A History of the Unification Church in Canada: 1965-1991
by Franco Famularo
Chapter Four - Robert Duffy's First Term [Part 1]
Initial Restructuring -- New Hope for a New Canada Tour and the Yankee Stadium Campaign --The Washington Monument Campaign and Rev. Moon's Visit -- Ideological Work -- Final months of Duffy's first term
On November 1, 1974, Robert Shapland Duffy assumed his role as national leader of the Canadian Unification Church. He remained in that position until his first term ended in May 1977. Twelve years later, from 1989-1991, he again served in that position.
Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, in 1949, Duffy met the Unification Church in London, England, in late 1967. He joined the group, then consisting of four women, on January 1, 1968. Therefore, he is the first male member in Britain and the first Canadian national in the world to join the Unification Church.1
Duffy returned to Canada from England in August 1969 and was active with the Canadian Unification Church until July 1973. He then traveled to the United States and remained there for a year and a half. Leading up to his assignment as national leader, Duffy participated in the: 100-Day Leadership Training; Rev. Moon's twenty-one, thirty-two and eight city speaking tours of the United States; the National Prayer and Fast for the Watergate Crisis; the campaign leading up to Rev. Moon's Madison Square Garden speech; as well as the Seven-Day Fast for Japanese Wives of North Korean Repatriates. He also served as a coordinator and main lecturer of the 100-Day Training at Tarrytown. Furthermore, he was David S.C. Kim's personal assistant and driver for a few months.
At a dinner held at the Belvedere Estate in Tarrytown, New York in late October 1974, Rev. Moon assigned Duffy to be the national leader of Canada. Indeed, it was David S.C. Kim who recommended that Duffy, then twenty-five years of age, be appointed.2 Duffy's first term, although filled with increased negative media publicity was a period of relative membership growth.
A. Initial Restructuring
Duffy's first year in office produced numerous changes in personnel which required the increased mobility of the membership. Although activities initially continued as they had under Katharine Bell, decisions were made early on to restructure the church organization. A feature of Duffy's first year as leader was the occurrence of regular meetings with the center directors. Under the theme "Unity and Progress", the first Director's Conference was held on December 11, 1974. In attendance were Alan Wilding, Wayne Lamond, Bruce Casino, and Sheila Cummings, representing Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, respectively. At this meeting the existing status of the church was examined and strategies for growth were discussed.3 Since the primary goal of Canadian Unificationists was to expand to a national level movement their main concern was how to increase membership. When they looked over the membership list they saw that after several years of effort the numbers were not yet at the level where the nation could be influenced. According to a list dated December 31, 1974, membership in the Canadian Unification Church consisted of a total of thirty-eight active and associate members.4 Of the thirty-eight people on the list ten had joined outside of Canada (England, United States, Korea and Japan), while half of the twelve associate members were relatives of active members. The list did not, however, include those who had joined in Canada and had moved on to other countries. There was still a long way to go before becoming a national-level movement.
Decisions made at the Director's Conference were implemented with the arrival of the new year of 1975 which began with a candlelight procession from the church center to the Holy Ground at Queen's Park. The members began the year with a midnight prayer and after the God's Day celebration members departed for their respective missions. Bruce Casino returned to Ottawa, newly assigned city director, David Decker, departed for Vancouver, and both Alan Wilding and Wayne Lamond continued as leaders in Montreal and Toronto respectively. The focus was on increasing membership through witnessing and holding workshops for interested guests. A few days after their departure, however, plans were altered slightly due to an unexpected message from Korea.
1. The Blessing
Unforeseen, on January 8, 1975 a message was received from Korea that announced a Blessing, conducted by Rev. Moon, would take place in early February. The only eligible members from Canada were Alan Wilding and Marvi Ranniste.5 Eligibility was determined by the number of years involvement with the Unification Church (3) and one's physical age (26 for men and 24 for women). Those who participated would be introduced (matched) to their partners by Rev. Moon. For Unificationists, participation in the Blessing is viewed as one of life's most significant events, since it is through the Blessing ceremony conducted by Rev. and Mrs. Moon that they are forgiven of the original sin and engrafted into the new lineage of the Messiah. The upcoming Blessing was the issue of the day for the Unificationists at the time.
