Unification News for November 2002

SFP: The Servant as Hero

by Tom Phillips

I would like to share with you is the reasons for my belief that the Service for Peace vision is in alignment with the vision of True Parents and their core teachings. My experience has indicated that Service for Peace vision can increase our level belief in the vision for creating world peace and the potential to transform ourselves and society.

The most important point that I have come to realize is that Service for Peace is for everyone. It is not just a program for youth, for service organizations, or for leaders within the organization. I expected to have the opportunity to guide others to the transformative power of service, but through associating with Service for Peace, I found my own transformation the key to becoming a change agent.

Public service seems to be an idea whose time has come. As you all know, Hyun Jin Nim recently completed a very successful world tour that featured rallies in Mongolia, Japan, United States, the Philippines and Korea. In each country there was universal enthusiasm for the idea that peace can be achieved through cooperative public service.

This seems to be a time when the message of living for others is resonating particularly strongly throughout the world. As Hyun Jin Nim says, "The winds of history are behind our back."

In Washington D.C., 364 Service for Peace volunteers received Presidentís Gold Student Service Awards, signed by George W. Bush, in recognition of their summer of service. Service for Peace volunteers in Washington DC took the Presidentís call in earnest. They worked along side public schools officials to clean and prepare schools for the coming year and, according to the Washington Post, saved the District of Columbia over $400,000 in labor costs.

In Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, participants worked side by side with Hyun Jin Nim and Jun Sook Nim including a member of parliament, a city district chief, a school principal.

In Japan, the rally of 20,000 was followed by a call to serve in a series of projects conducted throughout Tokyo.

In Manila, the Service for Peace rally of 22,000 people involved more than 100 organizations including dozens of universities. In Seoul, many people were moved by the sight of the large number of physically challenged persons who attended as the adopted brothers and sisters of Service for Peace volunteers.

President Bush started the year with a call to service. In his State of the Union Address in January he recognized the limitations of military superiority in bringing lasting peace. When he needed to talk about a long-term solution to the tensions that plague the world, he talked about public service and devoted a large portion of his speech to the idea of a new culture of responsibility.

"In the sacrifice of soldiers, the fierce brotherhood of firefighters, and the bravery and generosity of ordinary citizens," he said, "We have glimpsed what a new culture of responsibility could look like. We want to be a nation that serves goals larger than self. Weíve been offered a unique opportunity, and we must not let this moment pass. My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years - 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime - to the service of your neighbors and your nation."

In the months since the President issued that challenge, America has seen a huge increase in the numbers of people volunteering to serve others. Since January, applications for AmeriCorps are up 70 percent, the Senior Corps has seen an increase of 400 percent, and the Peace Corps, which currently has 7,000 volunteers, has received a remarkable 45,000 requests for applications.

However, the Bush administration has been frustrated with the pace at which the Presidentís initiative is being rolled out. That is why Service for Peace is being recognized as a leader promoting the Presidentís initiative for a culture of service. This notion of promoting a culture of service as the foundation for a culture of peace is contained in the Service for Peace mission statement that was written by Hyun Jin Nim well in advance of the Bush Administrationís current emphasis on service.

There is a similar surge of volunteerism in other countries. In the Philippines, the response to our rally was overwhelming. The government recently decided that mandatory military service should be replaced by public service, and at the universities, Service for Peace has led the way in facilitating this change. At some universities, the entire student body was mobilized to assist Service for Peace.

As part of the national Ďbillion tree programí Service for Peace is working together with the government to replant a whole mountain near Manila, with young people from around the country and the world providing the volunteer labor. This idea of adding a service component to the education of young people has spread throughout the world.

A Change of Lifestyle

The enthusiasm of the response to Service for Peace reminds me of the early campaigns in the Soviet Union when tens of thousands of students attended workshops. The difference this time is that we are not simply introducing these energetic and idealistic young people to an ideology - as it where then - but rather to a whole lifestyle. They leap into action and immediately see and experience the results of their efforts.

Of course, public service is not a new idea for the Unification movement. It was through Fatherís example of humble service that his followers, including his fellow prisoners in Hung Nam and Danbury, came to recognize his heart and to seek him out. Cleaning the streets of Manhattan in the 1970s was service, Home Church in the 1980s was all about service, and of course, Religious Youth Service and the IRFF have led the way in this field for many years.

Service has always been the visible expression of Divine Principle because it is an expression of love. It therefore makes sense that the entire movement should have, as its flagship, a service organization that works toward the unification of the human family. Service for Peace projects are not just focused only on service, but are strategically designed to facilitate personal transformation that impacts relationships and culture.

Long-Term Perspective

Service for Peace was founded last year with the goal of overcoming religious, racial and cultural tensions by bringing disparate groups together to work together for the sake of others. It is in selfless service, rather than tolerance alone, that the real hope of peace is found.

"Service for Peace is the visible expression of True Love," says Hyun Jin Nim, "and service is central to our identity." While service is going on throughout the world in many facets of our movement, Service for Peace can bring all these efforts together. It is a "big tent" that provides a way for those who are inspired by the vision and teaching of True Parents to be involved in an active expression of that vision.

During these past four months that I have been involved in Service for Peace, I have been constantly impressed by Hyun Jin Nimís focus on the future. He is interested in long-term investment, not immediate results, and he is very serious about creating Ďownersí of the Service for Peaceís. Heís not content with finding passive participants; he wants to inspire people to change their lifestyle and to become actively involved in public service, in living for the sake of others.

In its early development, Service for Peace will depend primarily on the energy and commitment of Unificationists.

But its reach is intended to be far broader than our movement alone. Already, there has been an astonishing level of cooperation with other agencies and institutions that share common ground with Service for Peace and who are keen to work together.

It is commonly understood that it is better to teach a person to fish than to simply give them a fish. The lesson that Service for Peace is giving is how to restore peace between disparate groups of people. Service for Peace is thus in the business of creating peacemakers. Peacemakers are those who can break down the barriers of suspicion and prejudice. They create harmony and resolve conflict. They donít wait for others to do things but are owners and take responsibility to fix things. They respond to challenge.

A rising tide lifts all boats, and right now Service for Peace is benefiting from a worldwide surge of interest in public service. At the same time, people who have experienced Service for Peace are responding with great enthusiasm and have initiated hundreds of projects all across the globe. Our challenge now is to channel this energy toward the goal of peace.

Hyun Jin Nim has often said that Service for Peace is not simply a service organization. Rather, it is a service learning organization that provides the opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds to have a transformative experience by working side by side for the sake of others. Service is the educational vehicle for the cooperative action that lays the foundation for a culture of peace.

Every Service for Peace event ends with a call to action. In that tradition I conclude this article with a call for people who are interested in becoming owners of the vision. One of the most important foundations of Service for Peace is the grassroots foundation.

Service for Peace needs owners who can identify the needs of the community and work together for the larger goals; to become catalysts drawing on the strengths of different individuals and groups in the community. There are a variety of other needs that people can fulfill by becoming service mentors for youth volunteers, helping to create newsletters, capturing photographs of service, creating music based on the theme of living for the sake of others.

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