A History of the Unification Church in Canada: 1965-1991
by Franco Famularo
Chapter Six - The Werner Years [Part 4]
New Leadership -- Outreach Activities -- Financial Activities -- Peripheral Activities—Initial Stages of Decentralization
D. Peripheral Activities
Undoubtedly, the two central activities of the Werner period were outreach, which included work with the clergy, and fund-raising. There were a number of projects, however, which were undertaken in the ideological and inter-religious areas. These were mostly developed as branches of the international activities of the Unification Movement. Indeed, the fact that several international conferences were held in Canada during the 1980s encouraged the development of local chapters. For example the New Ecumenical Research Association, a church sponsored organization, held a conference in Quebec City in the summer of 1985 and the Advisory Council on the Unification Movement, a gathering of international scholars who regularly participated in Unificationist conferences, held a seminar in Toronto, in June 1988.
Although approached with great enthusiasm by those developing the ideological or inter-religious projects, they were generally considered peripheral to the main thrust and focus of the church as a whole in Canada. Thus, they suffered from a lack of continuity and support.
One activity which could be considered peripheral was the development of a Canadian chapter of CAUSA. CAUSA, which is the Latin word for cause, was the name chosen for an ideological movement which grew out of the Victory over Communism (VOC) movement of the 1970s. Founded in 1980, it initiated its work in Latin America and eventually spread throughout the world.
As a non-profit, non-sectarian, educational and social organization it sought to present a God affirming perspective of ethics and morality as a basis for free societies.77 According to a Unificationist brochure CAUSA was described as follows:
In CAUSA the ideological rather than the religious dimension of Rev. Moon's teachings is emphasized. CAUSA conducts public seminars teaching a world view called "Godism" as an alternative to communism and all forms of authoritarianism.78
A Canadian chapter of CAUSA was established in the summer of 1985. On June 4, 1985 CAUSA Canada held its first meeting at the Metro Library in Toronto. Eighty people, mostly professors, clergymen and community leaders from the anti-communist community, listened to CAUSA presentations given by Alan Wilding, then president of CAUSA, Stoyan Tadin, CAUSA vice-president and Robert Duffy. The CAUSA presentation consisted of a series of lectures which included a professionally produced slide-show.79
CAUSA was active till mid-1988 and held one-hundred-twenty-five meetings which involved thousands of participants. Most of these meetings were held in Christian churches throughout Toronto, as well as in public libraries and schools. The presentations also included films and speeches by supportive scholars and clergymen. An effort was made to contextualize the CAUSA message to the Canadian situation. This was done by providing examples of the spread of Marxist materialistic views in Canadian society.
Furthermore, the CAUSA presentation hit the airwaves, as eleven television presentations were made in the Polish language on Rogers Cable TV in Toronto, beginning in late 1985. The TV program reached over five thousand viewers each time it was broadcast. The CAUSA presentation was also broadcast on a Portuguese radio program in Toronto which reached an audience of fifty thousand each week.80
This effort furthered relations with some of the contacts which had been developed through earlier projects such as VOC, The Rally for World Freedom, CUFF and the Our Canada newspaper. By the late 1980s, however, the work of CAUSA took a back seat due to the fall of communism.
2. Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA)
Another project, viewed as marginal to church activities, was designed to bring scholars together to discuss peace issues. PWPA Canada held its first organizational meeting in February, 1983. An organization originally founded in Korea, by Rev. Moon in 1973, its international activities included: conferences with interdisciplinary approaches to world problems, research projects, publication of a journal, of books, conference proceedings, and exchange programs of lectures by professors from different countries.81
PWPA made its debut in Canada by attracting a number of scholars, who had earlier attended church sponsored international conferences, such as, the then yearly, International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS). ICUS attracted numerous Canadian scholars since the mid-1970s. In fact, the proportion of scholars from Canadian institutions was usually high at ICUS conferences held throughout the 1970s and 1980s.82
One such scholar, Camillo Dagum of the University of Ottawa, agreed to serve as the first president of PWPA in Canada. On May 7-8 the first conference of the Canadian PWPA chapter was held at the Church's Clearstone Lodge. The conference, largely organized by Alan Wilding, then Secretary General of PWPA Canada, was attended by twelve professors and met under the theme "Is Peace Workable Across Ideologies." Professor Stuart Hill of McGill University in Montreal chaired the meeting which consisted of presentations by four of the professors present. The presentations were followed by discussion and questions and answers.
Later, Petro Bilaniuk, became president of PWPA in Canada and chaired the second Canadian conference which was held on October 3-4, 1986 at the Delta Chelsea Inn in Toronto. The program for the conference was similar to the first and the theme was "Spirituality, Work and Duty." Seventeen professors from a number of Canadian institutions in such cities as, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Waterloo and Edmonton participated. The meeting was made possible largely due to a grant of ten-thousand dollars from New York based, PWPA International, which was at the time seeking to develop stronger local chapters in each country where it had offices by encouraging the development of local or regional activities. The funds were used to pay for all aspects of the conference, including accommodations and travel. PWPA activities in Canada, as with some of the other peripheral projects, later lacked a sense of continuity largely due to lack of personnel and a steady source of funds.