In total four Canadians participated. Besides Wilding and Ranniste, Katharine Bell and Grace Ross, who were then in the United States, also participated in the wedding held in Seoul, Korea on February 8, 1975. Alan was married to Michiko Miyamura of Japan, Marvi to Terry Brabazon of Great Britain, Katharine to Mark Erickson, and Grace to James Davin of the United States, respectively.6 This was the first time Canadians participated in a mass wedding conducted by Rev. Moon.
2. Initial Media Attention
Although the media had reported about the Unification Church in earlier years, the Canadian media began paying more attention to the church in Canada in late 1974 and early 1975. One event that sparked media interest was Canadian participation at the Third International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS) held in London, England on November 21-24, 1974. The conference chaired by Nobel Laureate, Lord Adrian, was attended by academics from a number of countries including Stuart Hill of McGill University in Montreal. Thus the daily Montreal Star carried an article entitled "Moon Shines over Mysterious Meeting of Minds".7 The article expressed skepticism over the motivation of the organizers and questioned why any of the academicians had participated. An article in the McGill Reporter expressed further surprise that then Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, had sent an endorsement to the London ICUS conference.8 A few months later brief commentaries about the simultaneous wedding of 1800 Couples appeared in several Canadian newspapers which was followed by Wayne Lamond's appearance on CITY T.V., a Toronto television station, to respond to questions about the mass wedding event.9
Due to the increasing development of the church in the United States, then Toronto Star reporter, Tom Harpur, decided to do a feature story on the Canadian branch of the church in March 1975. In an article entitled; "Moon: The Newest Religious Cult Star," Harpur described his first encounter with members of the Unification Church in Toronto. Based on an interview with Robert Duffy and Wayne Lamond, Harpur explained:
The "Moon people" landed in Toronto in 1968 without much fanfare. Today, however, they are gearing up for a bid to convert the nation.10
Harpur's article, provided an outsider's observations of the Canadian Unification Church for the first time. He depicted the Canadian Unificationists as being far more influential than they were in reality. Without verification he reported, for example, that there were about 200 members in Canada at the time, 70 of which were in Toronto. He further speculated on how much money the members could raise within a year and wrote that the 16 members living in the Toronto center alone could raise over $250,000 per year.
He went on to say that all full-time adherents were convinced that Rev. Moon was indeed the Christ. Quoting both Duffy and Lamond, who said "We believe he is the Messiah; we have seen him and his works," Harpur concluded that this was a movement the Canadian people should be concerned about and warned:
Tightly disciplined, clean cut, and conservatively dressed, Duffy and his cohorts here clearly mean business. They are concentrating on young people, especially in high schools and colleges - young people whose traditional religious roots are weak or who find insufficient challenge in the "faith of their fathers.11
For Harpur, then reporter for the Toronto Star's religion section, the Unification Church was a threat to traditional Christianity.
