A History of the Unification Church in Canada: 1965-1991
by Franco Famularo
Chapter Six - The Werner Years [Part 2]
New Leadership -- Outreach Activities -- Financial Activities -- Peripheral Activities—Initial Stages of Decentralization
B. Outreach Activities
Paul and Christel Werner arrived in Canada on September 1, 1983. On the first Sunday after their arrival they held a meeting with all the Canadian members, except the MFT, in Toronto. During the seven hour meeting Paul announced that he had set a goal of finding 300 new core members within one year and that the following day a 40 day condition of intensive street witnessing would begin.13 Although the members listened politely, response to the announcement was somewhat skeptical; finding new members had been increasingly difficult in the years prior to the Werner's arrival. Shirley Navid Inamori, a Canadian Unificationist, expressed the general mood of the members when she wrote:
When the Werners first came, a 40 day condition of street witnessing was initiated. We "old timers," sad to say, had been compromising much in our life of faith and hadn't brought substantial success in witnessing. Thus we weren't so confident that success could come.14
To infuse confidence in the membership Paul became actively involved with outreach activities on a daily basis. He expressed great confidence that success was possible and shared many testimonies of his personal victories in the initial development of the church in Austria and later in Germany. He also spoke of leading a successful evangelization campaign in Los Angeles in 1974-75, where over 500 members joined during the course of little more than five months.15 Inamori noted:
Paul, though, had faith and trust in God and the full conviction that results could and would come.16
1. Consolidation and 40 Day Witnessing Campaign
Paul's strategy was similar to his predecessor, Martin Porter, who had shortly after arriving in Canada, consolidated the membership. Thus, Paul decided to close all the centers throughout the country, except for Vancouver and Montreal and have all the members work in Toronto. Furthermore, publications such as Our Canada, CARP, and business activities were either soon discontinued or de-emphasized. Besides outreach activities only the deer breeding operation remained and two fund-raising teams. Some of the assets which were seen as unnecessary were sold and attempts were made to disengage from an agreement to purchase a property. (At the time Martin Porter was in the final stages of negotiating the purchase of 228 acres of farmland in Baltimore, Ontario.) Paul's view was that the church was financially overextended and its energies were being diverted from doing outreach activities.17 He thus wanted to free the church of what he saw as unnecessary burdens so that the "real" work of outreach could be carried out. In short, everyone was persuaded to drop everything and mobilized to participate in a singular effort; finding new members. For the first few months this was virtually the case.
Between September 5, 1983 and early February 1984, with a one month interlude for fund-raising before Christmas, three 40 day witnessing conditions were conducted in Toronto. The strategy was to have all members approach people in the vicinity of the church center on Bellevue Avenue. During the first two 40 day conditions over 700 people visited the church center where they heard Divine Principle lectures given primarily by Franco Famularo, Nic Farrow, and later Terry Brabazon. Famularo had returned from Europe several months earlier. The members approached people from early morning till evening and the lecturers were kept busy throughout the day and sometimes into the early hours of the night. Each evening Paul would share testimony, and since he was quite musically oriented would conduct fellowship meetings with the new guests. At the end of the day Paul would speak with the members till late in the evening, after which a prayer meeting would be held. The prayer meetings, which usually lasted for one hour or longer, were a highlight of the first few months of the Werner period in Canada. Inamori wrote:
Paul constantly emphasizes the importance of prayer and educates us to become men and women who truly walk with God and pray constantly. Prayer meetings in our centers last for hours. As we prayed, many tears were shed for the nation and the world, and as we witnessed, much sweat was shed for the lives of our new members.18
Prayer was an important part of the members lives and on January 10, 1984 the members began a 24 hour prayer chain for 40 days. The members were greatly impressed by the new spirituality present in the Toronto center. They were probably even more captivated by the example set by Paul Werner who, while in prayer, would often cry for the entire prayer meeting. This left many with a profound impression. He also spoke to the general membership about spiritual issues at every possible opportunity; over breakfast, lunch and dinner and late into the night.
