On September 19, a dedication ceremony for the newly constructed Fukuyama Family Church (Higashi Hiroshima District) was held where Regional Group President of Heavenly Japan in the Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community, Bang Sang-il, and his wife were invited. Bang thanked the members, who contributed to the construction of the new sanctuary, and spoke about its sacredness. The following are the words he gave, as well as, the greetings from his wife, Kazuyo Fujinohara.
Ladies and gentlemen, congratulations. A new sanctuary has been built, and I think it has brought a bright new spirit, in which we can take pride in. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to District Leader Kim Yoon-gon and all of the members, beginning with Ms. Machiko Kiyokawa, for all of your dedication.
Moreover, I would also like to express my gratitude to our senior families: Kazuko Onishi (777 couple; husband, Hidetoshi), who helped pioneer this area; Minoru and Hiroko Maekawa (777 couple), who were pastors for six years; and Eiichi and Tsuneko Habara (777 couple), who are still working hard for our younger generation.
The sanctuary is a holy place where God is present
Beautiful churches like this are being built all over Japan. On August 8, the dedication ceremony for the Hachioji Family Church (Tama-Tokyo District) was held. It is a magnificent building with four floors and one basement floor. Even the local assembly members, who were invited to the event, could not stop raving about the power of the Family Federation.
Ladies and gentlemen, as True Mother has said, we are in the golden age. Even though True Mother has given this blessing, some of you may feel it has nothing to do with you. If so, the church will not develop. We must cherish the words Mother has blessed us with. Life begins with the word. We must never ignore the word.
It is my belief, but we need one church for every 100,000 people. Mihara has a population of about 90,000, Onomichi about 130,000, and each of these cities has its own church. Fukuyama has about 470,000 people, so I think four churches are needed for this area.
The sanctuary is a “sacred place.” This building was just completed, so there are no pictures on the wall, yet. True Father said, “The sanctuary in which God is present is more precious than one’s own house.” Therefore, you shouldn’t put your greatest treasure in your house, but in the church.
When I look at this room from where I’m standing here on stage, the lighting is a little dark and I’m not able to see all of your faces, especially those in the back. The lighting is very wonderful and of high quality, but people should be able to feel the spiritual vibe that is bright when they enter a church. We need to create an air or atmosphere where we can feel that the absolute good spirits are helping us.
Perhaps there are some of you here that keep your lights off as much as possible in order not to run up the electricity bill. Saving is important, but Satan likes the dark and God lives in the light. Fear arises in the night, but not during the day. So we must always keep our hearts filled with light.
People say that what’s on the inside is more important (than looks). No matter how much you may dress up, a person with a bad heart that causes trouble onto others can only be a bad person. What (would this place be) if there were 200 yakuza members sitting here? It would only be a yakuza base, not a sanctuary. The people that are gathered here are blessed families who’ve received and serve the Heavenly Parent (God) and True Parents—those that live for the sake of others—so we can say that this building is a noble sanctuary.
The Unification Church (the Family Federation) was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1954. Now that I think about it, that building (church) was as poor as a barrack. Going further back, True Father lived in a hut made of dirt, stones, and cardboard in Beomnaegol, Busan. That’s where he finished writing the Principle and started his mission. To the people that had gathered there, he promised that he would unite the world.
There might’ve been some people that had doubted him and thought, “How can a man, living in a shabby place like this, proclaim such a thing?” However, True Father kept this belief throughout his life, and together with True Mother, he built this global foundation we have today.
About 70 years after (the founding of the church) True Mother is making every effort to complete the Cheon Il Guk Sanctum and to welcome the Heavenly Parent by 2023. It is her hope that Cheon Won Gung can become a place that when people visit the sanctuary, they would want to join the Family Federation.
I have been to Cheonpyeong, South Korea with the former Vice President of Taiwan, Annette Lu, who served in that position for eight years and is highly respected by the people of Taiwan. She spent two days visiting such facilities as the Cheon Jeong Gung Museum, Cheonseong Wanglim Palace, the Cheongshim Peace World Center, the Hyojeong Cultural Center (formerly the Cheongshim International Youth Training Center), and the Cheongshim Village.
During that visit, she said, “I have visited all the sacred places in the world, including the Vatican in Rome, but nowhere has it been as vast, beautiful, and filled with a holy spirit, as it is here.” And she would offer words of admiration for True Mother at every opportunity.
It’s not like Ms. Lu read all of Father’s words, but when she saw the beauty of Cheongpyeong around the Cheong Jeong Gung Museum, she became like a member. We have entered a wonderful era for our church.
Confirm the existence of the Heavenly Parent and True Parents in your hearts
In 1620, English Puritans sought religious freedom and all together 102 people traveled to North America on the Mayflower. Do you know of the Empire State Building? This building symbolizes the United States, and it is said that the building was built with 102 floors in honor of their great achievement. During their first winter, about half of the Puritans died of hunger and the cold. The first thing they tried to build was a church, even in such a harsh environment. Then, after building schools to educate their children, they built their own homes.
At that time, many people moved from Europe to South America. They sought wealth by acquiring gold, silver and other minerals. On the other hand, the Puritans did not seek material wealth. They just wanted to live with God. God blessed them and their descendants built a history of prosperity. After 300 years, America had become a world power. Now, 400 years later, the United States is the world leader in economics, military, and other fields.
There is a certain set of priorities in our lives (of faith). First of all, we need to keep the Heavenly Parent and True Parents in mind. Each of us must always check how much the Heavenly Parent occupies our hearts, the same for True Parents. We shouldn’t go to them only when we want something. Let us try and live with the Heavenly Parent and True Parents daily from morning to night.
