The Words of the Morrow Family

A letter from Joy Morrow of the New Hope Academy, Landover Hills, Maryland

October 26, 2012

Thank you for your supportive comments about New Hope and me. I never read these sites that talk about church affairs, and I don't actually do much with the church, though I try my best to serve my community, both Unification Church and non-Unification Church. So I was surprised someone wrote kindly of our efforts, and I thank you.

It's been a privilege to take on a mission, that I genuinely feel Heaven led me to do, and it is a joy to know that it has enriched my life and family, and the lives of many others and their families too. I honestly believe we are each meant to find our passion, and our gifts and just put our heart and soul into doing our personal best, so God can use us. The mission that calls to us may not be huge, but the results will be valuable, if it touches even one life.

I have had the honor to work closely with Beverly Berndt for 22 years here at New Hope Academy, and in my opinion she's my "Mother Theresa" of the Unification Church movement. We both joke that you can get a whole lot done if you don't give a damn who gets the credit….

We've been fortunate here at NHA to be free to create a working environment where folks are empowered, and we do our best to practice and model principled relationships every day. We pray together daily and often, …teachers, parents and children. And only about 10% are Unification Church members…but God is the heart of our school and the center of our relationships; that's why it works. When you are working with kids this is the most important thing…because they watch your every word and move and you have to be clear how you interact and model relationships.

Often in our movement Principle was "talked but never walked" especially in our organizations and structure. So its no surprise people feel undervalued and not respected, and not loved…. And that our members and now our children feel disillusioned. Its possible to actually create that "world" that we joined to build…but we have to take the bull by the horns and do it…. Its tough, hard, messy, painful work…but its the only real work that counts. It is the work of genuinely figuring out how to bring Heaven's love and perspective into any situation, no matter how hard it is. It's all about relationships; principled relationships that we have asked God to be a part of….

I feel a lot of what we need to do as a movement is to empower our members. The first generation was never supported, encouraged or even allowed to take initiative. Father encouraged it to the max, but Asian leadership discouraged it completely and they were in complete control. And the good obedient members failed to assert themselves, and were unwilling to take the flack and judgment that was sure to come if they did so…and so our movement stalled, as it stayed under the thumb of leadership that did not understand our American culture, values or what would have mass appeal to this country.

Our movement has never, ever developed our American leaders…never! Their ideas weren't valued. We drew some amazing people to our movement, but the best they got were figurehead positions, rubber stamp boards, and top down dictates…all of which is contrary to our culture and how Heaven can work in America. We need grass roots leadership, responsibility that comes with REAL authority and fearlessness to go where God leads us, …by our hearts….

If the movement has any hope to survive and prosper, the 2nd generation must be strongly encouraged to step out, follow their passion and lead. They don't need anyone's permission, …they have Heaven's. As for first generation, I personally think we have a lot of untapped potential, and a tremendous amount of experience under our belts. But we have been waiting 40 years for someone to tell us it was OK to pursue our passion… "and it ain't ever gonna happen." They too need to simply figure out what Heaven calls them to do and do it…. to hell with permission…. to hell with the leaders not liking it. "You must become a messiah." …Father said this! And you never will if you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do! We are all a reflection of a different aspect of God. We all have a portion of the vision, that we can manifest. The Messiah isn't to be worshiped; rather, model that example, the charisma and guts to do what has to be done….

This will either be a time of liberation for each person, or a time when the movement dies or turns into another soulless religious institution. I believe Father was right. If we do our job well, who needs a church. We joined a movement, not a institutionalized organization. So let's be a movement of people who truly believe and live the principles that inspired us to give our lives to this movement. Let those who want to fight over money and position and power do whatever they want. I simply can't give them my time, my heart, my money, or my energy. It simply messes with my spiritual life, and saps my energy.

We each need to figure out what calls to our hearts, how we can build a part of the dream and claim our freedom to build the kingdom of heaven, as it has been shown to each of us. We came here because we each saw a piece of the vision. Figure out what part you can build….and do it. I still love the original spirit and heart of this movement, and I always will. It's simply time to quite bitching about what's wrong, and personally figure out what "I" can do that's right and good and what makes my life meaningful….and Do It!!!

I am happy to support sisters and brothers in this effort in any way I can. And you can freely share what I have written if you think anyone might find it useful.

Joy Morrow 

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