Overview of TribeNet 2017

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December 18 marked the conclusion of TribeNet, a workshop for tribal messiahs from all around the nation to share their testimonies and best practices, take a pilgrimage to True Parents’ favorite sites, and enjoy some of the wonderful family entertainment of Las Vegas. From December 15 to last night, the various tribal messiahs inspired and motivated one in fulfilling their mission of blessing 430 couples while staying at the International Peace and Education Center (IPEC).

When the workshop kicked off on Friday, the tribal messiahs had the opportunity to listen to multiple leaders of the Unification movement in America discuss tribal messiahship. FFWPU USA President Rev. Richard Buessing gave the opening remarks, explaining that the purpose of the weekend was to learn from one another, making valuable memories in honor of God and True Parents. FFWPU Continental Chairman Dr. Ki Hoon Kim speaking on the five main best practices of the American movement in 2017, his hopes looking forward to 2018, and the importance of maintaining one’s life of faith through the ups and downs of life.

In one of the most memorable moments from the weekend, Co-Chair of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) Dr. Michael Jenkins and his wife Reiko Jenkins shared their testimony about completing 430 Holy Wine Blessings this year. The tribal messiahs roared with laughter while listening, as the Jenkins shared their lessons learned with gracious and self-effacing humor. Click here to read their testimony.

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On the following day, there were two main types of activities: learning through sharing, and enjoying and appreciating one another’s company.  The learning was ample as multiple couples discussed their personal experiences in their tribal messiahship journey. The tribal messiahs shared how, in many cases, they are working in cooperation with other Unificationists to achieve their goals together. Whether through building local networks or hosting collaborative events, they are finding ways to work together and in so doing are tapping into a uniquely creative energy to meet those goals.

Another prominent theme in our top tribal messiah testimonies: begin wherever you are. Demian Dunkley, National Director of Witnessing and Education, reverberated this theme at the conclusion of the workshop: “When we hear so many different approaches and experiences with Tribal Messiahship, we are reminded that God can work with everyone who takes action, regardless of their situation, so the way is open for us all to bring our unique and exotic fruits to the banquet together.”

A particular testimony that exemplified both of these themes was that of Claudette Kambara and Sang Moo Bornerman. At Famicon earlier this year, Joe and Sun Willett shared about how they started their tribal messiahship efforts by offering the Marriage Blessing to many of their regulars at Sun’s flower business. This weekend, Claudette Kambara and Sang Moo shared their insights about the power of doing the same. Encouraged by the Willetts’ example, Claudette has stood on the foundation of her flower business to share the Marriage Blessing with her customers and contacts. Sang Moo reaches out to everyone she meets to share the Blessing: at her watercolor classes, her fitness classes, the classes she gives to teach English. Wherever she goes and whatever she does, she builds friendships and brings her faith openly and freely to those friendships.

On the third day, the participants gathered together with Unificationists from the local area for a morning worship service at IPEC, where Rev. Richard Buessing, delivered the sermon, reflecting on the course of the Unification movement in America this past year. The tribal messiahs then took the opportunity to celebrate God, True Parents, and one another as they drove out to Red Rock Canyon, went bowling together, and, later in the evening, dressed up for a formal banquet and celebration of tribal messiahs.

When the tribal messiahs bid their farewells to the other tribal messiahs across the nation, it was evident that TribeNet had been beneficial for many of its participants. “I’m more confident,” said Esther Batino, a Filipina Unificationist. “When you have the knowledge and you are equipped with tools, nothing can stop you. The reason my husband and I were hesitant is because we didn’t know how to be tribal messiahs in America. After hearing the testimonies, and insight on how to do it here, I feel nothing can stop me. In the Philippines, it was a completely different ballgame.”

