Unification News for February 2003

True Birthday Celebration

Where on earth can you possibly celebrate your birthday with 20,000 people and still have a warm, intimate affair? Why, in one of Seoul's Olympic Gymnasiums, of course, where True Parents 83rd and 60th birthday was celebrated February 6, 2003 .

Among the tight-packed crowds were the three Nobel laureates who had earlier attended the World Summit, and thousands of well-wishers from all over Korea. Birthday greetings were delivered in person by Nobel Peace Laureate Lech Walesa who said "I am a Catholic and will always remain one. I did not come here to change my religion, but to join others in building a culture of peace. Telegrams were sent by President Kim Dae Jung of Korea and by Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House in the USA, and many others, famous and otherwise.

Of course, True Father used the occasion to remind all the guests of his lifelong quest for religious unity and peace on earth, leading up to the establishment of God's Kingdom, the Cheon Il Guk. Joining with him in that task would be by far the best present that anyone could give.

The entertainment featured acts from all around the world, the highlights being a spectacular dance troupe from Belorussia and, surprisingly a Samba group from Brazil. Very conservative by Rio standards (and it is almost time for Mardi Gras) the group still stood out for their gaudy costumes consisting mostly of neoprene and feathers.

Without pausing for breath, a thousand of the guests joined True Parents for the congratulatory banquet over at the Lotte Hotel. Father gave a great speech on the path to peace. "religious people must take the lead in building world peace," he said "But before they can do that, they must overcome the three common weaknesses of religion: other worldliness, narrow-mindedness and fanaticism." Knowing this, God is sending True Parents with a new message that can overcome the old divisions.

H.E. Abd-Elaziz Hegazy, Prime Minister of Egpyt from 1974-75 echoed this call for religious unity with one of his own. "The children of Abraham must unite," he said "George Bush cannot ignore his Muslim brothers, nor can they ignore their Jewish brethren. Thank you Rev. Moon for bringing us to this task."

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