Moreover, Paul took personal interest in each of the members, made himself available for personal consultation, and was financially generous toward some of the members as well. Being literally old enough to be physical parents for most of the members, the Werners were able to exercise tremendous authority within a very short time. His charismatic approach won the trust of many of the Canadian members. But, at the same time he asked for total co-operation; some would say he demanded it. One of his favorite sayings was "no compromise, you are either in or out." Another was taken from a speech of Rev. Moon's which emphasized "obedience like a lamb, sacrifice as a cow and total love as doves."19 Paul often emphasized that unless one was obedient there could not be total love. During the early stages of his time in Canada this proved to be an effective approach, however, for a variety of reasons it became increasingly difficult for some members to co-operate as time went by, especially toward the latter part of his term.
One of the reasons for later difficulties was that the outreach effort had not come anywhere near producing the kind of results hoped for, and led to increased frustration. Although, as mentioned, more than 700 people visited the center during the first two 40 day conditions, only a handful of people joined. One of them, Nelson Dewey, proved to be one of the few people who remained a core member, as a result of the intense witnessing effort of late 1983 and early 1984.
After participating in a one month fund-raising drive which ended on Christmas Eve 1983, the members gathered for an internal workshop which lasted for the final week of the year. This became a tradition that was repeated yearly until 1988. The entire membership gathered from throughout the country to listen to Paul speak and also to hear Divine Principle lectures from several of the leading members. At the beginning of 1984 new organization was implemented and new leaders assigned. Franco Famularo, Mubina Jaffer and Jim Buchanan were assigned as city leaders of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, respectively. Denis Desjardins, who had led the MFT for several years until then, became the leader of CARP. The MFT, which had been re-organized soon after the Werner's arrival, then consisted of two ten member teams; one male and the other female. Barbara Christie-Peat was assigned as leader of the woman's team while Nic Farrow became leader of the men's team.20
2. Associate Membership Drive
As noted, the initial outreach effort was not as successful as hoped for. Despite a variety of approaches, the people did not respond. The members attempted, for example, to appeal to the public through very direct approaches. One strategy was to tell people within their opening conversation on the street that "Christ was on earth." Another method was to give guests who visited the center short half hour lectures which introduced that the Messiah had returned. Usually Unificationists did not reveal the "messianic secret" until the new guests had heard several lectures. One member, Carolyn Bing Wo, reported how one person she had approached on the street responded:
... so I went up to this lady, wanting to tell her that the Messiah had returned. I asked, "Did you hear the good news?" She said, "No. Did they find the person who won the lottery prize." I said, "No. The Messiah has returned." I then tried to explain about the times we are living in, but she was definitely not interested in hearing what I had to say.21
Obviously some members of the general population had other things on their mind.
People who visited the center (there was a steady flow of people) and listened to the lectures were also finding it difficult to remain. Some were dissuaded by friends and relatives who had read the negative press accounts, others would visit members of the clergy who warned them that the Unification Church was an evil "cult," still others had other priorities and were not prepared to make an all or nothing commitment to the new Messiah. Inamori summed it up as follows:
... However, the people who visited did not feel pulled to return. The spirit world just wasn't mobilized to act. Father [Rev. Moon] says that one should never look to the people or the nation as the cause of the lack of success, but that we are ultimately responsible. Perhaps we had not become responsible enough in loving others unconditionally...22
Lack of visible growth was something that had to be overcome. Through discussion among the members, observing what Unificationists were doing in other countries, and through prayer it was concluded that an entirely new approach was necessary.23 Thus, it was decided in early April, 1984 to begin an "Associate Membership" drive. Inamori relates some points about the background of the campaign:
During all of this time, an inspiration had been growing in Paul's mind concerning how we could change the attitude of the people, touch their hearts, and bring victory in Canada for True Parents. It was in March that Paul received the inspiration to initiate an associate membership drive, and by April 8 we began the first 40 day condition.24
