Where is UBF located? The headquarters of UBF was moved from Seoul, Korea to Chicago, USA in 1975, amid growing ambition from Chang Woo (Samuel) Lee and a tax scandal. The group sends out missionaries, called pioneers, exclusively to college campuses. The group has sent over 1,800 such pioneers since 1961, and exists on 159 college campuses around the world. UBF leaders tend to count every lone family as a “chapter”, so counts by UBF can range as high as 400 campuses.
When was UBF founded? The group was started in 1961 by two people. A Korean, Chang Woo (Samuel) Lee, met an American, Sarah Barry, in the late 1950’s. At the time, Barry was a missionary to Korea supported by a church in Mississippi, the Benoit Union Church. In the 1960’s, the church held regular “Sarah Barry Day” celebrations, during which Lee would speak. When UBF was established, Lee and Barry began breaking the official ties to the Presbyterian church. The connections were severed entirely, and the “Sarah Barry” days ended soon afterward, when UBF was incorporated in Mississippi in 1975 (business ID 400517).
How much money does UBF have? This question was largely unanswerable for most of the history of UBF. In 2008, UBF joined the ECFA and began reporting financial numbers. They also registered with the United States government as a non-profit group around the same time. The ECFA reports nearly $2 million USD in annual offerings and a total of over $13 million USD in assets.
What happened to Chang Woo (Samuel) Lee? In 2002, at age 70, Lee died in a fire in a UBF building in Chicago USA. He reportedly died of smoke inhalation Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2002 in Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, USA. This is ironic because Lee often warned UBF members they would face tragedy if they ever left UBF, and would be blessed abundantly if they remained loyal to UBFism. UBF does not hold funerals. Instead, they have a celebration ceremony called a Homecoming. Many UBF loyalists still gather at the cemetery in Chicago where Lee is buried, and hold worship services on the grave site. UBF loyalists also have build magnificent buildings in Korea, including a museum dedicated to preserving Lee’s legacy.