Unification News For January 1996


God's Day Celebrated with True Parents in NY

by Dr. Tyler O. Hendricks-NYC

It was a busy several weeks leading up to True God's Day of 1996. Reverend and Mrs. Moon invited leaders from around the world to New York to celebrate with them. Among those leaders, awards were to be granted to those with 33 years or more church leadership experience, or 21 years in the mission field, or with 7 blessed children. It was a lot of work to make sure that all possible applicants were contacted. Furthermore, the New Yorker Hotel, now operating commercially, had booked a large number of rooms for this peak season of the year. They could not just kick out faithful groups who have been clients for long years, nor first-time customers. The limited number of rooms had to be dispensed carefully, and many from around the world brought their sleeping bags. They were the lucky ones; those of us living in the New York area, such as I, found ourselves sleeping between chairs, desks and computer boxes in storage rooms. The difficulty, however, was mitigated by the fact that there was virtually no time to sleep anyway.

Guests began to arrive from the 27th, and the onslaught began in earnest on the 30th. We had registration tables set up and did a respectable job, I think, although such affairs are never free from occasional confusion. For example, we were so happy that we could provide certain church elders keys to sleeping bag rooms, and they humbly accepted it as the best we could offer. They returned within a few moments, however, to let us know that we had sent them sent to rooms which were double-locked.

Midnight Ceremony

The hour of midnight approached, and I found myself assembling the tables upon which Father would write in calligraphy the new year's motto. Gradually brothers and sisters my faithful secretary Shirley, the kingly Taj, the wonderful representative of our CIS church Tom Phillips joined in the task. I was summoned to a special entrance of the hotel to greet True Parents as they arrived. It was an icy-cold night, and they entered the building quickly from their car. They went upstairs; the True Children were already there, preparing, and there was a time for meeting and reports. The entire True Family entered the Grand Ballroom seconds before midnight. The room was overflowing. We had been singing and meditating. The first several rows were filled with blessed children.

Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak joined True Parents on the stage to count down the final seconds approaching the turn of the year. With the entry into 1996, True Parents raised their hands and Father pronounced his opening prayer, representing all mankind before the True God.

As the prayer concluded, we brought the tables onto the stage and Father wrote the motto for the year. Carefully, artistically he wrote Cham Pumo Nim-ul Jarang Ha Go Sarang Ha Ja; which Mr. Peter Kim translated as, "Let Us Be Proud of True Parents and Love True Parents." True Mother joined the True Children sitting at stage left, and Mr. Peter Kim remained with True Father to interpret the Midnight message (see excerpts in this issue of UNews).

This message was a tour de force, a sweeping summary of God's Principle and providence, culminating in the present moment. Father called us all to a new standard of commitment, a greater dedication to his responsibility before God. As the clock turned `round to 2 a.m., 3 a.m., and passed 4 a.m., we all realized that from God's point of view, there is no time to rest. The standard of dedication to God and mankind must be absolute. I was proud of the blessed children down to age ten who listened quietly and attentively the entire speech, and were enthusiastic respondants to Father's many questions.

Main Ceremony

Between the old friends to tarry us and the crowded elevators to ferry us, it is understandable that nary of us would allow the hour to weary us, as Father's speech had cheered us to greater heights of preparedness. Three hundred and sixty elders in holy robes gathered in the second floor dining room to receive the blessing of sharing the True God's Day Main Ceremony with the True Family. It was a dignified and moving ceremony, presided over by Reverend Kwak. At its conclusion, True Father introduced Mrs. Hyo Nam Kim, an 1800 Couple sister carrying out a special mission as representative of Daemonim (Great Mother Hong), healing and bringing good angelic support for our members' work for God.

Mrs. Kim spoke only briefly, as we had to adjourn and reconvene at 9 a.m. for the True God's Day Address. Father again poured out all his heart and energy, this time dwelling upon the ideal husband and wife relations.

At the conclusion, after the cutting of the celebration cake and giving of gifts and flowers, True Parents dispensed the awards. First to receive the award for 33 years of church leadership was Reverend and Mrs. Won Pil Kim. They were followed by Rev. and Mrs. Young Whi Kim, Dr. and Mrs. Bo Hi Pak, Rev. and Mrs. Chung Hwan Kwak, and 24 other couples. From America, Dr. and Mrs. David S. C. Kim, Rev. Chong Jik Woo, Rev. and Mrs. Do Hee Park, Rev. Chang Seong Ahn, and our Continental Director Rev. and Mrs. Joong Hyun Pak received the precious recognition. Rev. Pak, by the way, was the youngest recipient. (See list attached.)