3. Walk for Canadian Unity
A few days after returning from Korea, Alan Wilding embarked on a walk designed to call attention to the need for more respect and understanding between French-and English-speaking Canadians. According to Wilding, his purpose was two-fold: one internal and another external. Firstly, on the internal or symbolic level he wanted to plant the blessing he had received from the Messiah in Canada. Secondly, or externally he wanted to make a condition for the unity of French and English Canada.12 He began with prayer at Toronto's City Hall on February 24, and over the next twelve days he walked to Montreal about 350 miles away. He arrived at Montreal's City Hall on March 8, 1975. Wilding commented on his journey as follows:
Obviously by doing this one action (the walk), I'm not going to solve the problems of Canada. But I was able to explain to the many mayors, reeves and newspaper editors I met along the way that we were seeking mutual understanding between French and English. I found there were a great many Canadians conscientiously concerned about this. They are a peace-loving people who want to continue to live in peace together.13
Due to freezing temperatures and physical pain, Wilding almost gave up the walk about sixty miles from Toronto, but due to Wilding's conviction that he was not doing this for himself he managed to garner the will to continue. He received support from Bruce Casino who issued press releases in major cities along the route. As Alan made his way up Highway 2, on the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, he visited the offices of mayors in major cities along the way and presented a statement on unity. During the journey Alan stayed in a variety of places including three nights in police station jail cells and one night in a farmhouse. According to Wilding the night that epitomized the whole trip took place a couple of days after beginning the walk. He notes:
But the event that symbolized the whole trip for me took place at Welcome, Ontario, about 70 miles east of Toronto. The owner of a motel there was a French-Canadian woman who was married to an Englishman and was very interested in what I was doing. She supported the whole idea completely, paid for my meal, and gave a bed for the night.14
In Montreal, Wilding was met by reporters at City Hall. On March 10, he was interviewed by the CKGM radio station in Montreal and a few days later also met with the deputy Mayor of Montreal. Having accomplished this, Alan continued his mission in Montreal after having been away for more than a month.15
4. C.A.R.P., Pioneering and Reorganization
Outreach activities were intensified during the initial months of 1975. Although outreach on college campuses had been attempted sporadically in earlier years at the University of Toronto and at York University, it was never done through a formal organization. Through learning of the success of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (C.A.R.P.) in other countries, particularly Japan, it was decided to form a similar organization in Canada. C.A.R.P, which held its first meeting in Toronto on February 27, 1975, was designed to attract students to the Unification movement. A pamphlet distributed by C.A.R.P. stated the following concerning its activities:
WHAT IS C.A.R.P.?The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (C.A.R.P.), as a registered student body on the University of Toronto campus, is dedicated to an investigation of the reality of our moral and spiritual foundation in the life of the individual, family, society , nation and the world. Devoted to the investigation of basic principles which promote a greater understanding of man and his constant, but seemingly elusive search for happiness...Through a schedule of meetings, lectures and workshop, C.A.R.P. hopes to serve the needs of the student community by promoting a more cooperative and peaceful environment to foster the development of a clearer conception of man's nature.16
C.A.R.P. meetings were held almost on a weekly basis throughout the school year and in September 1975 it was formally established at the University of Toronto.17
Sung San Lee and later Stoyan Tadin, then an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, were instrumental in developing C.A.R.P. activities in Toronto. Indeed Tadin himself had met the members at a book table at the same university.18 However, outreach activities on college campuses was not the main thrust of the outreach effort at that time.
The majority of the members were asked to participate in a pioneering effort which began on March 1, 1975. Members were assigned individually to a number of cities for a period of 40 days, which was later extended to 120 days. Anne Ranniste went to Kitchener-Waterloo, Sheila Cummings to Hamilton, Jim Buchanan to London, Jorg Heller to Kingston, while the other center directors remained where they were. The flexibility and increased mobility of the members were helpful in enabling the members to move quickly. Indeed, mobility of the membership became a key issue throughout the following years and strengthened the centralized nature of the church.
While many of the members were pioneering, in mid-March, an office was rented in Toronto (696 Yonge Street, Suite 204) which served as the national office of the Canadian movement, as well as a center for outreach activities. Located on Toronto's busiest street it offered easier access to the church for potential recruits as they could literally walk into the church center off the street. The new office, in a sense became the nerve center of the Canadian movement.