Nancy Jubb, a second-generation Unificationist, also spoke about her heightened confidence: “I think everybody is a little bit scared to go out witnessing. But being here with so many other people, and seeing them go out and just do it inspired me to face that fear, and to just try and see what happens,” she said. “Even though I might not have a perfect plan for doing that, it reminds me that, at the end of the day, I want to share my faith with other people. And it’s not about convincing people to sign up to anything or join me, but it’s really just going out and sharing.”

Become part of TribeNet today! Click here to join the Tribal Messiahship Network. 

At the Connect Point Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Reverend Mark Abernathy has dedicated his life to sharing the Holy Marriage Blessing and growing his family. Over the years, he has officiated hundreds of Blessing Ceremonies and now leads a tribe encompassing over 500 couples and their children.

“When you’re leading people, you have to be creative in how you minister to them,” says Abernathy, who sometimes spends six months educating a family before officiating their Blessing. He takes things slowly, allowing couples to complete requirements at their own pace. “I tell people, ‘we’re just glad you’re here with us,’ and I let them grow,” he explains.

Reaching out to people, and then letting them grow, has allowed Abernathy to be successful over the years. The son of a Pentecostal preacher, he was first introduced to Divine Principle and the Unification Movement in 1986. He felt immediately drawn to True Father’s emphasis on Jesus and the Bible. “Father was a Christian, and Jesus spoke to him,” offers Abernathy. “As a Christian, I connected to that side of Father… what he had piggybacked on the word of God.”

At the time, Abernathy was an assistant pastor at his father’s church in Atlanta. After working for years as a teacher and school principal, he joined his father’s calling and, along with his wife, began his ministry. The church leaders were, at first, wary of his involvement with the Unification Movement. Still, he gave Principled education to his congregation. “People loved it,” he remembers. Soon, many couples were lined up asking to receive the Blessing. “Christianity offered individual salvation, but this offered family salvation,” explains Abernathy. “If you will parallel what you’re speaking about with the Bible, there is not… a Christian who would not do the Blessing.” 51 couples took part in his very first ceremony.

Abernathy’s teaching of Divine Principle draws heavily from his Christian perspective. He refers to each person in his congregation as family, and emphasizes the importance of getting to know a couple before blessing them. “I ask, ‘What are your top three priorities as a family?’ ” Once they are Blessed, he keeps the relationship going through frequent phone calls and texting. “You’ve got to keep those that you have Blessed together,” he stresses. His church regularly meets outside, in the park. “We have barbecues, and we get out there and dance!”

What has kept Abernathy going with such enthusiasm over the years? “What I did was I allowed it to be part of my life, part of my ministry,” says Abernathy. “If you really believe that this Blessing is salvation, [you think] ‘why am I not out there day and night trying to save this world?’ ”

Mark Abernathy lives in Georgia with his wife Edna. To learn more about their work, check out their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dmabernathy or visit their website: http://www.yourconnectpoint.org/.

We’re all looking for ways to share the Marriage Blessing with friends, family and for the sake of building our tribe. Pastor Heather Thalheimer of the Faith Fusion chapter in New Hampshire explains how her need to do just that brought about the creation of More Than Marriage: Love as God Intended, a small but powerful book about the meaning and value of love between a man and a woman. It explains in plain language the intention of creating love as God intended through the Holy Marriage Blessing.

What made you write this book?

I was sitting in my office one day when the phone rang. The caller had found our website www.nhfaithfusion.com and wanted to know if I performed marriages for people who did not belong to our church community. I told the bride-to-be that I could perform a marriage ceremony and asked what she was looking for. Was she a person of faith, or was she looking for a more secular ceremony? (I explained we didn’t have stained-glass windows, and, if that was important to her, I could put her in touch with a pastor who does.)

After some discussion I offered her three options:

  1. A beautiful, more secular ceremony through which the couple could dedicate their love to each other
  2. A traditional Christian ceremony through which they could pledge their love to each other in the presence of God and commit until “death do us part,” or
  3. (My personal favorite) a Unificationist Holy Marriage Blessing through which, in the presence of our Heavenly Parent, they could pledge eternal love to each other.

