However, on the 20th of November 2022, spectators from all over the world shifted their gazes to Zion Christian Mission Centre (ZCMC) - a Christian educational institution for studying the Bible from Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
When one hears of 100,000 people graduating in a single year, most would direct their gaze to universities and their graduating cohorts across various disciplines. However, on the 20th of November 2022, spectators from all over the world shifted their gazes to Zion Christian Mission Centre (ZCMC) - a Christian educational institution for studying the Bible from Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
On this day, a total of 106,186 people graduated from Zion Christian Mission Centre, making this the largest graduation in the world from any theological institution. Prioritising the safety of all the participants, the graduation ceremony was restricted to only 80,000 participants in the physical ceremony in Daegu Stadium in South Korea.
However, more than 300,000 people across the world participated in the ceremony online through a live broadcast which was translated into 9 different languages. Amongst the 113th graduating class, a total of 1,016 graduates from Australia participated in the graduation ceremony, contributing to the total of 1,158 graduates from the Oceania region.
To celebrate the graduating 113th class from Zion Christian Mission Centre, the event featured opening and closing performances, congratulatory speeches, and messages from several important figures. Graduates received certificates and representative testimonies from selected graduates were included, as well as special performances and tassel turning for the graduating 113 class.
Addressing the graduating class, Chairman Man-He Lee expressed his eagerness for the graduation ceremony to take place, sharing that he “couldn’t sleep for one moment. I couldn’t sleep at all.” To graduating class 113, Chairman Lee looked out into the shining faces of the graduates who “have become a completely new creation”, after having studied the Word of God.
As 100,000 hearts were gathered, the ceremony was carried out gracefully, accompanied by a sea of smiles and united voices lifting praises and cheers of joy to mark this momentous occasion.
Due to the recent events of COVID-19 impacting the entire world, classes were moved to online platforms, namely zoom, and students attended the classes diligently throughout the Zion Christian Mission Centre course. Amongst those who completed the Zion Christian Mission Centre theology course were 522 pastors, showing a significant increase in pastor participation in contrast to previous years.
Two students who gave representative acceptance speeches were among these pastors who completed the course. Mr. Heo Jeong-Wook, a Korean pastor of 20 years and now a new graduate of the ZCMC course, delivered his testimony during the graduation ceremony. “Although I learned traditional theology at [a] seminary, I didn’t know anything about Revelation, so I only taught my congregation members what was easy and left out what was difficult.”
He further confessed to needing to repent, as he “was a sinner that added to and subtracted from God’s word like Rev22:18-19.” With his honest admission, Mr. Heo expressed his gratitude to God “for giving a person like me, another chance at life” with a sincere heart. After learning the word from Zion Christian Mission Centre, he decided that “my true life of faith begins today.”
Pastor D. Jackson from India, also delivered a testimony on behalf of the overseas graduates of class 113. Following the word he received through the online Bible classes from Shincheonji Church of Jesus, he changed the name of the theological seminary that he was operating, to Hepto Zion Christian Mission Centre, and is actively working to share the word he received from ZCMC, with as many people and pastors around him.
At present, 294 members including pastors in charge of 2 branch churches have also completed the Zion Christian Mission Centre course and participated in the graduation.
In 2019, the Zion Christian Mission Centre previously held a 100,000 graduation with a total of 103,764 students graduating in one year. Despite the difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in both 2020 and 2021, Shincheonji Church of Jesus still saw over 20,000 students completing and graduating the ZCMC courses.
Surpassing the number of graduates in 2019, Shincheonji Church of Jesus welcomed the new 106,186 graduates of class 113 in 2022. This historical event that brought people together from all over the world, transcending race, nationalities, and cultures, was best summed up by Mr. Lee himself, encouraging everyone to “all become one in the Word.”
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