The graduation was held at Daegu Stadium (Republic of Korea) at 12:00 on November 20, 2022. Amongst the 100,000 graduates were also more than 500 former and current pastors.
The graduation ceremony was a joint operation of a cooperative network with local governments in preparation for safety as first, second, and third priority. The large influx of graduates to the local area contributed to revitalising the local economy, including transportation and accommodation.
Over 100,000 people graduated from the Zion Christian Mission Center this weekend, which is the largest amount of graduates as a single Christian educational institution.
The Zion Christian Mission Center, a Bible education institution of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, held the Class 113 Completion Ceremony of the Zion Christian Mission Center at Daegu Stadium on the 20th of November, 2022. A total of 106,186 people graduated on this day, making it the world’s largest theological education institution.
For safety reasons, the number of people participating in the completion ceremony in Korea was limited to 80,000. About 300,000 people in total (online and offline) participated in the completion ceremony on YouTube live broadcasts in nine different languages.
The completion ceremony was prepared thoroughly to prevent safety issues. Shincheonji Church of Jesus said, “For preparing this event, safety was the first, second and third priority,” adding, “we created a cooperative network with local governments to check disinfection, safety, traffic, and order several times and operate a control room for monitoring the event with police, fire departments, Daegu-si, and Suseong-gu Office safety officials.”
In addition, the church shared that, “the church itself allocated a total of 14,000 safety personnel to maintain order inside and outside the venue, and made participants enter and leave the event venue over four hours to prevent overcrowding.” About 180 medical staff and four ambulances were also on standby in case of an accident. Emergency rescue training was conducted for all safety personnel, and all graduates also watched emergency rescue videos. “We emphasise that this completion ceremony was especially safety-oriented,” the church shared.
The event consisted of two main parts, including the opening ceremony and completion ceremony. The opening ceremony included praise services, congratulatory speeches, congratulatory messages, representative prayers, and a commemorative speech by Chairman Man-Hee Lee (the church’s head pastor). The completion ceremony included a congratulatory performance, a congratulatory speech by Tan Young-jin (head of the Zion Christian Mission Center), a certificate of completion, a tassel turning, award ceremony, testimony from graduates, and a special performance.
Among the class 113 graduates, a total of 522 pastors, including 37 in Korea and 485 overseas, also completed the programme, as the proportion of pastors has increased significantly compared to other years. This increase is partly related to the creation of an online class environment during COVID-19. Because an environment where students could take classes without distraction of others’ opinions, the number of pastors and seminaries participating in the theology course increased rapidly. The two graduates and class representatives who delivered their testimony speech are also pastors.
Heo Jung-wook is a pastor who shared his testimony as a representative of a Korean graduate at the completion ceremony. After 20 years of ministry, he said, “I only learned traditional theology in seminary, but I didn’t know much about Revelation. Except for difficult words, he has taught only easy words to convey to the saints. I repent that I was a sinner who added and subtracted from the word of God,” he said. “I put down all my possessions and came forward to the truth.” I learned true theology that leads me to heaven, not to study of mankind. “I thank God for giving me a chance to live,” he said.
D. Jackson, a representative of overseas graduates, is also an Indian pastor who changed the name of his seminary to the Hepto Zion Christian Mission Center after signing an MOU and receiving an online Bible class at the Shincheonji Church in October last year. Currently, 294 members of his church, including the pastor in charge of the two churches, have completed the entire course of the Zion Christian Mission Center and are listed as the class 113 graduates.
Meanwhile, Shincheonji Church of Jesus focused on contributing to the revitalisation of the local economy and coexisting with local residents by holding the first large-scale face-to-face event in Daegu since the COVID-19 pandemic. All possible activities, such as transportation, accommodation, and meals for 100,000 people, were made in the region to help local residents.
In addition, after the Itaewon disaster, it was not confirmed whether to do the event or not, but rather than abandoning the mutually beneficial opportunity in consideration of the contract with local companies, it was decided to do the event focused on safety as much as possible, based on the expertise of hosting large-scale domestic and foreign events.
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