Unification News for May 2001
April 17 - Burlington, Vermont
With little over a week to prepare, the concerned people of the Green Mountain State of Vermont made their stand in support of rebuilding the family, restoring the community, and renewing the nation and world.
The banquet room at the Radisson Hotel Burlington was filled and ready to celebrate the victorious finale of the 50 state "We Will Stand" revival tour.
The clouds over scenic Lake Champlain gave way to sunshine that gleamed like countless precious jewels upon the water.
Burlington happened to be a rallying point for international protesters on their way to Quebec City for a huge free trade protest. This was the same group that trashed Seattle a little over a year ago. Burlington also prides itself on its reputation as a tolerant, welcoming city.
This reputation proved true, though only in part.
The press liaison, Bill Brunhofer, had invited all the major local media and there was a strong contingent of clergy, both local and national, ready to go. Yet, not a single Vermont media outlet showed up, even though many of them were right down the hall covering the free trade protesters. The Vermont press completely ignored the real story of the day. Local politicians were either otherwise occupied or just unable to attend due to the short notice of the event.
There were also some minor concerns of a protest or disruption of the evening program from "mainstream Christians" or others, but no such demonstration manifested.
Reverend Rico Diamond, however, was undeterred by any such obstacles and took a powerful stand in support of the program. Pastor Diamond is an African-American Pentecostal minister who founded a ministry in New York City, then received a revelation that he should move to Vermont. He has worked hard to develop relationships with local leaders and met the local Family Federation Church pastor, Alex Nimick, about a year ago.
In his remarks before Father Moon's sermons, Pastor Diamond pointed out the beautiful diversity and harmony reflected in the crowd. He wondered aloud as to why city officials had failed to show. The Holy Spirit was clearly in evidence as he gazed across the jam-packed hall.
After some heavenly live music by two local Christian brothers and brief remarks by several other clergy, Reverend Michael Jenkins introduced Father Moon.
Speaking from his heart with Mr. Peter Kim valiantly translating, he uplifted the role of women, stressing that when women live for others, such as their spouse and children, they achieve true joy. He expounded on the importance of loving relationships, emphasizing that when all our physical and spiritual senses are engaged in loving others, we achieve true happiness and no longer need religion.
Near the end, almost two hours later, Father Moon mentioned his prepared text, a copy of which was given everyone upon entry.
He led the reading of a few paragraphs, then asked everyone to promise to read it in its entirety later.
He told the clergy present that he was staying in America in spite of requests to move to other countries because he wanted to protect the Christian foundation here.
He stated that he was aware of Vermont's recent civil unions law allowing same-sex couples the legal equivalent of marriage. "What is this nonsense?," he asked.
He explained that everyone is born either man or woman, then asked if any people present were some "middle sex."
Father Moon's admonitions and exhortations were profound, delightful and well-received. His tone was that of a loving grandfather.
After the talk, plaques were presented by Maureen and Mary Connolly representing Vermont ALC (American Leadership Conference) alumni and Reverend Catherine Wood representing the ACLC (American Clergy Leadership Conference) to Father and Mother Moon.
Reverend Wood, who offered the invocation, is 88 years old. She grew up in China with missionary parents, and is a long-time ally and dear friend of Father Moon's ministry. When she had some trouble negotiating the stairs to the stage to present the plaque, everyone on stage rushed to her aid.
Honored with a gift from Father and Mother Moon was Mrs. Jana Robicheau, leader of a Tibetan Buddhist center in Montpelier, who has been active in the Women's Federation for World Peace, led by Mother Moon. She was deeply moved by the message.
Latter Day Saints elders Ralph and Beda Lavigne received the big bouquet of flowers given first to Father and Mother Moon who passed it on, as is their usual custom.
A beautiful cake celebrating the successful completion of the tour was brought out at the end.
The New England Choir from Worcester, Massachusetts, led by Sam Wada, sang "Amazing Grace," and Pastor Diamond sent everyone on their way to greater heights with a prayer.
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