Articles From the April 1994 Unification News


On The Long Road To Tribal Messiahship Victory

This is an interview with Francesco Santelli, a U C member of Region 2, by Richard Lewis of the Unification News.

FS joined the UC in 1973 at age 22. He came to America in June of that year to join one of the two first I O W C's. He was in Japan and Korea for 2 years with the Ist Global Team and the New Hope Singers International. Participated to the Washington Monument campaign and worked with NY Church in the Education Department under Rev. Sudo. He was director of Father's New York City Symphony and worked with CAUSA International. Currently he is Director of ICC/ NJ since '92. He is originally from Rome, Italy where he has an active home town providence. He resides in Newark, NJ Region #2, under Rev. Do Hee Park and Rev. Luis Patino, State Leader. He was blessed at the 1982 MSG blessing with his wife Luella who is American, and they have 3 children.

RL: Unification News has received a recommendation to solicit your testimony. Please tell us about your Tribal Messiaship activities and victories.

FS: My Tribal Messiah's work is centered on the ICC ministers and artistic musical activities.

RL: Tell us first about the work with the ministers.

FS: I have been Director of ICC in the state of NJ for about 2 years now, and this has been very rewarding for me. NJ is one of the most populated state in the UC in America and we have great leadership with Rev. Park, who just came to us and Rev. Patino, the State leader.

RL: In what do the ICC activities in NJ consist of?

FS: We have a roster of about 25 active ministers from a total of 136 that went to Korea. We hold Prayer Breakfasts, twice a month, inviting guest speakers and stimulating fellowship and mutual support centered on True Love and Godism. All the ministers know and value Father's vision.

We have also taken them out fishing and of course to True Parents speeches in our region last year 1993.

RL: Tell us about T.P. tour of last year.

FS: When Father spoke in Secaucus, NJ we had about 20 ministers sitting right in the front row truly attentive and supporting Father in his delivery of the speech. Father felt that and began to insert new things in the speech, things that were not in the written text, inspired by the give and take with these ministers. Rev. J. H. PAK (then our regional director) felt that the most significant and characterizing element in the Secaucus T P speech victory was the presence of the ministers (and Father noted that too later on).

We brought also ministers to the Bridgeport University's and to the United Nation's Mother's speeches.

RL What is your method in working with the ministers?

FS My method is simply to espouse Father's vision and ideology. Godism, the embrace of True Parents towards each son or daughter regardless of their religion or philosophy; believing and emphasizing the sanctity of each religion and how Father wants to support Christianity and religious leaders in general for the salvation of America and the world. Feeling, understanding and believing in these values gives a tremendous power in rallying ministers towards a common goal, and no other religion or ideology on earth could offer a vision capable to promote this except Father's.

I must acknowledge to this respect the great help and support of some of our elder leaders in our movement such as Mr. Paul Perry, Rev. Kathy Winings, Dr. Andrew Wilson, Rev. John Gehring and more.

RL Can you give us a recent special testimony on some ICC minister?

FS Well we had three ministers attending this past True Parents Birthday celebration: Bishop Thomas, Rev. Kaiser and

Rev. Bennett. They all were inspired by coming in contact personally with Father. Actually it was 2 months that I was thinking how to make a new start in the ICC providence in NJ and Father himself (personally) did it for us. Incredible: they not only heard the essence of the Principle and God's Will for them, but also they heard the declaration of True Parentship and the Completed Testament Age and they heard it from Father himself. Simply unbelievable ....

RL What is your view of ICC?

FS My view is Father's view, namely to create a spiritual movement of renewal with Christians ministers and religious leaders in general - centered on Father's and Heavenly Father's spirit with the help of HJN and Jesus from the SW for the spiritual renewal of American Christianity. I can see the ministers are sincerely looking for leadership, they are gasping for something new, they see Christianity and Christian values sinking and on the other hand they see Father's power and influence grow, they know that by the fruit the tree will be recognized. Father is the True Father of mankind, that means of all men and their religions. Short of connecting directly with TP and the Divine Principle, Godism and Headwing ideology are a tremendous tool that leaves to religious leaders all the space they need in their own original religious environment and still make them work 100% for Heavenly Father and True Parents, if they connect with us: it's incredible, we both win! If you think of it there is no other idea or religion that has the substantive power to do this, only God's true ideology can embrace all His children and render everyone victorious. This is what I continuously emphasize to the ministers, especially to those who are concerned of being dominated by UC and Father, and... it works!

