Oceania Region Reports
Report of the CARP 5-Day Divine Principle Workshop
On the 16th to 20th of December, CARP Australia held a 5-Day Divine Principle Workshop in the Blue Mountains. The schedule of the workshop consisted of 12 divine principle lectures from Introduction to Second Advent, with sports, activities and discussion in between. The main lecturer was Rev Soon Teck Lim and Rev Greg Hanson. The staff was 6 CIG missionaries and 2 from UPA.
There were 13 participants in all, 9 of whom were 2nd generation and 1st generations from Australia. There are 4 guests (male 2, female 2) who attended, two of them were from CIG missionaries along with one guest brought by 2nd generation and one guest brought by Saturday witnessing team.
Lectures and Activities
On the first day, Rev Shang Seon Park, who is continental leader, delivered the opening remarks and he shared that the workshop is an important time to strengthen our relationship with God. After that, we received one lecture and had time for entertainment. We were divided into 3 groups where they cooperated and competed with each team. It was good time for relationship building among the participants.
On the second day, we had time for sports and CARP TALK besides the 4 lectures. At CARP TALK, the CIG missionary gave a presentation about importance of having a dream by using True Parents’ words, and the participants discussed about this topic.
On the third day, we finished three lectures in the morning and walked a 2.5 hour hiking trail in Blue Mountain in the afternoon. It was a challenging course with many stairs. But it was good time to see and feel a lot of God's love thorough the beautiful view. In the evening, a missionary testified that she met with God through fundraising in Australia and realized the importance of fulfilling her responsibilities.
On the fourth day, after 4 lectures, we had BBQ and one to one in the evening. The second generation had an open and honest talk about each other's faith, hearing their situation and inspiring each other. The guests shared what they thought about God, principle, and True Parents. It was a great time to have deep conversation about their situation and God.
On the final day, after receiving a lecture on the True Parents' life course, there was a lecture on the importance and value of the Blessing. At the closing ceremony, all the participants received a certification of graduation from this workshop.
In addition, we had Hoon Dok Hae (reading session) every morning during this time. We read True Father's autobiography book. Additionally, after having finished lecture every time, we had time for discussion to deepen understanding of the contents.
According to survey, all participants were satisfied with this workshop, especially they enjoyed discussion and lectures. For the second generation, it was a good opportunity to feel a lot of God's love and understand more deeply God’s words while spending time with many brothers and sisters in nature.
The guest's reflection was very inspiring as they all expressed their joy to attend and were very inspired by the Divine Principle contents. All of them have expressed interest to continue with education of the Divine Principle and True Parents. One of them has signed up membership after this workshop, and one of them accepted that the True Parents are the Messiah and the principle is the truth.
Moreover, this workshop was not only inspiring to participants, but also to the staff. Although it was really hard work to prepare 5-day workshop, they felt the spiritual atmosphere and power of His love through the participants and members.
All in all, we were able to hold a successful workshop. We hope next time that we will be able to hold a more grateful workshop.
Sunday Service Report
Reverend Park gave a very wonderful sermon about Blessed Marriage relationship. He said that the first six to twelve months of marriage we should not look for love from our spouse. First we should seek to understand our spouse. Do not look just at the physical beauty. We have to look with spiritual eyes from God and then I can see the beauty of our spouse. As we get older we look at our spouse through spiritual eyes and we are able to love more deeply. God's original design is for us to reach the Divine spiritual level in God's home. It is not easy in this world of materialism and looking at everything through physical eyes. To open our spiritual eyes we have to look at everything from God's viewpoint. Otherwise we look from our own point of view - the physical point of view.
Focus on God and true love to reach Divine spirit level. In the Garden of Eden the serpent's love was greater than God's love from Adam and Eve's viewpoint. We have to open our eyes to true love. When we lose our focus on God's viewpoint it means death. In the Book of Genesis love is the starting point of everything in husband and wife. If we focus on material things then our spiritual eyes are not open.
Reverend Park's vision for Oceania is for us to set the goal in the right direction and move forward one step at a time. Don't go fast. We will get to the destination. Just be able to say to yourself, "I am doing better than the previous month." Reverend Park wants to see this. I have to look at myself.
Sunday Service Report
On December 10, our brother Daniel Meadows gave a very moving message.
In Japan, he experienced Christmas without family and friends. In Australia his family is very into celebrating Christmas. Christmas is a great time to meet people. Great people faced adversity for what they felt was right ie: Martin Luther King faced death for his beliefs. Mathew 7: 13-14 says, "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." This is a short but prophetic passage from the Bible. It is easy to avoid responsibility. The narrow gate is God's way. Father said that taking the easy route is Satan's way.
He and Chizuru visited a local church in Mansfield. They were glad to see people still seeking God. We have to bring the youth back to God.
