BY FFWPU Germany
Report from von Hildegard Piepenburg including notes by Werner Fehlberg and protocols from the working groups; photos by Achim Pock; English translation by Catriona Valenta.
65 members from all over Germany attended a ‚working meeting in the Neumühle Seminar Center (Ob October 1 – 2, 2016), in order to define goals and work out a strategy to realize „Vision 2020“ in our country. All interested members were invited, and the 2 gen. was well represented.
The chairman of the Family Federation, Dieter Schmidt, said in his opening speech: „The world is standing today at the crossroads. It can either connect with God, or go in another direction. While many people are experiencing stress and uncertainty given the political, economic and moral situation, we have a vision which brings peace, reconciliation and security.“ He stressed that True Mother had proclaimed a new beginning this year after the 4th anniversary of True Father‘s Seonghwa, and that this gives us all the strength to bring a cultural revolution of heart and a new era into this world.
Jack Corley, President of the European FFWPU, reminded us of the qualities which a leader should have according to Father’s words: beyond the necessary professional competence and efficiency, these are seriousness, spirituality and especially a warmth of heart which can embrace others, care for each individually, and ultimately bring all together. After three years of mourning for True Father, the time has now come to celebrate and honor his life. Jack summarized his impressions from the conference in Korea in August with these words: „True Mother has now included us all in her family; we are not only members of an organization, but part of the True Family!“ As personification of the Holy Spirit, True Mother exudes a spiritual power that is stronger than the pentecostal experience of Jesus‘ disciples. We should be aware of the immense support from the spiritual world and allow a transformation: „Do not evaluate the future by your experience in the past. This is a new time!“
Rev. Young-shik An, vice-president of the International FFWPU and Special Emissary for Germany and Austria, who participated in the whole meeting very attentively, gave an inspiring talk in which he stressed the importance of unity at all levels. God is one (in Korean „Hana-Nim“ = God, „hana“ = one), parents and children should become one and also our physical body and internal unity is of great importance for our spiritual growth.
Karl-Christian Hausmann, chairman of UPF Germany, introduced the USA’s Vision 2020. A 40 minute video with Rev Kim’s address in the USA gave a good overall view of the goals and strategic plan. Even if the USA has proportionately more financial resources and personnel, we can still be inspired by and profit from their experiences.
Following this, came Dieter’s reflections about the conference in Korea, with supplementary in- formation from Natascha Schellen about her experience at the Top Gun Workshop. Dieter expressed his conviction that the impressive Blessing movement in many African and Asian countries would eventually reach the USA and Europe. It depends on whether God can be in our families and hearts in order to spark a renaissance, a reformation.
Oivind Haugen, the newly appointed witnessing coordinator for Germany, remarked in his ‚impulse review‘, that corrupt systems have such a tight grip on the world that to establish a new, pure culture seems like a hopeless undertaking. But instead of being discouraged, we should have the guts to speak out against the „political correctness“; to speak out what our heart tells us and to expose and overcome evil: „True Mother is pushing us to speak to people, to explain what is going on and to bring them back to God“, said Oivind encouragingly, „and Germans have the best qualities and the necessary intellectual competence to do this!“
Makoto Noguchi, director of the association of Japanese members in Europe, gave a report about Mrs. Hiraki, a Japanese mother who has brought great witnessing results in the USA. Her method is one-on-one witnessing in a university cafeteria. Because she does not speak much English, she asks the students questions about God and life and then reads the black Principle book with them. Over the course of 4 years, 120 contacts were found, of whom 60 became members. Makoto and some other Japanese members intend to work in a similar way in Germany.
A further possible witnessing method is video presentations of the Divine Principle. Takaaki Tanaka from Düsseldorf together with his daughter Rieko, shared his idea to translate the 40 video presentations from Tyler Hendricks into German and to record them with a German speaker in a studio in Korea. In a later session, this project was thoroughly discussed and a further possibility mentioned, namely the 110 DP-online-videos from Michael Callaghan, which consist of text to read. Both versions are appealing, modern teaching methods, but in either case, the German broadcasting will incur expenses.
A lot of time was given to group work in this Vision 2020 meeting. A total of 7 topics were intensively dealt with and each participant had the opportunity to offer ideas in his area of interest.
The working group „community development“ led by Christian Claus, Gießen community leader, proposed that the Sunday services be improved and that IWs be engaged to visit and motivate passive members. In order to make it easier for young adults to join and identify with the Family Federation, a „Junior-Family Federation“ was proposed. In the long run, jobs in the communities should also be paid, and the community leader especially should receive a salary, and the work integrated in his curriculum vitae and career path. With responsible delegation, wise division of the work and communication and the nurturing of personal relationships, communites could be considerably improved.
The working group “tribal messiah”, led by Karl-Christian Hausmann discussed statements from True Mother and methods of tribal messiahship taken from the American familyfed.org homepage. In order to recalibrate the church, tribal messiah trinities should be formed as cornerstones for the communities, and they should meet regularly and report to the community leader about their activities. This is not a campaign to expand the membership, but rather a change from the culture of a church of individual salvation to a new family model, in which tribal messiahs can emerge from passive members who can celebrate their own victories. Next year, we should reach a goal of 120 tribal messiahs and 40 trinities. To facilitate this „We Can Do It“ workshops similar to those in the USA should be organized and a „Tribal Messiah Kit“ created to give practical assistance.