On April 14, the second National Directors Conference was held at the new office in Toronto. At this meeting, it was once again decided to make some organizational changes. Each director and pioneer remained in the city where they had been but received a member to assist them. Mark Spowage went to Montreal, Pedro Ramez to Ottawa, Jim Harrison to London, Mubina Jaffer to Kitchener-Waterloo, Boyd Tait to Kingston, Anita Mukerjee to Hamilton and Marvi Ranniste went to Vancouver. Jacques Blain became leader of Montreal replacing Alan Wilding who then began selling Ginseng Tea in Toronto.19
Ginseng Tea was imported from a Church related business in Korea called Il Hwa. Il Hwa, which later became a major Korean exporter of Ginseng products, was at the time seeking to develop an international distribution network and thus each national Unification Church leader was asked to assist in the distribution of Il Hwa products. Therefore, some of the Canadian Unificationists became involved in developing this business venture and on May 1 opened a store on Gladstone Avenue in Toronto under the business name Rapkin's Products. This venture continued for several years but was later discontinued due to financial loss.
Although the members were spread out in cities throughout the country, most were in locations within a few hours drive from Toronto. It was then considered more effective to set up a central educational program. In the spring of 1975 Terry Brabazon, a British member who had then recently arrived in Canada, organized regularly held workshops for potential new recruits. The workshops consisted of two-and seven-day lecture series of the Divine Principle. Following a pattern observed in the United States locations were rented in the countryside when possible. There potential recruits participated in lectures, discussions, heard testimonies, and among other things enjoyed the outdoors. The first workshop of the year was held at Camp Richel Daka, north of Toronto in spring. Some of the first members to join through the workshop approach in 1975 were Caren Folk and Tom Weller. The workshop system proved to be effective as more than twenty people joined throughout 1975, almost doubling the Canadian membership. It was also due to the effective lecturing of, among others, Terry Brabazon.
Terry, a math and science teacher by profession, was then 29 years of age. He had joined the Unification Church in Britain in 1971 and had traveled to the United States a couple of years later to join the International One World Crusade, where he had held leadership roles during Rev. Moon's speaking tour. He had also been a lecturer at the 100-Day Leadership Training at Tarrytown. A dynamic speaker, he was instrumental in providing education and training for many of the new members who joined that year and was also a key figure in the church's leadership during Duffy's first term.
6. Anti-Pornography Rallies and More Organizational Changes
After representing Canada at the World Rally for Korean Freedom, where Rev. Moon spoke to 1.2 million people in Korea, Duffy returned to Canada in mid-June to initiate a number of activities including the International Family Association (I.F.A.) and a series of anti-pornography rallies in Toronto. Since the debate over the dissemination of pornographic literature was a hot issue in Toronto's newspapers, that summer, the protests were well received.20 Unificationists marched and demonstrated in what was then considered Toronto's red light district; Yonge, Dundas and Charles Streets. They also asked the owners of pornographic shops to close their operations. Although none of the shop owners followed suit some publicity resulted from the action as articles appeared in Toronto newspapers and Toronto's multilingual radio station CHIN invited some Unificationists to participate in a two-hour talk show about their anti-pornography activities.
Through a series of center director meetings in July 1975, changes were once again made to the existing structure. First it was decided to hold an educational training session for the entire membership in Toronto between July 14-21 which was immediately followed by a five-day trip to the countryside north of Montreal. After more than ten days of training implementation of the new organizational, decisions took place on August 1. It appears that personnel changes took place each time there was a meeting. This was another feature of the centralized nature of the church.
This time Jim Buchanan became the director of the Ottawa center, while Bruce Casino returned to Toronto to become responsible for Rapkin's Products. David Decker continued as director of Vancouver. Jorg Heller and Paul Resnyak each became responsible for mobile fund-raising teams comprised of five members each, while Anne Ranniste became director of the Montreal Center. Other changes included Terry Brabazon becoming director of the Toronto center, Jacques Blain went to pioneer Quebec City while Alan Wilding went to Montreal as resident lecturer. Of course this new organization did not last very long as new projects and meetings continued to necessitate changes.
