After more than a year, Rev. Andrew Compton, Unification Church USA district pastor of District 2 (New York), can finally see the completion of his initial work on the soon-to-be-released “Discovering the Divine Principle” lecture series.
“My original motivation and main concern was that we provide Unificationists with a newer, briefer and fresher Divine Principle lecture series,” wrote Rev. Compton to Unificationnews. “Not everyone has the ability to teach the Divine Principle, and the only lecture series that was available up until now was the one produced long ago by Kevin McCarthy, which is more than an hour long.”
Feeling the need for clearer and shorter Divine Principle presentations, Rev. Compton said, “I wanted to create something that a new guest, someone who wanted to know what Unificationists believe, could easily digest.”
Upon discovering that the local public access cable station provided free cameras, crew and editing work, Rev. Compton made an arrangement to create with the station a series of 12 Divine Principle presentations, each 27 minutes in length. “I faced a problem where the cable station would not do re-takes,” he said. “I had one shot at producing a good presentation for each of the 12 series. Therefore, I wrote out notes of the entire lecture content in order to practice before producing the actual video.”
After a few sessions had been produced, Rev. Compton invited Heather Thalheimer, former director of Education at Unification Church USA, to provide advice for improvements. In response, Thalheimer decided to expand the series and assigned Dr. Tyler Hendricks, developer of ministry curriculum, to create a Divine Principle lecture series based on Rev. Compton’s notes. A new project, titled “Discovering the Divine Principle,” began.
“This project was very near and dear to my heart,” Thalheimer wrote in an email to Unificationnews. “The Education Department had the goal of developing a Divine Principle series that has a contemporary look and feel while staying true to the original substance of the Divine Principle. The Divine Principle is competing with a lot of other media messages for attention. Whatever we produce has to look attractive and hip to get noticed.”
According to Dr. Tyler Hendricks, “The ‘Discovering the Divine Principle’ lecture series was designed to meet a need to present a style of teaching the Divine Principle in terms that are relatively simple to grasp for the average person without much religious background, commitment or training.” Thalheimer said the idea to script the content of each of the 12 lectures came about so that even a novice can learn and teach “the powerful truth” of the Divine Principle.
“I am happy to say that Dr. Hendricks and Christine Froelich, advisor to Generation Peace Academy (GPA), have improved my notes tremendously,” said Rev. Compton. “In addition, designers Jonathan Gullery and GPA graduate LeeHee Wolf have created an entire new set of PowerPoint slides that are modern, bright and very attractive.”
Before the lecture series was finished, trial runs were held in Denver, CO, Chicago, IL and San Leandro, CA to test the presentations. “Dr. Michael Balcomb, vice president of Unification Church USA, has been out in the field every week since December presenting the slides and encouraging participants to try out the new lecture,” Dr. Hendricks told Unificationnews. “We have had young teenagers get up to present, as well as Japanese people who don’t speak English well. The participants find this format of reading from the script works and make it easy to present. We’ve heard that participants got very inspired and we’ve received a lot of encouragement from the field.”
The script for the 12 lectures has been completed and the first seven of the 12 slides are finished. According to Dr. Hendricks, the goal is to have all the Divine Principle presentations finished by Foundation Day, February 22, 2013 and made available to members of the local churches. In addition to the lecture series, Dr. Hendricks is working on a “metric companion” to guide teachers help students through the 12 sessions and “digest, reflect upon and wrestle with the material and see how it relates to their own life.”
Testimonies from the Field
Pastors Jario & Leena Vincenz-Gavin of Chicago, IL: “Dr. Balcomb took us through a newly created power point presentation of the Divine Principle. In the first 20 minutes he shared the ‘Introduction of the Divine Principle’ as well as part of the ‘Principle of Creation.’ He then shared how well scripted the presentations are and asked for four volunteers to give the next lectures. Two volunteers were second-generation and two were first-generation. Everyone was amazed at the professional quality each of these first time presenters could share with. There was no preparation; they simply read the notes as they clicked through the slide show. This presentation is written in such a way that even when read, it sounds very personal. Thank you Headquarters Ministry Support team for creating such amazing Divine Principle PowerPoints.”
Rev. D. Michael Hentrich, Colorado State Pastor: “With his new approach of teaching the Divine Principle, Dr. Balcomb strove to arm the members, those with and without teaching experience, with the tools and confidence to teach the Divine Principle to guests and contacts in one-on-one settings. Dr. Balcomb demonstrated the ease of effectively using a new PowerPoint presentation, complete with script and powerful graphics. The tools Dr. Balcomb presented were impressive, and several inexperienced members took turns learning to teach to the rest of the audience. It proved to be a good experience for all who attended, and a lively discussion followed.”
Rev. Kevin Thompson, District Pastor of District 11 (Northern California and Nevada): “Using his unique humor and storytelling abilities, Dr. Balcomb presented the first two sections of the Divine Principle in a way that elevated the spirit of the room. He then invited anyone who had never lectured before to try and give a lecture…13 first-time lecturers volunteered to present in front of the crowd. The lecture is set up to be a read-along script that can be presented even by an unprepared novice. This demonstration proved that it is indeed possible for almost anyone to teach Divine Principle. The 13 volunteers included a Japanese woman, a female Unificationist-born youth, a new Unificationist member, several non-native English speakers and one Pastor who suddenly became inspired by the brave individuals who had volunteered, and who gave a powerful presentation of Jesus and the Cross...The efforts of the 13 individuals inspired the other attendees that they too could learn to lecture training.”