Summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota is beautiful. Sunny skies and warm temperatures make up for the long, cold winters. At the beautiful new church facility in Columbia Heights, the weather and the people cooperated to create a memorable experience of the culture of heart on the weekend of July 26-27th.
Sixty-five people gathered to share the unique atmosphere of Project Phoenix resulting in a number of deep connections and relationship breakthroughs. The Minneapolis Unification community opened their hearts and not only welcomed the Project Phoenix staff, but also saw each other with fresh eyes and new hope for the future.
Project Phoenix went international in May of 2019. The first seminar ever held overseas took place in Bad Camberg, Germany from May 25-26. In some ways, this Project Phoenix event was similar to previous ones conducted in the United States and in other ways, it was different. What was similar was the amazing spirit which infused the participants from the very opening welcome to the closing activities.
Over 80 people came from all over Germany and a number of nearby countries as well to enjoy the interaction between younger and older Unificationists in an atmosphere of honesty and trust.
On March 8-10, 2019, Project Phoenix was welcomed to the great American city of Boston, Massachusetts. Held at the historic Beacon Street church center, the gathering brought a wave of inspiration, education, and hope for the attendees.
On November 30th, sixty five people gathered at the Dallas Fort Worth Family Church for a Project Phoenix experience. Most of the participants were from the local area with a few exceptions.
On August 10th and 11th , a Project Phoenix gathering was held in Seattle at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Sixty people primarily from the Seattle area attended.
Like most Project Phoenix events, this one featured lots of deep sharing and emotional breakthroughs. In
addition, a number of the participants felt that long-held resentments were washed away and heavy experiences of the past were shared and released.
50 participants joined for the Saturday, Sunday event. In a new development, there were more younger participants than older ones.
Sunday morning began with the Honoring the Generations activity. Often, the generation being described is surprised by some of the comments. When the responses are shared, both young and old are impacted which leads to a great sharing in the family groups that have been established.
On the weekend of April 20 – 22nd, the event was held at the beautiful newly-renovated Columbus Family Church.The 50 participants and staff laughed, learned, and occasionally cried together resulting in a greater closeness and bonding as a community
A unique aspect of the Columbus event was the live music which enriched the atmosphere of the weekend thanks to the local and visiting talents that volunteered to play in the band. Several people expressed gratitude in their testimonies at the conclusion of the event for the chance to expand their hearts and minds with how they relate to people in their community
The first Project Phoenix event of 2018 was held in Detroit Michigan on the weekend of February 16-18th. The attendance of 45 included staff who flew in to support the event as well as participants from Ohio, Chicago, and Texas.
Perhaps the most exciting new addition to the Project Phoenix experience was an exercise we are calling “Going Deeper.” It consists of two individuals modeling communication skills in front of the entire group as they answer questions given to them on note cards. The emotional breakthrough demonstrated between a parent and son motivated others to use this approach in a relationship that is experiencing some challenges. Many attendees remarked at how precious this type of honest sharing is and how rarely, if ever, it occurs in their lives.
60 elder and younger Unificationists gathered at the Learning Center in Elk Grove Village on the weekend of Oct. 6 – 8. It was our most intercultural event to date as a number of Japanese/Americans participated. A sister shared her journey of leaving Japan to go to Europe; eventually settling in America and raising family. It reinforced for us the sheer number of amazing stories in our community that have the power to move.
The Friday evening program was especially powerful as each element led up to our component on"withholding"; withdrawing and projecting and how lack of communication hollows out our relationships and prevents us from experiencing each other’s beauty and goodness and the love that we all want and need. A big thank you to Chicago for your warm embrace.
Bay Area- CA
Fifty younger and elder Unificationists participated in the Bay Area Project Phoenix event July 7 – 9. The Through Our Lens portion of the program was extremely moving as four people who had previously not shared their stories amazed us with their experiences of life and faith. We discovered that we all have incredible experiences to share.
We added a new component to the program this time, a “community weaving” exercise in which participants are encouraged to share one specific need with other attendees. The exercise shows how we can serve other people’s needs and the power of community in supporting one another.
After the two successful events in 2016, the staff met in New Mexico in the autumn to plan events for 2017. The 2016 events were national events that drew participants from all over the country. In 2017 the team decided to focus within communities.
In March an event was held in the Maryland community just outside Washington, D. C. Seventy participants, half younger and half elder, shared their hearts and experiences with one another. The program was followed in April with a Young Adult panel with about fifty community members asking five panelists questions on a wide range of topics.
After the success of the IPEC event, the core team decided to create a Phoenix Summit on the East Coast. The program was set for July at East Garden. The summit idea was to initiate discussions about how we could expand the scope of Project Phoenix by connecting our work creating inter-generational partnerships to other organizations.
Representatives from the Washington Times Foundation, the University of Bridgeport, Women’s Federation for World Peace, and the Universal Peace Federation, among others, were invited to come together with younger leaders from the Boston to Washington, D. C. corridor. Sixty participants shared their lives and personal stories with each other over three days.
Project Phoenix began in January 2016 when seven younger and seven elder met in the Phoenix area to plan an event together. As we talked we realized that the younger generation felt that they had never really been heard. We stopped our planning and listened to each other for an entire afternoon.
We realized that the perspectives of the “boomer” generation and the “millennial” generation were quite different, and that the event that we needed to create was one that would re-create where we were experiencing. So Project Phoenix was born. During the next three months we created a program and invited 120 friends and associates to an event at IPEC in Las Vegas.