7. Canadian-American Cooperation
One of the projects involved joint activities between the Vancouver and Seattle centers on the Pacific coast. Since Vancouver was less than three hours drive from Seattle it was seen as advantageous to work together. For example Vancouver members, their guests, and the parents of some members attended Rev. Moon's speech in Seattle the previous November. Undoubtedly it was easier to cooperate with members in Seattle than with Canadian headquarters in Toronto almost three thousand miles away. Thus the Vancouver members joined forces with the Seattle members and participated in a five-city speaking tour through the latter part of 1975. A program of witnessing, preaching, anti-pornography rallies and a public speech given by Mike Leone, then an American church leader, was held. Those who expressed interest were then invited to attend a weekend workshop. This pattern continued until October 1975, when the final campaign was conducted in Vancouver. Public speeches were given there by Mike Leone on October 23-24 to which seventy guests attended each evening. This was followed by a workshop for new guests over the following weekend. John Bellavance who attended both speeches and the weekend workshop eventually joined. He described his experience as follows:
While travelling across Canada I was met by a couple of Unificationists in a part of Vancouver called Gas Town and was invited to the speech. I attended the speech and afterwards was invited to a hamburger feast at the church center. When I arrived I found everyone (about forty people) sitting on the floor and thought this was a bit unusual but otherwise felt the people were nice and we had good conversation. Suddenly one of the members spoke to the whole group and announced that we were all being invited to the workshop. The vans were parked outside and we were told not to worry about a thing; they had even prepared toothbrushes for us. Some people went but since I had some reservations I didn't really want to go right away.21
Bellavance was being invited to a workshop that forty guests attended that weekend. Although he resisted the initial invitation, he agreed to go the next morning when two Unificationists picked him up where he was staying and personally brought him to the workshop. Bellavance explained what impressed him so much that he eventually decided to join the group:
After participating in two days full of lectures, songs, and games the workshop concluded with a personal testimony by Jorg Heller who explained how he had been led by God to join the Unification Church. This was followed by a film of Rev. Moon speaking at Madison Square Garden. These last two events in the workshop really hit me. I came to realize that it was God who had guided me to this place. I had what some would call a "rebirth" experience.22
The workshop appealed not only to Bellavance but also to some fifteen other people who also joined. After the two-day workshop those interested were encouraged to attend a more in depth 7- day workshop taught by Terry Brabazon who had just arrived from Toronto.
On the first weekend in November all the new members were invited to visit San Francisco where Rev. Moon spoke. Most of the new members who had joined in Canada, however, remained in the United States. Presumably activities were more exciting there.
8. Membership increase
The emphasis on inviting people to workshops proved to be fruitful throughout Canada. Workshops were being held regularly in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal as well. Joint activities between the Ottawa and Montreal centers also produced several successful workshops throughout the summer and autumn of 1975. In Ottawa members rented an office at 56 Sparks Street, the main pedestrian area, and a house on the outskirts of the city on Prince of Wales Drive. People were approached in the pedestrian area and invited to their office nearby. Workshops were held at the Unificationist house on the outskirts of the city. In Montreal people were approached on Rue Sainte Catherine and in and around the McGill University Campus.
On the weekend of September 20-21 a workshop was held jointly by the Ottawa and Montreal chapters in the Montreal center. Billed as a "Celebration of Life" it was attended by six guests who came from both cities. Alan Wilding and Jim Buchanan gave the lectures that weekend and two of the six guests, Gordon Arnold and Franco Famularo eventually joined.
The pattern was proving to be effective in Toronto as well. Through a steady effort of approaching people on the streets, in public places and on university campuses throughout 1975 more people had visited the center than in any previous year. According to the guest book 332 people visited the center in Toronto alone.23 With outreach activities in Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Quebec City, thousands of people were now being reached.