Without hesitation, she declared, “I want the last one!” And so began our journey together. I met with the couple several times to provide guidance and education. On one occasion, she brought her mother along. Her mother listened intently, then turned to her daughter and said, “Your brother needs to hear this.”

At one point the bride-to-be asked, “Do you have anything written that we could read at home?” I paused and replied, “Oh, yes. I’ll bring it next week,” and feverishly started planning how I could write it all down by the following Saturday.

At the same time, we had a new member who was ready to receive the Blessing. She had been attending Faith Fusion with her children every week for eighteen months, in addition to participating in every workshop we put on, but her husband had serious medical issues and couldn’t easily leave the house. She told me that her husband had asked if there was anything he could read that would explain the Blessing. “I’ll bring you something next week,” I told her.

 

Pushed to action

Although I had been planning to write something for some time, these two couples stimulated me to action! I wanted to write a booklet that didn’t require a biblical background, as many of the people I witness to do not connect to the Bible. Some are Muslim, while others describe themselves as “spiritual” but don’t subscribe to a particular doctrine. I felt the booklet must appeal to a broad audience and allow people to be convinced because it resonates for them—their own original mind tells them it is true.

The couples in question found the explanation very helpful. Although the book doesn’t describe the chastening ceremony, in the rehearsal I explained the ceremony in an easy-to-understand way and they chose to participate.

What was really inspiring to me was that on the day of their Blessing, the couples brought family and friends. For the bride who called me at my office, this was her big wedding. I gave a little message about the meaning of the Holy Marriage Blessing, and her guests were literally on the edge of their seats, filming and audio-recording. Everyone thought it was so beautiful.

I spoke to the parents of the bride and groom and explained that because I was marrying them, I would always be there for their couple. Inevitably, couples will go through ups and downs, and I would always be available to them. The parents knew the truth of that and were deeply grateful for my commitment.

Some Unificationist-born young adults who have become engaged or have married outside our church community have found the book helpful in explaining the Holy Marriage Blessing to their partner. It has served as a bridge to our community and traditions.

 

How else have you used the book?

I have offered to mixed audiences, including Christian pastors, workshops that delivered the same content but in a bit more detail. To tell you the truth, I was a little intimidated to offer the content to Christian pastors, as I recognized that my presentation is not very biblically based. I suggested to the local pastor that instead she should invite a pastor from the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) to present the content to these guests. The local pastor asked me to make the presentation anyway, and so I did. The Christian pastors ate it up. I think the simple explanation and realness resonated for them. In their congregations they are leading people who are all over the map and need practical support. The pastors asked me for the PowerPoint so that they could show it to their congregations. Now we just have to get them blessed. 

I also was able to give the Holy Wine to a Muslim friend with whom I am collaborating. He was getting married and, knowing that I am a pastor, asked me to give a Blessing on their marriage as part of their wedding day celebrations that were officiated by an imam. They received the Holy Juice and prayer, and I was able to speak briefly with the guests. It was useful to have the book as a follow-up. I am trying to support this friend’s spiritual journey, and I recently gave him True Father’s autobiography. What we have to offer is so beautiful and big. I firmly believe that the Blessing takes you to a higher place.

 

What is the premise of the book?

By understanding the nature of God’s love, we can unfold our own true potential for loving relationships. We can discover the source and value of the qualities that allow us to create the kind of love we hope for, which is unchanging, absolute, eternal and unique – qualities that reflect the nature of our Heavenly Parent. Marriage takes on new meaning and depth when we understand the sacredness of the bond between a man and a woman, in relationship with God.

 

How do we create a love that lasts?

More Than Marriage addresses important questions, such as “How do we define love?” The book probes our greatest uncertainty: Is lasting love even possible?

Here is an excerpt from the book:

Everyone’s greatest desire in life is to love and be loved. You don’t have to think about it to know this is true. It’s a natural and universal longing. But knowing what you want, by itself, is not enough to accomplish your goals when it comes to love.

