Unification News for May 2004

50th Anniversary Celebration Banquet in Northern California

by Rev. Bento Leal

On Saturday evening, May 1, an inspiring 50th Anniversary HSA-UWC Celebration Banquet was held at the Bay Area Family Church, in San Leandro in northern California. Nearly 250 people attended, of which at least half were Ambassadors for Peace, clergy, and other long-time and new-found friends of our movement. It was a warm and high-spirited event Ė a real family spirit centered on Heavenly Father and our True Parents.

Dr. William Perry, an early ACLC minister and Ambassador for Peace, offering the opening prayer. Next, we all enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner of salmon, chicken, vegetables and more, lovingly prepared by our Filipino family members.

We then had entertainment. Our Japanese Womenís Choir beautifully sang "Furusato" (which means Hometown) and "The Old Rugged Cross." Then the 2nd Generation elder teens of our local Korean Evangelical Association (KEA) sang a couple of songs.

Emcee Rev. Bento Leal (Regional Director, American Family Coalition of No. California) gave an introduction and background about the significance of the anniversary, including mention of Rev. Moonís early days of launching HSA-UWC with only a handful of members and strong faith in God. After that we showed the video "The Path to Peace", which showed the exciting and historic breakthrough peace and harmony pilgrimages and rallies of the leaders of the three Abrahamic faiths in the Holy Land.

Rev. Man Ho. Kim (Regional Director of FFWPU for No. California) gave the keynote address. He said, "Our celebration today is bitter sweet. The first forty years of the Unification Church were truly a wilderness period. Today we see a worldwide movement with millions of members. The Unification Movement is strengthening families, and effecting reconciliation and peace in every nation of the world. But to reach this moment of glory, so much blood, so much sweat, and so many tears had to be shed."

He continued, "Rev. Moon and the early church members walked a lonely and suffering course. Rev. Moon had said that there were some things he had to endure that only he and God will ever know about. So, today as we celebrate the first fifty years of the Unification Church, we should appreciate those sacrifices that were made so that we can enjoy this day together." He then proceeded to recount Fatherís faithful but lonely course forward since the moment he accepted Jesusí call to him when he was 16 years old. The audience read along with the type-written text Rev. Kim had prepared, and were deeply moved by Rev. Moonís faith and the miraculous events and developments of the past 50+ years of his ministry. Rev. Kimís speech gave the context and meaning behind this entire celebration.

Elder Nicholas Buscovich spoke of True Parentsí work in America. (Rev. Kevin Thompson, our local pastor and Vice Regional Director, who would have spoken was in Korea for the festivities there). Nicholas told of being with Father on numerous occasions at East Garden and always marveling at the faith, determination and giving spirit of Father and Mother, that they really are our "True Parents".

After a joyful "Happy Anniversary" singing and cutting of the celebration cake, congratulatory remarks were given by Mother Mary Ann Wright (who first got close to us via Project Volunteer back in 1976), Mr. Paul Cobb (religion writer with The Globe, a weekly newspaper in Oakland, and long-time friend of our movement dating back to his support of Father in the

Religious Freedom days in the mid-80ís), and Pastor Brondon Reems and Rev. Leland Harrington (both Ambassadors for Peace and strong allies and friends of our movement). We were also blessed to have remarks by Mrs. Claire Daugherty (wife of Rev. Levy Daugherty) who was visiting California for WFWP activities.

Dr. Mose Durst, former national president of the UC of America, and who along with Mrs. Onni Durst were early pioneers of our Oakland family, gave a few closing remarks and the benediction prayer.

The entire evening was warm and high-spirit. We are so grateful to Heavenly Father and True Parents for bring a day such as this where we are quite literally marching forward and building Godís Kingdom on earth!

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