The Words of the Francis Family
Farewell to Rev. Dr. John Paul Hong after 16 years in America
July 2, 2006
Washington Family Church ~ Peace King Education Center
On Sunday, July 2, 2006, over 800 people gathered to participate in a special transition ceremony. After 24 years of service from nine different Korean regional directors, we came to the close of one era and the start of the next.
It was a bright and beautiful morning as we began our service led by Rev. Michael Marshall, himself a former pastor of our community in the 80ís and now the chair of our advisory board. The Peace King Chamber Choirled by Mrs. Susan Osmond and made up of former New Hope Singers International members and others, led us in the Cheon Il Guk National Anthem, "Blessing of Glory".
As one of his final official duties as Regional Director, Rev Hong assisted Dr. Chang Shik Yang in the Conferment of the new Holy Items to our Regional Pastors Team. Eight areas in all were represented. Rev. Randy Francis, Washington, DC ; Rev. Angelika Selle, New Hope Family Church; Rev. Hiroshi Goto, NOVA Family Church; Rev. Adrien Bayo, Richmond Family Church; Rev. Young Chul Jang, KEA; Rev. Ilemabia Mabua, Baltimore Family Church; Mr. Ian Berry, Montgomery Co. Family Church; Mrs. Yasuko Jang, Norfolk Family Church.
We then had a series of testimonies given as a look back on the last 3 years of work with Rev. Hong in our region. First Hiroshi Goto started off with some of the background of the power and fast action that Rev. Hong brought to our region. He explained that it was evident early on that Rev. Hong was a man of action. "We have had this church, which was formerly a Mormon, church since 1977. Every leader felt that the stage was uncomfortable for True Father to move around on with the Mormon styling. Rev. Hong came in and within two months made the proposal and then acted on the necessary changes in time for the September 7th 2003 Holy Wine CIG ceremony to take place". Rev. Goto also commented that "most of us think about things over and over and over until so much time has passed that we have to rethink it again. Rev. Hong catches the wave and rides it to its fullest. Just as with Hoon Dok Family Church, he studied Fatherís words, then set in action a leadership training session the next day. Without a doubt I had to join it ,even though it meant giving up my baseball tickets for Friday night".
Next Min. Chisoni Ngoma from Zimbabwe spoke on the witnessing efforts that Rev. Hong was constantly encouraging. Just like in fishing, Rev. Hong would say, "You need to have your hook in the water and the tasty bait ready; try one area, then try another until you get the bite. Your hook is you being out in the community and the bait is the Divine Principle that has the answers all people are looking for." Min. Ngoma recounted the numerous programs begun in Washington and throughout our region. The visible signs were the new spiritual children in the audience inspired by the work of these teams. Chisoni also shared the heart of hope that Rev. Hong put into the BuZa teaching method of one on one DP study. This method is now clearly the core of how we can confidently grow our Family Home Churches.
Rev. Kevin McCarthy, our senior pastor, concluded the look back, explaining he was put at the end because of his tendency to shed tears. He recalled the sometimes heated opposition to some of Rev. Hongís ideas and how he never once heard or even felt that Rev. Hong had some negative feeling toward those opposed to what he was presenting. Others surely would have exploded, he said. Rev. Hongís heart was always to give an ear to comments and find the solution. Rev. Hong based all of his actions on the Divine Principle view. He really focused on how to teach the principle to clergy in ways they can understand and use. He also has a deep heart of concern for the youth of our clergy contacts. He began the ACLC of Washington, DCís Sports League. This league produced 3 teams that have gone on to win the gold and other medals at the IPSF in Korea.
As a conclusion of the testimonies a letter was read from Dr. Yang and Rev. Jenkins explaining the history of, and the honor and dignity that each of the regional directors have accomplished in guiding the elder son nation into the proper position for this transition.
Dr. Yang then came forward to officiate in the transition ceremony. He explained how he has watched the American church as we have been learning from each of the Korean leaders. He knows of many of the struggles both sides have experienced. He said the greatest proof of our success is that True Father has honored these leaders with doctorate degrees. This is based not only on their efforts, but on our entire nationís success. Now as these leaders go back to the Fatherland and on to new missions, let us keep one unified heart to save the whole world. Keep pushing for world peace through the MEPI, ACLC, AFP, and most importantly Hoon Dok Family Church.
A special national level plaque was then offered to Rev. and Mrs. Hong. Dr. Arnold Howard, our regional ACLC Co-Chairman with Rev. Hong gave encouraging remarks and commented that Korea was gaining a powerhouse.
Rev. Hong then spoke on his sincere hope for our continued success in this busy region of the nationís capital. He explained his 16 years in America as going from tourist to immigrant to citizenship and now back to the Fatherland. He told us of learning English from a great homeless teacher in Grand Central Station, who even years later showed respect when they met again. After graduating from UTS, he began his leadership missions as state leader in Idaho with 3 families, then in Pennsylvania, where he worked toward bringing white and black racial unity. Then as NJ regional director during 9/11 and the precious time he spent translating the daily HDH at East Garden. Rev. Hong expressed that this experience directly with Fatherís word really strengthened him greatly.
In conclusion the staff of the Washington Family Church offered a large photo of the Peace King Center, the crown jewel that Rev. Hong will be remembered for. He stated that with the thousands of Washingtonians that travel by this church daily they will read the words "Peace King" and their lives can be blessed by True Parents. And if they come and touch the water flowing from the 3 level fountain their lineage will be blessed.
The acting regional director, Rev. Randy Francis, and his wife Kumiko were introduced with a bouquet of flowers.
As a benediction Rev. Hong spoke that we should all take on a leadership role. "Be like a locomotive to lead and guide this city and nation. We will meet again in the Fatherland soon."
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