All kinds of love exist in the world today, but that doesn’t mean they are all good or true. We know this because some love relationships can end up hurting, degrading or limiting you. These and other negative outcomes are not part of the original love that your mind and heart desire. Instead, people find themselves in relationships that don’t bring out the best in themselves or their partner. However, we intuitively know we deserve a deeper, richer love.

Our highest ideals originate in God, the author of love. It is interesting that the love that we all long for, regardless of our cultural background or upbringing, reflects God’s nature and heart, which is unchanging, absolute, eternal and unique.

However, when we look around us, we don’t see love as God intended. The problem with broken love is not a new one. History is full of tragic stories of corrupted love. If you decide to pursue the ideal of love, it helps to understand why love can go wrong and, more importantly, how to help it go right. To fully comprehend difficulty, you must get to the root or origin of a particular problem. When you trace problems in families, you inevitably go back in time and uncover lineal threads that hold secrets and unhealthy patterns of behavior.

More Than Marriage explores the origins of the breakdown in human relationships. It reveals how what we have learned through spiritual traditions intersects with new scientific understanding and points humanity to a place of growth and healing.

Additionally, More Than Marriage asks familiar questions such as: “Why does it make a difference to include God in your relationship?”

 

A new perspective on love

More Than Marriage seeks to offer new perspectives on age-old questions about love. The book offers insights based on the wisdom of Rev. and Mrs. Moon, our True Parents, who have spent their lives in search of God’s heart and a way to bridge the gap between God and humanity. The Holy Marriage Blessing is offered as a framework to purify the corrupted love that steals people’s lives and to re-establish the foundation to receive God’s original love. Rev. and Mrs. Moon believe that the ultimate purpose of spirituality, religion and faith traditions, as well as the motivation of people of conscience, is to restore truly loving men and women, emotionally and spiritually healthy families, and, by extension, a peaceful world.

To learn more, go to loveasgodintended.org. You can download the book for free or order a hard copy to share with family and friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts and to learn how you’ve used the book in your personal ministry. Feel free to contact me at author@loveasgodinteneded.org

God bless your efforts to share the Holy Marriage Blessing.

Australia Can Do It!

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From August 5 to 7, over 50 Australian Unificationists gathered at the Belgrave Church in Melbourne, for one of its “We Can Do It” Heavenly Tribal Messiah Workshosp, kicking off an inspirational, rejuvenated movement to help Unificationists on their journeys as tribal messiahs. A wide variety of people from all over the continent were present at the workshop—elders, youth, couples, families, brothers and sisters, who hailed from Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.

Demian Dunkley, Director of Witnessing and Education for FFWPU North America, traveled across the world to serve as the facilitator of the workshop, along with Karlsun Allen.

Part one of the workshop, “You Are God’s Hope,” taught the participants their value from God’s eyes. “Because we are people who know the Messiah, we are so precious to God,” Rick McInerheney reflected. “I was continually amazed as we reflected on our individual beauty before God—the uniqueness of our being, our personal style, how we joined the Unificationist movement, the significant people of that period, our most important experiences with God and True Parents, our Blessing, our passions, and what aspire to do in our ideal lives.”

The second part of the workshop, “Building the Kingdom,” encouraged Unificationists to proactively create change for God in their lives and in the lives of others. After assessing the current state of their lives, they determined what they could do to bring joy to God through change in their community, their church, their families, and as individuals. “This logical, systematic process was surprisingly moving,” said Rick. “I felt as though I were cleaning house, tidying up, and creating a blank slate within my mind to move forward in my life. With this new mindset and each exercise necessitating that we write down an attainable goal, the path to change no longer seemed so impossible.”

