Unification News for August 2004

WCSF 2004: International Blessing of 400 Million Couples, 5th Phase

July 26, 2004
Main Ceremony
Report by Rev. Michael Jenkins

Dear Family:

Iím here at the World Culture and Sports Festival (WCSF) in Korea and I feel inspired to let you know how beautiful this day of Blessing was. At the stadium not far from Sun Moon University in Asan City (near Cheonan, about an hour's drive south of Seoul), the Blessing of marriage was held on July 26 for thousands of couples. This represents the fifth phase of the 400 million couple Blessing. The stadium was literally filled with blessed couples of both first and second generation. The brides looked stunning and beautiful in their white bridal gowns, and the men also looked great in stature and dignity, as these families pledged they would not only build true families with no divorce and no adultery, but also that they would seek to build a new world through linking their family together beyond race and religion, to build the Kingdom of God.

Prominent religious leaders representing various faiths of the world came forward to bless the couples. Standing on the stage in a line, each one offered a prayer from their own religious tradition asking Godís blessing upon the couples. Archbishop George Augustus Stallings represented Christianity. Imam Muhammad Elahi represented the Shiia Muslim faith. They were joined by Dr. Hamdi Mohammad Murad, professor at Al Baraqa University, a leader of the Syrian Orthodox Church, a Hindu leader, a Shinto leader, and a Buddhist leader. The invocations of blessing from religious leaders affirm that there is one God and that all the faiths are coming together now to invoke the collective power of their foundations in strengthening and uplifting marriage and family. These two principles were emphasized in Rev. Chung Hwan Kwakís keynote address Ė first, faith in God, and second, that the family is the most essential component for bringing love, happiness, and peace into the world.

The gathering included over 300 prestigious participants of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) Assembly 2004 conference, representing 120 nations. Several former presidents, prime ministers and current heads of state joined with top religious leaders not only to observe this blessing of marriage, but also to support the effort to strengthen families through all the religions. Throughout the conference many were interviewed as to their understanding of Father Moonís work and mission. In many different ways the leaders of many of the countries in the world are seeing that Father Moon truly is a leading figure for world peace and the development of strong families, with respect for all races and religions.

Through the increased media attention to the work of Father and Mother Moon, the key leaders of the world are now looking more deeply into the teaching and the practice of this world peace movement. Also, through the many conferences throughout the world, bonds of friendship are being established that go deeper than just working relations. Truly a global family is emerging of people who have influence in their nations and within their religions to lead the world into a culture of heart and peace.

True Parents opened the WCSF on July 23 in Cheonan with tremendous encouragement to the leaders, saying that they are being called by God to take responsibility to lead this world away from the scourge of war into an era of reconciliation and dialogue through mutual respect and understanding for all people.

The opening session of the week-long International Peace Sports Festival was held in Asan City in a beautiful ceremony that was likened to a religious Olympics. The athletes paraded into the stadium with the flags of their countries, representing their pride and the best of the religious cultures in their nations. Our American teams have done very well at the games, and I understand we have some gold medals. Iíll confirm and let you know, but I know our Washington, DC, basketball team was in the lead the last I checked. The athletes have the broadening experience of competing beyond race and religion on an international basis, where Christians, Muslim, Jews, Buddhists, and other world religious bodies are represented in peaceful but spirited competition. Whether they receive medals or not, participants go home with determination to come back next year to advance their teamsí efforts.

At the opening ceremony, Father Moonís major address called for peace through ideal families. In this process he encouraged the athletes, as well as all the dignitaries, to understand that peace is linked essentially to the family. Without families that are stable and loving, there can be no peace.

At the same time the sports fest is going on, the Mr. and Miss University pageant is in progress, where students who represent their nations and their universities have come for a pageant that emphasizes morality and abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage. Itís a great encouragement to see men and women competing not only based on talent and the gift of good appearance, but also based on moral character and commitment to build a better world.

The Youth Federation for World Peace, led by Rev. Bong Tae Kim, had a beautiful opening session in Seoul on July 24. Many young congressmen from the Korean National Assembly participated in it and gave speeches. At the same time, World CARP held its international conference from July 22-24 at Sun Moon University, in which Hyun Jin Nim inspired thousands of young leaders to live for the sake of others.

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