A History of the Unification Church in Canada: 1965-1991

by Franco Famularo

Chapter Three - Struggling To Expand [Part 1]

Canadian Leadership -- Rev. Moon's Second Visit to Canada -- Interim Leadership of Alan Wilding Katharine Bell Reassumes Responsibility -- Initial Phase of Centralization

A. Canadian Leadership

For some months prior to her appointment, Katharine Bell had had a premonition that she would be asked to lead the Canadian Unification Church. Although she initially resisted the idea, she soon concluded that she was the logical choice to succeed Linna. Shortly thereafter, at Miss Kim's suggestion, Katharine accepted the responsibility for the mission in Toronto.1

At twenty-seven, she was the eldest member living in the center and had been the second person to join in Canada. Having graduated from the University of British Columbia, she had left home in Vancouver to "make it" on her own in Toronto. Notwithstanding, she had been a true seeker. In her first letter to the New Age Frontiers, Katharine expressed the nature of her quest:

All my life I've been dissatisfied and have been looking for something, but I was never really sure what. Even before entering high school I was asking: What makes people happy? Is there a purpose in life? Never could I find an answer which satisfied me. The accepted goals of our society lacked meaning for me ... Well, what was life for? Those who stressed religious goals seemed to be happier than those who stressed materialistic goals, yet when they began to discuss these goals, they were very vague and inconsistent. In university, however, one of my professors gave me an example of what faith and dedication can mean in a person's life. Yet when I studied the basic concepts which he believed I found that I couldn't accept the answers which satisfied him.2

She went on to say that when she heard the Divine Principle she came to the conclusion that she had found what she had been looking for.

Along with her peers, who were involved with the church for roughly the same amount of time, she had struggled hard to create a foundation of membership. Indeed, the focus was primarily to find new recruits, and Katharine had the task to lead her colleagues in building a broader foundation for Unificationism - a task which would present its challenges.

1. Expansion efforts

Besides approaching people one-on-one, the summer of 1970, saw Katharine, Alan and Robert speaking to the crowds at Alan Gardens. Alan Gardens, a park in Toronto, was then popularly known as the "place to speak one's mind," and conversion of the masses was attempted by religious and political groups alike. For Unificationists, results were slim as only two people attended the lectures at the Scollard Street center from these efforts. Nonetheless, speaking publicly was viewed as an activity that provided much needed internal growth for the members.3

In July 1970, noticing the need to provide spiritual guidance to the young group and its new leader, Miss Kim visited Toronto for one day. During the visit she reported on the progress being made in spiritual activities, as well as the work of the World Anti-Communist League in Korea and Japan. According to the reports of members, it was an uplifting meeting with Miss Kim. The members were more determined to achieve greater success.

Efforts to increase membership took both an internal reflective aspect as well as an external active form. On the internal side for example members gathered each evening to read and discuss the Divine Principle and as of the summer of 1970 all members began fasting one day a week. Indeed, a characteristic of the early Unification Church in Canada, and around the world, was one of regular fasting and prayer. Fasting for one, three, four or seven days was not unusual, as were prayer conditions of a few minutes to vigils of several hours.4 Moreover, fasting and prayer conditions were always done with a purpose in mind. Often for the benefit of the potential members they were teaching, but also for "higher" goals, such as the prevention of communism's expansion throughout the world, the well-being of the country, or for the protection of their spiritual leaders, Rev. and Mrs. Moon.5

Membership increase was not steady, but it happened sporadically. In late 1970, for instance, Bruce Casino and then Anne Ranniste, Marvi's younger sister, joined. It appeared that whenever the members did something consistently membership increased. Bruce, like many others, met the church in that favorite meeting spot, Queen's Park. Generally speaking, however, the nature of the pioneer period was to engage in a variety of irregular activities.

Because of the proximity of some American cities to Toronto, an irregular feature of the early days was to engage in joint activities with members of the American church. In November 1970 members of the Rochester, New York, church visited Toronto and helped in witnessing activities for three days. It was shortly thereafter that Canada's first black member, Edward Alleyne, joined. To reciprocate, the Canadian members visited Rochester in December and stayed for the weekend, and helped in witnessing and giving speeches.

Yet another outreach approach was through participating in what was known as the Mariposa Folk Festival on Toronto Island. There the members sang, witnessed and gave lectures outdoors, and perhaps as a result of this approach, sixty-year old, Ray Doward joined. Known as a poet, writer, social critic and student, she contributed a mature aspect to the young group as well as a number of articles and poems to Unification Church publications. Although much effort had been made and three hundred twenty-five people visited the church center to hear the Divine Principle lectures, only four people joined during the whole of 1970. Multiplication of membership was not happening quickly.

