The Words of the Tokuno Family

Unification Church in Japan's Guidelines for Raising Our Younger Members

Eiji Tokuno
July 2013
Japanese Unification Movement Weekly News

They are the second-generation middle school, high school and university students.... If second-generation members can change direction, the restoration of Canaan, a new country, will be achieved. In other words, we must be restored into Canaan while leading the second-generation members. Do you understand?
"Let Us Find Our True Selves" -- Sun Myung Moon -- March 10, 1994

FFWPU can have a future only if our young people survive. Today's society demands people of talent; it pays attention to and invests in fostering talented people. Our community is not an exception. We can say that the future of the Unification Church in Japan and the success or failure of Vision 2020 and God's providence depends on our interest in and education of young people. If we are to think of a bright future for our community, it is necessary that we transform our church, which excessively focuses on elderly members.

By 2020, Japanese society is to be on a firm foundation of True Parents' teachings, love and upright tradition. We therefore need to prepare our young people from now so that they can take responsibility when that time comes. Unification Church in Japan will do everything in our capacity to bring growth and revival among our young people. If someone were to ask us, How can we build for the future? Unification Church in Japan would answer, Education.

What, then, do we mean by education? Education is learning how to learn. We pursue education through which young people can find the truth and true love by themselves, a process of obtaining wisdom that teaches methods of learning and practicing. Furthermore, Unification Church in Japan is pursuing education that parents and children partake of together.

Raising Messengers

Unification Church in Japan aims to raise heralds of happiness and peace for humanity that strive to live up to the ideal expressed in Love Heaven, Love People and Love the Nation. God desires these ideal, talented people and Unification Church in Japan is trying to foster young members of that caliber.

Some people are easily angered or lose their temper in response to outside stimulus; in contrast, someone that exercises self-control is stronger. This person will not budge and will preserve his or her piece of mind in the midst of the stormiest of environments.

The model young people Unification Church in Japan aims to foster are strong students that can maintain unwavering temperament, heart and faith. Unification Church in Japan is trying to raise strong young people that have self-respect and self-control, making them well equipped to love others and win the hearts of others. Self- respect and self-control are qualities gained in a family and church through faith-based education and experiences.

Unification Church in Japan is investing effort into building happy, ideal families because our young people's future, God's providence and the Unification Church depend on them. We have so far failed to raise our young people in a morally, spiritually, and emotionally proper manner. Hence, a very important task the family and church must conduct is to plant the proper values, the standard of goodness, the truth and true love in them. Unification Church in Japan is trying to produce education that acids truth to devotion, good character to truth, and love to good character.

If we invest more effort and practice sharing and true love, the future will become much brighter and the world will become a happy one. I sincerely hope that the seven billion people can live in a better world and have felicity. Please carry on True Father's work and become peace- loving global citizens.
Hak Ja Han -- HC 1.11 -- February 20, 2013

Develop affinity toward young people. To succeed in loving them with a parental heart, the religious leader must not focus on young people's behavior at first but must first be able to comprehend young people's hearts, understand and empathize with them. Instead of passing quick judgment on someone, pointing out his or her behavior and directing the person based on that, try to feel the person's heart and develop a sense of kinship.

Dynamic Worship Services

Many wonders occurred in Unification Church in Japan's early days because of the Holy Spirit and the word. These qualities resolved the anguish and anxiety felt by young people in those days. Therefore, it is necessary for worship services and education conducted for young people to be structured so that young people recognize the principle conveyed to them as the truth that can save them and resolve their problems before they grasp it as knowledge.

In other words, teachings should focus on resolving the problems of the young people first before teachings are given in an abstract or simply declarative manner. In addition, worship services and education should not be leader-centered. They must be broadened, becoming worship services and education that young people can voluntarily participate in.

At a New Vision -- Young People Rally, Dr. Yong Cheon Song speaks about Christian firebrand William Smith Clark's 1876 exhortation to Japanese boys to be ambitious. Rev. Eiji Tokuno stirs up the audience and exuberant young people express themselves

Small Groups

Only when a believer realizes the truth personally and practices love, does the truth take root in the heart. This is why our movement values self-initiated activities for genuine internal growth. Education on faith in the family and church is undeniably different from school education. Therefore, it is necessary to enable young people to express their thoughts, to plan and to practice varied activities that they can implement in their lives and local communities through the harmony of theoretical and practical education.

Such self-initiated activities will help our young people develop reasonable and holistic thinking while enhancing their power of execution. Furthermore, it will strengthen curiosity and intellectual growth. These educational activities will help develop their capabilities as future leaders.

Professional Education for Youth Ministers

Having one person in charge of young people that man- ages everything alone is a common reality in many Japanese churches. The frequent change of youth leaders has also sown confusion among young people or resulted in a halt in their growth.

Therefore, we must provide our youth ministers with continuous educational support, equipping them with expertise and more than the basic knowledge needed in guiding our youth. Efforts must be made to maintain continuity of leadership. Additionally, churches must ensure the division in management roles regarding the care of young people.

Continually Improve Digital Facilities

Religious groups are utilizing all kinds of media to enhance the effect of their education. The twenty-first century might be called the age of media. Many, too, are paying more attention to and investing in media space specifically for young people. Hence, we must ensure that the space and facilities that each church possesses for its young people is at least not poor compared to the facilities in other places. The quality of allotted space for young people in a church shows the future of that church. We can no longer focus on education based on traditional revivals or on having one strong leader as the source of knowledge. Education and activities for young people must first be fun and interesting. Only by channeling their natural propensity to indulge in media-based activities in a faith-oriented direction can the effect of their education increase greatly.

