Unification News for May 2005

A Trip to East Garden

Bruce Sutchar
May 2005

This past weekend my wife and I were blessed with the opportunity to attend our True Parents for Hoon Dok Hae at East Garden on Friday, April 22nd. Father had quietly invited all western members since he would be leaving for Korea (probably for the duration of the summer) 2 days later. It was quite a journey. With no notice, we decided to fly into Philadelphia, rent a car and drive up to East Garden, in order to save about $500 (my Jewish-ness is coming out here Jewish people will always let you know what a great deal they got on something and this is the Passover season after all)!

My wife so deeply desired to sit right in the front row. Thus, we arrived at 4:30 am, but sadly, the room was already at 90% capacity. However, since the Western members were the invited guests, she was thrust up to the front and wound up literally sitting in the second row, right in front of True Parents.

Hoon Dok Hae was quite short, ending at about 7:15am, when Father suddenly got up out of his chair, waved good-bye and went to eat breakfast with the Korean leaders. But these 2 hours were such a deep experience for both my wife and myself.

I joined our AFC President, Jim Flynn and Richard Panzer as the only AFC leaders present.

Sitting in front of Father, especially, as seldom as we get to do nowadays, is such a special experience. For me, as Father spoke, it was a time of reflection, repentance and time to make a new start. I felt how much stronger and more consistent my prayer life and life of faith needs to be. How important it is to live in this world, but not of this world in other words, not to let the craziness of the world affect how I relate to others, to my family and to God and True Parents.

After Hoon Dok Hae, Father asked Won Ju McDevitt to sing a song for all of us.

As she sang (and she sang with so much heart and passion that tears were coming out of her eyes) Father both quietly sang along with her and translated for the few sitting right in front of him. It was a beautiful event. One in which both my wife and I felt so graced to be part of.

After Father left, Rev. Jenkins shared with the congregation. He talked about the success of the last pilgrimage to Israel, the just completed DP seminar in Ocean City and other current events. H invited AFC President Jim Flynn to share as well as others such as Senator Donzella James (who had a life transforming experience in Ocean City). The last testimony came from a BC from the Boston contingent. He stood in front of us for about 10 minutes, barely saying a word. Each time he tried to speak, tears welled up and he held down the microphone. To me he seemed to be repenting that the second generation had fallen so far short of Father's true expectations. In response, rev. Jenkins tried to speak, but was also moved to tears, as he apologized for our lack of preparing a proper foundation and inheritance on which our children could begin to build.

I want to share one final point that was made by Rev. Jenkins. He said that Father has decided that all the Korean Regional Directors would soon begin to step back and allow Americans to assume these positions. He asked Barry Geller and Bruce Grodner to stand up, insinuating that they would most likely become 2 of the new regional directors. Then he implored the audience to please pray for them and respect and relate to them in the same way that they have been relating to the Korean leaders.

We were then able to have breakfast with several of the ministers who had attended the morning session (several were from the Detroit contingent who had driven up from Ocean City) in Father's dining room.

Finally, my wife and I went outside and drank up the beautiful spring spirit of the Hudson River Valley outside of East garden. WE then journeyed over to Belvidere to share a few moments with God at Father's prayer rock.

And now we are back in Chicago. Its Monday morning and my wife is back to teaching music and we are both back to the everyday challenges of living in this world but trying desperately to not be of this world.

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