In December 1975 most members gathered in Toronto to participate in a joint outreach. It was decided to rent a room in the Westbury Hotel and invite people to hear lectures in what was supposedly a more neutral environment. Anti-pornography rallies were held and the media was contacted. This culminated in a public speech at the Westbury Hotel in Toronto billed as the "The New Hope Festival". The pamphlet distributed to the public stated the following:
An unforgettable evening of joy and inspiration awaits you at the New Hope Festival. Inspired by its founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Festival brings a powerful message of hope at a time of despair. There is a solution to our dilemma. Come. You'll be glad you did.24
Robert Duffy, spoke on Canada in God's providence to seventy people. The newly formed musical group, "The New Hope Ensemble", which consisted of some talented Unificationists, entertained the audience. Also a film showing highlights of Rev. Moon's speaking tour in America was shown. This action sought to duplicate Rev. Moon's American crusade on a miniature scale. This was also a precursor to similar activities the following year.
Due to these increased efforts at outreach, weekend workshops were proving to be more successful than ever before. Between twenty and thirty guests attended the weekend workshops in the Toronto area each weekend during November and December of 1975. Since the summer a number of new members such as Angus Sullivan, Alan Thibideau, Carolyn Bing-Wo, Norinne Wong and others joined through the weekend workshop system.
9. A Fork in the Path?
This leads to another episode that perhaps led to two divergent views of how the movement in Canada should be led. It would later lead to serious conflict. Duffy was no doubt moving quite fast, perhaps too fast for some. His view was that he was following Rev. Moon's pattern. Duffy figured that the time had come to reach the higher echelons of Canadian society. After seeing what Rev. Moon was doing in Korea and the United States he thought the same could be duplicated in Canada. Rev. Moon had for example, met with top American political leaders including then President Richard Nixon, had spoken to members of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in late 1974 and in December 1975, had received proclamations from then state governors such as Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and some mayors had awarded Rev. Moon keys to their cities. Duffy thus concluded that the same should be attempted in Canada.
There were others in the Canadian church who were not as convinced that the Canadian church had the foundation to reach the higher tiers of Canadian society. In their view a broader base of memberships was necessary first. Duffy's view was that both could be done simultaneously. This divergence of views, along with other issues, eventually led to serious disagreements.
At a meeting in early December it was decided to rent a rather comfortable dwelling called the Repo Estate in Burlington, Ontario, to host important contacts. Equipped with an outdoor swimming pool, an indoor sauna, a tree-lined driveway, and situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, Duffy and others thought that it would make a lasting impression on prospective visitors. The house would also be used for workshops, seminars and conferences. Duffy assumed that the estate would be appropriate to host those important people he thought they should be meeting. Duffy recounts that he did, however, experience some opposition from a number of members for making such a move. Others, such as David Decker were of the same mind as Duffy and enthusiastically supported him.25
Opposition came from those that viewed such moves as being rather excessive and expensive. According to Terry Brabazon, several members, including Alan Wilding and Marvi Ranniste, tried to dissuade Duffy from renting the property "because it was too far out and too much to handle financially."26 Indeed Duffy would be faulted with making costly decisions on a number of occasions by his peers. Since Duffy had been assigned leader, development had been quick both in terms of membership growth and financial expenses. For those who thought Duffy's style was rather extravagant there were numerous things to pick on. In the year that he had been leader, for example, he had presided over the renovation of the Spadina center, the rental of office space on Yonge Street, an apartment on Isabella Street, and a luxurious house in Burlington. In addition a large new car (a New Yorker) had been purchased and members seemed to be travelling around the country on a regular basis where they stayed in recently rented properties in Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City and the pioneer centers. A year earlier there were only three centers nationwide. Such things might have all been a matter of perspective, but for Duffy this was a crucial moment. He said:
This was a precipitous moment in Canadian movement. Decker, and Sung San Lee and others were with me on this while others opposed. In my view we should have followed Father's idea and go for the top people. We had to move fast. But those that opposed were upset... 27
Whether total cooperation would have made a difference in future development cannot be ascertained but moves were indeed made to reach the top very soon after renting the property.