Through their many efforts to reach out to the people of Toronto, contact was made with a group of young Baptist Christians who were studying comparative religions. The Baptists invited members of the Unification Church to participate in a seminar where Unificationism was one of five religions being studied. Unificationists were rather happy to hear that their church was found to be the most interesting of the religions studied by the Baptist group. Although the association with the Baptists did not result in any new recruits, a broader range of contacts was developed and also fell in line with some of the activities being developed south of the border.

2. American Influence

During the early phase of Unification Church activities in Toronto, the center was viewed as being under the wing of Miss Kim's group which was then based in Washington D.C. Reports were sent regularly to what was referred to as headquarters and the Toronto center operated as just another one of many centers throughout North America. Leading American members would sometimes visit and early in 1971, for example, Farley Jones, then president of the Unification Church of America, visited the Toronto center with his wife Betsy. During their visit they shared about activities in the United States and encouraged the members to double their efforts.

Following a pattern established in the United States, efforts to reach out to Christian churches increased at this time. Due to such efforts, Rev. Harry, who was impressed with the Unificationists, invited them to speak to his Sunday evening discussion group, for example.6 Members also sought to further their contacts with other religious groups and thus established contact with members of the Bahais, the Krishna Consciousness Society and the Walmer Road Baptist Church in Toronto. The members participated in joint discussions, picnics and seminars with each of the groups.

The big project in Toronto during the same period was the duplication of an activity developed in the United States known as Koinonea, which was billed as an experiment in ecumenical fellowship. The program which was held each Saturday evening saw, for example, Vince Walsh moderating a panel of people from different churches who spoke about topics such as man's inner nature, drug abuse, communism versus the free world, and the role of men and women in society. Part of the program also included singing, poetry, and other forms of entertainment.7

An attempt to expand ecumenical work came through organizing a six-hour interfaith prayer vigil in front of the Ontario Legislative Buildings in October 1971. However, few members of the general public attended which was probably due to limited advertising. But, interestingly, the press took notice of the event through the circulation of press releases to all major media outlets. Unificationists in Canada then experienced a rather friendly encounter with various media representatives. It should be noted that in 1971 the Unification Church and Rev. Moon were not as well-known as they were by the mid-1970s. There had been hardly any negative publicity in the North American media until that time. Therefore, the clergy, the media and members of the general public in Canada had few, if any, preconceptions about Unificationists and their founder.

3. Attempted Business Ventures

By the summer of 1971, Vince Walsh returned to Toronto from Winnipeg with one new member, Karen Dyck, whom he had met at the university. At that time ten members lived in the Toronto center and all members supported themselves through a variety of full or part-time jobs. Some of the members were looking for ways to become financially more independent and thus the first attempt at starting a church related business took place when Vince Walsh and Alan Wilding began a painting and landscaping business. As with many of the projects initiated by Unificationists, a goal greater than just earning money was declared. According to Wilding, the business, called "The Unification Painters and Gardeners", was dedicated toward the restoration of the physical beauty of Toronto.

Another business venture was made through attempted door to door sales of what was called Uni-Tea. The orange spicy tea drink, went through a number of name changes and was later called "Rapkin's Special Brew", since Linna had earlier introduced the members to the tea. The sale of the tea continued until the mid 1970s. One of the purposes of the financial efforts was to raise the necessary funds to make a down-payment on a house, which would serve as the Canadian Unification Church headquarters. It would be a few years before the dream of having a church owned house materialized.

At the time Canadian Unificationists once again became concerned with finding extra living space. Accommodations at 76 Scollard were becoming tight, especially on weekends when many guests attended the ongoing programs. In spite of limited space, the small group of little more than a dozen people soon experienced a rather unexpected visit. To everyone's surprise, the founder of the Unification Church arrived in Toronto during the final month of 1971.

