The Words of the Edwards Family
A unique feature of the Unification movement is its true internationalism. Probably more than half of our members do not live in their native land. There is certainly no country, possibly no city, and few centers where there is not a mixture of nationalities eating, working, praying, witnessing, sometimes fighting, but always struggling to overcome barriers between one another. When unity finally comes, small and large victories can be won for our True Parents everyday. There are few places where this spirit of overcoming cultural and personal barriers is more apparent than in the International Workshops which have been held in New York City at the World Mission Center for the past two years.
When he has time, Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak advises the workshop staff and speaks to the trainees. Rev. David Hose is the Director. Rev. Hose is supported in conducting the workshops by his wife, Takikko and a permanent staff of four additional persons: Jette Jensen -- general affairs, bookkeeper, and "girl Friday"; James Cowin -- VOC lecturer and researcher; Gerry Servito -- music director; Jacques Marion -- French translator and assistant to Rev. Hose.
The first international workshop was held in April and May, 1978 for native members from the missionary countries. Forty-three people attended this workshop, coordinated by Dr. Joseph Sheftick. Team leaders were David Richardson, Antonio Betancourt, Jean-Fred Perrault, and Jette Jensen. A second workshop, held in August and September of 1978, was attended by 21 new members from abroad. The coordinator this time was Philip Shanker, with Gabriela Rodriquez acting as Spanish translator. Jacques Marion also joined the staff, coming aboard as a French translator. The third workshop was held from Feb. 14 to March 25, 1979.
It was at this point that David Hose became the Director, a post which he has held continuously since that time. Rev. Hose has been a Divine Principle lecturer and leader of various groups for 12 years. Many of our readers will recall that Rev. Hose was coordinator of the Barrytown 120-day workshops and substitute lecturer for Rev. Sudo in 1975 and 1976.
He has most recently been director of the Washington, D.C. church where he had the exciting responsibility of overseeing the purchase and restoration of our Unification Church building which formerly was a Mormon Temple. In addition to Jacques and Jette, David Flores (now missionary to Mexico) and Jean-Fred Perrault were part of the third training session staff. This time there were 30 participants, which included a few missionaries in addition to native members. The Fourth International Workshop was held Oct. 10 to Nov. 18, 1979 with 40 participants, including native members and missionaries. Pamela Stein (former missionary to Zaire) joined the staff for this workshop. The Fifth International Workshop began Jan. 12 and is in session as of this writing.
The nature of the workshops has continuously evolved toward greater maturity since the first one two years ago, although the basic structure remains. There are three or four cycles of Divine Principle lectures, one full and one summary VOC lecture, and one full and one summary lecture series on Unification Thought. There are examinations on each series of lectures immediately following their presentation. Occasionally, guest lecturers speak on various theoretical and practical aspects of our external and internal development as a movement.
The opening session begins with an internal guidance talk by Rev. Kwak, with Rev Hose assuming this responsibility on a daily basis. Meals, a morning exercise period and the lectures round out the daily schedule. In the evenings there is a "working in prayer" session which is voluntary for persons wanting to develop their sharing with others in an attempt to bring God into their relationships.
The current workshop has the added feature of two-hour work periods each day to help with the restoration of the World Mission Center building in preparation for Father's 60th birthday celebration. There are also small group discussions on the content of the lectures, practical problems of living the Principle, common missionary concerns, etc. There are also a few extra-curricular activities at the end of the workshop. One of these is a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit American national shrines and our new church building there. Another is a trip to Barrytown New York, to visit the Unification Theological Seminary. Several days are allotted for shopping and sightseeing in the "Big Apple".
So much for the external aspects. The heart of the workshop of course lies in the give and take among leaders, lecturers, missionaries, mission members and others who attend. Rev. Hose spoke at length of the mission of the international workshops which he sees as developing from Father's and Rev. Kwak's initiation and instruction. Father asked Rev. Kwak to oversee such workshops as a vehicle for special education in the knowledge that the participants will eventually take over the leadership in their own countries. As his schedule permits Rev. Kwak gives internal guidance talks in which he emphasizes growth with the True Parents and the personal growth of members.