The next section, “The Anatomy of a Tribe” centered on True Father’s words that said,“The ideal world of the future will be maintained through trinities of families. These tribes will be the foundation for the nation.” Upon evaluating the global standards, tribe, culture, structure, purpose, and benefits of tribal messiahship, Sarah Boyd remarked on her gratitude for being part of the Unification movement: “”I did not realize the power of forming a small group and continuously working together. It is a priority in our tribal messiahship that helps us understand what it means to be a part of a tribe before it flourishes into something bigger.”

The main sessions on the following day dealt with action planning. The participants set plans for goals they could accomplish within three months, while Demian and Karlsun provided them with a multitude of resources, from handbooks, online materials, Divine Principle videos, to Blessing Guidance videos. The materials not only equipped the participants with clear, well-researched physical resources, but also moved them: “I was deeply moved by what our brother Demian prepared for us,” said Shang Seon Park. “The booklets, the flash drive with instructional videos, everything was prepared with so much passion, love, and heart to help the  growth of tribal messiah groups.”

Monday morning, leaders gathered to talk about topics such as challenges Unificationists face. One of the main topics of conversation was how the leadership can foster more youth involvement. The dynamic of the leaders personally listening to the grass roots members who are already active in this area was very important.

“The event was very timely, and a life changing experience for me,” one participant said. “I recommend this organized, systematic training that sets up Unificationists for success be incorporated in other gatherings in the future.”

After tremendous efforts made by FFWPU National Leader of Australia, Rev. Lim, and the local pastor, Rev. Arai, making the workshop a reality and seeing the impact it had on its participants was reassuring and inspirational for the organizers.

Contributed by Rick Mclnerheney

Become a tribal messiah and join the Tribal Messiah Network today! 

Join the Tribal Messiah Network

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On Saturday July 8, 50 elderly couples, in a beautiful act of love, rededicated themselves to their spouses and to God at a Blessing Rededication of Marriage Ceremony in Flushing, New York. The Universal Peace Federation (UPF), International Chinese Association (ICA) and the Queens Family Church hosted the ceremony, with each couple arriving one by one to Flushing’s SelfHelp Senior Center before receiving the Holy Wine Ceremony, taking their four vows, receiving their certificates, exchanging rings, and sealing their commitment and rededication with three cheers of mansei.

The 100 participants renewed their vows to follow and resemble the example of True Parents. The director of the Selfhelp Senior Center, Jane Qui was enthusiastic about holding the rededication ceremony at her center because she also comes from a spiritual background and has maintained a relationship with the Queens Family Church for the last 15 years. Consequently, she communicated to the couples, many who were Chinese like herself, that True Parents stood for strong family values, purity, and loyalty among family members. Because True Parents’ teachings were consistent with Confucian ethics, many of the Chinese participants had a strong interest in the meaning of the Blessing, Unification theology and the Holy Wine Ceremony

Rev. John Kung, the pastor of the Queens Family Church, served as the emcee of the ceremony, while Amy Yang Miyamoto translated to Chinese, and Rev. Chen Fong and his wife, Kyon Sook Fong, officiated the ceremony. Family and friends were in attendance, to the joy of many of the couples. Many of the couples had never held a public wedding ceremony because the Chinese government feared large gatherings of people, but years later, these couples were finally able to publicly rededicate their love to each other and to God through this ceremony.

Resonating with True Parents’ teachings and the Blessing Ceremony, all fifty couples agreed to attend “Peace Starts With Me” just a week before the event would take place. Thus, with their newly rededicated marriages to God and True Parents, the couples had the opportunity to welcome True Mother to America just a week later at Madison Square Garden.

Inspired by the beauty of rededicating marriage to God? Join the Blessing Campaign today! 

