Unification News for December 2004
Coronation Ceremony for the Yang Clan
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
To extend the grace of August 20th to the nations of the world, religious and civic leaders came to Seoul representing their nations to join in the Coronation. Now we are to connect this grace and spirit of the Coronation to all of our families and tribes.
It was with this understanding that Rev. Eu was the first to conduct a Blessing and Coronation for the Eu tribe. Rev. Kwak and many key leaders in the Fatherland have followed this path. On Foundation Day for the Nation of the Unified World True Parents held a special Holy Wine Ceremony for 12 Families (Tribes) from the Fatherland Kim, Pak, Lee and many others. Most had completed their Tribal Blessing and Coronation.
I was privileged to attend this event for the Yang family in Korea. Recently, an amazing development has occurred with this clan, which numbers around 400,000 people in Korea. The head of the Yang clan called our continental director, Dr. Chang Shik Yang, and proposed to bring to the US a delegation of the top Yang clan representatives. Hosted by Dr. Yang, they toured New York and Washington and were shown the massive influence of the movement of our True Parents for faith, family and freedom that has been established in America. They were very excited. Mr. Joo, with tremendous grace, gave them a great tour of the media foundation and testified to them concerning their kinsman Dr. Yang. The Yang family has produced top generals and members of parliament and is known to be a family of integrity.
The root of the family goes all the way back to Cheju Island, where the Yang clan patriarch of many centuries ago was the king. The clan came to settle in Namwon, the area of one of the most famous Korean legacies in which all Koreans take pride, the story of Cheong Yang. Cheong Yang was betrothed to a young man, but the evil magistrate tried to make her his wife instead. He used many devious and evil tactics to break her, ultimately throwing her in prison and threatening to take her life. She refused to lose her purity and did not bow, preferring to die rather than lose the love, which she was keeping pure for the one to whom she was betrothed.
The young man became a high official within the dynasty, and knowing of the capture of his bride-to-be, he came into the community disguised as a commoner. Only the seal of the King could reveal his true identity, which he kept hidden in his beggar's clothes. He visited the families of the community and found that the evil magistrate had severely abused his position and caused the people great suffering. In a dramatic public confrontation in front of the whole village, he courageously challenged the magistrate saying, łThe wine you enjoy is taken from the blood of the people and the food you enjoy is taken from their flesh. You are evil and must be brought to justice!!˛ As he was about to be killed, he showed the seal, which only a true representative of the King could possibly possess, and he saved the community and ultimately saved his bride. This is the pride of Namwon, and it is the pride of the Yang clan, which makes up the majority of residents in the area.
After Hoon Dok Hae with Abonim we arrived and were greeted by the head of the Yang clan for the area, whose face showed a profound look of joy as Dr. Yang arrived. This was a major event in the Yang association's history. Someone who had worked so much internationally and was doing such important work in America had come home to honor the family!!!
We immediately went to the traditional gravesite of the key families of the Yang clan. There, 33 generations could be traced. As we approached the Won Jeon another elder came forth wearing a yellow windbreaker, excited and overwhelmed with expectation. Somehow he thought Dr. Yang would get out of the passenger side of the car (actually Dr. Yang was driving and I was on the passenger side). But I emerged from the car, and he came running up and bowed without looking at me. łYang Chang Shik Moksu Nim!˛ he proclaimed. Such a look of bewilderment and shock as he took my hand for a hand shake and gazed upon my face!!! He looked at my western face and was totally stunned: łYang Chang Shik??˛ Then the other elder of the Yang clan said, łNo, here he is,˛ and brought him to Dr. Yang. What relief!!! Then the euphoria and excitement exploded. łYang Chang Shik!!! Yes. Yes.˛
Dr. Yang's sister Yong Shil (who is the Korean counterpart of Mrs. Won Ju McDevitt and personal assistant to True Mother) accompanied our party. Also, our local Namwon Church leader (a former Regional Director) who had moved back to his hometown upon Father's Tong Ban Kyok Pa providence, led the way.
We climbed a small mountain to the beautiful Won Jeon area of the Yang Family. A stainless steel engraved sign commemorates the family's history. Then we went to the Won Jeon, which has rows of symmetrical, grass-covered, meticulously manicured mounds which are established on a circle of fine white stone. The grave markers were outstanding with black marble columns with white marble tops. Engraved in white is the name of the ancestor and other history. (This is very similar to the distinguished Won Jeon for Unification saints in our International Won Jeon.)
Before the hillside stretching upward with row after row of ancestors was a huge marble altar which is used to show respect to the ancestors. Dr. Yang, his sister and the Yang elders as well as our church leader opened bags of candy and cookies and placed rice and fruit on the altar. They poured drink, and then the elder of the Yang family led us in kyung beh on the grass (we took off our shoes). Such respect for the ancestors!! How beautiful is this tradition, which certainly comes from heaven! Dr. Yang led us in prayer. Then the Elder took the drink and poured it out of the cup to the right and the left of the altar. Then we all shared the cookies and ate with the ancestors. Next, the elder with the yellow windbreaker went to the four corners and threw out pieces of the food to give to the ancestors. Dr. Yang and his sister did the same. We then joined for photos. We became one in heart.
