall. Renovation of the building and other costs added up to 11.1 billion won. The balance will be applied to the building of the Completion-stage Cheon Bok Gung.

According to Korean daily newspaper Segye Ilbo, the head of the Taego Korean Buddhist Order, Monk In Gong was surprised to see a portrait of Buddha included in the Prayer and Devotion Room on the first floor of the Cheon Bok Gung. It is a room in which prayers and devotion can be offered to portraits representing Mohammad, Confucius, Buddha and Jesus, which are on the wall, and the two chairs which represent True Parents. Monk In Gong was quoted by Segye Ilbo to say, "By creating a trans-religious space, International President Hyung Jin Moon is embracing all religions and bringing Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon's movement for world peace one step forward."

At the first service held at the Growth-stage Cheon Bok Gung, Reverend Moon cautioned that the new church building is not the destination point, but merely part of the process to the building of the Completion- stage Cheon Bok Gung. He added that the spirit world is working to help us bring victory in the building of the Completion-stage Cheon Bok Gung. In fact, Jesus and his twelve disciples appeared to Reverend Moon in a dream thanking him for offering devotion in the Prayer and Devotion Room and promising to bring people to Cheon Bok Gung.

Expenses for the Completion-stage Cheon Bok Gung are estimated at 500 million dollars (800 billion won). In a national sermon on March 7, 2010, President and CEO of the Unification Church in America Reverend In Jin Moon encouraged all members in America, "The completion stage of the Unification Peace Temple (Cheon Bok Gung) is an incredible opportunity to take part in the actual building of the temple. This is a wonderful opportunity for each and every one of us to participate, to donate, and to have our names engraved in the peace temple that represents all the world's religions in one place." Donors of $12,000 dollars will have their names engraved for eternity on a plaque in the Completion-stage Cheon Bok Gung. Donors of $1 million or more will have rooms in the Completion-stage Cheon Bok Gung named after them. Donors of $3,600 or more will have their names added to an official record of all Cheon Bok Gung donors. 

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