On Saturday 18 November 2023 Shincheonji Church of Jesus hosted a photo exhibition in Cape Town showcasing the record-breaking graduation ceremony of more than 108,000 students from around the world who had successfully completed the church’s theological course.
The images captured the graduation ceremony which was held at the Daegu Stadium in South Korea and locally on Sunday 12 November 2023. The event was broadcasted live to hundreds of locations worldwide where thousands more graduates joined and participated.
In Southern Africa just under 3,000 students graduated with 2,322 from South Africa, 228 from Namibia, 67 from Zimbabwe, and numerous others from Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini. Local ceremonies were held in Cape Town, Gqeberha, Durban, Johannesburg, Windhoek, Harare, and many other Southern African metros.
According to Shincheonji Church officials this marks the third occasion on which more than 100,000 students graduate from the church’s Bible courses. Previously 103,764 in 2019 and 106,186 in 2022 graduated during similar ceremonies.
Amongst the students graduating were 6,274 former and current Christian pastors and leaders from different denominational backgrounds. “My experience was so marvelous, because before I thought I knew the whole Bible, but now I came to know the revealed Word of God (Bible), which is the one that gives salvation,” said Pastor Philip Mathebula from Gqeberha.
Pastor Tjaheja Meroro added that, “It was a great honour to be among 108,084 students graduating today. It was well organized and well planned. I will invite lots of people to come and join this, because it’s a great event. But most importantly we study the book of God (Bible) – to have peace in the world. If we don’t know the word of God then we have war in this world, but I don’t want that. I want peace. So here we are learning to have peace.”
In his congratulatory speech, Man-Hee Lee, the chairman of Shincheonji Church said, “God will witness our gathering. Let us strive to make a better world according to the will of God.”
The director of Shincheonji’s theological centre, Tan Young-Jin, urged graduates to take what they have learned and put it into practice to have a positive impact on their local community. “Now, let us take the lead in healing the nations and achieving global peace.”
Jessica De Leuw, a graduate from Cape Town said, “Shincheonji is the only church where more than 100,000 saints gather annually to celebrate such a glorious occasion. This is truly a beacon of hope, especially in a world faced with so much turmoil, conflicts, wars, and disasters. So many people studied because the true Word is here, and God and Jesus are present. I sincerely hope that everyone will verify the Word and strive to become one within the Bible.”
During the graduation ceremony a 15-minute card section performance entitled “The New Testament Revelation testified by Shincheonji: The Events of Betrayal, Destruction, and Salvation” uniquely told the story of the entire chapters of Revelation in the Bible in a compressed form. 10,000 individuals took part in this card section receiving enthusiastic cheers and applause from the crowds.
Due to the large-scale nature of the event great focus was placed on safety, security, and order. “We also placed significant emphasis on emergency response training, deployment of medical personnel, and the establishment of a medical system to prepare for cold weather and unforeseen circumstances,” the church said in a statement.