The Associate membership drive consisted of two 40 day periods which ended on July 31, 1984. The first 40 day condition was completed at the end of May, by which time 1556 members had been found. By the end of the second 40 day condition 4,327 people had signed as Associate members of the Unification Church in Canada. Of these, 2815 were in Toronto, 1,336 in Montreal and 176 in Vancouver.25
The goal of the effort was to find people who met a number of qualifications, some of which were; interest to be associated with the church, willingness to receive information about Rev. Moon and the Unification Church on a regular basis, and attend church meetings. An Associate Membership form was designed which asked for basic information such as name, address, age, who introduced them to the church, etc...26 Once the form was completed and signed, the person was considered an associate member. The effort was initially conducted in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and later in other Canadian cities. Inamori explained how people were approached:
In approaching people we introduced ourselves as members of the Unification movement founded by Rev. Moon, and we spoke about Father's [Rev. Moon] vision, the Principle, the ideal and purpose of our movement and the variety of activities we are involved in. Upon hearing these things many people were genuinely moved - they had never heard before what we are substantially doing and what Father's vision is. Many people thus wanted to give us their support, be associated with us, and receive information on a regular basis, in the way of Unification News, Today's World, and other literature. They wanted to have a source of information other than that of the mass media. Such a change in attitude was incredible to witness.27
For the members it was no doubt a major improvement over the disappointing results of their previous efforts. The approximately 4,300 people who signed associate membership forms were obviously not full-timers, but at the very least they had agreed to receive information and to be in contact.
The Associate members received church literature each month in the form of Unification News, Today's World and other information. Invitations were sent out to encourage them to attend meetings and seminars. Regular one day seminars were held in the church centers. Of course, it was hoped that some would become more fully involved with the church. Inamori commented that once they had signed membership, the issue was to move to a new phase:
Now we have moved on to the next phase of witnessing - aftercare. Associate members have been found and have been fired up by the vision, so now fires must be stoked up, maintained and developed through much love and wisdom. This is our real mission and challenge - bringing people to God.28
It was no doubt a challenge to raise the people to God. Although many attended meetings, seminars and the like, most eventually slipped away. Furthermore, since those who signed Associate membership were not leading opinion makers, the effort had little impact on improving the church's image. Assuredly, those that received Unification Church literature regularly (this continued for several years) might have acquired a more informed view of the Unification Church, but this did not have a broader impact in Canadian society. Further, it produced little in terms of active new membership. Although billed as a "Revival in Canada", it was perhaps more accurately a revival of the Canadian members themselves, since it produced "visible" results.
Struggles to Grow
In the years following 1984, outreach activities (in terms of finding new full-time recruits) were not as focused as they were during the first year of the Werner period in Canada. There were a number of sporadic efforts to find new active members. One example of later outreach activities were a number of pioneering efforts which took place in the autumn of 1985 and in early 1986. At the time most of the membership went out to a number of Canadian cities either individually or in groups of two or three. Two 40 day pioneering conditions took place in late 1985 and another in early 1986. The cities covered were, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, London, Ottawa, Windsor, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivieres. Although centers already existed there, similar efforts were also made in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Even though thousands of people were contacted, this effort bore little result in terms of membership growth.
For the most part, however, in English Canada and especially in Toronto, outreach efforts were diverted into areas such as outreach to the clergy, presentations in schools and universities, and developing a food distribution service for the needy. The only area where membership growth took place during the mid to late 1980s was in French Canada and most particularly in Quebec City. The development of the Quebec chapter under the leadership of Helene Dumont deserves to be treated separately and will be dealt with in a later section.
