United Faith, Inc.
David Kim sharing a meal with the Portland group
United Faith, Inc., or the "Northwest Family," which was led by Mr. David S.C. Kim, laid the initial foundations for the Unification Churchís later ecumenical and interfaith activity. More so than the other missionary groups, the Northwest Family had the consciousness of being a "united faith movement." As early as 1963, it produced "Articles of United Faith" as a basis of dialogue with Christian churches. This stemmed mainly from the orientation of Mr. David Kim, who prior to joining the Unification Church, "was daydreaming of uniting the established Christian and Buddhist religions." As he noted, "Many religious persons from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity, as well as other small devoted religious groups from the mountains...visited me privately all the time." Though a government official and a deacon in the Presbyterian Church, his idea at that time was "to re-formulate a new religious structure, incorporating the good points of other religions based on Christianity." United Faith, Inc. was an effort to substantiate that vision.
"Individual Preparation for His Coming Kingdom," published by the United Chapel of Portland
Mr. David Kim was a founding member of the Unification Church in 1954 and its first overseas missionary, having gone to Swansea University College, Wales as a U.N. scholar during the mid-1950s. He was the second Unification missionary to the United States, arriving in Portland, Oregon on September 18, 1959, some ten months after Miss Kim had arrived in Eugene. Like Miss Kim, he came to the U.S. on a student visa (the only other way out of Korea was via the diplomatic service), and enrolled at Western Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary. Also like Miss Kim, he began witnessing and gathered several students, including Eileen Welch and John Schmidli whose affiliation pre-dated those of Miss Kimís Oakhill group. The first joint meeting between the Oakhill and Mr. Kimís groups occurred in Lebanon, Oregon in July 1960. A second meeting of twenty persons was held there on September 4th. Whether or not the two groups could have worked together is uncertain. However, there were differing ideas over financial responsibilities, witnessing, and even the name of a unified organization.
A 1963 revival meeting to teach the Principle in Portland. From left: David Kim, John Schmidli, Vernon Pearson and Gerald Johnson.
Following the relocation of Miss Kim and her Oakhill group to the San Francisco Bay area in late 1960, Mr. Kim continued as the sole missionary to the Pacific Northwest. However, he was expelled for "heresy" from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary just weeks before his graduation in 1961. This precipitated a series of crises as Mr. Kim successively enrolled in Portland University, the University of Oregon, and finally Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California in efforts to retain his student status and stay in the country. During this period, a major thrust of the Northwest group were annual forty-day evangelical campaigns of often solitary missionaries traveling as far east as Chicago. In July 1965, the groupís newsletter, United Temple Bulletin, listed active "chapels" in Chicago, Illinois; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, Washington; and Portland, St. Helens, and Eugene, Oregon.
During the 1960s, the Northwest Family stood firmly for coordination and cooperation among the missionary groups rather than centralization. Hence its members opposed the efforts of Miss Kimís group to "unify" the American movement. A lengthy United Temple Bulletin editorial entitled, "Expressed Opinions on the so-called ĎNational Headquarters,í Washington, D.C. by the Northwest Families" charged the new headquarters with "definite attempts...to split and destroy the Northwest Family, rather than to unite." In January 1966, the Northwest group inaugurated a "Monthly Training Conference for the Training of Northwest Leaders." They also forged closer ties with Mr. Sang Ik Choi, who had begun mission work in the San Francisco Bay Area. In May 1966, a "United West Coast Fellowship" in Oakland, California gathered over forty people representing ten centers from Anchorage, Alaska to Los Angeles, California. Their efforts to retain their autonomy were successful, as Rev. Moon recognized an East-West missionary division in late 1966 and prohibited further discussion on the problem of uniting with Washington, D.C.
Between 1966-71, Mr. David Kim directed the activities of the Northwest Family from Clearfield, Utah where he served as a counselor for deprived youth at a Job Corps center. This enabled him to pursue his "heavenly mission" while retaining his visa. Still, East-West jurisdictional problems persisted, and in July 1969, the United Temple Bulletin published a June 15th "Letter to Our Master on the Long Existing Conflicts Between West and East Groups." That same month the Northwest Family formally established "United Faith, Inc.," which signaled an assertion of independence from Mr. Choiís as well as from Miss Kimís group. As Mr. Kim wrote to his membership: "[M]arch on with your new organization -- United faith, Inc. You have an independent organization, different from Mr. Choiís or Miss Kimís." Later, he noted, "In [the] S.F. Bay Area two other groups besides ours are working -- Mr. Choi, [and] Miss Kimís group -- in [the] future we will work together as a team, but the time is not ripe yet." Unfortunately, despite incorporating and setting up a "permanent" structure which included departments of Administrative Affairs, Home and Foreign Missions, International Cultural Exchange, and Enterprise, United Faith, Inc. did not experience substantial growth.
The final stage of the Northwest group activities followed Mr. David Kimís resignation from the Job Corps and his relocation to Oakland, California in February 1971. There, the dramatic growth of Mr. Choiís group in San Francisco as well as their innovations provoked alarm and led to a realignment of the American mission. Essentially, Mr. Kim and Miss Kim joined forces to counterbalance the rising influence of Mr. Choi. Mr. David Kim began to join in activities of the Berkeley "Unified Family," and in June 1971 he traveled to Miss Kimís Washington, D.C., Headquarters where he "was very much impressed with many enthusiastic faces of college students as well as old members in the center, and I noticed constant progress made in training members, new programs and so on." Earlier, Mr. Kim met with several senior Bay Area members, including the director of Miss Kimís Berkeley Center, and "discussed the San Francisco situation in case -- Mr. Choi and his wife intend to do their work independently from Hq., Seoul Korea...." This allegation was more serious than all the charges Mr. Kimís group had leveled at Miss Kim. Rather than his methods, Mr. Choiís loyalty was being questioned.