Do you like hiking? Some of you may have shouted, “Yah-ho” at the summit. Whether you are Korean or Japanese, when you reach a summit you shout this out and see if it echoes back. Do you know what the origin of the word “yah-ho” is? There are various theories, but among them, there is a theory that it comes from the word, “Yahweh.” Yahweh is the name for God that the chosen people of Israel cherished.
Let me share a story with you. A German Christian missionary once climbed a mountain. With great hardship, he reached the top, where he was moved by the beautiful scenery in front of him and shouted “Yahweh” in gratitude to God. When we have a chance to climb a mountain, we should shout with the thought of gratitude to God.
Let’s say there is someone that you hate, and you are filled with anger towards that person while climbing a mountain. What would happen if you shout at the mountaintop something like, “You idiot!”? It would echo back, “You idiot! You idiot! You idiot!…” Your intention was to call this person an idiot, but the only thing that happens is you being called an idiot repeatedly from the echoes.
However, if you are filled with gratitude and shout, “Thank you!”, those words of gratitude will return to you many times over. We have to be careful of our words. I hope that this sanctuary not be filled with evil words, but with words of love, praising heaven and praising brothers and sisters.
Please pray a lot for this. There is always somebody that is hard to get along with or hard to love. But a believer prays for these people so they may overcome these troubles. There is a lot of power in prayer. Even if you are angry enough to want to kill someone, when you close your eyes and pray in front of the image of the True Parents, your anger subsides and you start to pray, “My Heavenly Parent, please forgive me for my shortcomings. Please bless that person.” Your mind flips 180 degrees. It’s really strange.
There was also a splendid prayer room (in this building). I hope the church will be filled with tearful prayers.
True Mother brought victory to the first 7-year course. However, three of those years was spent attending Father’s grave. Traditionally in Korea when the parents die, the eldest son has to attend their graves for three years. People who respect and follow this tradition, build a hut next to their parents’ graves and live there to protect them. As they do, they deeply reflect on their shortcomings and lack of filial piety.
That’s what True Mother did on behalf of her eldest son. In the morning, in the daytime and at night, she visited Father’s grave-sometimes six or even 12 times a day—and prayed for True Father. On this foundation of bringing victory of attending Father’s grave for 3 years, Mother traveled around the world for four years and restored seven countries to heaven.
Last February, in commemoration of the centennial year of True Father’s birth and the 60-year anniversary of the Cosmic Holy Wedding of True Parents, events such as the World Summit 2020: General Assembly of the Summit Council of World Peace were held that are worthy of special mention in the history of the Family Federation.
Right before that, there was the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, which threatened the cancelation of the events. When Yoon Young-ho, Director-General of International Headquarters, reported the spread of the virus to True Mother, he asked her if the events would be held as planned, and she replied, “We have spent years preparing for the Heavenly Parent and True Father. The Heavenly Parent will guide us and the absolute good spirits will protect us. Don’t worry. Proceed as planned.”
More than 6,000 world leaders attended World Summit 2020, including Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Nobody was infected with COVID. It was clear that the Heavenly Parent the the True Parents were with the Family Federation. After that, True Mother declared the start of the Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community and held the Cheonbo Registration Blessing Registration. Heaven’s providence accelerated quickly after this.
The second 7-year course began, and True Mother utilized the internet to educate world leaders and the members through the One Million People Rally of Hope and the Hope and Advancement Services held in different subregions of Heavenly Korea and Heavenly Japan. For me, it seems as if we have accomplished in one year what it would take in seven. Mother is walking a path where a year is like a thousand years.
You need to grow and develop when fortune is on your side
Yesterday (September 18), Think Tank 2022 Forum, hosted by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), was held at the Cheongpyeong Peace World Center in South Korea. It was held online and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered the keynote speech. Four panelists from Korea, Japan, and America participated in a Q&A session with Pompeo. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Ambassador to Korea Christopher Hill served as panelists, creating a forum for discussion among national leaders.
Times have changed. The time has come where the top leaders of America can discuss with the leaders of Korea and Japan about the sake of the Heavenly Unified Korea and the Heavenly Unified World.
I think that there are some here that have been hurt by their families or relatives that opposed their faith or by negative reports from the media, and may not be confident in testifying about their faith in the Family Federation to the public. However, no other religious organization operates with a clearer vision than the Family Federation, so be confident.
When I’m able to have dinner at home, I take a walk with my wife for about an hour after dinner. Along the course that we take, there are facilities of three religious groups that have prominent influence in Japan. However, I’ve never seen the lights on over the past year. However, whichever church you may go to of the Family Federation, the lights will be on until late at night, and the members will be working hard. Even if the number of our followers is less than that of these other groups, the passion that each of us has for heaven’s will greatly exceeds that of these groups. Moreover, the second and third generations who are passionate about filial piety are growing up. Therefore, there is no doubt that the time will come when we surpass these groups in number.
Everyone, you have prepared a truly magnificent sanctuary. This is also a great fortune. The next three years are crucial. You need to be prepared to sell this building if it doesn’t develop in three years. If we cannot double or triple our numbers in three years, then it won’t be easy to make big progress after that. We always have to ride the waves of fortune when they come.
I will report about this dedication ceremony to True Mother. I will never allow your precious dedication you poured into the construction of this sanctuary go to waste. I congratulate you on this wondrous occasion. Let us all invest our cheongseong to accomplish the will together.