Chizuru said that they should be upfront about being Unificationists. If the church kicks them out, so be it. True Father was always honest and testified to God's truth. Many times Father could have avoided challenge with common sense. But Father threw away his life daily to do God's will. Even his legs gave out after speaking 12 hours to the members. Father's body is no different than ours. Let us not turn from the way of God. Enjoy Christmas.
Jeung-mee Natanni introduced her husband, Kristoff, who has come to Melbourne for a visit. We were so happy to meet him and congratulate the newly Blessed couple.
Sunday Service and Christmas Party
Melbourne FFWPU held a lively and enjoyable Christmas party last Sunday, December 17. A nice group of people were there including many guests and lots of our members. Sarah Boyd was the lovely emcee and introduced John Bellavance, who gave a warm hearted Christmas Interfaith message. Rick McInerheney prepared the Powerpoint of Christmas carols so we could all sing along and he accompanied our singing with guitar along with the special ladies choir. Emily M and Sam T supported Uncle Rick onstage with some really important jobs!!:-)
Thank you to all the ladies (Mrs. Arai, Tazuko, Tsuneko, Jacinta D, Kobayashis, Beth, and everyone who brought food and cans of drink) Thank you to all - and if we missed mentioning you your contribution is appreciated nonetheless:-) Our dear Aussie sunshine Santa arrived with jingle bells and the shouts of excitement by all the little - and very big children of all ages.!! Thank you, dear brother, Daniel Meadows for being a wonderful Santa this year. And last but not least a - big vote of gratitude goes to Yeyoung, Ann B and Jacinta D for a great job of decorating the church. Beautiful!! Loved that huge wreath in the front wall behind the musical instruments..
OK, that's about it. Have a wonderful Christmas and see you on the 31st for our end of year reflection and inspiration for the New Year Sunday Service to be given by Ian Darbishire. And remember, after church we have a busy bee and bbq to prepare for the High School Workshop beginning on January 3.
On December 31st, Ian Darbishire gave a sermon, ‘What's the Story?’ Everyone has a story. He told the story about Gratton and his family history. Ian had a cousin named Anthony who would always greet everyone by saying, "What's the Story?" In Ireland when you greet someone you say, "What's the story?"
When Ian told the story about when he went to the matching in New York in 1980, he had to drink the Holy Wine twice at the Holy Wine Ceremony because he was photo matched to Jacinta.
Ian has a box of personal items that belonged to Gratton. In that box is a letter from King George for Gratton serving 5 years in the Home Guard for England. Also he shared with us the Biblical story of Torbit which he read from a book that belonged to Gratton. This book is all hand written and illustrated.
Torbit lived in 350 BC in Galillee and he came from a Jewish family. He was a very principled person who kept the Jewish laws. He was trusted by the king. Stories are very interesting when you bring in the aspect about the spirit world. We face a scientific battle when we visit the doctor and the spiritual aspect of the illness is not recognised. Doctors need to see the whole story. How do we heal spiritually - not just physically? Things influence people spiritually and when we meet people we need to acknowledge that there are ancestors behind them. When things go wrong it is often a test. Torbit lost everything and then eventually it all came back. There was an angel with him all the time but Torbit didn't realise that the person was an angel until the end of the story.
Gold is something that is stable. Melbourne was built on gold (gold mining in the 19th Century). When two stars collide gold and silver are formed. God makes gold. Our Blessing ring is gold. This is a symbol of permanence. All solutions come from God and spirit world.
WFWP, UPF and FFWPU Activities
Interfaith Christmas Party
It was a beautiful sunny day in Belgrave for a party. WFWP teamed up with UPF and the Melbourne Family Church (FFWPU) to hold their annual Interfaith Christmas get together. Guest, family, and members from each organisation came together to honour celebrate Christmas Aussie style. We were welcomed into the sanctuary with Christmas Carols performed by Rick McInerheney on guitar and the Melbourne Family Church choir.
John Bellavance (UPF State Director) gave the public address titled: Through the Eyes of Love. He urged participants to see themselves as part of the journey began by God for unification.
As members of UPF, WFWP and FFWPU have joined a movement for the realisation of God’s ideal. Each of these organisations plays a role in the restoration of society towards an ‘ideal state’ using the guiding principles of Unification Thought to create a just, loving and prosperous society; where interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values prosper.
John explained that Unification Thought is not a new religion, but a systematic thought that outlines:
i) A blueprint for the order of society that satisfies God’s purpose of creation and the inherent aspirations of human beings.
ii) A finding of the cause of separation between God and human beings, between conscience and behaviours, and between people.
iii) How God has worked in history with human beings to restore the ideal.
In conclusion, John shared that history is the history of restoration of love. The poet Rumi said: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Santa came to town riding on a lawn mower! After making his way to the stage, Santa explained that
upon reaching Australia he had to shed his big coat and pants and take on a more Australian feel.
The children enjoyed treat gifts and of course gave a hug to Santa.
After some more carols we all enjoyed the beautiful banquet prepared for us, and relaxed in the sunshine by catching up with friends and family.
Thank you everyone for making it a fun, family day.