On December 22, Duffy, Sung San Lee and then well-connected new member Angus Sullivan, met with Mitchell Sharp in his offices on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Sharp, who was then both Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of External Affairs met with Duffy, Lee and Sullivan for almost one hour discussing the Unification Church and Rev. Moon's world-wide work against Communism. He was also provided with Unificationist literature. If anything, it gave some of the Canadian members a moral boost since contact was being made with people in high places. But, as noted, some did not see it quite the same way.
Besides the meeting with Sharp, 1975 came to a close with a number of events that boosted the spirits of the general membership. The first workshop at the Repo Estate in December was attended by twenty-five guests. The same month both Duffy and Wilding appeared on CITY T.V. and on Roger's Cable Television Station in Toronto. Furthermore, the Christmas Eve party was attended by forty-five guests and the Toronto members spent Christmas Day singing Christmas Carols in homes for the elderly. It appeared that every day was filled with activity.
With what seemed like a wave of success the members gathered from throughout the country on December 27. A leaders' meeting was held on December 30 where emphasis was placed on inviting people to Rev. Moon's speech at Yankee Stadium in New York City, scheduled for late May or early June of 1976. The Canadian strategy decided at the time, was to hold consecutive twenty-one day witnessing conditions. As with previous meetings some changes took place. Terry Brabazon once again became leader of Toronto, David Decker of Montreal, Jorg Heller of Vancouver, Jacques Blain of Quebec City and Jim Buchanan remained in Ottawa. Alan Wilding, Sang Sun Lee and Angus Sullivan were assigned to work with the newly formed Federation for International Victory over Communism as well as the International Family Association. Between 29-31 December the entire Canadian membership fasted for three days in preparation for what would be the most intense year the Unification Church had faced until that time.
10. International Family Association & Victory over Communism
Besides regular outreach activities, during the first months of 1976 members experimented with new methods to reach larger groups of people. One of these was a project called the "International Family Association" (I.F.A.) which held meetings in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Loosely organized, I.F.A. was used as a vehicle to introduce the basic views of Unificationism.28 To detractors of the Unification Church, I.F.A. was seen as one of many "front" groups designed to hide Unification Church affiliation. Indeed most projects initiated by Unificationists were labeled as front groups by the negative press.
The thrust of I.F.A. activities was to invite the public to meetings where especially family values and international cooperation were discussed. The program, usually held in a rented facility, included a musical performance, a speech by a Unificationist, a film and discussion. This indirect approach was intended to connect with a wider range of people who would eventually become supporters of Rev. Moon and the Unification Church. The strictly religious approach was seen as too narrow.
Meetings were held regularly. For example, on January 11 ten people attended the first I.F.A. meeting in Ottawa while twenty-two guests attended the January 31 meeting in Toronto.29 The meetings were generally attended by members of various ethnic communities in each city. In Ottawa and Montreal for example a good number of the guests were recent refugees from Vietnam, while in Toronto many were members of the East European community. I.F.A. held meetings twice a month in Toronto and Ottawa until March.
Another project was the development of the International Federation for Victory over Communism (V.O.C.), which was designed to reach "higher"-level people. The project led by Sung San Lee, Alan Wilding and Angus Sullivan was directed toward community leaders and especially leaders of ethnic groups concerned with the spread of international communism and its ideology. By introducing a lecture series based on Sang Hun Lee's book - Communism: A Critique and Counter-proposal - Unificationists introduced what they saw as an alternative view to atheistic Marxist-Leninist ideology.30 On January 24, a V.O.C. meeting was held for eight guests at the Sheraton Mount Royal Hotel in Montreal while a similar meeting was held at the Repo Estate for thirteen guests on March 1, 1976.
Although these meetings did not introduce Rev. Moon and the Unification Church directly, the speeches and lectures were based on Unificationism. The essential message of the V.O.C. lectures was that the denial of God was the main reason Marxist-Leninist ideology was wrong. As with the I.F.A. this effort also helped to broaden the range of contacts. No doubt, Unificationists hoped their new contacts would eventually become supporters of Rev. Moon and the Unification Church as well.
