I would like to take this opportunity to introduce bcf-ed.org, an independent and unofficial post-Blessing family education website that seeks to encourage the development of educational material rooted in the revelation of the True Parents on the path and way of life for Blessed Central Families. The bcf-ed.org website was launched to promote this type of in-reach providence and purports to function as an electronic clearinghouse, providing a platform where material of this nature can be displayed and accessed by Blessing educators, Unification Church-Family Federation for World Peace leaders, pastors, and end-users. My reasons for instigating this website are:
1) It is time to develop a balanced Blessing education approach that includes both pre and post-Blessing educational material and curriculums:
One of my reasons for initiating this website is to encourage officially commissioned post-Blessing family educational material as well as resources that emanate from grass-roots sources. Currently the Unification Movement spends time, energy, and assets to prepare and bring people to the Blessing while investing a lesser amount of time, energy, and assets to support and educate couples and families after they are Blessed. I would argue that the only sustainable model for Blessing education would be one in which pre and post-Blessing education receive equal and balanced investments. The justification for this strategy rests in the fact that True Parents’ utilized a similar one, favoring lifelong and extensive membership and family care as well as focusing on the continual increase of members and Blessed Central Families.
2) It is time to develop a post-Blessing educational curriculum that reflects a Unificationist perspective:
An additional rationale underlying the bcf-ed.org website is to encourage the development of post-Blessing educational material that utilizes the insights and wisdom of the Divine Principle and also the words and guidance given by the True Parents throughout their lives. One common request that I frequently received after hosting post-Blessing educational programs for Blessed Central Families in my state was for material that reflected the True Parent’s words/thought and that fit within a Unificationists’ worldview. Trying to be responsive to such requests, I diligently searched for this type of material. Though I did find a small quantity of it (that I have now featured on this website), the resources I encountered were disconnected, uncoordinated, and few were presentation (out-of-the-box) ready. Given my difficulty to uncover True Parent’s centered post-Blessing curriculum, it is no wonder that the state of Unificationists’ post-Blessing education is germinal. The type of material widely available to post-Blessing educators typically targets the institution of marriage through enrichment or enhancement material developed by such luminaries as John Gray (Mars/Venus), Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott (Save Your Marriage before it Starts) or Gary Chapman (5 Love Languages), part of what has come to be known as the marriage education movement promoted and encouraged by the now defunct Smart Marriages conferences. Though I have found this material to be relevant and helpful and continue to use it in my post-Blessing educational programs, my current interest is to locate and promote educational material that reflects a Unificationists’ perspective on the topics of marriage and the Blessing, including exegeses on the value, meaning, practices (including parenting), traditions, and lifestyle for this most holy sacrament. Based on my experiences, I now strongly recommend that post-Blessing educators whose target audience is members of the Unification Church-Family Federation for World Peace follow the pattern set by True Parents and include educational material and curriculums on both marriage and the Blessing that are based on the Divine Principle and True Parent’s Heaven given revelations in their educational toolkit. It is my hope that the material on this website can begin to provide resources of this nature to post-Blessing educators. It is probable, however, that educators will also need to invest in developing additional material. When they do, it is my I hope they will make the results of their creative efforts available to other educators by submitting them to this website. It is also my hope that efforts along these lines will spark a continual increase of ministries and scholarship that work to systematize Blessing education material provided by True Parents.
3) We need to differentiate ourselves from the competition by providing our own unique branding for the Blessing:
Why would anyone choose the option of the Blessing over the existing traditions of marriage? I believe that we need to provide answers to that question by clarifying the meaning, value, scope, and purpose for the Blessing and also by shedding light on the way of life of Blessed Central Families. I believe this approach will eventually initiate an effective worldwide Blessing Movement. Material that conveys this type of perspective should highlight practices, traditions, values, and attitudes that characterize Blessed Central Families and should eventually form the basis for the lifestyle, culture, ethics, and morality of Cheon Il Guk. I am not suggesting that we take an apologetic approach, but rather that we empower our Blessed Central Families to unlock and demonstrate the revolutionary potential of the Blessing. This should first be accomplished within each family, but eventually should spill over and create a positive impact upon each family’s greater community and society. This website has been initiated as one venue to help that process of empowerment occur. It is my conviction that when each Blessed Central Family can clearly cognize and then personify the great potential of the Blessing for individuals, couples, and families, humankind will seriously pay attention to, contemplate, and ultimately, earnestly pursue the Blessing of the True Parents!
For the above reasons I have initiated the bcf-ed.org website, developed by my son and supported through my efforts as the content editor or webmaster, to encourage both official and grass-roots developers to create a wide-array of material on the Blessing and path for post-Blessing families that is rooted in the Divine Principle and the words and guidance of the True Parents, especially those directed toward Blessed Central Families. When you peruse this website, you will immediately notice that the quantity of official or member developed resources available is not extensive, evidence of the lack of past investment in this arena. I would like to encourage those of you called to work within the Blessing ministry to help kick-start the development of a post-Blessing educational providence reflecting an Unificationist perspective by contributing your original material to bcf-ed.org.
Interview with Alice Fleisher on BCF-ED.ORG done for the Blessing and Family Ministry and published on their website on 6/1/2016
Below is an interview with Alice Fleisher, who is the creator and developer of the post-Blessing educational resource website for Blessed Families, BCF-ED.org.
1) What is the vision behind the website?
One vision and purpose behind creating the bcf-ed.org website is to foster the evolution of and investments in an extensive and increasing library of post-Blessing educational resources that specifically target the Marriage Blessing and the subsequent lifestyle and path of Blessed Central Families and that are grounded on the revelations, words, works, life, and guidance of the True Parents. To stimulate and galvanize post-Blessing educators to play a part in achieving this goal, I have designed the bcf-ed.org website as a clearinghouse, platform and an archive for True Parents-inspired post-Blessing educational resources and material.
Another one of my visions is that, through encountering the website, the number of Marriage Blessing educators who feel God’s call to create and contribute their original True Parents-inspired post-Blessing work to bcf-ed.org will reach a critical mass, allowing the Couple Care, Family Care, and Community Care ministries of the USA Blessing & Family Ministry to begin hosting Smart Blessings types of conferences in order to showcase and promote the further development of material in this genre. Ultimately, I envision that the bcf-ed.org website will act as a catalyst for a providence dedicated to assisting Blessed Central Family personify and embody the lifestyle, customs, practices, traditions, morality, norms, values, and culture that will be found in a Cheon Il Guk type of society and social system.
True Parents continually taught that the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God is the ideal family. I am convinced that the realization of this potential will be achieved when Blessed Central Families function as training grounds for good and Godly people (the family is the school of love), become the models for a good, nurturing, and healthy social system, and contribute to their greater social environment in a wholesome and loving manner. I believe this paradigm is reflected in the second item in the Family Pledge, “. . . to perfect the dutiful family way of filial sons and daughters in our family, patriots in our nation, saints in the world, and divine sons and daughters in heaven and on earth, by centering on true love” and throughout that sacred document.
However, for Blessed Central Families to live up to the strictures, vision, and expectations envisaged by the True Parents, they will certainly need help and support. So, as part of this ultimate vision, I fervently hope that the bcf-ed.org website can inspire and galvanize educators and leaders of our movement to seriously take up such a mantel and provide the requisite support needed to all Blessed Central Families enabling them to fulfill this heavenly mandate. I firmly believe that True Parents-centered post-Blessing education is a crucial element indispensable to empower Blessed Central Families to personify and exemplify those essential attributes and characteristics that will enable them to truly function as the base of the Kingdom of God on this earth.
2) What inspired you to create this website?
This website was launched in response to my interest in and concern for the state of the post-Blessing educational providence in our movement and was also due, in no small part, to Heaven’s inspiration. That Heavenly guidance, coupled with my own interest and concern, has been driving me over the past 10 to 12 years of my participation in the Blessed Family Department (BFD) in the capacity of a BFD State Representative, District Coordinator of District 9, and Senior Matching Advisor to invest in and continually attempt to discover, uncover, and develop True Parents-inspired post-Blessing educational strategies and curricula. My past inquiries found a dearth of resources of this nature, reinforcing my perception that I had detected a major gap in our post-Blessing educational offerings. Though I did find a small quantity of material that incorporated True Parents’ words and guidance on the lifestyle, practices, and traditions for Blessed Central Families (that I have now featured in the bcf-ed.org website), those resources were frequently disconnected, uncoordinated, and few were presentation (out-of-the-box) ready.
Given my difficulty to uncover a True Parents-inspired post-Blessing curriculum, it is no wonder that the state of Unificationists’ post-Blessing education is germinal. The type of material widely available to post-Blessing educators typically targets the institution of marriage through enrichment or enhancement material developed by such luminaries as John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott (Save Your Marriage Before it Starts) or Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages), part of what has come to be known as the marriage education movement that was promoted and encouraged by the now-defunct Smart Marriages conferences. Though I have found marriage education material relevant and helpful since all Marriage Blessing relationships do require that couples establish and maintain successful marriages, I am convinced that a comprehensive post-Blessing study program must also feature and research the value, meaning, practices (including parenting), traditions, and lifestyle for this most holy sacrament.
My drive to affect a reformation of post-Blessing education took a quantum step forward in July 2015 when, after a 16-year effort to gain my MA in Sociology, and a bout of mono, I had both the time and the inspiration to craft and launch the bcf-ed.org website, aided by the pro bono website development technical expertise of my son, Yongil Fleisher. It is my hope that the existence of a centralized repository of educational material and resources that are inspired by and rooted in the Divine Principle and the revelations of the True Parents will facilitate and streamline present and future research, development, and study of the Marriage Blessing and the way of life for Blessed Central Families.
3) Who is it for?
I created this website as an in-reach educational clearinghouse for Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) educators, leaders, scholars, and members. It is designed as a centralized repository of True Parents’ words (that have been translated into English) on the Marriage Blessing and the way of life for Blessed Central Families and also features educational resources and material that are inspired by, utilize, and reflect that original source material. It is my hope that bcf-ed.org will be accessed on a continual basis by Blessed Central families, leaders, and educators, resulting in a post-Blessing continuing education model or paradigm and in time, the emergence of a Marriage Blessing culture within our movement. To that end, I would encourage end-users to utilize this website for their personal development, and church leaders and post-Blessing educators to employ the sections on True Parents’ words along with inspired educational material and curricula found on bcf-ed.org in public programs or small group settings. Since the website is public, I expect that it will also be accessed by those interested in researching True Parents’ revelations and insights on marriage, the Marriage Blessing, and the family.
To provide a quick overview of the site: at its initial launch, I did a cursory perusal of True Parents’ speeches and books found on tparents.org, and based on title alone, chose and downloaded speeches which seem to indicate that the target audience was Blessed Central Families. This material is located under the tab labeled “True Parents’ Words About,” and has been further subdivided under the headings of “Blessed Central Families,” “parenting,” and “other.” I am now doing an in-depth read-through of speeches found on tparents.org (am currently working on the year of 1999), and am posting any additional speeches where I find guidance directed towards Blessed Central Families, including contents which speak to the education of Blessed Children or which demonstrate and reflect True Father’s education given to members on fulfilling the First Blessing and/or contributing to the providence. My ultimate goal is the construction of a centralized English language-based archive of True Parents’ words on the Marriage Blessing, Blessed Central Families, and parenting.
In addition to this source material, I have also posted PowerPoint presentations, papers, books, manuals, and links to websites under the following tabs: “Blessed Central Family Education,” “Marriage Education” and “On Parenting Education.” The material found under the “Blessed Central Family Education” tab features post-Blessing educational material for the benefit of Blessed Central Families that have been inspired by the Divine Principle and True Parents’ speeches and words. The material found under the tab “Marriage Education” contains material that reflects a Unificationist’s worldview on the institution of marriage. Lists of marriage education material that indirectly reflect a Unificationist’s worldview can also be found under this tab. The material found under the tab “On Parenting Education” is intended for the use of parents and educators in their work with Blessed Children, and features True Parents-inspired parenting education resources.
Finally, as this website purports to function as a clearinghouse for original Marriage Blessing and Blessed Central Family educational material that express a Unificationist’s worldview, there is a tab which can be used by scholars and developers to submit their original post-Blessing education material for review and posting, should they meet the outlined parameters and guidelines.
4) What has been the response from some people that have been introduced to the website?
Based on current traffic statistics for bcf-ed.org, I can tentatively say that the site is providing a service to both my local community of Blessed Central Families, as well as congregations and Blessed Central Families around the world. I purchased and activated the domain in July 2015. Since that time, and including the partial month of March, there have been 10,602 visits; the average is 1,178 visits per month and 73,346 hits with the average of 8,150 hits a month. The peak month for usage was in November 2015 (2,483 visits/21,030 hits) which was probably due to a marketing outreach I initiated targeting Unification Theological Seminary alumni (I was in the class of 1977). While the current response to bcf-ed.org is heartening, I am far from satisfied, though I do remain hopeful that the site will continually stimulate the development of resources that are inspired by True Parents which will benefit and speak to post-Blessing life.