RL: What are your future plans?

FS: Our future plans for ICC / NJ are those of continuing the ideological education towards Godism and Father's ecumenical view and role for all religions - Also to work together with USA NJ and to use Project Volunteer (a 10 year old bread distribution program in NJ) as an ICC project and as a sign of the practical application of Father's ideals. The goal is to make a group of ministers that love each other, understand and agree with Father's vision of going beyond their own little world of their denomination and work for the greater good of Christianity in the state of New Jersey and in America... and hopefully to next year's Blessing we will be able to take as many ministers as possible. That will be the greatest blessing that can fall upon Christianity in New Jersey and in America.

RL Some final comments? FS Simply that this experience with ICC is the most significant of my witnessing life to God and True Parents, the most mature. Father said that in our lives we must restore the 3 Adams. The first Adam is our own blood relatives, they represent our fallen roots. The II Adam is Christianity (Jesus), the III Adam is the Unification Movement and the dimension of our Church in general. Working with ministers has helped me to grow and restore in the dimension of the II Adam, in understanding the heart of God, the heart of Jesus, the heart of the Providence of Restoration and how much God has worked in history to come to the point of the TP being here with us, through 2,000 years of history of Christianity. I am very grateful for this opportunity. Each minister for me is a continuous visible reminder of the 6,000 years of the History of restoration and of the tremendous value of our True Parents, and of the fact that my life and all our efforts have to be geared to fulfill for God while TP are still here on earth with us.

RL Tell us now about your artistic activities.

FS In my life in Rome, before I joined the Church, music and art was absolutely minimal and secondary. It was only after I joined the movement that somehow spiritually I came to understand that I had some artistic skills and that those should be used for God.

RL What have been your artistic responsibilities in the Church?

FS Already in the first IOWC team and in Father's tours in America ( '73 and '74 campaigns) I was involved in some I O W C bands made to support the tour. Then I joined the New Hope Singers in Japan in 1975. That was actually my first serious musical experience and training. I remained in the choir through the Washington Monument campaign and the one year spent in Washington D C in 1978 with the whole NHSI team. After that things spread out a little and I began to work with NY Church in education under Rev. Sudo and also I began to study music on my own. With substantial help from Heavenly Father and Spirit World, I conducted some orchestral concerts in the early 80's in NYC, the first one at the Damrosh Park at Lincoln Center with the International Symphony. Shortly after that, for 3 years (from '82 to '85), Rev. J. H. Pak gave me the possibility to conduct Father's orchestra of which I became the Music Director: the New York City Symphony. In 1985 I wrote a letter to Father asking for guidance on the future of my life. Father told me that I should follow the artistic path. Since that time I took Father's direction seriously and I oriented not only my life but also my family's life in that direction at the cost of difficulties, but with constant guidance from Heavenly Father and Spirit World, you know, like the pillars of fire and the clouds for the Israelites, there have been similar things in my life in all these years constantly and securely guiding my path.

RL How did you get involved in opera from symphonic music?

FS In the operatic work the drama and the words are subject and the music is object; likewise in my life the studies before the Church were totally literary (literature, philosophy, Latin and Greek, etc.) almost no music at all, then later on music became also part of my life. Through time I understood that just like the way my life had unfolded, my vocation was for opera because I felt equally and strongly attracted by both dimensions, that of the word and drama and that of the music: it's like having two children that are equally important to you and that you can't do without. Also due to my own culture, being Italian, I see some preparation work from Heavenly Father, because 60 % of standard opera repertoire is Italian and with Italian libretto, which gives me some advantage in the preparation and understanding of the works at hand. RL How did the switch occurred from the orchestral experience to the opera?

FS: In 1985 after Father's direction I prayed a lot and I had many spiritual intuitions. In 1986 I was offered to conduct a production of Tosca with the Brooklyn Opera Theater (by the way the offer came to me while I was in Bismarck, ND pioneering for the 1985 CAUSA nationwide mobilization), after that I continued. Then in 1988 I was offered the position of Music Director of the Henry Street Opera, which is an opera program that sponsors fully staged opera productions in a small but hospitable theater in the lower Manhattan under the sponsorship of the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The former Music Director a German conductor affiliated with the New York City Opera died and I was called to continue a production of

"Der Freishuz" of Weber, that was in 1988. Since then I have been at Henry Street for 7 years.

