Zion Mission Center’s Grand 114th Graduation: A fusion of faith and education

By Our Reporter
Filling a stadium with 100,000 plus graduates from Zion Christian Mission Center // Pic supplied

In a display of religious education and growth, the Zion Mission Center under the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, celebrated an impressive milestone with its 114th graduation ceremony. On November 12, 2023, in South Korea, the ceremony marked a significant achievement with a graduating class of 108,084 students. This figure follows the centre’s previous notable graduations of 103,765 in 2019 and 106,186 in 2022, underscoring a consistent trend of large-scale educational accomplishments within the church.

The ceremony, hosted at Daegu Stadium, was more than just a celebration of academic achievement; it was a testament to the church’s expanding influence and reach. The event’s magnitude was evident, not only in the number of graduates but also in the notable increase of pastor graduates. This year, the ceremony saw a striking tenfold increase to 6,724 pastor graduates compared to the previous year, highlighting a growing interest in the church’s teachings among religious leaders.

The Chairman of the Shincheonji Church, Man-Hee Lee, delivered an opening speech that underscored the importance of the Book of Revelation in Christian eschatology. Emphasising the prophecy of God’s kingdom coming to Earth, Lee’s message was a call to action, urging the creation of a world reflective of God’s will. This perspective aligns with the church’s mission to enlighten all people about the significance of divine teachings.

A unique and culturally significant aspect of the ceremony was the card section performance. Themed ‘The New Covenant Revelation testified by Shincheonji: Events of Betrayal, Destruction, and Salvation,’ this performance involved over 10,000 participants. It uniquely combined cultural and artistic elements to illustrate the prophecies of the Book of Revelation and their realisation. Such performances are not just about artistic expression but are also a way of teaching and reinforcing religious narratives through visual storytelling.

Graduate Hyun-Mo Jung, the vice president of I.U.C Graduate School in Korea, shared his personal journey from scepticism to belief. His narrative is a compelling testament to the impact of the Zion Mission Center’s teachings. Initially drawn by curiosity and scepticism, especially given the church’s history of persecution, Jung’s transformation reflects a broader trend of increasing interest in the church’s interpretation of the Book of Revelation. He highlighted how the Centre’s teachings diverge from traditional theological schools, focusing on an unaltered understanding of the scripture.

The ceremony also reflected the church’s organisational capabilities, managing a massive gathering with detailed transportation plans, traffic management, and safety measures. A team of 14,000 safety personnel and volunteers played a crucial role in ensuring the event’s smooth operation, a feat that speaks to the church’s logistical proficiency.

An official of the Shincheonji Church attributed the church’s growth to the ‘word of truth’ being with them, a sentiment that resonates with the church’s emphasis on scriptural accuracy and teaching. He encouraged people to explore and verify the church’s teachings, emphasising unity in the understanding of the Bible.

This graduation ceremony stands out not just for its scale but also for the increasing interest it reflects in the Shincheonji Church’s teachings, especially among pastors and theology students. It underscores a growing movement towards exploring diverse interpretations of Christian teachings, particularly those concerning the Book of Revelation. As such, the Zion Mission Center’s achievement is not just a milestone in education but also a marker of evolving religious thought and practice.

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