Initiated in December of 2012, Dr. Michael Balcomb’s tour to explain Foundation Day and host Divine Principle training sessions with the new PowerPoint presentation produced by Headquarters continued right through the New Year, providing many members in the western and mid-western states the opportunity to start off 2013 preaching the Word.
The first stop for Dr. Balcomb, vice president of the Unification Church USA, in 2013 was Seattle Washington, on Friday, January 4, 2013. After arriving at the Windermere House, the headquarters for District 10, Dr. Balcomb attended meetings with local Unificationists and Blessed Life Ministry representatives. An early dinner with the leaders of the local ministries and providential organizations followed, after which Dr. Balcomb proceeded to the Seattle Unification Church to hold a Divine Principle training session.
During this training session, approximately eight individuals – men and women, Japanese and American, young and old – volunteered to lecture the Divine Principle with the new PowerPoint for the first time.
“The outcome was great,” said Rev. Larry Krishnek, District Pastor of District 10. “We were enlightened and amused. A special treat was the lecture by 13-year-old Elliot Lowe.”
The next morning, Dr. Balcomb answered various questions at a two-hour town hall meeting and then spoke at the local district council’s monthly meeting. Following this meeting, Dr. Balcomb, together with Rev. Krishnek and Oregon State Pastor Rev. David Coryell, left Seattle for Portland, Oregon, where later that day he hosted another town hall meeting with Unificationists there. The event was attended by more than 50 participants, some of whom traveled as far as 60 miles to meet and discuss church issues.
Dr. Balcomb shared about how he received the mission from True Mother to revive the Unification Movement in the United States by teaching the Divine Principle in every church, a message that his audience appreciated, according to Rev. Coryell. He also introduced the new website on which to register for Foundation Day, as well as discussed the value of the conditions members are requested to fulfill. The role of Headquarters as church support was explained, and several members asked about more transparence on the national level.
“His sense of humor and excellent speaking ability put everyone at ease,” said Rev. Coryell. It was requested that Dr. Balcomb take back the message, "We are still here, faithfully following True Parents!"
The next day, Sunday, January 6, 2013, Dr. Balcomb delivered a Sunday Service sermon entitled "The Year of God's Good Favor," through which he explained that Foundation Day is not the end, but the beginning, and that the year ahead is filled with promise. Following a short break, he presented the new Divine Principle PowerPoint and allowed nine willing participants, including second-generation Unificationists and non-English speakers, to try their hand at lecturing the Divine Principle. Everyone agreed that when equipped with the new PowerPoint, anyone could teach effectively.
Next Stops: Nebraska and Kansas
In energetic continuation of his tour, Dr. Balcomb visited a total of four locations in District 8, traveling 500 miles to meet more than 130 Unificationists from January 11-13, 2013.
On January 11th, 50 family members from Nebraska and Kansas greeted Dr. Balcomb at the Omaha Center in Nebraska at 6:00 p.m. and shared a pot luck meal. Second-generation Unificationists Ty Christiansen and Haruna Asanuma opened the evening with a congregational song, and Kansas State Pastor Peeter Saarna led his youth choir in a musical offering that raised the spirit and prepared the audience to receive Dr. Balcomb as their guest speaker.
Nebraska State Pastor Rev. Mark Lincoln served as the evening’s emcee and introduced Dr. Balcomb, who opened by sharing experiences he had had in Nebraska as a Mobile Fundraising Team (MFT) fundraiser 37 years ago. Per usual, he then provided insights into the meaning of Foundation Day and demonstrated how everyone can give lectures on the Divine Principle. Four brave souls ventured before the group to try this new approach, and according to Rev. Swearson, “It was an enjoyable experience! Dr. Balcomb encouraged everyone to follow True Mother’s request to lecture Divine Principle to willing friends and family.”
At 10:00 p.m., Dr. Balcomb and Rev. Carl Swearson drove 130 miles to Des Moines, Iowa, where the next morning at 8:00 a.m., Dr. Balcomb shared the new Divine Principle PowerPoint with them. Dr. Balcomb and Rev. Swearson then continued on to Cedar Falls, Iowa to meet 20 members from that area for lunch and practice lecturing.
One member said, “I am so amazed that our National Vice President would take the time and travel this far to meet us!”
Dr. Balcomb and Rev. Swearson again departed for their fourth location 200 miles north to Minneapolis, the location of District 8’s headquarters, for a 7:00 p.m. meet and greet with family members there. The next day, Sunday, January 13, 2013, Dr. Balcomb delivered a sermon titled “Standing in the Presence of God” to more than 100 members and guests, after which, in standard scheduling, he hosted 50 members in another Divine Principle training sessions. Volunteering lecturers included a new member and two foreign members.
“Our eyes were truly opened to the possibilities awaiting us with this new, user-friendly approach to teaching,” said Rev. Swearson. “The brothers and sisters of District 8 are sincerely touched and inspired to have had this Divine Principle lecture series demonstrated first hand by our newly installed Vice President, Dr. Michael Balcomb.