The line of the Japanese Holy Song they are singing in unison is "Life begins on the day you are embraced by Parents' love."

Establish Healthy Relationships

The relationships between the youth leader and young members and among the young people are essential in church life. Young people in particular grow more from momentary personal interactions with their leader than from anything the youth leader is trying to teach.

In addition, the natural relationships built among the young people can heal minds and bodies exhausted from school life; church activities should help students to experience delight and satisfaction in their lives. Therefore, it is essential that the church create an atmosphere that can ensure the establishment of desirable relationships. Churches must also guide young people to find pride and self-esteem in their faith by naturally inducing them to participate in voluntary services for the local community.

Quality Educational Material

Young people want to challenge themselves in new areas. We must not conduct boring worship services that take place always in the same manner. Instead, even if it is a program conducted at a set time, we should implement a variety of changes in how it is conducted. Furthermore, the message must fit the age and maturity level of the audience. Speak to the actual people in the seats. Find what moves them. In each church, a set percentage of donations must be allocated toward educating and fostering young people.

Bequeath Our Faith and Traditions

When it comes to educating young people, our most important focus is on raising them to inherit the traditions and faith of the Unification Church. Therefore, it is essential that churches clearly teach their young people the value and meaning of church traditions and continually teach different aspects of church life. Frequent reminders about our traditions can help them develop the habit of practicing them.

Japanese National Leader Eiji Tokuno and his wife Hisae at a joint rally for regions 12 (North Kyushu) and 13 (South Kyushu)

Community Life, Teamwork Training

One noticeable feature of adolescence is the formation of peer groups. Through peer groups, young people find stability and a sense of belonging while developing their faith and character. Hence, we encourage teamwork training that will enable young people to experience faith.

Career Counseling and School Entrance

Guide young people toward their future. The burdens of school entrance examinations and employment are the biggest obstacles when counseling young people on their lives of faith, because these are connected to their career and their near future. For this reason, the church should plant the proper outlook in its young people regarding their studies and employment from the standpoint of the Principle. We should provide the appropriate education and guidance that will enable our young members to recognize the purpose and significance of schooling and employment.

In order to do that, we need to understand each individual's aptitude. We need to know how each conducts his or her school and social lives as Unification Church members and as children of blessed couples. We should teach them to use their capacities to resolve problems related to studies, friendship, employment, health, etc. For example, we could conduct programs to help our young people naturally address their concerns by inviting high school seniors to lectures at which personal counseling is offered to them.

Young members play traditional instruments to enliven the audience at a regional rally.

A New Vision, Rallies with Young People

The hopes of our FFWPU community will rise as we develop hope in our young people for their future. With this conviction, Unification Church in Japan is working on strengthening our young people's foundation in relation to Vision 2020. To launch this effort we are holding the New Vision -- Young People Rally in all thirteen regions in Japan. Young people, the driving force of our future, are naturally the center of this. However, the most dramatic changes through this rally are occurring in parents and pastors.

The success of youth ministry and youth education depend on the awareness, attitude, goals and expectations parents and pastors hold. Taking this into consideration, the ongoing New Vision -- Young People Rally series is enabling parents and pastors to develop affinity with the values of young people and the importance of their education. It is also providing young people the opportunity to realize their identity and capability independently. The results of education take time to develop. Unification Church in Japan has begun investing in young people. It will continue to invest in young people.

On June 29, the New Vision -- Young People Rally was launched in district nine. By the end of the summer, 7,500 young people from eleven of Japan's thirteen regions had been at one of these rallies.

We organized it as a festival of harmony for middle school and high school Seonghwa students, members of CARP and other university students in each district and other young people from the region. Chairman of the Federation of Blessed Family Associations in Japan Yong Cheon Song and his wife came to the rally and participated with the district leaders, pastors, youth ministers and student ministers.

The rally is divided into two parts. We called the first a channel for affinity. In it, Rev. Song gives his message and several young people give testimonies. The second part has cultural performances by each regional church headquarters.

We called it a channel for participation and harmony.

Rev. Song's message encouraged audience members to realize the value of inheriting the tradition of our Heavenly Parent and the True Parents of Heaven. Earth and Humankind and to play a major role in shaping the future of FFWPU in Japan and Vision 2020. He said, "If True Parents were participating in this rally themselves, I am sure they would have said, 'We are proud of you.' Please have big dreams and visions. True Parents said, `Go out onto the world, understand the world and come back to Japan with a new heart. -- Rev. Song then sincerely asked the young people, "Please become leaders of Japan and then move on to become significant figures on the global level."

On July 1, True Mother spoke to Rev. Song by telephone and conveyed a message related to the summer rallies, "From now on, Japan must accelerate the fostering of those in younger generations. Our future is brightly illuminating. I plan to actively sponsor the youth education and activities of second generation-members." She also said, "It is my hope that a global leader in the true sense emerges. It is my hope that a global leader that can lead the UN, a global leader in the diplomatic field that can resolve problems of territories in conflict and a global peace leader like Father or Mother that can lead the world appears among second- generation members."

This rally became a means of achieving harmony and unity between students and other young people. Most importantly, it provided a good opportunity through which many people realized the importance of investing in and educating our young people once again. 

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