Although the reasons for lack of full-time membership growth during the mid-1980s are complex, the following are suggested: One factor was the sociological and religious climate prevalent throughout Canada. The 1960s and 1970s were a time when values and authority were being questioned and challenged. Those dissatisfied with the existing order sought for answers. Although belief in God remained high in Canada (89% of the population), religiosity as expressed through church attendance took a precipitous drop in the 1980s in Canada. By the late 1980s, pollsters suggested 50% of the population considered religion to be very important compared to 75% in the 1960s.29 According to some observers there was also an increasingly materialistic orientation throughout the 1980s and an escalation in religious fragmentation.30 What is even more interesting is that among those that were usually the main target group of Unificationist recruiting efforts (people in their late teens to mid twenties), there was an even more serious decline in religious involvement. Recent studies show that 25% of Canadians participate in organized church life, while in the United States it is closer to 40%. In the United States, 40% of those in their late teens and early twenties are regularly involved in formal church life, while in Canada the level is only about 15%.31 In addition, the Unification Church was still tainted by the onslaught of negative press coverage experienced during the 1970s and early 1980s. Rev. Moon's imprisonment in 1984 further intensified the difficulties.
Besides, within the Canadian Unification Church, the new leader, Paul Werner, realized early on that finding 300 new full-time members as originally planned was not going to be an easy task. The approach and methods used during the 1960s and 1970s in Europe and the United States were, in short, not working. On a more personal side, it would be fair to say, Paul was keen to invest his energies in other areas and thus his focus was soon diverted. One was in the area of producing a series of inspirational books. He published a total of eleven titles while in Canada.32 The other was in preparing himself for a "future mission in Germany" that he hoped for and openly speculated about during his stay in Canada. Paul never expected to stay in Canada for as long as he did.
Nevertheless, while in Canada, Paul, with Christel always by his side, spoke regularly to the members. Practically every Sunday evening he spoke for several hours in Toronto. He also spoke frequently in an extemporaneous manner at each meal and at informal gatherings. A multitude of religious and spiritual topics were covered and almost every talk was audiotaped. These talks formed the basis of his published works. A sampling from one of his talks follows:
If we really connect with God in prayer, we may be so touched by His love that we will beg to be able to feel His heart. He may question our conviction, but if we are sincere, He will share with us the emotions of His heart. Over twenty two-years ago, I pleaded with God to feel His heart. I asked for a miracle; I expected Heavenly Father to manifest Himself and say, "My dear son Paul, be assured that this is my truth. I am calling you to follow My son, Sun Myung Moon. This is what I want you to do with your life." But my prayer was not answered in that way at all! He did not answer me with sweet words. Instead, He let me cry for three days and three nights. My whole body was shaking. I couldn't stop my tears; I couldn't regain control. What I experienced was a taste of what God feels when He looks at humanity. Most of the time, that aspect of God's heart is invisible to us. What He would like us to remember is that the blessing He longs to bestow upon us will come later. As for now we have to continue to sacrifice. We should never take our commitment lightly...33
His message was always based on personal experience and the inspiration shared was often a result of the questions and queries of members. A multitude of topics were covered, however, Paul never spoke from a prepared next. All his talks were extemporaneous.
The Werners also visited the members throughout Canada very regularly. Their travel itinerary during their five years in Canada was a very busy one as they visited members in Montreal, Quebec City, the farm, or the various locations where the MFT members were fund-raising. When the members were pioneering in 1985 and 1986, for example, they visited the members throughout the dozen cities regularly, in many cases two or three times during the course of a forty-day period.34
Unlike Martin Porter, Paul kept a low profile while in Canada. One reason might have been his legal status in Canada. The Werners maintained permanent residence in the United States and were constantly travelling back and forth between the U.S. and Canada. Also dissimilar to the Porters, Paul was not officially and legally the director of the church in Canada.35 Accordingly, he did not surface publicly very often and left public speaking engagements, as well as legal and financial affairs to a few trusted members. However, his low public profile was in sharp contrast to his dominant presence among the full-time members of the Canadian church. He spent much of his time giving spiritual guidance through numerous talks to the members and conducting meetings and discussions. He was fully involved in all decision making. In sum, there was absolutely no doubt in any of the members minds that Paul Werner was in charge.