B. Rev. Moon's Second Visit to Canada

During the course of his Third World Tour Rev. Moon landed in Los Angeles, California, on December 11, 1971, intending to conduct his first public speaking tour of seven American cities in early 1972. Due to problems with immigration officials, Rev. and Mrs. Moon were unable to remain in the United States. Therefore, they departed from Los Angeles and arrived in Toronto on Sunday, December 12, 1971, at 8:10 p.m. accompanied by Won Pok Choi, Young Whi Kim, then president of the Church in Korea, and Mitsuharu Ishii, a Japanese member.8

This visit was unexpected for both Rev. and Mrs. Moon and the Canadian Unificationists. Although Rev. Moon explained the spiritual significance of visiting Canada during that time, the practical purpose of the visit was to obtain a visa for entry into the United States. It was not exactly clear, however, how long they would stay.9 Rev. Moon did speculate before arriving in Canada, that he would possibly stay for up to two weeks to acquire a visa. If it would prove difficult in Canada, he would then try through a Central American country such as El Salvador.10

Canadian Unificationists, as mentioned, lived in a rented row house on Scollard Street that served as the church center. Since there was little space, arrangements were made to reserve a room at the Park Plaza Hotel situated nearby. When Rev. Moon arrived in Toronto, he immediately requested to see the Toronto Unification Church Center. Upon being informed that a room had been reserved at the hotel, he asked for reservations to be canceled and insisted that he and his party stay together with the members. He said, "I want to stay with my family."11 Since there was little furniture and no beds, Rev. and Mrs. Moon slept on foam mattresses which were placed on the floor of a bedroom on the top floor of the row house.12 Rev. Moon, nevertheless, demonstrated no sign of complaint and did not comment that better arrangements had not been made for him and his party. Instead he sought to put his hosts at ease, since they were rather nervous and shy upon meeting their spiritual leader for the first time.

The first evening, Rev. Moon spent time informally with the members, asking them personal questions such as their age, occupation and length of time in the movement. He also showed his photo album with pictures of his family. Despite having had a long journey, Rev. Moon spoke with everyone till 2:00 a.m. about the destiny of Korea and his plans for America.13

The Canadian members of the Unification Church had saved their funds and offered Rev. Moon a gift of one thousand dollars. However, after receiving the envelope containing the funds, Rev. Moon commented to those present that they could not afford to give him this money. He then took one thousand dollars from his own resources and returned the envelope with two thousand dollars in it and asked that the funds be used toward furthering the Canadian mission.14

The next morning, December 13, Rev. Moon rose early and woke everyone at 6:30 a.m. Shortly after breakfast he and his party visited the United States Consulate on University Avenue in Toronto. His purpose was to acquire a visitor's visa for entry into the United States. It was during this visit to the American Consulate that Rev. Moon learned that immigration officials had rejected his application due to their suspicion that Rev. Moon had been a communist in Korea in 1968.15

According to Katharine Bell, who accompanied Rev. Moon to the U.S. Consulate that day, immigration officials were very reluctant to reveal why Rev. Moon was being refused entry. She persistently asked the official at the U.S. consulate for a clear reason and after considerable hesitation the official explained to Katharine their concern over Rev. Moon's alleged communist affiliation.16 When Rev. Moon heard of this he expressed that he was at least pleased to learn why he was having difficulties obtaining entry into the United States.

That same day Rev. Moon and his party went shopping at the Simpson's department store in downtown Toronto. Since members of the Korean church had provided her with money to buy something typically Canadian, Mrs. Moon purchased a fur coat of dark Canadian mink. In the evening Rev. Moon spoke for three and one half hours concerning various nations and their roles in the Providence of Restoration.17

On Tuesday, December 14, an excursion was made to Niagara Falls. Robert Duffy drove the party, which included Rev. and Mrs. Moon, Won Pok Choi, Young Whi Kim, and Mitsuharu Ishii. Five Canadian Unification Church members accompanied them in a separate vehicle. They spent the day at Niagara Falls, a one and a half hour drive from Toronto. Upon returning to Toronto, Rev. Moon spoke on "The Formula For God's Providence". In the conclusion to his speech Rev. Moon said:

Those who shed tears for themselves are fools, great fools. Those who shed tears for others are wise men, because they can win the whole world and win God and everything in the world. By doing that, you can be the possessor of God's love. You can hold the position of, and inherit parental love from God, conjugal love between man and wife, and children's love... When you pray, do not pray for yourself, but for others. If you do this the result will be yours. Do not pray for the Unification Church, Unified Family, but pray that God may use you to save Canada and save the world, at the cost of your lives.18

For the small group of Canadian Unificationists it was perhaps difficult to envision that they should save Canada and the world.

On Wednesday, December 15, Rev. Moon took several of the members to see a movie called "Man in the Wilderness" which reflected the struggles of man alone in the wilderness and his fight against the elements. That same evening, many non-Unification Church members visited the Unification Church center and Rev. Moon spoke on Jesus and Restoration. Since the majority of the members either worked full-time, or were students, Rev. Moon spoke in the evenings so as not to disturb everyone's schedule. Indeed, some of the Unificationists were in the midst of term exams at University. Katharine Bell, for example, was pursuing a Master's of Divinity at the time.

