The Words of the Stewart Family

Community and Commitment - District 1 - Family Fellowship Leadership Retreat

James and Matilda Stewart
November 29, 2008

A group of more than 25 brothers and sisters gathered for a Family Fellowship small-group leaders retreat at Camp Letts, Maryland, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The meeting was hosted by the district directors, Reverend and Mrs. Francis.

Pastor Hiroshi Goto of the Northern Virginia (Nova) Family Church in Virginia gave presentations on how to discover the essentials of the family fellowship experience. He shared with us the essentials for building a community of love based on small groups, such as the commitment needed to build this kind of community, a strategic overview of small groups and how to lead them, and a vision of where small groups are going and how they can impact our lives. There was lots of time for discussion and sharing, as well as some time to role-play what should and should not be done by a leader of a small group.

Many of those at the retreat have been following the Unificationist way of life for more than 30 years, yet it is never disappointing to gather as brothers and sisters in our shared commitment to build a better world. I personally witnessed that kind of dedication, commitment and love again when some younger and some more mature Unificationists came together for this retreat. There were some couples who had been matched by Father Moon and blessed in marriage in 1975 in a mass wedding of 1800 couples. There were some younger in their faith, couples who joined our Family Fellowship meetings a few months ago. When we all came together, we found common ground in our dedication and desperation to build safe, nurturing and healing communities where families can live together centered on God and living for the sake of each other. As the saying “If you build it, they will come” goes, when we can truly live like this, as a community of heart and love, then many will come and join us. After all, this is what people are searching for -- a place to belong.

Thank you, Pastor Hiroshi Goto and Rev. Randy Francis, for sharing some of the tools and the vision needed to build this kind of community through small groups and family fellowships!

James and Matilda Stewart are the National Directors of the Family Fellowship (HDFC) Program. You may contact them.

“In order to live the blessed life we need to make use of safe havens. We need to build communities that have safe havens. It’s one of the lessons that I wish we can learn today: that our community, our fellowship, the home that we live in, our children, our spouses, that these relationships give us the power to succeed, that they are able to give us the strength and courage that we need, the confidence, to truly become successful in our lives.”
Rev. Hyung Jin Moon
September 13, 2008

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT) 

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