More than 100 Unificationists gathered in an assembly room in the Cheon Jung Gung (“Chon Jung Goong”), the residence of Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon in Gapyeong, South Korea, for an unprecedented sermon contest organized by the Unification Church Korean headquarters called “Evangelize for Cheon Il Guk” on November 29, 2012.
The purpose of the event was to “resurrect the heart for evangelism” within the Unification Church, reflecting the words of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, or “True Mother,” on Sunday, November 11, 2012 during a nationwide worship service: “We need to revive the church and become engines of growth by becoming great preachers.” Korean Headquarters is also planning to provide seminars on homiletics, the art preaching, that will provide online materials for sermons in order to develop preachers’ capabilities.
Jong Kwan Kim, secretary of Korean headquarters, served as emcee for the competition. After the entrance of True Mother into the assembly hall at 1:00 p.m., attendees participated in a formal bow and a prayer by Rev. Jeong Ok Yu, the headquarters pastor, after which the sermon contest was underway.
A total of 22 people, including 15 district pastors, metropolitan-area pastors and the director of Universal Peace Academy, competed. Each of the contestants was instructed to give a sermon about the heart and mission of Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, or “True Parents,” for a total of 10 minutes. It was evident that the contestants put all their effort into presenting their sermons strongly, enthusiastically and sincerely, yet many said there was more to the competition than simply winning, according to a Nov. 30, 2012 report on the Tongilgyo website.
“At first, I was trying to criticize others, thinking, ‘Let’s figure out who’s the better speaker,’ but later, I felt that God and True Parents were teaching me what my mission is in this time through other participants,” said one contestant. “I was able to have time to reflect on myself and on being penitent.”
Pastor Seung Bae Ma from the Song Buk Church won first prize, Mu Sang Im from the Cheon An Church won second, and In Young Song from the Dae Gu Church won third.
The benediction for the event was given by Dr. Jun Ho Seok, president of the Korean Church. A celebration supper and meeting including entertainment, an award ceremony and commemorative photo-taking followed, at which Rev. Ho Yeol Ahn served as the emcee.
After the contest, True Mother said to the contestants, “I was moved with your sermons. When you go back to your respective churches, I think it would be good to extend your sermons to 30 minutes. We need these sermons to have an impact on members throughout the week. I want to develop worship services to include reports about members’ activities, through which we would congratulate successful evangelists and spiritual guidance programs. Then we will have a living, breathing and vibrant church. We need to make new members want to be sincere and want to go to church every day. True Father was a giver of life. We need to become givers not simply in the physical world, but also in the spiritual world.”
Translated by Lymhwa Kim and edited by Ariana Moon.