Considering his background, not only did he have a wealth of life experience to draw on, but he was a good organizer and very able at mobilizing the membership. He was the central figure of authority and made all final decisions. In the view of some members he was a loving, generous, powerful and charismatic leader with a high standard of "principled" life. Others, on the other hand, saw Paul as authoritarian, biased, tough, manipulative and as a person to be feared.36 In short, members either supported him completely or didn't at all. There was little room for being "in between." At the very least this was the case superficially.
The reasons for lack of full-time membership growth appear to be even more complex when the mix of personalities in the Canadian church is considered. Along with the dynamics of inter-relationship between the leadership and general membership, the psychological and socio-economic state of the "older" members was also a factor in decreased growth. A new set of obstacles faced the church which had not been part of the picture in earlier times. Members, who by the mid-1980s had already been with the church for some ten to fifteen years were not only older and in some cases "battle weary", but most were also married and increasingly faced with the responsibilities of maintaining their families. This was no longer a movement of young unattached single individuals with a singular focus in life.
There are probably many other factors which contributed to the stagnancy experienced during the 1980s. Other studies might provide a more complete analysis, which do not form the primary focus of this treatment. In sum, it is fair to say that for a variety of reasons, the 1980s were a difficult period for recruiting full-time members, not only in Canada, but for Unification Church members in the United States, and Western Europe as well.37 This did not mean, however, that Unificationists in Canada ceased to progress. Instead they shifted their emphasis into other activities.
3. Outreach to the Clergy
The summer of 1984 marked the beginning of a new phase in Unificationist endeavors. Although it was a serious time for the members, Unificationists were pleasantly surprised when they found many supporters among members of the clergy. This was primarily the result of a series of events which were related directly to Rev. Moon's court battle and imprisonment which will be treated very briefly.
Rev. Moon was convicted of tax evasion and began serving his sentence in a Federal Prison at Danbury, Connecticut on July 20, 1984. The court battle, which began with Rev. Moon's indictment in 1981, was the outcome of an earlier five year Internal Revenue Service investigation. The indictment charged him with conspiring to evade, by some estimates, $7,300 in income taxes over a three year period nearly a decade earlier. According to lawyers representing the church, during the mid-1970s a bank account was opened in Rev. Moon's name to hold church funds. The funds in the account earned interest income. According to legal experts representing Rev. Moon, the money concerned belonged to the Unification Church. Thus, it was Rev. Moon's and his associates position that there was no tax liability. The government of the United States concluded otherwise, and decided to charge Rev. Moon with conspiring to evade paying taxes on earned income.38
The case attracted much media attention throughout the world. At the same time it became an issue for a multitude of religious leaders of numerous denominations and faiths in the United States. Many American religious leaders concluded that, although they did not share Rev. Moon's theological precepts, Rev. Moon's conviction by a U.S. Federal court had set a bad legal precedent for religious leaders of all denominations. Many protested the way Rev. Moon was being treated at the hands of the United States Government. Over 40 religious organizations, political leaders, and individuals, representing more than 160 millions Americans appealed to the United States Supreme Court in Rev. Moon's defense.39 Religious leaders of every theological and political persuasion came to Rev. Moon's support. People as diverse as Moral Majority's Jerry Falwell and then president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Joseph Lowery backed Rev. Moon in his legal battle. Numerous demonstrations and rallies were held by religious and political leaders throughout America in support of Rev. Moon throughout 1984 and 1985. The result was increased contact with religious leaders and especially with Christian ministers.
