The Words of the Burton Family
SÃO PAULO -- Some veterans of Unification Church culture in Brazil are scratching their heads in wonder and saying things like: "What a difference a week makes!" after Unification Church USA President and CEO Rev. In Jin Moon's visit this past Sunday.
Exactly one week earlier, an unusually large crowd of about 800 congregants attending Sunday Service watched in horror and shock as a faction of dissident members stormed the stage and took the microphone out of the hand of Unification Church Latin America Continental Director Rev. Dong Mo Shin, who had been giving the sermon, then manhandled him off the stage and out of the room. Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, son of Unification Church Founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, took over the service after ordering Unification Church Brazil President Rev. Neudir Simão Ferabolli to sit down. Dr. Moon was assisted by two former presidents of Unification Church Brazil , Rev. Waldir Cypriani and Rev. Mauricio Baldini, both of whom served as Portuguese interpreters during the ensuing three-hour extension of the worship service. Dozens of youthful church activists, some carrying placards, cheered him on as he repeatedly asserted his right to speak in his father's house whenever he wanted. They cheered again when he called for a change in leadership as a prerequisite for achieving the goal of One Family Under God. The next morning, both Rev. Shin and Rev. Ferabolli endured pokes, kicks and verbal chastisements at a three-hour service led by Dr. Moon.
On June 2, Unification Church International President Rev. Hyung Jin Moon announced the Founders' wishes that Dr. Moon not give lectures or sermons at official church events or venues without prior approval of the Founders.
At the behest of Unification Church Founders, their daughter Rev. In Jin Moon prepared to fly into São Paulo to speak on their behalf. Her surprise visit on Sunday, June 6th in the same sanctuary yielded a worship service in high contrast to the week before. A crowd of 1,000 cheered her appeal for loyalty to the Founders. She brought with her a team of church officials as well as some performers from the New York-based Lovin' Life Ministries. There were no disruptions and no shouts at all. In fact, the two former presidents of Unification Church Brazil who had served as interpreters for Dr. Moon during the disruption on May 30 apologized to Rev. Shin and to Rev. Ferabolli and warmly greeted Rev. In Jin Moon after the service.
They were joined by every single family present, as all members joined a reception line to shake hands with Rev. Moon and stand with her for personal pictures.
Rev. In Jin Moon's abiding theme both at the Hoon Dok early morning prayer service and the Legacy of Peace program was that peace on earth will start with personal transformation as pioneered by the Founders and will expand outward through marriage and children.
At the 5:00 a.m. service at the São Paulo Church, 150 members of all ages gathered to meet Rev. Moon for the first time. After reading the first portion of Unification Church Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon's recent speech, The Establishment of the Abel UN and the Completion of God's Kingdom of Cheon Il Guk in Korea, the assembly viewed a video of the Founders writing and discussing a special proclamation on June 5, 2010, affirming their selection of their youngest son (Rev. Hyung Jin Moon) as the chief spiritual authority among all their descendants.
Rev. In Jin Moon gave comforting words to the leaders and members who had endured unjust humiliation the week before, saying that the Brazilian church had demonstrated to the whole world what being true sons and daughters of God is all about. She added, "the revolution the True Children are here to ignite will be one of love."
"Last Sunday, the Brazilian Church had some difficulties, but you know, God works in mysterious ways, and now the whole world is watching Brazil and watching South America. Father has sent me here to make sure you know that you are not alone," she explained. She pointed out that Rev. Shin and Rev. Ferabolli had taken many blows but never lost God's position or dignity.
"Brazil can be the cradle of God's love. It can be the arms that uplift all of South America. You can uplift the country of Brazil with arms of love, arms of gratitude. So, in a way, the event of last Sunday gave an opportunity [for God] to give Brazil an incredible blessing," she explained. Some Brazilian brothers and sisters were heard weeping.
In place of the regular church service at 9:00 a.m., the church celebrated an Honoring a Legacy of Peace Memorial Service for Ascension and Unity to honor nine recently-ascended public servants, including six members of the Brazilian Church itself. In his capacity as Master of Ceremonies, Rev. Ferabolli introduced Universal Peace Federation (UPF) International President Dr. Thomas Walsh and UPF Secretary General Dr. Taj Hamad. Dr. Walsh explained the history and background of these memorial services, the first of which was held in March following the passing of General Alexander Haig, Jr. on March 2.
After Rev. Moon gave a short speech to introduce the Founders, the same speech which was read at the 5:00 am service, The Establishment of the Abel UN and the Completion of God's Kingdom of Cheon Il Guk in Korea, was read in Portuguese by Rev. Ferabolli. In Rev. Moon's remarks, she continued the theme of her talk at the Hoon Dok session, in which she stressed the importance of grasping the words, heart and tradition of humility of the Founders as a precursor to implementing transformation at the societal level.
"Ever since [Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon] was anointed by Jesus Christ he has never wavered to do his best to build a world of peace. He dreamed of a world in which we could live together as one family under God," she said. "He dreamed of perfecting his own individuality and finding a perfected woman who would join him to make a family that God had dreamed of for ages."
"So brothers and sisters, our worldwide community is not in some kind of a fight over an amorphous peace movement," she said. "It's much, much more than that. Our [Founders] are here to make peace real, to make peace flesh, to make us experience what One Family Under God is really about," she said.
"But how do we become one family?" She asked. "We become one family through marriage. We become a member of a particular family through matrimony. So, our [Founders] are allowing the whole world to become the one family by enabling all of humanity to graft onto the true olive tree," she explained. "They are extending the Blessing to everybody," she said. "That's why we need our [Founders] at the center of our lives every day. They are the great teachers. They are the paradigm of divine love that will inspire the world. They are the man and woman worthy of being called the son and daughter of God."
"You are the privileged few," she told those gathered in the sanctuary. "You are the jackpot winners because you are chosen to work side by side with our [Founders]."
Entertainment was provided by a 19-person choir comprised of local church members as well as three members of the Lovin' Life Band: Unification Church USA Vice President Rev. Joshua Cotter on keyboards, singer Ben Lorentzen on guitar and singer Ilhwa Yokpore. The Lovin' Life Ministries year-in-review video got resounding applause.
The consensus of rank-and-file members of the Brazilian Church is that Rev. In Jin Moon's visit reassured members that their leaders have the full faith and confidence of the Founders. Said Alicia Garcia, "I'm very grateful it was so different from last Sunday. Then, it was hell. Today it was like a celebration. I want to study the message she gave at Hoon Dok, too. I love True Children more than ever before, because now I know more about their journey."
The visit also opened new possibilities for communication and sharing between Unification Church leaders and members in North and South America. When Rev. Moon asked the congregation if they were ready for her to bring Lovin' Life Ministries to Brazil, the crowd's answer was a loud and enthusiastic "Sim!"