Join the Blessing Campaign

In the reflection below, Miyoung Eaton, a second-generation Unificationist, describes her experience during days 2 and 3 of TribeNet. Since Friday, tribal messiahs from all around the nation have gathered for TribeNet at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) to share their testimonies and best practices, take a pilgrimage in the footsteps of True Parents to their favorite sites, and enjoy some of the wonderful family entertainment of Las Vegas. For highlights from the first day, click here

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Throughout the second day, we heard testimonies about the process and experiences of our first tribal messiahs here in America to share the Holy Marriage Blessing with 430 couples and families. With each testimony, the patterns behind their success began to emerge: they weren’t waiting for directions, they were working together and supporting others to achieve their goals, as in the case of Tomiko and Denny Duggan; they were standing up, however alone or unworthy they felt, to bless the people in their lives.

“May I bless your couple?” and “May I bless your family?” was a simple, recurring phrase that the tribal messiahs demonstrated to be a simple but effective way to express their sincerity and speak to the heart of the people they met.

I was moved by how incredibly proactive tribal messiahs have been in their care and service of their neighbors and communities. The Acevedos and Claudette Kambara, for example, have continually offered support and love to local initiatives. In the case of the venerable Rev. Jeddie King and Rev. Elma King, they offered much needed gifts of food, clothing, and basic necessities, in the addition to the Blessing. 

On Sunday, we gathered together with Unificationists from the local area for a morning worship service at IPEC, where Rev. Richard Buessing, president of FFWPU-USA, delivered the sermon. Rev. Buessing reflected on the course we’ve taken as a nation this year, from True Parents’ Birthday and Foundation Day celebrations in Korea, through Famicon to the incredible peak of our victory at Madison Square Garden, all the way to the current moment of TribeNet. So much has happened in just this year and Rev. Buessing expressed his excitement, confidence and hope for 2018 and the years to come.

Amid all of these testimonies and sharing, we also took ample opportunity to celebrate God, True Parents, and one another. We drove out to Red Rock Canyon to drink in the ever-unexpected, desert beauty of Nevada; we went bowling together—like we were taking a massive family outing together. Throughout the weekend, we had a game room set up for our younger and young-at-heart participants, creating one of the more family-friendly environments I’ve ever seen at one of our conferences.

And on the evening of the third day, we all dressed up for a formal banquet and celebration of our victorious tribal messiahs. This part of the program is probably the hardest to describe though also the most precious. There was excellent music and great food, a lot of laughter. We formally recognized our successful tribal messiahs: Joe and Sun Willett, Dennis and Mayuri Hoffman, Jeddie and Elma King, Tomiko and Denny Duggan, and Ken and Sang Moo Borneman, with three more couples honored in absentia.

And at one point during the evening, the couples in the room were all invited to come up to the front of the stage and dance. In that moment I felt how happy God must be that, amid all the suffering and brokenness in the world, there was at this little room where he could feel welcomed and at peace, knowing that the people gathered there knew his heart and are striving not only to grow in love themselves but to create a world where every single person can know such love, peace, and freedom.

As the program winds down this morning and we prepare to say our final goodbyes, I can only say that it’s been a privilege to be here and that the experience is almost too rich to describe. 

Check out heavenlytribe.org to officially join the network, learn more about what’s happening on the front line of Tribal Messiahship in America and the world, and continue forward on your own unique path toward the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. 

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On October 15, in a span of just 2.5 hours, Tribal Messiahs in the Clifton community were able to give 14 Couples’ Blessings, 5 single Blessings, and 25 Holy Wine Ceremonies for a miraculous total of 44 Blessing Ceremonies. 

“We all felt that God is alive and that True Parents are working with us,” said Atsushi Takino, Witnessing and Education Coordinator for District 3.

Rev. Hiroshi Inose, Director of Kodan, recalled one couple who received the Blessing during this day. “Spiritually, I could really feel I changed,” the husband told Rev. Inose. “I’m so grateful for you.”

“God and True Parents have prepared so many people to receive the Blessing,” said Rev. Inose, reflecting on this experience. “The time is now for us to act. All we need to do is show it to them.” For this reason, the community named the day “A Day of Action:” because the preparation has been completed by God, it is the Tribal Messiahs who must now act.

