The Words of the Haines Family
In case you don't already know Sean, Matt, Christabel and I will be stepping down from our full time youth ministry work which started last October. It's been a pretty intense year for us and I think an even more intense year for many of you.
I remember preparing for the CARP Christmas Dinner with one brother back in December and he asked me if I thought there was hope for the future of our movement here in Britain. This was a few months after True Father's passing, the shocking news about In Jin Nim and indeed our own European leadership crises. It certainly felt like everything we took for granted was being shaken.
I strongly believe that there will be a future for the unification church community in this country. There will be enough practicing blessed second generation families to form one, but I can't help wonder how many of the faces I know and love will be a part of it. No matter how hard we witness we're not going to be able to bring as many new members as second generation are leaving. If we can't take care of those God has entrusted to us he is hardly going to give us more.
True Mother spoke of how she wants to recreate the atmosphere there was in the early days:
'I want to recreate that era when worshipping on Sunday was not the end, where we conveyed God's word through our lives 24 hours a day, where we yearned to see shikku (family members) again, where the words of the Principle were taught without ceasing, where we brought people to the church because we were desperate to have as many people as possible hear the words of the Principle.'
They sang holy songs for hours, crying tears for God, they were intoxicated by their love for each other and their lives felt transformed by the Principle. They could not help themselves but desire to share what they've found with others. The question is do we feel the same today? The answer is not always that simple, but judging by the singing on a Sunday sometimes it would seem far from it. Are we satisfied with the way things are?
For much of our church's history, viewing things from an evaluative, analytical or simply honest perspective was often viewed as being Satanic. Yet we must be honest about where we are, not for the sake of complaining, but for the sake of changing. If we are constantly denying or distracting ourselves from the problems we face they will grow and fester. Father often says stagnation leads to death. If it feels like we are stagnating we must do something about it.
Nevertheless, renewal is not going to come even if we become more transparent, accountable or democratic as a movement. This may satisfy some but that will only yield structural changes. If there isn't the heart and the passion behind it, we will remain a lifeless institution.
I hope that the Ignite workshop can be a step on the road to renewal. That we can start talking about where we want to be in the next seven years – our own vision 2020. That we can come together to talk and pray for change -- in our own lives and in the lives of those we love. Let us talk about what is our purpose as a movement. Why did Father start all these different organizations? What is it that is unique about us as a community and what can we offer to this country?