Along with I.F.A. and V.O.C. another activity which broadened the range of contacts was the development of an ethnic Korean Unificationist congregation. Sung San Lee with the help of Choon Keun Chang conducted worship services in Toronto each Sunday. Under their leadership between twenty and thirty Korean emigres participated each week. They eventually became active in I.F.A. and V.O.C. activities as well.
Preparations for the New Hope Tour
Besides involvement in the I.F.A. and V.O.C. Unificationist membership experimented with engaging in witnessing and fund-raising activities on alternating weeks until the end of March 1976. The major concern of the membership, however, was the victory of Rev. Moon's speech at Yankee Stadium. Members of the Unification Church throughout the world were mobilized to support both spiritually and practically what came to be known as the "Bicentennial God Bless America Festival" held at Yankee Stadium in New York City on June 1, 1976.31 For example a 120-day prayer condition for success at the festival was instituted beginning January 30.32 Not only did members pray but they also fasted and practiced other forms of self-denial. For example, Jacques Blain, then leader of the Quebec City center, decided to eat only one meal a day for the five-month period from January till the end of May. His purpose was to make a spiritual foundation for the victory of the Yankee Stadium rally. Seeing that this was taking its toll on his physical well-being, Duffy asked him to stop this in late March.33 On the practical side, members in some countries, especially in Japan, raised funds to pay for expenses related to the festival. The entire Unification membership world-wide was focused on the success of the rally.
Unificationists generally believed that Rev. Moon's 1976 speaking engagements were turning points in world history. As the returned Messiah he would be making important declarations to the American people during their bicentennial year. America, in the view of Unificationists, was a microcosm of the entire world. Therefore, Rev. Moon's "victory" in the United States represented a "victory" on the world-wide level and "victory" necessitated an overflow crowd at the Yankee Stadium rally. "Victory" was seen as vital for the success of the Messianic mission as well as for the downfall of communism. Prior to the rally Rev. Moon stated the following:
Today communism has a big crack within itself. The early ideal of international communism has already been destroyed, and they have fallen back to the national level. Satan's trees are still growing, but their leaves are falling and their branches withering. The golden age of communism has come to an end. When will the turning point come? The year is 1976 and the day is June 1. Once we achieve a distinguished record at Yankee Stadium, the free world will enter into the cosmic spring...34
For Unificationists Rev. Moon was God's representative and his words were highly revered. There accordingly existed a high sense of apocalyptic expectation among Unificationists the world over during the period leading up to the Yankee Stadium festival and the subsequent rally at the Washington Monument.
At the end of March 1976 Duffy attended the Parents' Day celebration in Tarrytown, New York. The following day, April 1, Rev. Moon held a meeting with the international leadership of the Unification Church where strategy was discussed as to how each country would help bring success at the Yankee Stadium rally. Most leaders, especially those from Europe and Japan, agreed to send members to New York City to help invite people to the rally. Duffy, on the other hand returned to Canada not knowing exactly how the Canadian church would respond.
At a center director's meeting held in Toronto on April 5-6 it was discussed how the Canadian Unification Church would practically support the festival. It was then decided that the Canadians would bus people to New York City from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. In order to achieve this the ground work would be laid by first conducting a speaking tour in the three cities during the months of April and May. A pattern similar to Rev. Moon's American speaking tours of holding a banquet on the first evening for "high-level" contacts in a prominent hotel and a meeting for the general public on the second evening was agreed upon. It was also decided that the final ten days leading up to the Yankee Stadium rally on June 1 would be devoted entirely to inviting people to New York City from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
For the "Three City Tour", as it came to be known among the members, the entire Canadian membership was mobilized, which at that time consisted of approximately forty-five active members and little more than a dozen associates. No doubt the campaign would require financing. Accordingly it was decided that the majority of the membership would fund-raise for one week prior to the campaign in each city. While most did fund-raising, a public relations team went to each city in advance to begin inviting prominent citizens. The campaign began on April 12, 1976.
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