The Words of the Miller Family
Uplifting musical performances inspire the-audience -- a distinctive New York skyline enhances the background.
On Sunday, April 2, 1989, the Unification Church of New York held an exciting celebration for members and guests, called the "God and Love Festival," at the Manhattan Center on 34th Street. The Manhattan Center was filled to capacity with 1,200 people, including over 500 guests.
The festival was initiated and directed by Reverend Joong Hyun Pak, Regional Director in New York City, and was the fourth of a series of monthly revival meetings for Unification Church members in New York. What made this event different, however, was that the festival was designed expressly to begin a new phase of witnessing activity: to introduce the public to the Unification Church -- both to the teachings and the practice. Therefore, all the various departments and organizations of our movement were invited to create a display of their activities in the hall where the Festival took place.
The "God and Love Festival" was part of the national revival tour conducted by President Baughman and his HSA staff, and combined uplifting music with inspiring talks from some of our Church's top leadership. Rev. Levy Daugherty, with considerable experience as the coordinator of Interdenominational Conferences for Clergy in Korea, was a most warm and talented Master of Ceremonies. Dr. Mose Durst, Chairman of the Board, gave a personal testimony entitled "Discovering True Love." Reverend Takeru Kamiyama also gave a testimony on "Experiencing True Love," in which he recounted some of his experiences in prison with Father.
The keynote speech of the festival was a talk embracing the theme "True Love in the Big Apple," by Reverend James A. Baughman, the new president of the Unification Church of America. President Baughman spoke passionately of New York's need for true love, and the need for each person to become a messiah to his family, tribe, and community. His address was warmly received and was interrupted several times by applause.
Deeply inspiring music was provided by Joe and Felicia Longo, Georgia Lewis, Sheila Vaughn, Brian Saunders, Kevin Pickard, and many others from the Manhattan Center staff and the Unification Church Performing Arts Department. Among the many songs they performed, most were written by the artists themselves. Some of the music, such as He is Reaching Out to you," by Mrs. Lewis, was written specifically for the Festival.
One of the things that contributed significantly to the success of the "God and Love Festival" was the mobilization of all Unification Church members in the New York City area as "tribal messiahs." At his speech on March 19, Father told church members that, from now on, they should be "messiahs" for their communities, their families, and their clans or tribes. Subsequently, fifty teams with twenty members each were formed, and assigned to work in specific areas of New York City. Their purpose is to help bring God back into the daily lives of New Yorkers. One of the first opportunities for these teams to work together was in support of the God and Love Festival, which they did with great enthusiasm.
Another factor which contributed to the large number of people who attended the Festival was the wonderful cooperation and unity among the leaders of all the various departments and other organizations in the New York City area. At a department leaders meeting on March 9 at the National Headquarters building, Reverend Kamiyama spoke about the importance of God- centered unity as the basis for the Kingdom of Heaven. He then pledged his full support and the support of all the members he represented for the Festival. His example moved the hearts of those in attendance, and everyone committed themselves to working together with Rev. Pak and the New York Church for the sake of the Festival's success.
Under Rev. Pak's leadership, the "God and Love Festival" was coordinated by Rev. Hiroshi Matsuzaki of Happy World and myself, pastor of the Unification Church of Manhattan. The staff included many wonderful brothers and sisters from the New York area, who worked tirelessly for many days to make the Festival a resounding success.
On April 27, with money that had been given through our True Father to the New York City Region, New York Church held a celebration and awards dinner as a way of thanking those people who contributed to the success of the Festival. This included the Festival staff, the New York City Regional center members, all department and tribe leaders, the Manhattan Center and Performing Arts staffs, and, most importantly, those members who had brought the most guests to the Festival.
Gifts were awarded to the Festival speakers and the M.C., and to those departments, organizations and individual members which brought the most guests. The winning departments and organizations were: the World Mission Center staff under Mr. Nakata, Rev. John Kung and the Unification Church of Queens, Rev. Matsuzaki and the Happy Witnessing Team, and Antonio Betancourt, Special Projects.
The prize-winning individuals were: Takayoshi Kawai of the World Mission Center (23 guests), Roxanne Bailey of Brooklyn Church (16 guests), Maria Valerio of New York Church Witnessing Team (15 guests), and Annie Forsythe Hayashi of HSA staff (14 guests).