The Tribal Messiahs of the Clifton community attributed a large part of their success to the resources provided by the Witnessing and Education Department of the National Ministry Team. “Everything was prepared for us—the Holy Wine, the Blessing Guidelines Handbook, the banners, and the sashes,” said Rev. Inose. “Everything was so easy to follow, even for Japanese Unificationists who are not fluent in English.”

With the addition of these 44 Blessing Ceremonies, the Clifton community has now completed a total of 176 Blessing Ceremonies for couples and singles, leaving 254 more Blessings remaining to reach the goal of 430 couples. “430 is not just a number,” insisted Atsushi. “It is our commitment and offering to True Parents as their filial children. We want to give them hope and joy.”

As Atsushi, Rev. Inose, and the rest of the Clifton community look forward to fulfilling True Parents’ mission of Vision 2020, they remain determined in completing the goal of 430 couples by the end of 2017.

“We can’t stop doing this when we are thinking of True Father and True Mother,” said Atsushi, with tears filling his eyes.

Want to become a Tribal Messiah? Join the Tribal Messiah Network! 

Join the Tribal Messiah Network

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Calling all leaders, tribal messiahs, and blessing officiators: great news–holy wine is now available in easy to-go pull-off-the-cap cups! Continental Chairman of FFWPU North America, Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, conducted a special ceremony on August 31 to sanctify 20,000 individually wrapped cups of holy wine so that they may be used to bless families, tribes, and communities.

“The ceremony was a very holy experience,” remarked Crescentia DeGoede, the Director of Blessing and Family Ministry who attended the ceremony. “Even though the setting was very simple, a heavenly atmosphere was created because of True Parents’ photo and spiritual presence. Dr. Kim prayed in Korean, but I could feel his heart for True Parents and tribal messiahs.” 

“I am so happy about this,” said Demian Dunkley, the Director of Witnessing and Education, regarding the new holy wine cups. “Our tribal messiahs have been asking for these cups almost every other week on our tribe net calls. This will make it so much easier for our tribes to conduct Holy Wine ceremonies.” 

If you would like to receive the new holy wine cups, join the tribal messiahship network! 

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Unificationists on the path to become Tribal Messiahs work tirelessly to promote the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony in an effort to create a world of unity under God. To recognize their unbelievable efforts and to show that Tribal Messiahship is a collective journey, we are starting the series, “Tribal Messiahship Shoutout.”  This week’s shoutout goes to Rev. Elma and Rev. Jeddie King from Florida.   

A Blessed couple, Rev. Elma and Rev. Jeddie King, from FFWPU USA District 5 (Florida), embarked on a 40-day condition from March 22nd through April 30th with the support of their pastor, Gary Chidester, to proclaim True Parents as the messiah, and the second coming.

Determined and resourceful, this couple proclaimed the good news via written articles, emails, door-to-door interactions, going around their neighborhoods and shouting out on street corners—even in the mist of rejection—and finding those who would listen. They carried posters with pictures of True Parents boldly reading, “Ask God if… True Parents the Messiah is here!”, “Know this! The Messiah is here”, and even t-shirts that read, “Our True Parents the Bridegroom has come”.

Rev. Elma said, “We are co-creators. Being Tribal Messiahs allows us to show our own creativity to the God who created us. He didn’t make us cookie cutters. We don’t wait for others to tell us what to do. We have the Word, we need to live it.”

Within these 40 days, five articles were written and 704 people were reached either by email, shout-outs, and witnessing on the streets. Not only that, like a true tribe, the Kings have made their private home into a public home church where workshops, services, weddings, Blessing Ceremonies, marriages, birthday celebrations, and family meetings are held.

The Kings creatively create their own flyers, articles, banners, posters, and t-shirts to spread the news to the world and have established 5 websites:

They have also started four ministries: The Light of Truth, Now is the Time, The Kingdom Come, and Walk This Way as a way to proclaim True Parents name to the World. Two of these ministries are broadcasted on the Ray Manning broadcasting internet radio.

