The Words of the Jenkins Family
3rd National Witnessing Summit in Chicago
December 2, 2007
"Catch the Vision -- Passing on a Legacy of Love" was the theme of the 3rd National Witnessing Summit held November 30 -- December 2 at the beautiful Eaglewood Resort in Itasca, Illinois. One hundred and twenty first and second-generation participants from across the nation and the Chicago community joined together to build a powerful foundation of heart and spirit for bringing 30,000 core members in America.
The summit was organized by Mrs. Sheri Reuter and the National Witnessing Task Force, and continued the positive momentum achieved during the first summit in Los Angeles during August and the second summit in Maryland during October.
The three-day program began with a dinner banquet on November 30, followed by an introductory session directed by Rev. Joshua Cotter (program emcee). All participants introduced themselves and shared their reasons for attending the summit.
The results were inspiring and a deep sense of unity quickly developed. Mrs. Sheri Reuter, Rev. Dong Woo Kim (FFWPU Vice President) and Rev. David Rendel (Chicago District Director) gave welcoming remarks and messages of encouragement. The evening closed with heartfelt unison prayer around an outdoor campfire led by Rev. Philip Schanker (FFWPU Vice President).
The following two days included Hoon Dok Hae and a series of sessions focused on current realities, future targets and assessment of successful outreach models. Each session included presentations and group discussions through a "World Cafe" method which enabled all participants to actively discuss strategic issues through attending specific discussion tables. Everyone had the opportunity to express their views, and the sessions were stimulating and empowering.
The energy throughout the program was high due to the unified intergenerational activities. The music was especially exciting and the second-generation introduced the first-generation to the creative world of "joy dancing" (following the dance moves of alternating leaders to Christian hip-hop music). During the dancing, all inhibitions were dropped and everyone, regardless of age, felt the liberation of youth!
The sessions were held in a temporary structure used for wedding receptions which provided a challenging but memorable environment (especially during the ice storm on the second day!). Each session was very meaningful. Question-and-answer periods with panels of second-generation leaders and then first-generation leaders provided insights into varying perspectives on the value and future of our movement.
Presentations on successful development methods of other religious organizations provided constructive comparisons. A creative presentation on the advances in the use of media in our national publications was encouraging. And the poignant testimony of 18 year-old Ares Meyer of southern California on his rebirth in our movement put all the contents of the summit into its proper perspective, centered on saving Godís children.
Closing remarks on the third day of the program by Rev. Dong Woo Kim and Rev. Michael Jenkins sited the successful steps being achieved through the summits as well as the ongoing challenges to be addressed. Advances are clearly being made and we are grateful to have contributed to this critical and historic effort by sponsoring the 3rd national summit in Chicago!