Paul Werner regularly attended meetings with Rev. Moon in the United States and was usually well informed of activities taking place there. It was thus decided to duplicate activities initiated in America that were geared toward reaching the Christian clergy. Beginning in August 1984 an Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Freedom was formed which was designed to address Canadian issues. Petro Bilaniuk, himself a Ukrainian Catholic clergyman and theological scholar, agreed to be chairman of the committee and stated the following in a letter to other clergymen:
All must be seriously concerned with the steady decline and deterioration of religious freedom in North America... In Canada, the issues of government taxation of church property, the charitable status of religious organizations, the legalization of prostitution, abortion, and the debate over pornography have created a climate through which the voices of anti-religious sentiment are challenging religious beliefs and practices... If we don't act now to demand the retention of religious freedom, a decade hence it could be too late.40
Meetings were held for Canadian religious leaders on October 9 and November 19, 1984. About forty ministers attended each meeting where a number of religious leaders, scholars and legal experts spoke on the issue of religious liberty in Canada. Some of the speakers were Herbert Richardson, Petro Bilaniuk, Douglas Devnich, Public Affairs Director of the Seventh Day Adventists in Canada, and Richard Fitzsimmons, a Toronto lawyer, who later became the church's main legal counsel. A newsletter, The Religious Freedom Digest was produced by the committee to inform the clergy of the newly formed group.41 The committee also brought Rev. Moon's case to the attention of Canadian religious leaders. This served as a launching pad for more concerted efforts in reaching Canadian clergy.
In December 1984 it was decided that the entire membership, except for members of the MFT and those working on the deer farm, turn its energies toward reaching out to the Christian clergy in Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, and Quebec City. Rev. Moon, who was then serving his sentence in prison, had asked that Unificationists distribute church literature and a series of video tapes explaining the Divine Principle to members of the clergy throughout the United States. More than 300,000 members of the clergy were contacted in this way throughout America.
Although on a smaller scale, a similar effort was made in Canada as members were assigned to visit members of the clergy in each city. Visitations began on January 2, 1985 with the purpose to open lines of communications. Although not all ministers responded positively, those that met with the Unificationists often agreed to receive a package of literature which included a pocket size version of Outline of the Principle: Level 4, and a set of three video tapes that provided an overview presentation of the Divine Principle. During the first month of activities 836 ministers were visited. According to internal church reports 475 responded positively, which meant that they were willing to receive video tapes or books, 175 were neutral and 186 responded negatively.42
After a few months a team of several members was established, which focused on further developing informal dialogue with the clergy, holding interdenominational prayer meetings, seminars, joint Bible studies and the like. Some of the members who were actively engaged in developing this activity were among others, Robert Duffy, Marva Wyatt, Fred Kathan, Tom Weller and Franco Famularo in Toronto. In Montreal, Helene Dumont, Cathy Labitte, Rosemary Guy and Mubina Jaffer were some of the members who continued to develop contact with Christian clergy.
By the end of 1988 over 4,000 clergymen had been contacted throughout Canada. Almost 1,500 had received church material, 200 of which were receiving the Unification News regularly. Moreover, Unification members were at times invited to speak in a number of Christian churches. According to an internal church report some 859 sermons had been given in Christian churches by Unificationists by 1988. Furthermore, 13 interdenominational prayer meetings, numerous Bible studies, seminars and individual meetings had been held in Christian churches. However, most of these churches were not mainline congregations such as, Roman Catholic, Anglican or United Church. Most of those who responded positively were members of ethnic or visible minorities who had formed small independent churches throughout Toronto and other cities in Canada.
Although there was interest expressed by clergy of some of the main line churches, this was mainly on an individual basis. Some agreed to study Unification Theology in depth and others also agreed to participate in church sponsored seminars in Canada and also in Korea. Sixteen Christian ministers from Canada attended the Interdenominational Conference for the Clergy (ICC) in Korea between 1986 and 1988. There the clergy were introduced to the Unification Movement and its teachings through a week long seminar. The United Church of Canada, formed in Canada as a union of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational denominations in 1925, was not in favor of having members of their church attend Unificationist seminars, although a number of United Church ministers did participate.43 Those that did received much opposition from colleagues and members of their congregation.44 The United Church went as far as sending letters to their 4,000 ministers in Canada warning them not to participate in Unificationist activities, stating that "accepting to participate implied active or passive support for the Unification Church".45
Unlike previously, however, media attention was low key. There were a number of articles which spoke of the publicity campaign Unificationists had embarked on. For example, one reported about Unificationist visits to clergy in the Toronto area and how some had refused to encourage the effort. The report said:
Earlier this year, Rev. Ted Davey of Kingston Rd. United Church found himself looking across his office desk at a clean-cut, well dressed young man carrying a briefcase. "He looked like an insurance salesman," Davey recalled. The young man wasn't selling insurance. He was selling the Unification Church and wanted to give Davey a videotaped-speech by Sun Myung Moon ... The visits by ... Unification Church members, nicknamed Moonies, are part of a concentrated public relations campaign by the church to counter adverse publicity while founder and leader Moon washes dishes and mops floors in a U.S. prison.46
Media attention had little effect on the Unificationist undertaking, however. Relations were established with clergymen, some of which became very friendly and supportive. Although the effort was not designed to directly recruit new members, it did result in increased interaction between some members of the Christian community and the Unification Church. Informal dialogue took place and some agreed to be placed on the Unification Church mailing list. Those that did received church literature regularly for several years.47 To illustrate the extent of efforts to reach out to the clergy it is useful to recount the developments of two interdenominational revival meetings held in 1986 and the earlier establishment of a food distribution program for the needy.