They have placed seven advertisements and pictures of True Parents in magazines, including the Gospel News, Gospel USA and Gospel Now making it on the cover a few times. On top of that two magazines from the Gospel News, put True Parents on their cover and published articles on True Father’s September 18, 1976 speech. Despite all their accomplishments, the Kings continue to move forward in order to bring True Mother’s vision come true: 1 million Blessed Americans by 2020. 

Do you want to join the journey of Tribal Messiahship? Join the Blessing Campaign! 

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  • IMG 20170702 Hmong Festival Blesssing 17
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The Blessing Campaign is off to an exciting and successful start, as the Minneapolis Family Church held 140 Blessing Ceremonies–yes, you read that right!–from July 1-2 at the Hmong International Festival.

Over the span of two days, the Minneapolis Unificationist community ventured out to Como Park for the majority of each day, arriving early in the morning at 9:00a.m., while completing their last Blessing ceremony of the day twelve hours later. Together, they were able to gather an astounding total of 460 people to participate in the Blessing Ceremonies, including 162 couples (134 attended together), 100 children, 28 singles, and 8 widowed.

Originally, the community had planned to simply conduct the Holy Wine Ceremony. During the weekly National Witnessing and Education Coordinators’ Call, however, they felt encouraged by our Heavenly Parent to complete the first three stages of the Blessing Ceremony in adherence to the standards established by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) International Headquarters. As explained by National Witnessing and Education Coordinator, Demian Dunkley, the weekly call is an important element of the Blessing Campaign that helps support the network of people on their paths to becoming Tribal Messiahs while providing them with resources.

Although the Minneapolis community faced potential challenges in their decision to adhere to the established standards, they displayed complete confidence that God had prepared His children to receive the Blessing. After setting up upon arriving, the Minneapolis Unificationists were determined to bring people back to God and introduce True Parents’ teachings as they split into teams and assigned roles to one another. Some of the Unificationists prepared the Holy Wine, Holy Water, invitation cards for a Marriage Blessing seminar, paper cranes for gifts, and more, while others actively invited couples.

Dennis and Mayuri Hoffman served as the Blessing Officiators, with each Blessing Ceremony introducing True Parents, explaining the meaning of the Marriage Blessing and Holy Wine ceremonies, and concluding with four blessing vows and the chastening ceremony. Smiles were abound in Como Park, as each couple who received the Blessing had their picture taken to celebrate this important moment in their spiritual lives.

Minneapolis Pastor, Rev. Hyung Tae Ha shared, “After the Blessing we all felt that Heavenly Parent did 99% of the work, and we only did 1%. But that 1% was 120% of our sincere dedication. It was our offering to True Parents before True Mother comes to America.”

The Minneapolis Unificationists plan to deepen the relationships with the couples they met at the Hmong Intercultural Festival, hosting a “More than a Marriage” seminar on July 22 and 29. The seminar will educate the couples to become ideal families and help build a heavenly kingdom together.

REFLECTIONS:

I felt that the Hmong people’s ancestors were waiting to experience this moment of Blessing. I saw happiness in many people who attended this ceremony and deep gratitude to the point that some felt moved to donate. It was a profound blessing to all of us who participated.” – Marika Hoegl

At one point, I felt like I had the easiest job but I know that it was an important job. God needs all of us to work together and do our part no matter how big or small.” – Denise To

At times, I struggled with the ‘right’ words to say. No matter the words, my heart was resolute. I wanted to have strong conviction and unwavering heart to know that Heavenly Parent and True Parents are desperately seeking and waiting for ALL of their children to return home. We really want to make a sincere offering to welcome our True Parents and to fulfill our responsibility as Tribal Messiahs.” – Elizabeth Patterson

Are you inspired to continue the momentum for the Blessing movement? Join the Blessing Campaign today!

 

Join the Blessing Campaign