Virginia Beach Young Adult Retreat

May 24th-27th, 2018

Organized by Tetsuya Nomura, Justson Daugherty, and JaHyun Yang
Hosted by Rev. Levy Daugherty

Supported by Jongsook Moon

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   This retreat was a valuable first step for future endeavors in educating and uniting the young adult community. Many young adult Unificationists lack a supportive and open-minded environment to discuss their faith and their understanding of the Movement. This is in part due to judgemental and idealistic attitudes from family or community members that make it difficult to discuss sensitive or taboo topics; often times, young adults do not feel comfortable or open in church settings. This retreat provided a space to share openly about faith and an opportunity to explore the significance of the Movement from a personal perspective.

Over the course of four days, 20 young adults from 18 to 32 years of age participated in this retreat hosted in Norfolk, Virginia under the themes Belonging & Community, The Blessing, and The Investigation of Truth. Participants spent a relaxing and exciting first two days getting to know one another and discovering a sense of community through games and activities as well as fellowship in the nature of First Landing State Park/ Virginia Beach. The last two days were filled with more  content and allowed participants to engage in insightful discussions with their peers. The content presented on the topic of the Blessing was unique as it pertained to the expectations of being with a life partner and sex in a committed marriage, and it allowed us to see the beauty and difficulties of marriage. The manner in which this retreat was carried out enforces the understanding that our Movement, individual church communities, and families are responsible for nurturing the emotional health and expression of our valued children rather than focusing solely on their education. Adolescence and young adulthood are the times in life when individuals begin to think and experience things for themselves. This retreat enabled these young adults to be heard and acknowledged for the views they hold and experiences which have shaped their lives. The opportunity for participants to voice their thoughts and hear from their brothers and sisters greatly contributed to an open-minded environment which ultimately served as a foundation for them to likewise receive content with open minds.

          We would like to organize a similar retreat in the future to address topics we didn’t have a chance to and to go deeper with one another and our faith. We would also like to invite quality speakers and delegate responsibilities to other young adults in order to provide opportunities for growth and ownership. Additionally, we hope to better emphasize the spiritual significance of the Blessing and to encourage a positive, clear standard for purity and healthy brother-sister relationships.

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Participant Reflections from the Retreat

“This workshop really inspired me and gave me insight on our value as 2nd generation children in the Unification Movement… I want to know what I can do for this Movement, my family, and this world to really make a difference in our world. This workshop has taught me that as 2nd gen we really have the tools and spiritual guidance to play a key role as the next generation of our faith to make an impact.”

“Initially, I did not come to this retreat with serious intentions. I took it as a ‘retreat,’ a fun and relaxing time. However, as time went by, on the 3rd day, during the Blessing Q&A and Brothers’ night, I realized something. This day was exactly why I needed to be here. The knowledge and experience shared by the Blessed couples changed the way I saw the Blessing.”

“There was no pressure or anxiety in “breaking rules” or being reprimanded like children in a traditional workshop. There was a level of maturity that I liked here and the ability to discuss more complex and deep topics was incredible.”

“The biggest thing I gained from this workshop was the perspective to think bigger and dig deeper that I have always been.”

“I want to work on my character. I want to become more selfless, more giving, and most of all more loving. It’s a fire that I want to reignite… This workshop has been very eye-opening and thought provoking for me. I really enjoyed the presence of other BCs around me because it was definitely needed: a reminder of my past as well as my previous passions. How beautiful this community is and how I want everyone to be able to experience this atmosphere and environment. It’s very nice to always know that we have this community with us no matter where we go.”

“I felt that it was a very open minded environment that allowed for everyone’s opinions to be heard without judgement. It allowed me to voice my honest opinions and perspectives and to hear what other people had to say… I think I was able to hear from a lot of people their opinions on the church and faith that I want to keep in mind for consideration when I go back home. I want to broaden my perspective of what faith is and my position in the church; these perspectives are things to think about and try to incorporate into my daily habit/beliefs.”

“My experience here was like a wake up call for me to find what I believe and not what others think. The biggest thing I gained from this retreat was the investigation of truth. What I never realized before was that I need to find my own answers in solving the biggest problem I had with this church. I would always hear testimonies about God, but I felt disconnected simply because I never experienced what they had and I wrote my life of faith off as something ridiculous to believe in.”

“One of the biggest things I gained from this retreat was recognizing the fact that I have a duty and ability to help the church be much greater than it is. Before, I was pretty satisfied with the idea of just building a strong, principled family, but I now have the strong belief that I must contribute much more to the church community, as well as the world in general.

The atmosphere was extremely healthy and probably the best I’ve ever felt at a church event. It was amazing because I had felt hints of an ideal world during the workshop, and it gave me much more motivation and vision for the potential of the whole world embodying principle. In my opinion, any place where this happens is a success.”

“The biggest thing I gained from this retreat is the ability to now see what matters about the faith to me. I think I finally realize what I value and wish to uphold from the faith onto my life: True Father as a role model as to how to live the most selfless life, and the relationship of parent and child.”

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