This year, the World Mission Society Church of God has won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) as personally approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The Church of God is included in the official list of Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service awardees, as published in the British government site gov.uk. The description about the church reads, “A group of volunteers from the World Mission Society Church of God share Mother’s love through a range of initiatives.” General Pastor Kim Joo-cheol later attended the garden party for QAVS awardees at Buckingham Palace to officially receive the award from the Queen herself.
According to gov.uk, the QAVS is “the MBE of volunteer groups,” MBE referring to the title Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Members of QAVS-winning groups are entitled to use the MBE title. As a result, all members of the church also hold this title automatically. The Church may even use the Queen’s emblem in their website and other materials to indicate its awardee status.
This award and its privileges come after a three-year process involving five steps of close scrutiny from multiple officials. The Lord Lieutenant first appraises the group, which undergoes random inspection by a panel of specialists. Inspection includes unannounced visits, surprise phone calls, and interviews with the groups’ beneficiaries. The Main Award Committee takes up the recommendation for the group to receive the QAVS and passes this recommendation to the Cabinet Office and Minister. Finally, the Queen approves the inclusion of the group on the list of awardees. The QAVS certificate, which accompanies a domed crystal with the Queen’s emblem as part of the award, features the Queen’s signature.
The QAVS is the latest in a series of awards and commendations bestowed upon the Church of God by leaders worldwide, as well as the most prestigious so far. Other awards that the Church of God has received include presidential citations from Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung, Roh Moo-hyun, and Park Geun-hye, and the US President’s Call to Service Award from Barack Obama.
Notably, it is extremely rare for a church to receive the QAVS and the aforementioned presidential awards. Even churches based in Britain or the rest of Europe have not received the QAVS, while the Church of God began in South Korea in 1964 has. To celebrate this monumental event, the Church of God branches in Metro Manila, Philippines conducted the 3200th Worldwide Cleanup Campaign along Manila Bay on August 28, 2016.
The Church of God has over 2500 branches in 175 countries as of December 2015, and it credits its rapid growth, volunteer initiatives, and international acclaim to the love of God the Mother as testified in the Bible.