3. International Religious Foundation (IRF)
Again following a lead from activities developed in the United States, IRF was founded in Canada. Founded in the United States in 1983, IRF's primary purpose was to coordinate ecumenical and interfaith activities of the Unification movement.83 Robert Duffy was assigned as Canada's IRF representative in 1985 and in turn organized two meetings under the auspices of IRF. The first was held in October, 1986 and the second in June, 1987. Both meetings, attended by a total of fifteen religious leaders from the Toronto area, took the form of a prayer breakfast, which included a talk by a Toronto clergyman. At one meeting Rev. Juris Calitis, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Toronto, spoke on the need for increased interfaith dialogue as a means to practically deal with tensions within the city of Toronto. Similar activities, which included representatives from Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other faiths were held into the 1990s, but were engaged in sporadically and thus lacked the sense of continuity necessary for increased development.
CARP activities during the Werner years were primarily limited to the distribution of leaflets on the University of Toronto (U of T) campus. Beginning in January 1984, Denis Desjardins and later Nic Farrow and other members distributed leaflets entitled "Never Communism" to students. Tens of thousands of leaflets were distributed. The leaflets gave brief descriptions of the atrocities committed by international communism and proposed a God centered view of life as the response to a materialistic world-view. In addition, a number of meetings were held on the U of T campus, such as presentations on the beliefs, aims and objectives of the Unification movement in September and October 1986. These lectures attracted the attention of Global and CBC TV, two Toronto TV stations. Furthermore, when "anti-cultists" sought to institute a "Cult Awareness Week," on University campuses throughout North America including the U of T, CARP responded by advertising a "CARP Awareness Week." The introduction of "Cult Awareness Week" stirred a great deal of controversy among members of the university faculty and students. "Cult Awareness Week", sponsored by the Jewish Students Union at the U of T, intended to warn students about the activities and recruiting practices of new religions. By 1986 the atmosphere was somewhat different to earlier times, as the anti-cultists received there share of opposition as well. A reporter for the Globe and Mail wrote:
A cult awareness program at the University of Toronto has pitched the campus into a dispute between students who see it as educational and those who regard it as an excuse for religion-bashing. The battle is being waged with protests, pamphlets and counter-pamphlets and a formal complaint about the program to Ontario's premier and attorney-general.84
The opposition was not only from members of the new religions, but also from students and some members of the faculty as further reported:
At U of T's religious studies department, seven faculty members asserted in a September 10 letter to the awareness week organizers that though their goal was laudable, "it is not adequate to the functions of a university to engage in negative propaganda." Criticism such as this prompted the student union at St. Michael's College (part of U of T) to opt out of any participation in the awareness week ...85
CARP activities, however, were not a central focus of activity other than brief ventures such as leaflet distribution and introductory lectures. The changing atmosphere in educational institutions, however, was largely the result of a development not initiated by the Unification Church.
5. Presentations at Educational Institutions
The early 1980s marked the beginning of a new area of study at many educational institutions throughout North America. Some university catalogues listed courses on, for example, "Sects, Cults and New Religious Movements". Generally a field of study offered at the undergraduate level, but also an area of study in certain high school courses such as World Religions and Man and Society. Some educational institutions, as well as professors and teachers, who introduced the idea of inviting members of new religious movements to speak to their classes, endured serious challenges from concerned members of their respective communities.86 Inviting a member of a so called "cult" to speak was viewed as endangering the lives of vulnerable students who could be potential recruits of the so called "cults."
Nevertheless, some professors stood their ground. One such scholar was David Kingsley of McMaster University. In a 1983 letter to the editor of a Hamilton, Ontario newspaper, The Spectator, he wrote:
It is well to remember, too, that Christianity itself was regarded as a cult by the Romans and was accused of all the nasty things of which we accuse the new religions of our day.87
Kingsley, then Associate Professor of Religious Studies, had a vested interest in the issue as he was offering a course at McMaster University on the new religions.
The course, offered throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, increased in popularity each year. By the late 1980s the course attracted between four and five hundred students per term. Similar courses were offered in a number of institutions throughout Canada, such as at the University of Waterloo, Carleton University in Ottawa, Dawson College in Montreal and the French language CEGEP Ste. Foy in Quebec.88 In addition a number of Bible Colleges and Seminaries such as, the Ontario Theological Seminary also offered courses that covered the new religions to some extent.
In most cases representatives of three or four new religions, such as the Church of Scientology, Hare Krishna and Unification Church were invited each term to give presentations that lasted anywhere from one to three hours. Usually the beliefs, aims, practices and lifestyles of members were discussed after which question and answer sessions would follow. Some were very lively sessions as issues that had appeared in the media were vigorously debated. According to some students, the courses were popular because of the possibility of direct exchange with members of the new religions. It was also very common that interested non-students attended the presentations by members of the new religions. Some attended out of curiosity, while others came to protect their children, but in general hostility was hardly ever expressed at such meetings although discussion was spirited.89
During the period from 1983 till 1991 well over eighty presentations were given by Unificationists in various educational institutions throughout Canada. Almost seven thousand high school and university students received copies of the Outline of the Principle: Level 4 book and other Unificationist literature, heard overviews on Unification Theology, and participated in discussions with Unificationists.90 Students who took such courses on new religions were further encouraged by their teachers to visit the members of new religions as part of their field work. Therefore, hundreds of students visited the Unification Church centers in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec. Members of the church hosted the students and provided them with tours of the church and gave them more detailed explanations about Rev. Moon and the activities of the church in Canada and worldwide. In Quebec, the church was most often represented by Helene Dumont and Mubina Jaffer while in Ontario, Dietrich Seidel, Franco Famularo, Robert Duffy and Alan Wilding would most often give the presentations. Although few of the students were converted, it did provide an excellent forum to intelligently discuss many of the controversial issues related to the Unification Church. In short, in the view of Unificationists, many myths spread about the church by the media could be addressed and in many cases dispelled. An excellent forum had been provided to help create an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding.
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