The Sanctuary Church Schismatics

Front View of SC

By Michael Mickler

Mickler full-sizeThe Sanctuary Church (SC), with branches in the U.S. and overseas, is best understood as a schismatic movement. Followers of schismatic movements are known as schismatics. A schismatic is a person who creates or incites schism in an organization or who is a member of a splinter group.

SC, formally the “World Peace and Unification Sanctuary,” claims that the wider Unification movement has deviated from the teachings and practice of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and that its purpose is to preserve and propagate his teaching.

The SC schism was several years in the making.

In 2013, SC Pastor Hyung Jin Moon, then International President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU, a.k.a. the Unification Church), refused the request of his mother, Hak Ja Han Moon, to take up duties under her in Korea. Instead, he relocated to the “wilderness” of Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, where he began an independent ministry. He was supported by his elder brother, Kook Jin Moon, who relocated Kahr Arms, which he heads, to nearby Pike County. Together, they purchased a church facility in 2014 and began the SC ministry.

Initially, SC uplifted gifts of grace and the Holy Spirit. Later, a “wilderness” mentality took hold and sermons turned apocalyptic. Hyung Jin Moon castigated “predatory elites” and “postmodern” thinking, gave credence to “truther” claims about the Twin Tower attacks, and emphasized prophetic speculation about Shmita year cycles and Blood Moon Tetrads. Then, in a series of sermons, beginning January 18, 2015, he broke decisively with FFWPU.

His epiphany was that the “predatory system of control… in the world at large” also was occurring in FFWPU. Based on this understanding, he directed Unification Church members to resign from FFWPU organizations. In a subsequent “Declaration of Heaven,” he announced the removal of all current leaders of the Unification Movement, declaring they had “no authority.” He called on members to take over church boards and elect replacements.

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