Interdenominational Revival Meetings
By early 1986, contact with the clergy had reached the point where it was evident to Unificationists precisely who the supportive members of the clergy were. It was thus decided to organize and sponsor a joint activity in the form of an "Interdenominational Revival Meeting", held in Toronto, on March 15, 1986. The meeting was held in the "Volunteers of Christ Center", which was the meeting place of a primarily ethnic Portuguese evangelical charismatic movement, led by Rev. Paulo Ferreira. In attendance were ministers and elders representing more than 20 Toronto churches. In total, there were 1,000 people in attendance divided almost equally along black and white racial lines.48 The meeting, under the theme, "Christian Unity: The Basis for Revival" consisted of prayers, hymns sung by the choir of the Church of God of Prophecy and a performance by a quartet of singers from the Evangelical New Testament Assembly. The moderator for the meeting was Alan Wilding and in a lead up to the main speech, short sermons were given by a number of Christian clergymen. The keynote speaker was Franco Famularo, then director of the Unification Church of Toronto. An article in the Unification News described the message he delivered as follows:
Ministers and elders from more than 20 churches assembled to hear Evangelist Franco Famularo of the Unification Church of Canada proclaim the imminent return of the Lord. To enthusiastic shouts of "Amen" and "Praise the Lord", the evangelist led the congregation to the throne of grace. When he asked, "When the lord returns, would he want us to be divided?" they shouted "No". "Would He want us to be contending with each other over points of doctrine?" Again, "No!". He declared, "He would want us to be united in heart and spirit, doing His work!" In this way Mr. Famularo made the call for "Unificationism".49
The entire meeting lasted almost four hours and ended with an altar call by Pastor Neville Clarke of the First Calvary Pentecostal Church. More than half of those in attendance came forward to renew their commitment to God. Robert Duffy, who helped organize the event, wrote:
There was such a spirit of repentance and freedom as the barriers of race and denomination were melted away by the Holy Spirit. Everyone was truly amazed at the unity and feeling of belonging to the one family of the living God.50
Since there was a positive feeling among both Unificationists and some members of the Christian community in Toronto, it was decided to form an alliance of Christian ministers and churches.
Paul Werner, who was directing activities from behind the scenes, recommended the forming of the "Unification Alliance" and on June 1, 1986 it was formally registered in Toronto with Franco Famularo as President, Pastor Neville Clarke as Vice-President and Robert Duffy as Secretary General. The intended purpose of the alliance was to foster cooperation among various Christian groups and denominations by developing joint activities such as prayer meetings, seminars, Bible studies and the like.51 The statement of purpose required a very basic agreement on theological issues and read very much like Jean Jacques Rousseau's outline of the simple tenets of civil religion.52 According to an internal church report, by March 1987 thirty churches had joined the alliance.
Through the summer of 1986 several interdenominational prayer meetings were held. At the same time, members continued visiting members of the clergy, regularly participating in church meetings, and often giving talks, testimonies and sermons in some of the churches. It was then decided to do a second revival meeting in autumn.