RL What productions have you conducted there?

FS: As I said, "Der Freishuz", "Madam Butterfly", "Tosca", "Macbeth", "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci" and this year "Don Pasquale" plus I have conducted several times in concert the Henry Street Symphony Orchestra in the performance of my compositions, lately last October in the performance of a symphonic ode I wrote for the collapse of the Berlin wall and the newly found freedom for western Europe. I am trying to find new sources of funding to increase the number of productions and the quality of players and singers.

RL Have you worked with other companies other than HSS?

FS Yes, with the Brooklyn Opera Theater, the Connecticut Opera Theater, Bloomfield Opera, I performed at Alice Tully Hall a duet from my own opera on Columbus (Un Destino Immortale), I have just been asked to be the Music Director of that series, I have been invited 2 years at NY City Hall for the inauguration with the NYC mayor of the Italian Culture Month to perform as representative of Italian Culture in US.

RL: What about your creative work?

Actually I feel that composing and creating is my real artistic mission. Through prayer I have come to the understanding and determination to write works for the stage, operas on biblical providential figures from the inner viewpoint of heart and truth of the Divine Principle. Especially I am committed to a trilogy on Jesus' true life drama for Christians to truly understand him and the heart of God, and works on True Parents life in Grand Opera form.

RL: Tell us about your compositions

FS: "God's World" is a composition on a poem of Edna Saint Vincent Millay, it was premiered in Canada; "1989, Un' Ode Sinfonica di Celebrazione" is a symphonic ode composed for the collapse of the Berlin Wall and has received two performances in New York City, and more.

In terms of actual operas, I have completed my first opera "Un Destino Immortale" on Christopher Columbus, it has received many (concert form) performances in NYC and Westchester, and the duet of Christopher and Isabella was performed at Alice Tully Hall in October 1992. I am still looking for the possibility of a fully staged premiere and there are people who are interested in it.

I have almost finished my second opera "Mississippi". I am committed to write my own librettos (the story, the drama, the dialogue). The story of UDI is of course from Columbus life and I tried to put emphasis as much as possible on all the vertical and providential elements of his life as I have perceived them. In Mississippi I created the story and the characters: it's the story drama of the spiritual and economical struggles of a family in the south at the turn of the century torn between faith and materialistic view of life that ends with the death of Mary Hamilton, the mother figure of the opera as a purifying and cathartic element of the drama. The harmonic language is much more dissonant than U D I even though melody is always present in my music.

RL: What's next?

FS: Well, I would like to complete Mississippi, but lately it's been so busy, you know, with the campaigns of the True Family, and all the changes of this new year ...

I wish that I could begin working for my third opera on a biblical subject (Abraham and Isaac), but I guess that time is not quite yet, we need stronger foundation...

RL: A final thought

FS I feel in my artistic work that I have to do my best to fulfill what Father has asked me to do and I feel grateful that things are going fairly well, of course the ideal situation will occur when we can have our own opera company in which we can have the total control of the finances; then one has the power to dictate one's own standards, in our case heaven's standards, the ethical standard, the choice of the proper repertory, and the education of the artists with fundamentals of Unification Thought, Godism and the true purpose of art, the requirement "sine qua non" of a basic ethical conduct from all artists, respect for True Parents work and at least a broad understanding of Godism ideology, etc...

I feel eventually this will happen, an opera company completely in the territory of God, in the domain of heart and art of True Parents, it's just a matter of time...

RL: Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, I think from each person's situation there is something to be learned: God can definitely show us something, from your

ICC work and your artistic activities.

FS: I am grateful that I can stand in this year 2 of the Completed Testament Age to work hard to contribute to the safe settlement of the True Parents in these historical times and to fight for the settlement of my own tribe as well as Tribal Messiah as we all are. All that we do is one, after all, because one is the purpose, God's kingdom, and with the proper condition of heart everything can be claimed by heaven for the building of that kingdom.

RL Thank you.

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