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What is Ocean Church?

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

“So far we've been living in the land church era, but from now on we'll be living in the Ocean Church era.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Ch.14 Leader’s Conference, 8/26/1983)


Overview


In creating Ocean Church in 1980, True Parents had a specific purpose in mind. All the way from the ’60s, True Parents had been continuously engaging in the Ocean Providence and continued to invest tremendously into it until True Father’s ascension in 2012. Along the way, they had also begun Ocean Church, to which they also invested immensely. In an effort to carry on their determination, we look to create effective programs that allow for Ocean Church to ultimately fulfill the purpose that True Parents had in mind for Ocean Church.


Before we can come up with an effective and meaningful program, however, we must first explore the overall vision and purpose of Ocean Providence and Ocean Training. This way, when we create and implement such a program, the youths and trainees can effectively gain an understanding of the tremendous vision behind Ocean Providence, and gain the focus, dreams, global vision, and pioneering spirit True Parents looked to pass on. It will become a way to inspire and ignite a fire in the young people of our movement!


Throughout this article, we will be discussing the answers to the following questions:

  1. What was Ocean Church for? Why did True Parents deem it necessary?

  2. What was the goal of Ocean Training? What kind of people should be trained?

  3. What is the history of Ocean Church? What happened to it?

  4. What are the functions and form Ocean Church must have? What should it look like?


By the end of the article, we hope to make clear what Ocean Church as an organization should look like as well as identify exactly what we should look to accomplish through Ocean Training.

(This article is an introduction to the Ocean Providence Text series, therefore more details not mentioned here are explained in later texts).



The Purpose and Role of Ocean Church


There are various aspects to Ocean Church that people have most likely heard of here and there, aspects such as ocean training, marine industries, solving the food problem, witnessing, etc. However, most aren’t aware of how these aspects are connected exactly, and what Ocean Church’s role exactly is with respect to all these points.


The first point of discussion then is what role Ocean Church plays in the grand scheme of God’s Providence and Plan.


It can be established that Ocean Church, in fact, did have a role, a large one, in God’s Providence. True Father explained this in multiple speeches.


Ocean Church is not a random whim. I have a vision for America and Ocean Church plays an integral and important part in that. My mind is very deep. Everything that I do has a purpose which covers thousands of years.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Chapter 4, Why We Have an Ocean Church)

True Father revealed on multiple occasions - as well as through His actions - that He had a very clear vision for the future of the United States of America with respect to God's Providence. He explained that part of that vision - an “integral and important part” - is the Ocean Church, revealing that the Ocean Church is necessary for the success of the American Providence.



True Father has also mentioned what He envisioned in the future for Ocean Church:


“Many people say the space age has arrived, but you cannot dwell in space. From the ocean, however, you can draw resources, you can make a living from it. For this reason I founded and created Ocean Church.
I feel in the future, the Ocean Church foundation can be greater than the land church.
So far we've been living in the land church era, but from now on we'll be living in the Ocean Church era.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Chapter 14, Leaders' Conference August 26, 1983)

He saw that the oceans held the potential for resources and an economic foundation for the movement. He also understood the flow of the world’s economy itself, and saw that it was the dawn of the Ocean Era where we who would rely on it would be able to grow our economic foundation and even “be greater than the land church.” His expectations for the future of Ocean Church were immense in this way.


This economic foundation isn’t the only thing that True Father had expected to flourish.


I believe that Ocean Church will succeed more than the IOWC and state centers. Why? Because the work you do with your boats will quickly gain recognition by the city.
Someday you may even become the mayor of your city. The people will elect you based on your contribution to cleaning up their city. Some of you might even become congressmen or senators.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Chapter 8, Let Us Begin Again)

Not only did True Father envision a great economic base for Ocean Church’s future, but also that Ocean Church would become immensely successful in witnessing, even “more than the IOWC and state centers” (conventional churches). He expected the Ocean Church and its substantial activities for Providence to gain recognition by society quickly and effectively.


Along with these visions for Ocean Church, True Father had great goals and purpose behind the various Ocean Church activities that He initiated. He explains these goals and purposes for us in various speeches:


“From now, what am I going to do with Ocean Church? It is not simply about going out to the ocean for training. The purpose is to bring dominion over and love the ocean.” (The Pacific Rim Providence 128-249, 1983.8.28)

One main aspect of Ocean Church was ocean training, and this was in large part for the sake of bringing dominion over and loving the ocean which makes up over two-thirds of God’s creation on Earth. Through ocean training, members can have dominion over the entire marine world and its resources.


“I created something that did not exist in the US by sending out people to pioneer Ocean Church. I created Ocean Churches in 30 of the most important seacoast locations in America. We can pursue seafood business, but we can also enter the charter-boat fishing business
This is the foundation for the global recreational fishing business I will create in the future. I trained people and built Ocean Church as an enterprise that gives tours to people who enjoy fishing as a hobby.” (Chambumo Gyeong, Book 10, 186-306, 1989/02/06)


True Father also explained how Ocean Church, training, and gaining dominion over the marine resources would lead a way to establish Ocean Church as an Oceanic Enterprise that can delve into and start the Marine Hobby Industry. True Father saw that entering the Ocean and Marine Industries would allow for the members to fulfill even more for God’s Providence and the world:



I saw that the key to future food problems lies in the ocean and have endeavored to develop a wide range of oceanic businesses from nothing. I spent more time in the ocean than anyone else, thinking on the ocean, praying on the ocean, and struggled on the ocean. How much time and effort did I invest? You cannot imagine it. How valuable it is, considering that catching a single fish leads to restoring several people?” (The Unification Church and The Land and The Sea, June 1, 1991)

True Father said that he had invested two-thirds of His whole life's work into the ocean. He did this for the sake of God's Providence and the people of the world. Centering on Ocean training, leading to dominating marine resources, and building Oceanic Enterprise for the Marine Hobby Industry, True Parents ultimately saw that these foundations would be “the key to future food problems.” It is why, as True Father said, he looked to develop so many oceanic businesses through Ocean Church. It was for the sake of solving the food problem - and ultimately saving the people.


It can be said, then, that Ocean Church was created with the ultimate purpose of solving the food problem.



True Father explained the urgency of the global starvation problem:

When I look at the world situation, I feel that securing sufficient food supplies is the most pressing problem. Solving the food crisis cannot be put off for even a moment. Even now, some twenty thousand people around the world die of hunger-related causes every day.
We cannot afford to be apathetic just because we and our immediate families are not facing hunger.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, Chapter 7)

Though it won’t be discussed in this article thoroughly, there are many indications that the global food problem is one of, if not the most, urgent issue that we need to resolve. For those living in developed countries like America, Japan, Korea, etc. it is hard to recognize the urgency of this problem. To many, this problem is one that has no immediate effect, if at all, on them or their loved ones, so it’s a problem from far away that might mean nothing.


However, the reality is that while it may not be a problem for us, it is a life-threatening problem for so many of God’s children all over the world. As God’s children and True Parents’ followers, members must see the importance of this. True Father knew this, and He saw that we, the ones who know God’s Heart, need to be taking action to find a solution. Solving the hunger problem is the “most pressing problem” and the most urgent task that we have.


True Father looked for the solution to the hunger problem, and in his autobiography, He proposed the following plan:


“Simply distributing food supplies by itself will not resolve hunger, though. A more fundamental approach to the problem is needed.”
“I am considering two fundamental and concrete methods. The first is to provide ample supplies of food at low cost, and the second is to share technology that people can use to overcome hunger on their own.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, Chapter 7, pg. 315)

There were two methods that He saw were fundamental to solving world hunger:

  1. Distributing food at low cost.

  2. Teaching technology to overcome hunger.


Simply providing food to people is not enough to outroot the problem of hunger. Hunger continues to run rampant throughout underdeveloped countries because the people have no means to generate their own source of food. So to rectify such a problem, Father saw that along with the provision of food, we must also teach people the means they need to overcome hunger on their own.



True Father stresses the importance of this issue further, explaining the necessity of resolving hunger before we can even think about peace:


True peace will not come as long as humanity does not solve the problem of hunger. If the person next to me is about to die of hunger, peace is a mere luxury.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, Chapter 7, pg. 321)

Though we may talk of peace and unification, those that cannot even have a meal a day will not see the truth in those claims. If we want true peace, no person should be left starving. Along with the importance of resolving global hunger, True Father also reveals the important and significant role of the oceans with respect to world peace and unity:


“I am going to nurture the ocean in accordance with the original intention of the Creator, and make it the center stage for bringing the world together.” (The Pacific Rim Providence 128-249, 1983.8.28)
“The oceans can become a central point for bringing the world together.” (As a Peace-loving Global Citizen, Ch. 7)
“We have to make this foundation for the entire world. This is the fastest way to bring people and nations together. I am always thinking how this can be done and that is why I am making a foundation on the ocean. When we make this foundation, our direction towards the future will be straight.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Ch.11, ‘True Parents’ & ‘Indemnity’)

More than once, True Father had insisted that the ocean played a key role in the Providence, calling the ocean the “center stage,” “central point,” and the “fastest way” for bringing the world and its people together. For Him to declare this so insistently goes to show the urgency and significance of the ocean as well as shows that He had a clear reason behind everything He did with respect to the ocean, and He clearly had a plan and strategy to solve the food problem (this strategy is explained in depth in Text 02). Ocean Church is one of the major parts of this plan.


Solving World Hunger Will Unify People Under True Parents


Ultimately, True Father looked to solve world hunger, an issue that must be solved for us to achieve true peace. Central and key to bringing peace and achieving world unity is the ocean, therefore revealing why it was the Ocean Church and training that True Father had focused on to solve world hunger.


He strategized to solve world hunger through distributing food (marine resources) and teaching technologies fundamental for overcoming hunger. An immense part of this strategy is Ocean Church, a place meant to train the people necessary to carry this plan out.


In Ocean Church, members were to receive ocean training so that they would achieve dominion over the ocean (marine resources) and create oceanic businesses. Ultimately, ocean-trained members with capabilities in the oceanic and marine hobby tourism industries would have the capabilities to solve world hunger, just as Father had hoped.


By solving world hunger, members are able to substantialize on a global level True Parents’ teaching and words, “living for the sake of others,” and save the people in the most terrible conditions. Through this substantial act, we will be able to witness and unite the world under True Parents through our visible actions and results.



A real-life example of how this would work is Nakamura Tetsu, a Christian Japanese doctor who had gone to Afghanistan to help the people there. When treating the people, he recognized that the root cause for all the illnesses and diseases was malnutrition and that even if he were to treat them with medicine, this root problem is what must be resolved if he truly wanted to help the people.


To do so, Nakamura had spent the next few years building a canal leading water to the land so dry that it had been called the “Valley of Death.” Thanks to his efforts, the land had turned from a dry desert to a lush green land, flourishing with food and resources for the people. The villagers in the region had literally dropped their weapons and began living the life of happier people who no longer needed to concern themselves with needing to fight for money to provide for their families.


Nakamura Tetsu had passed away in 2019, and the president of Afghanistan had carried Nakamura’s casket. Nakamura, through his actions and through his substantial results in solving the hunger problem in the region, had become an undeniable hero for the people there.



Imagine then, if hundreds of Unification members were to do the same thing in countries all over the world. No one would be able to deny that True Parents who we follow are the substantial parents of humankind.


The vision for Ocean Church is to train members to become people of action and result to bring world peace and unity under God and True Parents through the ocean.



The Goal for Ocean Training


Ocean Church’s main method to achieve True Father’s plan for solving world hunger was to train members on the ocean. True Father had named multiple “Spirits” that members can train such as the Alaska Spirit to never go home until fulfilling one’s responsibility, or the Pantanal Spirit to swallow all good and bad for the sake of the greater purpose. Father had a clear image in mind whenever he trained the members.


What should the results of ocean training be? What exactly is this ‘image’ of the people that Ocean Church should train and educate?


To find an answer to this, we take a look at True Father’s words. He reveals the kind of people that are needed for members to succeed in bringing world peace and unification; He ultimately wanted to raise leaders who can lead and change the world, and He explains exactly what these leaders need to look like and what qualities they should have:


“The ocean has everything to do with the future. Don't you know that? You have to become interested in the ocean or otherwise you will just disappear into history. In the future, the qualification for leadership will be to know about the ocean. The basic knowledge will be how to handle a boat. To know about the ocean and to be able to go upon it will become the two basic qualifications for leadership in the future.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Ch.3 Ocean Church and America)

As mentioned before, True Father revealed that it is the ocean era and that the basic “qualification for leadership will be to know about the ocean.”


True Father then explains what the responsibility of members is and what we should look to do once we meet the qualifications for leadership in the future:


“You Unificationists must fulfill your responsibility to lead them and care for these people. You should go to the developing nations and become instructors and teachers at kindergartens, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and universities.”
You should improve standards by teaching them the most modern agricultural methods. This is how you can save people who would otherwise starve to death. They first need to know how to fish effectively; this is why I prepared to send four boats each to 160 nations. You are thinking, ‘What's the use of doing that?’ because your hearts and minds are not enlightened. But I am telling you we must do it.” (444-191, 2004/04/04 ChambumoGyeong Book 10, Chapter 2, Section 5)

In order to become leaders that can bring change to the world and fulfill God and True Parents’ desires to help the people of the world, especially those that suffer in states of starvation and poverty, True Father explains that members must take on the responsibility to help those in impoverished countries.


Members must go to underdeveloped countries and improve their standards of living. True Father had sent boats to 160 nations to help in these efforts, making His intentions clear and hope that oceanic enterprise would take root everywhere. With this foundation in the ocean, we would be able to fulfill this responsibility.


“When I came to the United States 20 years ago, I judged that current fishing methods would be out of date. In the future, the aquaculture industry will flourish instead of chasing fish.
I realized that working in the sea on a boat will become part of the tourism industry, such as sport fishing, which is like a hobby.
In terms of lifestyle, I realized that it would be difficult for us to spend our entire lives in the maritime industries without this aspect of hobby.” (20th anniversary ceremony for the Oceanic Providence in America, August 1, 1994, Belvedere)

Along with meeting qualifications and understanding responsibility, ocean-trained members must also love the ocean. Father understood that people will not last long in a job that they don’t find joy in, which is why He explained that members must come to love the ocean through hobbies. He explained this further:


“The first thing that can be said about all businesses is that we must have capital. There must be equipment, and there are other things you need.
But in the end, the most important thing is to have human connections and develop good human resources. When working on the marine industry, it is important to develop human resources who want to spend all of their lives for it and that it is a God-given occupation.
The person likes the sea in youth, He likes the sea in his middle age, and when He is old, He says ‘Oh, I love the sea,’ and dies.
The key challenge is how to develop such human resources and how to instruct and pass that spirit to their descendants.” (20th anniversary ceremony for the Oceanic Providence in America, August 1, 1994, Belvedere)

True Father wanted to raise members who would love the ocean and see their mission on the ocean as God-given and something to continue for the rest of their lives. He hoped that members would come to love the sea for their whole lives and continue to even pass that heart onto their own descendants.



“To be a global leader a person must think of the world’s problems as his own and have the pioneering spirit that is needed for finding difficult solutions. A person who is attached to a secure and fixed income, or dreams of having a pension after retirement and a comfortable family life, cannot be a global leader.
To become a global leader a person must consider the whole world to be his country and all humanity to be his brothers and sisters and not be overly concerned that He does not know what the future may hold for him.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen Chapter 8)

While knowing about the ocean is the qualification to become a future leader, True Father wanted more than just a regular leader - He wanted global leaders. He identifies that to be a global leader, a person must be able to be concerned for “the world’s problems as his own” and have “a pioneering spirit that is needed” for solving the world’s problems.


“What are siblings? Why did God give us siblings? Siblings symbolize human beings around the world. The experience of loving our brothers and sisters in the family teaches us how to love our fellow countrymen and love humanity.
Our love for our own siblings expands in this way. The family whose members love each other is a model of how humanity can live together in harmony.
Love among siblings means that one sibling is willing to go hungry, if necessary, so that his brother or sister can eat. A global leader is someone who loves humanity as He loves his own family.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen Ch. 8)

Continuing on about global leadership, True Father also explained that global leaders are those that love the world as their own family, and are able to sacrifice for the sake of humanity just as they would for their own siblings.


“Don't think that going to Africa and working is a pain, but an interesting one. You can enjoy your work and actually living for the sake of others.
Imagine that 100 families live in a poverty-stricken village in Africa, and that relief supplies are sent from 100 countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The inhabitants of the land will admire us and say, ‘Wow, how great the Unification Church is. It's doing what the world's great powers and the United States can't do. They are really trying to unite the world.’
Through your efforts, they will be truly grateful to God. Are you all interested in this job?” (20th anniversary ceremony for the Oceanic Providence in America, August 1, 1994, Belvedere)

Through becoming global leaders of the ocean era who can go out to developing countries and help the poor and hungry, members would be able to become people with the results to really testify to True Parents through action. If we can solve hunger for the inhabitants of developing countries, we will be able to show them that when we say we want and are working for world peace and unification, we actually mean it.


This is why True Father urged members to go to impoverished places - it is the way for us to substantially live for the sake of others on a global scale.



Ocean Providence Missionaries


True Father looked to train members to have all these qualities: to know about the ocean, to want to go to developing countries, to love the ocean and the mission, and to become global leaders who see humanity as family and will become pioneers for solutions to the world’s problems. The ultimate end result of training is to produce people who can testify to God and True Parents through action.


This is the vision for the kind of person that True Father wanted Ocean Church’s training to raise, someone that we have decided to call an “Ocean Providence Missionary” (Editor's Note: This name is coined by Naria Gaarder).


An Ocean Providence Missionary, in short, is a missionary and global leader with expertise and skills in the area of ocean providence (ocean enterprise and marine hobby industry) and resolving the food problems in underdeveloped countries globally. These skills include agriculture, construction, shipbuilding, medicine, business, fish farming, etc.


True Father looked for Ocean Church to raise a network of Ocean Providence Missionaries to become a group of people ready to go out and pioneer the world to solve its problems under a united cause and strategy.


True Father saw that America was an ideal location to begin this training in Ocean Church - America, blessed with wealth, high-level education, and the greatest influence in the world through the English language and multinational culture, is the best place to educate the kind of people who can serve and influence the world. True Father wanted to first establish Ocean Church in America, and then globalize it everywhere in the world.


If we accomplish Ocean Church in America, it is no problem anywhere else in the world. However, first things first. We have to make the foundation here. Surely, we must go everywhere in the world, after all almost every country has a coastline. (God's Will and the World, Chapter 3)

The missionaries will be able to eventually create and globalize model marine businesses and model ideal villages. In North America, True Father started Ocean Church and marine businesses. He also began the development of model ideal villages in places such as Texas New Hope Farm, Jardim New Hope Farm in Brazil, and Leda in Paraguay.


Ocean Providence missionaries were to take these models and globalize them throughout the world. This expectation can be seen from True Father who sent four boats and fishing tackles to 160 nations in the late 1990s. The goal is to solve the global food problem and ultimately bring about world peace and unification.



Ocean Church should strive to fulfill its purpose in solving world hunger, and to do that, Ocean Church must train and raise up Ocean Providence Missionaries who can be global leaders of the ocean era and testify through their actions to bring about national and global level restoration substantially.


A Brief History of Ocean Church in the U.S.


We have discussed the purpose and goal of Ocean Church and ocean training - however, before talking further on reviving Ocean Church, the history of Ocean Church should first be examined to better understand what the situation had been in the past, and what the situation is like now.


True Father officially started the American Ocean Providence in 1974 when He first began fishing for tuna off the coast of Boston. Once the Unification Theological Seminary was built in New York in 1978, He immediately began teaching fishing to seminary students before beginning to build boats. The boat that He started to design and build was the One Hope.


True Father then established Ocean Church in America on October 1st, 1980. The Ocean Church was to be established in 30 different coastal locations in the United States. From the start, He planned for each Ocean Church location to have ten One Hope boats.