Unification News for March 2001

Rev. Moon's 50 City Tour - Bridgeport, CTó February 27

Clergy and community leaders were standing with Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Bridgeport, Connecticut as he made the third stop on his 50 state inter-faith tour entitled: "We Will Stand! Rebuild the Family, Restore the Community, and Renew the Nation."

In preparation for the evening event, tour co-sponsor The American Family Coalition (AFC) held its first ever locally sponsored conference with some one hundred clergy and community leaders from throughout Connecticut in attendance. The topic was the new White House initiative to work with faith-based organizations in delivering services to the community. Featured speakers included civil rights pioneer and former Congressman Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy and David Caprara, President of the AFC and former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Jack Kemp. Many participants came away with new ideas on how their organization might benefit from this influx of government aid and make a difference in their own communities.

A full house, estimated by the Connecticut Post to be 1200, gathered in the evening at the Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center on the campus of the University of Bridgeport to hear Rev. Moon deliver the speech entitled, "The Path for America and Humanity in the New Millennium." Rev. Jesse Edwards, President of the United Pentecostals of Philadelphia, set the tone for the program in a moving message, stating, "a spiritual awakening is beginning to occur throughout America and we all need to listen to God and work together for Him."

Rev. Fauntroy, who now pastors New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and chairs the black leadership roundtable, delivered special remarks and introduced Rev. Moon. Fauntroy, a protégé of Dr. Martin Luther King and architect of home rule in Washington, DC, referred to the gathering as, "the most important conference happening in the world today. (Rev. Moon) may be an issue for some, but increasingly people are looking beyond who sponsors to what is being addressed. I would have thought that (myself) a few years ago, but not today."

A multiple church choir led by Dr. Angela Moses of the New Life Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York led a spirited songfest that featured her own choir and a number of local singing groups from the Bridgeport area. The evening's entertainment also included a Tai Chi demonstration by Master Ai Peng Cheng, three-time All-China Champion.

Rev. Moon, founder of the Professors World Peace Academy, which acquired the University in 1992, embraced the crowd with extemporaneous remarks prior to his prepared text. His humor, however, carried a message. He joked that the name "Bridgeport" stands for the "bridge" that connects heaven and earth and that "Connecticut" means to "cut the connection" to Satan, urging his listeners to strive to accomplish these. During the speech he often departed from the prepared text to interject comments about the University of Bridgeport (UB) and make light-hearted remarks about his incarceration in Danbury several years ago.

Rev. Moon noted that both democracy and communism, the systems that dominated the world during the past century, relied too heavily on materialism. After the defeat of communism, he warned, America must not merely continue on the path of materialism and selfishness, but seek God's will to make the Kingdom of God on Earth. That will only come about, he explained, when we learn the value of living for the sake of others. One UB faculty member noted that he "was amazed the 80 year-old Korean was so dynamic and powerful for the nearly two hour presentation."

Essay contest winners were awarded cash prizes for their articles on how to achieve harmony amidst all the diversity we find in the United States, such as between religions, races, and economic groups. Grassroots champions of family, racial reconciliation and religious harmony were honored by Rev. Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, as a total of sixteen awards were given out to those working with street gangs, feeding the homeless in church soup kitchens and fighting urban unemployment through economic development.

An article appeared the next day in the largest local paper, The Connecticut Post, on the event. Even this sometime skeptical The reporter, often critical in the past regarding Rev. Moon's involvement in the Bridgeport community, wrote a very accurate report. She quoted Rev Moon when he asked, "Who loves UB more than I do?" and when he joked, "I believe all the UB faculty members must have met me at least once unless you were just hired yesterday." She interviewed Rev. Fauntroy intently for over 15 minutes, and despite past misgivings, she acknowledged the evening's interreligious theme, and the family values focus of Rev. Moon's address.

Rev. Sandra Steele of the Solid Rock Pentecostal Church in Middletown, Connecticut said that the most meaningful point that she gained from Rev. Moon's talk was that, "in heaven there are not different places for different religions, but that the determining factor is the quality of one's love." Rev. Minty De Kock of the Creative Word Power Ministries in New Haven, who has established several churches in South Africa as well as in the United States, likened the gold watch he received from Rev. Moon for his community work to the gold, frankincense and myrrh that the three wise men brought to the baby Jesus. He also said he was ready to go anywhere to testify to Rev. Moon, "Anywhere, anytime!"

The usually reserved and dignified Pastor Robert H. Genevicz of the Stratford Baptist Church was asked to present flowers to Mrs. Moon at the conclusion of the speech. He got so excited on stage he actually gave her a big hug, much to the delight of the audience and surprise of Mrs. Moon. Coming off stage he could only beam and proclaim, "I am surprised beyond my wildest dreams, this is super, super wonderful!"

óRegional report

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