The “World Peace Blessing” working group, led by Hubert Arnoldi, UPF- representative in Stuttgart, considered the suggestion to form a Blessing committee, which would give help to organize and carry out world peace blessings. This includes preparation of information about the Blessing, organizing invitations and participation forms, as well as connecting to exchange information about available materials and Blessing candidates. The task of this committee, which should consist of the city UPF representatives, is to make a lowthreshold ‘Blessing for all’ accessible. It should develop Blessing guidelines that represent in a transparent way all the Blessing cate- gories, as well as workshops for Blessing preparation and aftercare.
This should happen in close cooperation with the family department which already cares for the 1. and 2. gen. FFWPU-members.
The working group “further development of the website”, led by the media expert Achim Pock, took a look at our https://familyfed.de website. The task is to further develop some areas such as the Blessing, Seonghwa, youth and character building, tribal messiah and ‘frequently asked questions’ pages. Fundamental questions arose that require further clarification and agreement, namely how much sense the American concept of an open website makes for Germany and if topics for members are not better dealt with in a members only section.
In the discussion about the Blessing how it should be presented in public and practical details of how it should be carried out – it became obvious that this is an area that requires greater clarification and action.
The working group “workshops development”, led by Claus Dubisz, Frankfurt community leader and workshop lecturer, dealt with how the 2- and 7-day DP workshops should be organized. To bring more guests, more preparatory ‚bridge building‘ should be done locally in the cities in the way of presentations, seminars, and discussions which illustrate topics in society from the viewpoint of the Principle. Standardized video presentations in German in a contemporary format are absolutely necessary and could be used in many ways. The advantages and disadvantages of the DP video series from both Tyler Hendricks and Michael Callaghan were discussed, and it was decided to put the matter to the members to consider in an internet questionnaire before deciding which project to start with.
The working group German festival, led by Sollinde Röhring, a student and 2 gen., started with an initial brainstorming as to what format the Whitsun family festival 2017 should take, in order to get the planning properly started on time. Besides firmly established elements, new ideas were proposed, such as an expanded sport and alternative program, a scavenger hunt, a music competition, stands for good causes as well as to again have an ‘open door day’ with invitation flyers and the care of guests. Areas of responsibility were defined and suggestions made for people who could make up the organizing committee.
The working group “Vision 2020 for Germany”, led by Karl-Christian Hausmann worked out a proposal for a strategic plan which, under the motto„ bring Germany back to God“ suggested goals, steps towards action and the aimedfor results in the areas of tribal messiahs, a more youthful leadership, the Blessing, and membership growth. Further possible goals are the development of a new series of presentations to overcome God’s 3 ‘headaches’ (egoism, disintegration of the family and religious conflicts).
Leadership change: Ana Schmidt after 7 years as leader of the family department, handed over her post to Sarah Zimmermann, who has been involved since the beginning and has already taken on many responsibilities. Ana will still be available as a senior advisor. Bernd and Fumi Flieger handed over their office as Berlin city leaders after 11 years of service, to Mathias and Begonia Monzebe, a younger couple who will bring a breath of fresh air into the work of the community. Bernd takes over as UPF representative for Berlin.
Witnessing Department: Martine Masner, recently appointed leader of the European Witnessing Department, participated in the whole meeting. She has had a lot of witnessing experience in the USA, Russia and as national leader in the Czech Republic where she has lived for 20 years with her Czech husband and family. She commented that the success in Asia comes on the base of a foundation of faith with HDH conditions. Together with members in all countries, she would like to analyze the reasons for stagnation and blocks and help each one to find his own personal way to success.
Oivind Haugen as leader of the newly formed German Witnessing Department will work together with representatives in the communities. With two inspiring songs on his guitar, he gave a taste of his talent to inspire and entrance people. 70.000 copies of the 6 brochures about the Divine Principle which he and Achim Pock designed have been printed in different languages and have been enthusiastically used worldwide.
General Affairs, Finances, and Publications: Hildegard Piepenburg, general affairs, gave a reminder about the importance of the monthly report for the statistics of the international office. She gave figures about membership development (981 active and inactive members over the age of 18, from which there are 289 registered who pay membership fees, including 25 2 gen.) and those registered as tribal messiahs (20 families). An important project yet to be done is the translation of the three holy books into German.
Jürgen Kirchberger, treasurer, offered an overview of those who have paid a membership contribution since the beginning of this year: 38 new households have been added, of which 16 are 2 gen. who have officially become members of the FFWV.
KANDO publications will again have a stand at the Frankfurt book fair. 750 paperback copies of the autobiography have already been donated for distribution there.
Women’s Federation: Elisabeth Heil, chairperson of the Women’s Federation reported from the committee meeting in October and announced the European conference in Bratislava in November. Two 2 gen. are on the committee of the Women’s Federation. The homepage is currently being upgraded and a character education program will be established. A festival in Camberg is being planned for 2017 to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the Women’s Federation.
UPF: Sergio Brina, deputy chairman of UPF, has applied for a stand in the area of interreligious dialogue at the Protestant Church Congress in Berlin. A decision is expected in October.
CARP: Claus Dubisz announced that an event is planned on 08.08.2017 to commemorate the 30 year anniversary of the CARPconvention in Berlin, with the motto: learning from the past, looking towards the future.
Dieter rounded off this productive and hopeful meeting by thanking all the participants and special guests, Taka Wakayama the 2 gen. MC, and Setsuko Wöllmer and her kitchen crew who had prepared the wonderful meals. A preview of events planned for 2017 shows that the ‚Luther year‘ will be an especially important one in the German providence. Rev. An closed by pointing out how unique and valuable it is that we can work in Mother’s lifetime.