Unification News for December 1999

International Hoon Dok Hae Seminars III and IV

Dr. Thomas Walsh
Louisville, KY

The series of International "Hoon Dok Hae" Seminars, sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, continues to flourish. Recently, Seminars III, on October 10-13, and IV, on October 29 to November 1, were completed. Seminars V, VI and VII are scheduled for November 27-30, December 10-13, and January 20-23, respectively.

As stated in the earlier reports on this Seminar series, the program focuses on plenary sessions featuring readings of Father’s words; hence the Seminars offer a hoon dok hae experience. Through this direct encounter with Father’s words, along with some very profound and illuminating commentary offered by Family Federation scholars and friends, participants deepen their understanding and appreciation of Father’s teachings and the movement he inspires and leads. In addition to the hoon dok hae sessions, there are discussion groups each day, as well as special presentations on the practical applications of Father’s teachings.

Responsive to True Parents initial direction, the FFWPU leadership in nations from around the world invite religious leaders, political leaders, academics and media leaders to each seminar. In effect, the seminar participants are leaders in their respective nations, and through the seminar they are inspired and empowered to work with more determination and effectiveness in restoring their respective nations.

Seminar III had two hundred and sixteen participants representing sixty-two nations, and Seminar IV had one hundred and seventy-nine participants from fifty-two nations. For both Seminars, the hoon dok hae Readers were Mr. Tom McDevitt, from The Washington Times, and Mrs. Karen Smith, from Women’s Federation for World Peace, USA.

Plenary Discussants at the two Seminarians included Dr. Gordon Anderson, Professors World Peace Academy, Dr. Andrew Wilson, Unification Theological Seminary, Dr. Thomas Selover, University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Anthony Guerra, University of Bridgeport, Dr. Michael Grant, University of Bridgeport, Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Howard University, Dr. Muazzam Gill, Center for Economic and Religious Freedom, Mr. Patrick Hickey, former Nevada Assemblyman, Dr. Gene James, Memphis University, Dr. Thomas Ward, University of Bridgeport, Dr. Hycel Taylor, Second Baptist Church of Chicago, Mr. Michael Marshall, World & I, Dr. Jane Williams-Hogan, Swedenborgian College, and Rev. Michael Teague, Youth Advocacy Program.

Special Presentations were offered by Rev. John Gehring, Religious Youth Service; Mrs. Michelle Myers, Pure Love Alliance; Mr. Tim Elder, World Newspaper Project; Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, True Family Values; Taj Hamad and Karen Smith, United Nations Initiatives; Dr. Frank Kaufmann, Rev. Michael Jenkins and Dr. Hycel Taylor, World Summit of Families.

Although True Parents were unable to be present at Seminars III and IV, we were blessed with the presence, at both Seminars, of Mr. and Mrs. Hyun Jin Moon. Despite and exacting schedule, including his studies at Unification Theological Seminary, Hyun Jin Nim came to greet the participants and speak on behalf of True Parents. In his message, he emphasized several important themes: 1) overcoming conventional barriers of race, culture and especially religious dogmatism; 2) going beyond a narrow view religion as having only "other-worldly" or simply transcendent concerns, and developing a religious vision that involves practical action in worldly affairs; 3) realizing that family is the most basic and critical foundation for restoring the world; 4) accepting responsibility to take what they’ve learned in the seminar and applying it in their own families, societies and nations.

Another blessing that comes with participation in the Seminars is the opportunity to meet early each morning with Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak. At these meetings each morning, after pledge and hoon dok hae, Rev. Kwak speaks to us about our life of faith, calling us always to check ourselves, and emphasizing the importance of daily hoon dok hae within our own families. On many occasions, Rev. Kwak would report on the previous night’s phone conversation with True Father, for, almost every night, Father would call Rev. Kwak for an update and report on the Seminar and the response of participants. These morning meetings also feature reports---including both the problems in need of solution as well as the moments of inspiration---and testimonies from a variety of FFWPU Continental Directors, National Messiahs and staff. Serving on the staff of these Seminars is an honor and a privilege. In many respects these Seminars represent a crossroads of the world, both in terms of our movement and in terms of world leaders.

Participants’ comments and reflections continue to be overwhelmingly positive and uplifting. Rev. Dr. Scott Griffin, USA, says, "Thank you, Rev. Moon, for showing us the heart of a man who has paid the price to know the heart of God." Rev. Amos Owoseni, Nigeria, says, "If we practice what we have learned here, our world will change." Senator Flora de Lara, Columbia, says, "Rev. Moon has gone far beyond all religious traditions and is establishing the unification of humanity." Dr. Nelson Ngoh, Cameroon, says, "I was so happy to learn about the Pure Love Alliance and the Religious Youth Service. I want to promote these in Cameroon." Congressman Jose Marcelo Dotti, Ecuador, says, "I have had a fully positive and uplifting experience and I want to work together with this movement in Ecuador." Rev. Michael Rich, a Mormon from the USA, says, "Excellent. Outstanding. I was enlightened by Rev. Moon’s teachings." And, Rev. Plezzant Harris, Liberian Council of Churches, said, "I came to this seminar with one type of vision of Rev. Moon, as a cultist. Now through this meeting I see the work he has done and realize that this work will benefit mankind."

Dr. Hycel Taylor, in his comments, stated the following: "What is it then that Rev. Moon is calling the great religions of the world to bring to the table of the United Nations … It is the vision of a redeemed human being and a redeemed humanity that has overcome its estrangement from the infinite spirit of God....I hear Rev. Moon saying, ‘Look at what suffering has done to me and for me. Like Jesus, my spirit has been purified, and I am the representative of a redeemed person, and therefore redeemed humanity is possible....Like Jesus I am the macro-God condensed in micro-man."

There are so many positive results of this Seminar series. Most importantly one sees a steady, if not increasing level of quality among the participants. At the most recent seminar, there were former heads of state, leaders of churches with as many as five million members, and parliamentarians from nations who are looking for ways to implement the ideas they’ve studied. Furthermore, these leaders are developing a close relationship to our movement, and, on the foundation of these seminars, are better prepared to collaborate in national level restoration. Many participants, for example, are eager to help organize national level seminars.

When the IIFWP was inaugurated on February 6, 1999, few---at least not me---could imagine that these seminars would be among its initial and most central activities. However, it stands to reason, if we are to transform the present world and create the Kingdom of God, what better way to begin the task.

Already, a manual has been prepared as a guideline for organizing national level seminars. For information on obtaining a manual contact your Continental Director or contact IIFWP directly as <<iifwp@iifwp.org>>.

 Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Tparents Home