During the course of his stay in Toronto, Rev. Moon asked Matthew Smith to write an English version of the Divine Principle based on the Korean version written by Hyo Won Eu, former president of the church in Korea. A discussion ensued and Smith, who was a professional writer, responded that he would rather write the Divine Principle in the form of a novel. Rev. Moon, however, preferred more of a textbook or manual form and thus nothing materialized of this intended project. At the time, the official Divine Principle text, written by Hyo Won Eu, had not yet been officially published in English.19

On Thursday, December 16, Rev. Moon and his party toured significant sites in Toronto such as the University of Toronto, City Hall and the Toronto Dominion Center, which was then the tallest building in Canada and the entire British Commonwealth.

Friday, December 17, was the day that Rev. Moon's visa situation was resolved. Due to the intervention of Republican Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, and efforts made by the Unification Church members in the United States and around the world, Rev. Moon was granted a visitor's visa.

Since Senator Thurmond had attended the 1970 meeting of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) in Japan, a conference that organizations affiliated with the Unification Church had participated in and substantially supported financially, he was familiar with Rev. Moon's movement in Korea and Japan and his anti-communist leanings. It was quite ironic that an individual who devoted so much of his energy to opposing communism, should be denied entry into the United States on the count that he was a communist.

That same evening Rev. Moon spoke on Witnessing and Restoration, and also explained his many plans for the future. He encouraged the Canadian members to find many more members and emphasized the importance of studying Divine Principle and Victory Over Communism Theory. On Saturday December 18, at 10:30 a.m., Rev. Moon and his party departed Toronto for Washington D.C.

Rev. Moon later explained that there was a providential reason for passing through Canada on his way to the United States in accordance with the Adam, Eve and Archangel typology he often referred to.20 On the world-wide level, Korea was the Adam nation, Japan the Eve nation, and the United States was the Archangel. On the North American continent, the United States was in the Adam position, Canada in Eve's role, while Mexico was the Archangel. Accordingly, before Rev. Moon could begin his public ministry in the United States he had to pass through two Eves, Japan and Canada. Since Canada was the extension of the original Eve (England), and Japan was the current Eve on the international level, he desired to link his victorious foundation to America through those countries, Japan and Canada. He explained this in a speech given shortly after arriving in the United States as follows:

This year 1971, is the middle year of the seven year course. This year Master is on his third world tour, which has great significance. To come here he had to fight many obstacles, but from now on those difficulties will be loosened. Canada is in the position of Eve to America because it is an extension of England, which is in the position of Eve. He wanted to link the victorious foundation which we fought for and acquired in Korea to Japan, Canada and America. He had to come through Canada to America, and because Canada is in Eve's position, he could do that. Because he wanted to link the victorious foundation to America, Satan tried to stop it. That's why there were so many difficulties in his coming.21

Rev. Moon went on to develop a vibrant movement in the United States. Furthermore, in the two years from 1972-74, he would speak in all fifty states and witness a ten-fold increase in American membership. Due to Rev. Moon's visit, the Canadian Unificationists were infused with new energy and lifted to a new level of consciousness. Indeed they now saw themselves as representing a country with a special "providential" role.

Undoubtedly, Rev. Moon's visit imbued a new sense of enthusiasm among the existing Canadian membership and outreach activities continued with a greater sense of vigor. As Rev. Moon had suggested, everyone in the center participated in regular study groups in an intense effort to study the Divine Principle and Victory Over Communism Theory. Outreach activities to Christian groups were also intensified. For example, in early 1972, seminars were held for five Jesuit priests and for a number of guests from the Institute of Christian Studies. As a result of regular witnessing efforts Jim Buchanan, Sheila Cummings and Amy Norman joined in March 1972.22

For some members however, results were not being produced quickly enough. Some were eager to embark on a new more aggressive approach and the opportunity presented itself when Katharine Bell was called to the Orient in April, 1972. This gave some of the members the opportunity to develop the mission on their own. Before Katharine left for a six-month stay in Korea and Japan, where she participated in rallies, seminars and leadership training, she blessed a Holy Ground at Queen's Park in Toronto on April 10, 1972, having been given the instructions by Rev. Moon.23 A few days later Katharine departed for Korea and temporary leadership of the Canadian Church was passed on to Alan Wilding.

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