Unification News for April / May 1999

Dr. Moon Speaks at Oakland Banquet

by Paul Cobb

Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon showed the signs of establishing her own identity and the capability to lead a world church organization when she visited Oakland last week on the 35th stop of her 82-city worldwide tour.

Speaking before 700 interdenominational representatives at the Oakland Hilton banquet, entertained by the Love Center Gospel Choir, Dr. Moon told the audience "All members of the human family -- parents, husband and wives and children -- need true love. A family formed in this way, centering on true love, is the foundation for the kingdom of heaven."

She is married to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who is one of the most controversial religious leaders in the world today.

Fifty-three years ago -- on Easter Sunday morning -- the Rev. Moon said he was inspired by a vision of Jesus Christ.

He said Jesus asked him to help take responsibility to further God's providence of restoration.

He then founded a new Christian movement known as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (Unification Church).

The Rev. Moon evokes strong reactions because he has combined his deeply religious organization with the fortunes from his church's related global business enterprises to help finance many international, cultural and scientific associations.

What some critics of the Rev. Moon fear most is his flourishing global newspaper-magazine conglomerate that publishes in the United States, Korea, Japan, Middle East and in most South American countries.

On the other hand, Dr. Moon's approach and persona are very warm and engaging. She smiles, shakes hands, speaks Korean, Japanese, English and Spanish and adapts to unforeseen events effortlessly.

She moved among the Oakland audience with the ease of Elizabeth Dole on the presidential campaign trail.

She "pressed the flesh" with the crowd and seemed even more comfortable handling the spontaneity of a private after-dinner reception that turned into a second rally featuring unscripted testimonials and karaoke-style a capella singing from the multi-racial, interdenominational participants.

After each of her speeches, she shares a video conference with the Rev. Moon, who is in Brazil.

Dr. Moon shares the leadership of the Unification Movement with the Rev. Moon. As the mother of 13 children and the grandmother of 21, she understands how difficult it is to juggle the responsibilities of family with the demands of a worldwide ministry.

"I founded the Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP) to involve women of all races, nationalities and religious orientations in the pursuit of lasting world peace," said Dr. Moon.

She said she believes that "with God's help, women uniting together can make a positive difference in the world."

The Rev. Moon and Dr. Moon have presided over numerous large-scale marriage ceremonies over the years.

On Feb. 7, 1999, Dr. Moon and her husband officiated at an international, inter-religious wedding ceremony for 360 million couples worldwide.

The Rev. Moon, 79, and Dr. Moon, 56, also share the same birthday of Jan. 6.

They also come from the same hometown in North Korea.

For the Unification Church, Oakland occupies a special importance because two national church presidents have come from this city.

Tyler Hendricks, an Oakland Technical High School graduate, is the current president and Dr. Mose Durst is a former president.

As the founder of WFWP who co-sponsored the event, she presented "Sacrificial Love Awards" to 14 Northern Californians who "embody the spirit of unselfishness and help make a path of life for all mankind."

Among those honored were: Gloria Brinker, a volunteer at Oakland's St. Francis de Sales; Dr. Sonia Ghaemi, founder of Women's Nutrition Health Therapy Center 2000; Rahima Assefi Haya, Afghan Women's Association International Liaison for the Hayward Unified School District.

Also honored were: the Rev. Victor Medearis, pastor of Double Rock Baptist in San Francisco; Orie Medicinebull, founder of the American Indian Women's Association from the Western Mono tribe; Ramona Wilson, founder of an Oakland Native American Charter School; Donneter Lane, director of the Booker T. Washington Community Center in San Francisco; and Pastor Brondon Reems, who formed a computer training program at the Center of Hope Community Church in Oakland.

Minister Keith Muhammad of the Nation of Islam said his group supports Dr. Moon's "call for strong families and it fits with the theme of Minister Farrakhan's Million Family March in the year 2000."

Tom Wilson, assistant director of community relations for the San Leandro Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said "our church believes the family unit is the linchpin of our society and we are happy to see any organization honor families."

Mary Ann Wright, founder of the Mother Wright Foundation that provides food for Oakland's homeless and operates missions in several countries, received a truck and tons of food from Dr. Moon's organization.

"Project Volunteer was the first organization to give me free food to feed our homeless people," she said, as she sang to the Rev. Moon and the guests.

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