He constantly urges members to develop their life styles and faith in accordance with the Principle, modeling their lives as closely as possible on the pattern set by Father and Mother. Rev. Hose says of Rev. Kwak, "He is an excellent example of a man who has taken a mature responsibility in following the True Parents. He presents internal guidance on a practical, real level."
The theme of his most recent series of talks was the cancellation of self, simplification in order to deepen, and avoidance of too much theoretical baggage which can block the way to genuine growth.
As the workshop participants arrive in New York, Rev. Hose and his wife, Taco, conduct an initial interview with each of them. This helps Rev. Hose and his staff to evaluate the whole group and tailor the specific activities of the 40 days to their particular needs. This process, along with consideration of the native language of the individuals, helps the staff to select the team leaders for the workshop. From this point on the door of Rev. Hose's room is open for the visitors to come and talk over any and all matters they wish to. Also, in this initial period, before the activities begin, the participants learn to adjust to the new and strange food and weather, and the overwhelming hustle and bustle of Manhattan.
One of the first points Rev. Hose makes to the guests is that the workshop, to be successful, must be a blending of cultures. Individuals must go beyond their cultural barriers to a "basic heart understanding of being part of one family." This is supported by the focus of the educational portion which aims to instill a clearer understanding of Divine Principle, Unification Thought, and Victory Over Communism; and, 2) provide a new vision of how to apply these ideas in their personal relationships with brothers and sisters in their home countries.
Rev. Hose says that at first he detects in nearly all of the workshop guests a discrepancy between their understanding of theory and their practical awareness of its application in life relationships and activities. Therefore, "mind-body unity" is stressed. The workshop is structured to provide not only an intellectual and emotional stimulation, but also a medium for personal growth of heart. In Rev. Hose's words, "We want the participants to leave with more than a nice memory and pictures in a scrapbook." All the activities should "help to set an inner attitude for the sake of the future, to help people to work together to create a new culture that no one has seen, to provide a microcosmic experience of the future so that we don't stumble on our 'culturism', and to root out any unyielding attitude on the part of the missionaries.
The International Workshop fosters development of new attitudes for a new age for we can't build a new age with old age attitudes." Experience has shown that this unity is a common desire of the persons who come to the workshops; but it is also true that, for whatever reasons, they have not been able to achieve it on their own. The staff points out mental blocks, hang-ups, or anything they notice that might be preventing the harmonious integration of mind and body of the individual and of different cultures within the group. Self-reflection is encouraged from the very first day, and persons are urged to honestly come to terms with themselves and God and what we are doing. Thus, the International Workshop is quite different from one for new members who are still grappling with the logic of the Divine Principle.
Rev. Hose states, "the key to a satisfying growth-experience at the International Training Sessions is that one come with a readiness to find something new about oneself and the providence and a willingness to challenge whatever holds one back as a true person, inside and outside."
In order to get an idea of what the workshop experience means from the viewpoint of a trainee I spoke with Nancy Hanna, an American missionary; Mr. Keisuke Noda, a lecturer for Unification Thought; Michel Beauvais, a French member who has been leading a center in England for the past two years; and Salif Dione, a native member from Senegal. The diversity of spiritual ages, cultural backgrounds, and positions in the church structure represented by these four persons gives an indication of what one might expect in a typical workshop group.
Nancy Hanna (missionary to Panama from 1975 to 1979, and missionary to Chile since March, 1979) came at her own request with a desire to study other types of leadership, discuss common problems with other missionaries, and to renew her vision of the grandness of what we are working to accomplish.
Nancy discovered, through extensive give and take with other missionaries, how others had overcome problems she had not found the answers to. She was able to quickly see governmental red tape and fundraising obstacles had all been overcome by one or another of her colleagues. The wealth of ideas would be a new strategic weapon to use in penetrating the defensive wall any society would offer to a foreign missionary.
