Dr. Michael William Balcomb, the newly-appointed vice president of the Unification Church USA, is scheduled to preach for 12 Sundays to at Unificationist congregations across the United States, beginning at the Learning Center in Manhattan (4 West 43rd Street) on November 11, 2012 and concluding on the West Coast on Sunday, January 27, 2013.
“I really would like to support our Unificationist communities in any way I can,” said Dr. Balcomb on a recent conference call with Unification church pastors, “and I am very mindful of True Mother’s guidance to invest in preaching, lecturing, and facilitating Divine Principle workshops. But I only want to go where I can really be useful, so I am leaving it up to the Districts and churches to decide when I might best visit, if at all.”
A November 5th notice sent out to all Districts by the Headquarters Executive Team explained that in line with the new emphasis on local ownership of Sunday-worship services, Dr. Balcomb was available to “visit different nearby locations throughout the weekend, especially lesser-served cities” and encouraged congregations to take advantage of his expertise. Dr. Balcomb was the first student in 2009 to graduate from the Unification Theological Seminary’s flourishing Doctor-of-Ministry program, headed by Dean Kathy Winings.
Dr. Balcomb is planning to remain within the New England and tri-state area for Thanksgiving Sunday Service on November 25th, Christmas Sunday Service on December 23rd and New Year’s Sunday Service on December 30th, but other weekends are filling up fast with bookings in Las Vegas, Chicago and Minneapolis pending. National broadcasts by church President Rev. Hyung Jin Moon are scheduled for December 2nd and January 6th.
According to Teresa Ferrete, Dr. Balcomb’s administrative assistant, interest has been keen. “The District Directors were asked to choose the locations that Dr. Balcomb would visit, since they would have a better idea of what areas would benefit most from hearing from him,” she said. “He is hoping to meet with members in their homes or small groups on Fridays, help with Divine Principle presentations on Saturdays and give Sunday Service on Sunday, although whether he does so and with whom he meets is up to the District Directors to decide. Dr. Balcomb still has some weekends within this 12-week period available for invitation, but they are being booked quickly.”
“True Mother told me not to spend all my time at Unification Church Headquarters in New York City but to venture out into the field to develop personal relationships with the members and to hear their concerns,” Dr. Balcomb said. “As Rev. Hyung Jin Moon has emphasized, Headquarters should serve those out in the field, not the other way around.”
Dr. Balcomb was born in Nigeria in 1957, educated in England, and joined the Unification Church in California in 1976. After working for Mobile Fundraising Team for three years, he became the leader of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) in Great Britain, and in 1989, following the World CARP Convention in London, began working with the Professors World Peace Academy. He returned to the United States in 1992 to attend the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), graduating with the Master of Divinity degree in 1994 and with a Doctor of Ministry degree in 2009. For the past seven years, Dr. Balcomb served as Communications Director of the Universal Peace Federation International in Tarrytown, New York before being appointed vice President on October 1, 2012. He was Blessed in Marriage in the 6,000-couples Blessing in 1982 to his wife Fumiko, and they have five children aged from 25 to 15.