Actually the elders cannot express enough their appreciation for True Parents because of this. Many youth these days are losing touch with these traditions and are even rejecting these ceremonies of respect for the ancestors, which have preserved Korea's family spirit for thousands of years. To see a young person like Dr. Yang and his sister come forward with such respect is the greatest testimony of the work of True Parents to preserve and protect the spirit of the nation.
From this holy experience we went to the Yang Clan headquarters for the area, a well-kept two-story building. In it are the offices for the Yang clan and extensive records of their history. There we met more elders, who again showed great respect and love for Dr. Yang.
Dr. Yang mentioned that I needed a memory stick for the laptop, and the elder Yang (with the cream-colored windbreaker) who didn't have much experience with computers, was determined to get what we needed. Dr. Yang got on the phone and explained that we needed a 128 MB memory stick. Then the elder Yang went off in a flash. He came back in ten minutes with exactly what we needed. (Korea's IT development is most advanced.) He insisted on paying for it himself. He would have it no other way. He had honor and he was ready to sacrifice anything for this great occasion.
We arrived at the place where the Yang family Crown of Peace awards would occur. It was a wedding hall, traditional throughout Korea. As we arrived we noticed a giant banner that said, łYang Chang Shik Dr. Professor Crown of Peace Awards.˛ One beautiful aspect was to the see the cooperation of all the local leaders of our church and family members. Not only Yang clan members from the Family Federation, but also the local leadership as well as some well-known international leaders under True Parents came. These included Rev. Yang Oh Seuk, pastor of the Family Church of Namwon and former regional director, as well as Rev. Moon Pyung Rae (430 couple), vice chairman of the Moon Family Association. Elder Yang Ki Soon greeted us; he is the 82-year-old former chairman of the Yang Family Association. Rev. Kim Seuk Jin, one of the Seoul regional directors, whose wife is a member of the Yang clan, was emcee.
The program began with Rev. Kim giving introductions, followed by a welcome from Elder Yang Ki Soon (now chairman of the Yang association for that region) to Dr. and Mrs. Yang; he fervently thanked the Family movement for this occasion of respecting the ancestors. Elder Yang is very dignified and really gave beautiful support to us throughout our time there. I was asked to speak, and Dr. Yang translated. I gave testimony concerning Father Moon's work in America and how he had chosen Dr. Yang to be the continental director, and especially concerning the interreligious work with the 14,000 churches of ACLC, work in the nation's capitol, and also the work for peace in the Middle East.
Following that, Rev. Moon Pyung Rae spoke very powerfully, stirring the soul of the audience of over 400 young family members. Then Dr. Yang was introduced and was welcomed with such a warm feeling of respect and love from all the Yang Association. You could see in the expressions on people's faces a great deal of excitement along with some curiosity as to what this was all about.
Dr. Yang gave a summary lecture of our work with the United Nations, 191 countries, the United States and the Holy Land. He gave some of Rev. Kwak's special presentation at our international leaders conference, which went into depth about the Principle and about the True Parents' work for blessing marriages and unifying all religions. It concluded with the work to unify North and South Korea done by our True Parents, Father's extensive foundation in North Korea, and the work for reconciliation, peace and understanding that is going on there. This deeply moved the audience, and at a certain point we could feel the spiritual atmosphere got very, very excited. By the time Dr. Yang concluded, the audience was totally won over and they were excited about every aspect of the program that followed. Dr. Yang's presentation concluded with pictures that were just taken hours before of our visit to the Won Jeon and the importance of honoring the ancestors and making strong families that don't divorce. This is certainly a major concern in Korea at this time, as modernization is taking its toll on Korean families. This really won the hearts of the audience. It was amazing to see how True Parents are taking the central role to strengthen the backbone of the Korean tradition of strong families. This was deeply appreciated by the Yang clan and was a testimony of the real spirit of 50 years of the Unification movement in Korea.
Immediately following this, Dr. and Mrs. Yang led the Blessing ceremony with the Cheon Il Guk holy wine, which people joyfully supported. Approximately 450 people drank the holy wine, led by the Yang family members together with Dr. and Mrs. Yang. It is amazing what trust was already there. Then representatives of the Yang clan brought forth beautiful crowns handmade by one of the famous crown makers in Korea. They were traditional Korean crowns in gold, decorated with jade, encased in glass. They had been personally selected and approved by Dr. Yang just two days before. In fact, the whole event was first announced 48 hours before it occurred, and yet 450 people came.
The Yang clan representatives carried the crowns forward, and Dr. and Mrs. Yang stood to receive them, representing True Parents. Although the ceremony of the Crown of Peace awards was very simple, it was one of great magnificence, and we could feel that the Yang clan officially welcomed and honored True Parents as the King and Queen of Peace. It is our understanding that this secures a condition of enormous grace and protection for the Yang clan from heaven.
Then flowers were presented and final pictures were taken with the clan members and other family church leaders surrounding the crowns, which were placed on an altar. Final prayers concluded the program, and everyone joined for a celebration banquet afterwards. The atmosphere was full of inspiration and joy.
We expect that great advancement will occur through the Yang clan for the unification of the Fatherland and for the strengthening of the great families of Korea. We sincerely thank Dr. Yang for taking this faithful and courageous stand with his limited time in Korea to fulfill Father's hope and dream that every clan of Korea will come together with the anointing and blessing of God to receive the grace of heaven and become part of True Parents' family. This has been secured forever with the Yang clan and it can never be erased.
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