By Kazuha Canak, FFWPU East Europe
I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Moscow, Russia to attend the 2nd annual Hyo Jeong Culture Festival that concluded a two-month long online contest for 2nd generation members from the East European region.
There were a total of 194 submissions in the following 8 categories: Dance, solo singing, choral and ensemble singing, instrumental musical performance, sports show, theatrical performance, author literary works, and fine arts. The entries were judged by members from all around Europe who are professionals in their respective categories. The winners were invited to perform at the final festival in Moscow a week after the selection was announced.
Many winners took on a long journey to offer their talents in Moscow on the 17th of December. There were about 26 acts, all unique and of high quality. Everything from classical guitar, to modern dance, a num chuck show, a puppet show, an interactive Kahoot quiz for the audience, a flute quartet, a flash mob, poetry citing, Russian traditional dances and songs, and a clever Harry Potter story-line acted out by the MC group, were presented there.
The People’s Choice award went to an emotionally captivating rap performance (a father and his three sons) about It’s time to change the world. The sound, light, and stage crew did an amazing job which allowed the artists to perform interruption-free!
This event reignited old connections: The Corley family (missionaries from 1990–2006) returned to Moscow after 11 years and were able to meet many of the members that joined during their time in Moscow and see their now teenaged children. It also gave families an opportunity to reconnect with each other as some don’t attend Sunday services regularly.
This initiative was started by Dr. Otsuka (then Regional President of the Northeast Region) in 2016 where he encouraged the Eastern European region to follow Korea and Japan’s example where they have several professional choirs which compete on national levels.
The goals are to 1) encourage the Second Generation members to particiipate in God’s providence by offering their talents, 2) reconnect members to our church and 3) to support the creation of God’s culture.
The Eastern European region is the first region in our greater Europe region that has picked up this initiative and we hope to follow suit in the remaining European regions soon!
Please visit their website where you can see all online entries to the contest.
A big thank you to Elena Kalmatskaya (Eastern Europe Second Generation Department Director), Marina Zhuchkova (Leader of Moscow Church choir and talented musician), Dmitry Melnikov (Secretary General of the Eastern Europe HQ), and Alexei Saveliev (Witnessing & Education, East Europe) for organizing this successful event!