As the brilliant sun shone on a cloudless Sunday, more than 200 Unificationists celebrated the installation of two new co-pastors at the Family Church of New York City (FCNYC) on September 15. Rev. Demian Dunkley, president of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA, and Dr. Luonne Rouse, national co-chairman of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) are the new pastors of FCNYC on 43rd Street near 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The induction of Rev. Dunkley and Dr. Rouse, along with the implementation of new initiatives, inspired Unificationists to come together in support of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s vision for the future of the Unification movement.
The new structure of FCNYC will incorporate a slew of new ministries: Blessing and Family Ministry (BFM), Youth and Young Adult Ministry (YAYAM), worship, media management, social media and tech crew, and empowerment groups. Ms. Stephanie Dias will be at the forefront of these changes as the new assistant pastor and YAYAM coordinator for FCNYC.
The recently established first ladies of FCNYC, Mrs. Yumiko Dunkley and Mrs. Marie Rouse, introduced their husbands as the new pastors to the congregation. The two exuberant couples, adorned in matching corsages, held hands with their spouses as reverends Dunkley and Rouse took the stage.
“I have to ask, is there any time in human history that you know of where we can have such an incredible impact other than now?” said Rev. Dunkley. “If what I say is true, then who are you? You are the people who have the potential and the calling to have the greatest impact. All we need is absolute unity and love with True Parents.” The term True Parents is often affectionately used by Unificationists when referring to Dr. Moon and her husband Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon.
“We are not only all in; our mind and our hearts have always been with you,” said Dr. Rouse, addressing both the congregation and Dr. Moon. “We are all in because God is all in.”
The celebration also featured a keynote speech from Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, regional chairman of Family Federation North America, who spoke fervently about Dr. Moon’s recent trip to São Tomé and Príncipe and her fast-approaching clergy rally set for Saturday, Dec. 28. “I really hope FCNYC can hold the spirit of Heavenly Parent (God) and the spirit of True Parents,” said Dr. Kim. “Don’t try to escape the big wave coming to NYC. We must take this wave and move forward with the most powerful movement in this city, this nation, and around the world.”
Many of the speakers highlighted the significance of America’s role in the future of the Unification movement and the importance of the new pastors at FCNYC. “As our movement expands and develops, a lot of things are going to be happening right here in this room,” said Rev. Edner Pierre Louis, district pastor of New York. “We are elevated to a new level as we come to recognize officially the new co-pastorship. I am speaking not just to us, but to the entire nation of America, because this is a special country.”
Dr. Michael Jenkins, chairman of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) USA, also spoke about the new pastors. “I know you will succeed; I believe you will succeed,” he said. “Everyone, we have to get behind our co-pastors. We have to go beyond. We have to have a flood of new people.”
Those who attended said they were excited to hit the ground running as the community rolls out their new initiatives. “Today was the beginning of a positive spark at FCNYC,” said Christopher Hall, a musician and active member at FCNYC. “I feel good about the direction of the movement and our community’s role in it.”
There are still many ministries in the works, which will be officially announced in the coming months.