This was followed by the awards for 21 years in the mission field. The first here was Thomas Cromwell, followed by many others who have given their lives, and continue to do so, in the most difficult of environments. (See list attached.). Finally, the blessed couples with seven or more physical children and who had maintained exemplary church life were awarded, beginning with Mrs. Keum Soon Park, wife of the late Chung Goo "Tiger" Park and mother of nine. (See list attached.)

This awards ceremony was a rare occasion, and brings to light the fact that True Parents are now beginning to recognize us for the fruits of our lives of faith. We become aware that our results count and will be known, for better or worse. So we should be responsible in our minds for the offering we have made, and use the time we have remaining to become the kind of members we know we should be.

After rounds of photos with the recipients, True Parents and the True Family departed the hall, and the members joined together in a delicious holy day lunch. The second floor mezzanine was full of tables selling products and promoting many heavenly activities. At 2 p.m. the World Mission Department staff convened a True God's Day yute tournament, including teams fielded from `round the world and a second generation team. The winner of the tournament, we heard, would be honored with a final match against the True Family. (By the way, fourth place went to the CIS team; third place to Africa, second place to the Second Generation, and first place to the American Regional Directors. This gave the Regional Directors the privilege of a match with the True Family, which the True Family won with ease and aplomb.)

Evening Program

Meanwhile, preparations for the holy day performance were continuing in the Manhattan Center. They had begun at 2 a.m., once the hall was free from a non-alcoholic celebration of the new year. The hall was packed by 7 p.m. when True Parents and the True Family arrived. It was a gala show, emcee'd by Larry Moffitt. It began with the New York City Symphony Chamber Ensemble. ___ and Yoshimi Kadota combined voices in glorious harmony; it was truly impressive to hear these two sopranos together for the first time. Their closing number, "Climb Every Mountain," from "The Sound of Music," really brought down the house.

This was followed by a 16 minute video rendition of True Parents' 1995 providence, entitled "True Teacher and True Parent." For the first time, New York members could view footage of the New Hope Farm in Brazil, True Parents' activities in Sao Paulo, Father's foundation in Eastern Europe, and the tremendous welcome in Africa, in particular Cote d'Ivoire and Zaire. (The video is available through 43rd Street" see ad in this UNews.)

A cuter-than-cute choir of Second Generationites from Jin-A School in New Jersey entertained us next. Ken Hendricks provided a sensitive guitar accompaniment for the choir, directed by school director, UTS graduate Christine Brunkhorst.

The next portion of the program presented the heart and spirit of the Sisterhood Ceremonies of the WFWP. Ms. Kathleen Burton, Campus Minister at Yale University, took the emcee position to introduce an actual bridge ceremony involving the Japanese and western regional representatives of the WFWP in America. This was followed by a video scrapbook of the highlights of the `95 sisterhood ceremonies, including cameo's of dozens of important speakers and entertainers who have graced the programs. Finally, Ms. Candi Staton, a Christian composer and singer who has entertained at some of the ceremonies, offered her voice and heart of testimony to the hope and vision of the ceremonies. This was a first in America"a professional, grammy-award winning artist offering her songs in the full spirit of True God's Day. It was really a blessing from God, and Ms. Staton was truly a star.

The next act was entitled "East Meets West Side Story," and it was produced by a group of students of the University of Bridgeport, directed by Mr. Haru Higuchi. For me, this was the evening's high point. I had watched it twice during the afternoon rehearsals, and again in the program. Of course, I love the West Side Story music, but their adaptation, concerning the resolution of conflict between a Bridgeport street gang and UB students (with both sides egged on by well-meaning but seriously fallen young ladies), bringing them finally to a confrontation with a female martial artist aided by the angelic world, and then the Blessing"was more than clever; it approached brilliance. As Mr. Moffitt exclaimed after viewing it in the dress rehearsal: "That was the finest skit I have seen in my life." I second that emotion. Mr. Higuchi is a skilled choreographer, and the all- Japanese cast (save one American) really learned the steps. We look forward to more entertainment from this vibrant student body.

The skit concluded by uplifting two newly blessed couples who were in the cast"couples matched by Rev. and Mrs. Moon and blessed during the 360,000 Couples blessing, all of whom happened to be Bridgeport students. The theme of the Blessing carried over into a video presentation about the `95 Blessing in Seoul, and footage of the site of the `97 Blessing in Washington, DC. The closing scenes were of RFK stadium with two crowns emerging out of the stadium into the sky. I've heard of Jesus coming on the clouds"but never in a football stadium!

The finale brought everyone together on stage, led by Raoul Joseph, Miyuki Harley and Sheila Vaughn (???), singing the theme song of the `95 Blessing, "Sarange Segye" ("World of Love"). It was powerful, and lifted everyone up for the coming work for the liberation of mankind.

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