This site is the result of a survey and research project undertaken in the winter of 2013, to gather feedback about the Sunday service from Unification Church members in various parts of the world. I asked only one question: “What is the format of your service, what inspires you, and what would you change if you could?” and the content before you is what came back to me in response.
This was a grassroots survey that focused primarily on people who are not in leadership positions. After first contacting women around my own age (60-ish), I started asking their husbands, and then finally 2nd gen ~ beginning with my daughter and her friends. All told, 350 people responded, the majority of them in their mid-twenties or in the 50-plus age group. As most respondents thanked me for asking, I named it the ‘thankyou4asking!‘ project.
COMMON THREADS ~There were 5 major threads that appeared in this survey ~ topics that were mentioned by the majority of respondents, either as existing features or recommended changes. Each thread has its own page, where sample comments on the topic have been gathered from throughout the responses (see the drop-down menu above). The threads include:
- THE SERVICE ~goal and format
- THE SERMON~ length and content
- WORSHIPPING GOD ~ through Music, Praise, and Prayer
- COMMUNITY BUILDING~ through Testimony, Fellowship, Member Care, and Contribution
- THE 2ND GEN~ Listening to and Inspiring them, and giving them more responsibility.
- There were several reports in the responses about small group activities, so I made Small Group a sixth thread, as our community is beginning to move in that direction, and it might be helpful to know what people have been doing.
Best Practices: The many suggestions found in the responses to this survey may stimulate new ideas. But even better are the those good ideas already being implemented. Success is a great teacher. This section outlines activities that are working well in various Unificationist Sunday services. If you have a best practice that you’d like to share, please add it to the comments there.
Discussions: Among the main points brought up by survey respondents, there were several questions being frequently discussed:
1. THE SERVICE~ is it GUEST FRIENDLY? and should it be?
2. CHURCH OR MOVEMENT~ which are we?
3. GENDER EQUALITY AND THE ERA OF WOMAN ~What role do women have in our community, and in the Principle itself, and how can we achieve gender equality?
To see what people had to say, and to add your thoughts, please go to the drop-down menu above. There is also some discussion on the survey results in the Applied Unificationist Blog article.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a page dedicated to the results of the survey and some conclusions, but most people don’t get that far, so the key points are offered here.
-Nearly 25% of those surveyed do not attend a Unification service, and have distanced themselves or dropped out entirely.
-70% of those who said they attend a service on a regular basis said they do so out of a sense of duty or for social reasons, not for the service itself.
-The majority of 2nd gen respondents said that most of their 2nd gen friends are not interested and do not attend a Unification service. Of those 2nd gen who do attend, many said they are searching for more open and honest discussion, more practical application, and more youth leadership.
I hope you will take the time to read through some of the responses that follow. They are honest, insightful, and sometimes very moving in their sincerity to make a positive contribution. Taken all together they comprise an important resource for anyone interested in being part of the change that a majority of Unificationists are looking for.
For newcomers to the site, my suggestion is to start with the last group of responses, 301-350, as they are predominantly from 2nd gen members with a lot to say about the topic. There are also links to inspiring projects and websites that were shared by survey respondents, as well as a Powerpoint presentation that anyone is welcome to add to or use.
Thank you for visiting this website, and for any comments you leave. It’s a pleasure to share it with you.