At first Nancy didn't like the idea of mixing native members and missionaries, but she soon found that this was a good method, for situations similar to those in foreign missions were thereby automatically established. Thus, working out of solutions to problems in the workshop group was an immediate demonstration of principles or techniques that could be transferred to situations in the field. In her opinion the workshop offers a good balance between internal freedom and external structure. There was less "rah-rah" and fewer orchestrated responses. She found in Rev. Hose an ability to stimulate others to take initiative, to develop a more parental heart, and to teach others to take responsibility for their own lives of faith and those of their members.
Mr. Keisuke Noda has been studying Unification Thought and Victory Over Communism with Dr. Sang Hun Lee in Japan for many years. He is both a participant and guest lecturer for Unification Thought. Having lived only in Japan until now, he has been most impressed by the individual efforts to achieve unity in spite of the language and cultural barriers. He has discovered that in this kind of workshop it is possible to change one's internal attitude toward God, brothers and sisters, and ourselves by making internal changes in our ways of thinking and relating to others rather than by receiving direction in a "shower from on high." Regarding his specialty, it is Mr. Noda's conviction that we need to master Unification Thought in order to: 1) reach the academic and intellectual world; and 2) to deepen our faith in and understanding of the Principle. While in Japan, Mr. Noda and other members recently completed an English translation of a new edition of Unification Thought which will be published soon.
Michel Beauvais worked with evangelizing teams from 1973 to 1975 in the U.S., spent 1975 -- 1978 in France, and arrived again in the U.S. in January after two years as a center leader in England. In his view the workshop is an important instrument of Father's to establish a Principle-based theory of education. He says: "Rev. Hose analyzes very well the problems of many church members -- he knows Father's heart concerning education. I think Father worries very much about the tradition of our church for the future. Tradition and education are one."
Michel has some critical Gallic insights into the nature of our movement: "Western leadership is based rigidly and solely on a sense of position. The notion of "heart" needs more emphasis. We need greater internal leadership and heartistic development among our leaders." In the past two years Michel has been searching for ways to deepen and broaden himself in order to be a more effective and embracing leader. One particularly valuable achievement of Rev. Hose's method is to show how one can go beyond the barrier of personal resentment to reach a broader spectrum of personality types. He believes that national leaders as well as missionaries could benefit from the teachings of the workshop, both for their own internal growth and for what they can learn about the raising of members. An added benefit of being here is that there are opportunities to hear Father speak. Michel noted that this is particularly important because of the change in Father's way of expression. "Ten years ago he was stern and absolute. Now he is more embracing and expressive of God's heart."
Salif Dione (from Senegal, joined Unification Church in November, 1978) is the third native member sent to international workshops by missionary Patty Fleischman. For him it has been a great experience to share life in a large, developed family. He is discovering more about Principle life from seeing how brothers and sisters from diverse cultures interact than he could in Senegal. For him this was a "second teaching of the Divine Principle." For the first time he saw a practical demonstration of how Divine Principle could become a way of life.
Also, for the first time he had prayed "with tears." He compared the value of the Divine Principle to that of a lance which is able to find the vulnerable point in a medieval horseman clad in armor and penetrate to his heart. During the daily two-hour period when workshop members work on the restoration of the World Mission Center Father passed by and Salif had a vision of the relationship between the restoration of the walls of the building and the restoration of men which Father is concerned with.
Out of all that Salif is experiencing in the international workshop he attaches most importance to seeing Father in a new way. Before he had a fear or awe of Father, thinking that he would be strict and serious. Seeing the warmth of the give and take between Father and the members added a new dimension to his understanding. He also came to understand the value of the Divine Principle by being able to meet the leaders of our movement who have become great not because of their closeness to the True Parents but because they have established a high personal standard for their lives of faith in the Divine Principle.
Near the end of the interview Salif offered this advice: "We can understand the value of Divine Principle by meeting the leaders of our church, who are great not because of their closeness to the True Parents, but because they have established a high standard for their lives. Those who have not had a chance to live with many brothers and sisters should not avoid the opportunity. The vision of the Kingdom of Heaven present here will motivate us more deeply."