On October 18, 1986 under the theme, "Revival in our Time" a second revival meeting was conducted in Toronto, again held at the "Volunteers of Christ Center." At this meeting, attended by over thirty ministers and several hundred congregants, the program included much the same format as the earlier meeting, prayer, music and several speakers. Moderated by Robert Duffy, music was provided by the youth choir of the First Calvary Pentecostal Church, The Bible Church of Jesus Christ and the Driftwood Church of God. Three ministers, Pastor Holness of the Church of God in Christ, Elder Samuels of the Apostolic Assembly, and Pastor Denis Williams of the Abenizer Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ, "each rose to give lively exhortations."53 Before Pastor Neville Clarke led the altar call, Franco Famularo gave the main message. Joe McWilliams, a church member then responsible for a food distribution program to the needy of Toronto, wrote the following concerning the main message:
... He spoke on "God's Will in Our Time" stressing God's original purpose for unity and the cause of disunity among Christians, namely sin. He further emphasized the need for cooperation in preparation for Christ's return.54
The meeting was viewed by the members as being another in a series of successes in reaching out to the clergy. It was the result of the careful implementation of a strategy which originated with Rev. Moon himself and had its roots in the founding of the Unification Church itself. Alan Wilding, in a report to Today's World, explained how Rev. Moon realized that his official naming of the church as, "Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity," would be a source of discomfort for many Christian ministers. After all, Rev. Moon was a marginal man. Wilding further explained that Rev. Moon had said that the term, "Holy Spirit" in the name meant that the power to unite Christianity could not come from human ability, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.55 Additionally, Wilding explained the background of the successful revival meetings and outreach effort to the clergy in Canada:
Paul Werner, the national leader of Canada, whose own background is firmly rooted in the evangelical tradition, has been carefully guiding members here in how to mobilize the Holy Spirit and develop good, solid relationships with Christian ministers... The revival was another stepping stone in the building of a broader base of friends in Toronto who we hope will join with us in our urgent task of building God's Kingdom on earth.56
The Unificationist effort to win friends and influence among the Christian community was not only grounded in talk, dialogue and prayer, but in tangible work as well.
Food Distribution Network
Again, through taking a cue from activities developed in the United States, it was decided in the summer of 1984 to initiate a food distribution network in Toronto. The Unificationist food distribution project in the United States, originally operated under the auspices of the National Council for the Church and Social Action, (NCCSA) which included, Bruce Casino, who had earlier joined in Canada, as a founding member. For a number of reasons the name was later changed to International Clergy United For Social Action (ICUSA).57
In 1984, ICUSA began with a grant of 250 eighteen ton trucks from the Unification Church in America. The seven million dollar investment represented, until then, the largest direct investment by Unificationists in social concerns.58 Through efforts made by Paul Werner and several other Unificationists in Canada, especially Nancy Barton and Maureen Kathan, a truck was acquired for use in Canada.
The project emphasized shared social action with ministers of every denomination and the truck acquired became a useful resource for developing this project in Canada. In September 1984, two Canadian Unificationists, Joe McWilliams and Robert Van Lane, initiated this project in Toronto. Due to the expansion of the network, they were later joined by Denis Desjardins.
Through contacting a wide variety of Toronto area businesses, the ICUSA members were able to acquire vast amounts of surplus food. The idea was to have ministers in local churches cooperate by distributing the food to the needy in their community, since the intended purpose of the project was to make the church, once again, the center of the community. By the end of 1986, according to an ICUSA report, 163,000 pounds of food had been distributed through more than forty participating churches in the Toronto area. The project was a key element in solidifying relations with the Christian churches, but was discontinued in early 1987 due to, among other reasons, lack of interested personnel and changing priorities. The termination of ICUSA activities preceded by about a year the declining efforts to reach out to the clergy. There were, no doubt, other pressing issues that had to be attended to. Besides outreach activities the other central feature of the Werner period were numerous drives to raise funds.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents