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

by Franco Famularo

Chapter Eight - Regionalization

Emergence of the Quebec City Chapter -- Rev. Moon's Two Visits of 1991 -- A New Era Begins: Four Autonomous Regions

The regionalization of the church in Canada, as well as directives for members to return to their "hometown", formalized the decentralization process. Since the establishment of four autonomous jurisdictions came through Rev. Moon's direct intervention it was, in the view of members, an act of Divine Providence. The emergence of the Quebec City chapter as a successful and autonomous entity preceded Rev. Moon's announcement. In this sense, the activities in Quebec City, where the majority of new members joined in the late 1980s and early 1990s, served as a prototype for future developments throughout Canada.

A. Emergence of the Quebec City Chapter

1. Early Attempts to Establish a Permanent Mission

Although Unificationist missionary activities in Quebec City began as early as 1975, a consistent effort did not begin till more than a decade later. Activities in the predominately French speaking province of Quebec revolved primarily around Montreal. Between 1985 and 1988 several attempts to establish a permanent mission in Quebec City were made by a number of members which included a four month effort by Helene Dumont, Sylvie Deserres and later Helene Ramage and Marie Jose Baut; a 40 day pioneer witnessing conditions by Cathy Labitte, Elizabeth Heyen and Denis Desjardins in autumn 1985 and early 1986; another similar six month endeavor by Mubina Jaffer and Jane Sharpe in 1987. The result of these efforts was that three members joined.1 It was only from 1988 onward, however, that the Quebec City chapter established permanent roots, primarily due to Helene Dumont's return.

Helene, was a pioneer missionary to Quebec City beginning in January 1985. In the short time she spent in Quebec City, Helene demonstrated that she was a capable leader. However, Canadian church leadership, at the time, viewed Montreal as the most significant location for outreach activities in French Canada. Thus, Helene became responsible for activities in Montreal from mid-1985 till the end of 1987. In Montreal, activities alternated primarily between direct outreach activities and work with the clergy. Her presence in Montreal provided the center with a capable French speaking lecturer and resulted in some membership growth at the time. The absence of a capable French speaking leader in French Canada was a serious hindrance to outreach efforts in Quebec since the mid-1970s, primarily because a number of capable French speaking members had left the church.2 The void was not filled till the mid-1980s, when Helene Dumont began to take a leadership role in the Quebec area. The growth of the Quebec City chapter is closely tied with the background of the individual most responsible for its development.

2. Helene Dumont: Catholic Nun to Unificationist Missionary

Born in La Pocatiere, Quebec, in 1947, Helene Dumont had already experienced varied lifestyles when she joined the Unification Church in Toronto, in 1979. As with many French-Canadians, born shortly after the Second World War, she came from a large Roman Catholic family, the fourth of eight children. By the time she was eighteen years of age, Helene entered the convent of Les Soeurs de la Charite de Quebec, commonly known in Quebec as the "Grey Nuns." There she committed herself to a celibate life of prayer, study, and service. This commitment, however, only lasted for three years as Helene, like many others, left the religious order.

During the 1960s and 1970s there was a sharp decline in church attendance in Quebec. This was also the case for many religious orders in French-Canada. Although studies show that there was a significant drop in church attendance throughout Canada, it was most precipitous in Quebec. According to statistical studies, Roman Catholic Church attendance dropped from 88% to 38% in Quebec during the twenty year period following 1965.3

Helene returned to school and qualified herself as a library technician. Soon after, in 1971, she married and experienced motherhood a couple of years later. Her marriage, however, was terminated shortly before she met the Unification Church in 1979. Helene's reasons for joining the Unification Church are best explained in her own words:

When I heard the Divine Principle lectures, I had no doubt that this was what I had been searching for throughout my entire life. I knew this was the truth of God and understood that Father [Rev. Moon], was definitely the Messiah. Since I was young, I believed that the Messiah would come. Indeed, I had joined a religious order because I really wanted to be a missionary and wanted to spread the word of God. Thus, I concluded that joining the Unification Church was the best way to go.4

During her first years with the church, Helene participated in outreach, pioneering and other activities in Toronto and Kingston, Ontario, and from 1981 onwards, in Montreal. She also produced a French language church publication, Le Bulletin de l'Unification and developed outreach work with parents of church members in the Quebec area. It was not until 1984, nevertheless, that she was given responsibility as a church leader.

Besides the illnesses she endured (suffering from a heart condition), one reason Helene was not given a leadership role in the church was that, in the view of some, she was too vocal and had a strong minded and independent personality. A view even Helene agreed with.5 These personal qualities were at times frowned on. When she saw things she did not agree with, she expressed her opinions strongly and gave the following reasons for doing so:

I left the convent because I did not want to remain isolated from the world for the rest of my life. When I saw tendencies within our church [Unification Church] that were similar and seemed to be leading to separation from society and the creation of a kind of sect, I voiced my opinion. Although I believed in the Divine Principle, voicing my opinions was probably looked down upon, but I didn't want to loose contact with society as a whole. I feel that is so important for our work today and, in some respects, I feel I am still fighting this sectarian tendency within our church.6

Views such as the above, Helene's background, her independent personality, as well as the fact that she remained single (by 1994 she had not remarried within the Unification Church), were more than likely important features in the development of what became a largely autonomous development in Quebec City. Even during the last years of Paul Werner's highly centralized period, the Quebec City chapter was left to develop without much interference from headquarters. But, there were also other factors related to the sociological environment of Quebec, that also contributed to increased church growth.

3. A Unique North American Environment

The province of Quebec possessed qualities that were unique to that geographical environment, and Quebec City in particular was a special case. For one thing, in terms of religious background, language and cultural influences, there existed a sense of homogeneity unlike any part of North America. More than 97% of the residents of Quebec City, for example, claimed French as their mother tongue in 1986.7 The vast majority were also of Roman Catholic heritage.

French Canada's religious climate was another component which facilitated the growth of Unificationism in Quebec City. As mentioned, though there was a steady drop in church attendance among Roman Catholics in Quebec, this did not necessarily mean that interest in religious issues diminished as well. In fact belief in God, life after death, and other supernatural issues remained high.8 Furthermore, although new religious movements received very bad press throughout North America, French speaking Quebec was not as influenced as the rest of Canada was by negative publicity. This was largely due to the language barrier. Extensive studies have not been done concerning French-Canadian involvement in new religions, but it is interesting to note that according to one study conducted in Montreal (which is primarily French speaking), 32% of a sample of evening adult university students had participated, although in a transitory manner, in some of the activities of new religions.9

Furthermore, according to Irving Hexham, a professor of religion in western Canada who studied new religions extensively, though membership in new religions was relatively low, the number of people holding non traditional religious views was high.10 It might also be appropriate to mention that French-Canadians have at times referred to themselves as being a minority in the midst of a sea of largely English-speaking North America.11 The sense of being a minority, among French Canadians, might have also contributed to a more tolerant view of the Unification Church, itself a minority movement. The above factors, as well as the cultural heritage and the general political situation were all factors that contributed to the growth of the church in Quebec City.

Yet another consideration was that Helene Dumont was able to contextualize the Unificationist message for French-Canadians. Not only was she a French-Canadian who cherished her roots, but she was also a prayerful, religiously oriented person that read avidly. Being single and unattached meant she had the time to keep herself informed of the views of modern French Canadian religious thinkers as well as the literature and developments in the then relatively popular, New Age Movement, for example. This enabled her to package the Unificationist message in a form that was palatable for French-Canadians. Of course, this was an evolutionary process, coupled with consistent effort which leads us to the several stages of development in realizing a permanent mission in Quebec City. The stages can be grouped as re-establishment of mission, life-after-life seminars, and mass-media presentations.

4. Re-establishment of Mission

When Helene Dumont returned to Quebec City from Montreal in January 1988, outreach activities had been discontinued for several months. With the help of Daniel Heroux and Sylvain Morin, then both relatively new members (both had joined about a year earlier), and through approaching people on the street and at the University of Laval campus, a steady flow of new guests heard the Divine Principle lectures at the center on Grand Allee in Quebec City.12 By the month of June of the same year, seven full-time members had joined and participated in further study. The pattern was that Helene would teach the new members at the Quebec City center and raise them until they had made a commitment to join full-time. They then traveled to Toronto where they heard a seven day seminar taught by Franco Famularo. From Toronto the new members would be integrated into a variety of church activities. Most of the people that joined at this time were university educated such as Eric Allaire, Michel Cusson and Daniel Pare, or professionally oriented individuals such as Violaine Mailloux, Denis Rioux, Pierrette Gaudreault and Michel Lajeunesse.

Because there was such a sudden membership increase during the first six months of 1988, Jocelyn and Suzanne Peron, who had been in Montreal until then, moved to Quebec City to assist in activities there.13 Jocelyn, an architect by profession and his wife Suzanne, contributed to the outreach efforts in Quebec City, especially in teaching new guests and would play a key role in future developments.

While the new members focused on approaching young people on the street and at the University, Helene began developing contacts with schools, clergy, academics and other religious groups. Additionally, she began giving presentations at several educational institutions throughout Quebec City, such as CEGEP Garneau, St. Foy, and Limoilou.14 She gave over thirty presentations to several hundred students between 1988 and 1991.15

Since outreach activities had been relatively successful during the first year of consistent effort in Quebec City, it was decided to start 1989 with a concerted effort, by involving a number of French-speaking members from other centers. Even the MFT was disbanded for a forty-day period to participate in the effort. The result of this and other efforts throughout 1989 resulted in yet more new members. Again most of which were students. Some of those that joined were Alain Marcotte, a science major at the University of Laval, as well as Annie Dufour and Guy Delisle, both with backgrounds in computer science. Because of consistent membership increase and the need to hold regular meetings, a house was purchased on Boulevard Laurier in Sillery, a suburb of Quebec City in July 1989. But, Helene was also anxious to develop what she called "higher level" outreach.

5. Life after Life Seminars

In spring 1989, it was decided that along with approaching people on the street and at university campuses, a new approach should be attempted. Also, Helene herself, due to a lung illness, did not want to continue approaching people on the street. She wanted to explore new ways of approaching the public.16

Through her observation and study of the Quebec "spiritual environment", Helene concluded that the spiritual issue most French-Canadians were interested in was life after death. Accordingly, advertisements were designed that invited people to what was called in French, "Conference sur la Vie apres la Vie" which means "Seminar on Life after Life." Advertisements were placed in local newspapers and pamphlets were printed which were initially distributed by the church members in select neighborhoods. Later, the distribution job was contracted to the post office.17

The first seminar, held in May 1989, attracted no more than two people. Subsequent seminars were held on a weekly basis and attracted an increasing number of participants. Despite low turnouts, Helene determined to continue no matter how few people attended. She said:

Through my research I realized that people were definitely interested in the life after death topic. But, I knew I had to make "indemnity conditions." I did not want to go back to street witnessing so I continued. Sometimes nobody would come to our scheduled meetings, but I would teach anyway. Some might think I was speaking to the walls, but I know the "spirits" were listening.18

Whether the "spirits" cooperated or not is difficult to verify, but over time an increasing number of people attended the meetings.

Initially, the seminars were held in the church center. In 1990 it was decided to use public or "neutral" venues. Thus, the talks were held in the banquets rooms of restaurants, in community centers, hotels, and similar locations. Most of the guests were women between the ages of twenty five and sixty.19 By 1990 the seminars regularly attracted between forty and one-hundred-twenty people at each session and before long, Helene Dumont, was becoming well known among spiritually oriented people in Quebec. The seminars, which consisted of a series of initially four, then six and later ten talks, over a four, six or ten week period attracted mostly professional individuals interested in spiritual issues. Numerous seminar series were also held in other parts of the province of Quebec such as, St. Georges de Beauce, Trois Rivieres, Montmagny, Levis and Sept-Isles. This led to yet another development; speaking on television.

6. Mass media presentations

By autumn 1990, through what, by then, was an extensive network of friends and contacts, Helene was invited to appear on a private information and educational television station (Teleplus Channel 24 in Quebec City), to be interviewed about her work. Through meeting Marie Claude Nadeau, an astrologist and then an official representative of the television station, at a psychic fair, Helene, was given the opportunity to spread the Unificationist message to a wider audience. This resulted in twice monthly television appearances on television, where Helene gave short presentations on the Divine Principle. Most presentations focused on life after death, but also included other segments of Rev. Moon's message as well. The program aired throughout 1990-1991, except for the summer period. A similar television series was also developed in Sept-Isles.

By emphasizing and explaining those segments of the Divine Principle which dealt with such topics such as; life after death, the existence of a spiritual dimension, reincarnation and resurrection, she was able to gain the attention of her audience. This served as the introduction to the Unificationist teaching. Those that were interested to study further, were invited to more extensive lecture series. Indeed, the next step was to hold a series of seminars on consecutive days and weeks which gave those that attended an opportunity to hear the entire message of Rev. Moon. Most of these seminars were also held in public meeting places.

By spring 1991, several tiers of membership existed in Quebec City. These were classified as: "Center Core Members," which meant they lived in the church center and worked full-time with the church; "Home Core Members," those that were fully committed members, but lived in their own homes; "Associated Home Members" they had a strong affiliation with the church, but weren't fully committed; and "Associate Members", those that signed membership and had agreed to regularly receive information about the church. Membership in Quebec City numbered about seventy-five people by June 1991.20 This had all developed in little more than three years of consistent outreach activities. Furthermore, the entire membership of the national MFT by June 1991 were all French- Canadians, who had joined in Quebec City since the beginning of 1988. This was in addition to other members who had by then been integrated in other missions within the national structure of the church.

Due to this increase of membership, and the constant inflow of new guests and potential members, it was seen as an opportune time to develop a project designed to serve the community. Therefore, a home for the elderly was established in Beauport, a suburb of Quebec City, in the summer of 1991. Called "Maison Helene Dumont," the home for the elderly was a fully operational three story building which housed up to nine elderly people, regularly taken care of by Unificationists. Helene explained why this project was initiated:

We wanted to put the Divine Principle into action and witness to the families of the elderly people. Rev. Moon once said that we should take care of the elderly and I often thought how to do this and at the same time continue outreach activities. I soon realized that historically the religious foundation of the province of Quebec lay in community service. Taking care of the sick, the elderly and teaching the young was exactly what priests, monks and nuns did in times gone by. A second motivation, of course, was to provide an alternative source of income for the church through something that also provided a service to the community. This all came together nicely with the establishment of this home for the aged.21

The home for the aged also served as a means to involve new recruits in volunteer work.

Seminars continued, membership increased, a wider audience heard the Divine Principle and plans for future expansion were being made. Developments after 1991 in Quebec City and throughout the rest of Canada, however, are beyond the scope of this study. Moreover, in the midst of a week full of planned seminars, study groups, and television presentations in Quebec City, news arrived that a special visitor was on the way. This was not only a surprise for the members in Quebec City, but throughout the rest of Canada. The effects of Rev. Moon's two visits of 1991, would have far reaching consequences for the future decentralization of the Canadian movement. It is interesting to note, however, that the seemingly autonomous development of the Quebec City chapter, had unknowingly anticipated the then upcoming changes.

B. Rev. Moon's Two Visits of 1991

1. Rev. Moon's Seventh Visit to Canada

If there was a consistent factor in almost all of Rev. Moon's visits to Canada, it was most definitely the element of surprise. It was just past midnight on June 4, 1991 when Wesley Ramage, then manager of the Deer Farm, received a telephone call informing him that Rev. and Mrs. Moon would be visiting Canada the following day. Very quickly the Canadian members prepared for their arrival and in the early evening of June 5, Rev. and Mrs. Moon, their son Kook Jin, three of Rev. Moon's cousins, a number of other guests and staff members arrived at the Clearstone Lodge.22 Shortly after arriving, Rev. Moon spoke to about forty members till 10:00 p.m. At this gathering, Rev. Moon introduced his guests and spoke about the purpose of his trip to Canada. Later, over dinner, Rev. Moon spoke till 1:00 a.m. and expressed his interest in fishing on Lake Ontario for salmon and trout. He also spoke of his hopes for the deer farm.23

The following day, after a tour of the deer and chinchilla operation, Rev. Moon, together with most members of his party departed for the shores of Lake Ontario, near Cobourg, to begin his fishing expedition, which continued till late in the evening.24 Mrs. Moon visited her high school friend, Helen Kim, in Ottawa with other members of the party. In the evening Rev. Moon spoke to the members till late in the night. Indeed, throughout their stay in Canada Rev. Moon usually rose at the crack of dawn and spoke every evening till past midnight with the members.

Again, on the morning of June 7, Rev. Moon went fishing. On this occasion only six members joined him on the boat, three of which were Canadian members.25 The author, who was on the boat at the time, described what a typical day in such a close setting with Rev. Moon was like. He wrote:

We were on the boat from 6:00 a.m. till sunset and although Father [Rev. Moon] was generally focused on fishing (his hand was constantly on the rod in case the fish struck), he spent much of the time meditating and praying. Since the peak of salmon season was a few weeks away, we caught only three salmon and a couple of trout. When the salmon struck Father got very excited, and it appeared as though it was his first time fishing. Throughout the day he also shared many of his thoughts about God, the sacrificial way of life, the need to create a personal foundation in our life of faith, and also his plans for the future, with those of us on the boat. At one point he spoke for up to five hours in English with Robert Duffy, Mike Templeman and myself, covering a wide range of topics. He explained at one point how he foresaw that more would change in the world during this decade [1990s], than had changed since World War II. He also spoke extensively about establishing fish farms and using fishing expeditions as a means to share the message of Unificationism with others. He said that once the guests were on the boat we could create a very Godly atmosphere and our guests would never forget. Not only did Father share his thoughts with us, but even his food. At one point when we were sharing lunch together, he encouraged me to eat from the same plate and even drink from the same glass. It was a hot day, the sun was shining strongly and there we were listening to Father speak to us in a very personal manner. At one point I wandered; "Here I am sitting with the Messiah who all religious people throughout history have been longing for. Is this a dream? Is this really happening?" Yes it did happen, and I shall never forget how privileged I felt at that time.26

Most Unificationists throughout world do not have much contact with Rev. Moon other that at occasional large public gatherings. It was therefore an unusual experience for those on the boat.

The same day, Mrs. Moon and the rest of the party went on a tour of Toronto guided by Alan Wilding. They toured the downtown city core, visited the CN Tower and the Metro Toronto Zoo. They also went for a walk in Toronto's High Park. After returning from fishing, Rev. Moon spoke to all the Unificationists present late into the night.27

On June 8 and 9 Rev. Moon continued with the same schedule as in previous days, fishing from early morning till late at night. As with previous days he spent much of his time talking with those on board and also conducted international church business by cellular phone. Mrs. Moon made a second visit to Ottawa and also spent time with some of the members at the farm.

Also on June 9, since it was a Sunday, Rev. and Mrs. Moon conducted the Pledge service after which Rev. Moon spoke to all the members for about two hours. After returning from a full day of fishing and taking a final tour of the deer operation, Rev. Moon and his party departed for New York in the early evening, arriving back in Irvington at 3:30 a.m. An hour after arriving in Irvington, New York, Rev. Moon set out once again to go on another fishing expedition at Long Island Sound, according to Mike McDevitt, a principal member of Rev. Moon's staff.28 Rev. Moon had explained to the members in Canada that he had set a condition [goal] to go fishing everyday since April, 1991 and did not want to miss a day. It appears that Rev. Moon would have stayed longer in Canada had he not been scheduled to be present in New York City for the celebration of the Day of All Things on June 12.

The visit, which lasted five days resulted in several significant changes, one being that Rev. Moon had asked the then national leader of the church in Canada and his assistant to both attend the Unification Theological Seminary for "training".29 The question of any successorship for leadership of the Canadian church had been left unanswered. It seemed Rev. Moon had a few other changes in mind and, as some members speculated, Rev. Moon did return to Canada later that summer. His second visit of 1991, however, happened sooner than anybody imagined.

2. Transformation

It was early evening on June 13, when another surprising telephone call was received by the Canadian church. The message was that Rev. and Mrs. Moon would be departing from New York at 8:00 p.m. and were bound for Canada. At 3:15 a.m. on June 14, Rev. and Mrs. Moon were back at the Clearstone Lodge, having driven through the wee hours of the night. On this occasion they were accompanied by the wives of major leaders of the Japanese Unification Church. These were: Tetsuko Kuboki, wife of the then president of the church in Japan; Noriko Oyamada, wife of the vice-president; Kyoko Furuta, whose husband was president of Happy World Japan; and Setsuo and Setsuko Sakurai also prominent leaders of the Japanese church.30

Shortly after 7:00 a.m., Rev. and Mrs. Moon held a special ceremony with the Japanese representatives. According to reports given by the Japanese members, Rev. Moon at the time prayed and asked Mrs. Moon to pledge that she would continue his messianic mission after he died. Rev. Moon then asked Mrs. Moon to pledge that she would do so in the Japanese language, before the Japanese representatives as witnesses. After Mrs. Moon had done as requested, Rev. Moon explained the significance of holding the ceremony in Canada as follows:

I [Rev. Moon] represent the true Adamic figure, Mother [Mrs. Moon] represents the true Eve, the four Japanese women are the key representatives of the world wide Eve nation, Japan. Since Canada is an extension of England, which was the original Eve nation, this ceremony is being held here.31

He encouraged Mrs. Moon and the four Japanese women to establish deep unity since this represented the beginning of a new era in Mrs. Moon's public mission. Shortly thereafter, in September, 1991, Mrs. Moon began her public speaking tours.32

In the days that followed, Rev. Moon basically followed the same schedule of going fishing from early morning till late in the evening after which he usually spent time speaking with the members. One evening was devoted to songs and testimonies. Mrs. Moon on the other hand spent most of her time with the four women from Japan visiting Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and the Thousand Islands area near Gananoque, Ontario where they took a boat tour. On one particular day she invited the deer farm managers, Wesley Ramage and Mark Hebert and their wives to go shopping in Toronto, in appreciation of their hard work.

Tuesday, June 18, proved to be an especially significant day for the Canadian Church. It was also the 23rd anniversary since the opening of the first center in Toronto, in 1968, a fact, most members were probably not aware of and definitely not known to Rev. Moon. The day began like every other. Rev. Moon went fishing early in the morning and on this occasion invited Robert Duffy, John Bellavance and Franco Famularo to join him on the boat. While fishing, he spoke extensively about a wide variety of topics and also asked each one on the boat questions concerning such things as their age, background, and hopes for the future. Meanwhile, Mrs. Moon remained at the Clearstone farm where she, among other things, gave advice on improving the appearance of the property.

At the end of the day, and at Mrs. Moon's request, dinner was served on the lawn for everyone. It was a warm summer evening and as about forty members sat in a circle around a small fire, Rev. Moon asked that each husband share some nice words about their own wife. Once the husband had done so, Rev. Moon himself made comments about each couple, giving them his insights on their situation or character. According to one member, it was surprising that although Rev. Moon had spent very little time with each person, he seemed to be well aware of each person's strengths and weaknesses.33 The somewhat jovial exchange continued for some time and then Rev. Moon began speaking about the future development of the Canadian church. He said:

Suppose I came here and stayed here everyday. What do you expect I would do with all of you? If I stay here for one month I will send all of you pioneering. What do you think, do you want to see your country of Canada, particularly the Unification Church Movement, progress and develop or not. If you just stay still and follow the pattern you have been keeping how can you expect that there will be development?34

By then, Rev. Moon had spent almost ten days in Canada and was somewhat familiar with the church's situation. He had heard numerous reports not only from the Canadian members but also from a number of Korean members living in Canada such as Choon Keun Chang, Sun Chul Yoon, Kuk Pae Eum, and Hae Kun Lee. He then asked for some feedback on how to improve church activities in light of Canada's political situation. At the time a national referendum on the country's constitution, concerning national unity, was little more than a year away.35 Rev. Moon asked:

Would it be advisable if we divide your country, Canada, into two regions. For example, a Montreal region and a Toronto region, and have them both compete. Have you thought about it? ... Political separation may come in the future, however, before that happens our internal movement should be able to establish a foundation in both places; in the Montreal region and in the Toronto region, and multiply our membership. And even if separation occurs our membership should be able to unite any time we want ... That kind of internal foundation must be set, otherwise Canada may be divided for good. I am contemplating at this point, since I came here and saw the situation, that before I leave tomorrow I am asking you if you want to see me set up the situation so that you have two different headquarters, one in Montreal and the other in Toronto. Which do you prefer...36

Rev. Moon was suggesting a completely new organizational structure for the church. After some discussion, Rev. Moon expressed his views on the need for establishing autonomous regions and gave examples from nature to explain the benefits of autonomy, as well as through giving examples from various aspects of the world wide church especially in Korea, Japan and the United States. He said:

... like our movement in America has ten regions. Although they are all under my umbrella and the national headquarters, they are very autonomous when it comes to their witnessing programs and activities in various ways. So even in Canada each province or each region should obtain their autonomy and do work independently ... Each individual should become a church leader ... In Korea and Japan up until recently there was one centralized structure, but I spread them all over. For example, in Japan I created 16,000 independent centers. That is Tribal Messiahship providence. Now I am sowing the Tribal Messiah [seed] in 16,000 different locations. It will multiply and start growing and you will see how abundantly it will grow ... What do you feel? Do you feel you want to go out as individuals or do you want to be together and do something in one place.37

Obviously this trend toward decentralization was not limited to Canada, but was a world wide phenomena of the Unification Church. Indeed, Rev. Moon, as the charismatic leader of the church, was serving as a catalyst to ensure that this process would take place speedily.

Rev. Moon commented, that a large country such as Canada was difficult to manage by one person in a central location and suggested that the church should establish autonomous regions. After some discussion on whether it was better to have two or more regions, it was agreed that four regions, each led by a distinct regional director, would be best.

Since it was getting dark outside Rev. Moon invited everyone into the lodge to further discuss the planned changes. He said:

... if we want to divide this country into four different regions, let's see who can be the four regional directors. ... So from now on there will be no national headquarter function, but each region will have its own headquarters and be autonomous. The central headquarters will be True Parents. This will be Canadian headquarters. Let's pick four regional leaders.38

What followed was an election for the regional leaders and since only about forty of the Canadian members were present, Rev. Moon emphasized that those in attendance should represent the entire Canadian membership. Each person was asked to write four names on a piece of paper and that those with the most votes would be assigned personally by Rev. Moon to each region. The four cities chosen to be regional headquarters were: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax. The respective regional directors elected were: John Bellavance, Robert Duffy, Franco Famularo and Douglas White.

Rev. Moon then assigned each elected leader to the four major Canadian cities through a traditional Korean custom of writing the four names of the regional leaders at the top of a piece of paper and the four cities at the bottom. Through a seemingly complicated process of going through a maze of lines with a pen he connected each name with a city. In a sense, it was similar to a lottery or draw process. Indeed, Rev. Moon often used similar draw or lottery methods to assign leaders to a variety of missions throughout the world.39 Thus, Bellavance, Duffy, Famularo and White were connected to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax respectively.

The establishment of four autonomous regions through Rev. Moon's intervention had effectively dismantled the Canadian Unification Church as a nationally centralized organization. In addition, his earlier (1988) directives to have pioneers in each province and that members return to their hometown set the stage for an entirely new era of the Unification Church in Canada.

The following morning, at an extensive breakfast meeting with the elected regional directors, Rev. Moon encouraged each to engage in a heavenly competition and since each represented ancestral heritages that had previously been enemy nations, Rev. Moon further emphasized that they create unity among each other.40 But, there was another element that was introduced to the mix of personalities that, until then, had not been part of the picture in the Canadian Unification Church.

C. A New Era Begins: Four Autonomous Regions

Before embarking on his trip back to New York on June 19, Rev. Moon introduced a new development in the organization of the Canadian church. Immediately after the election the previous night, Rev. Moon suggested that the four Korean male members present at the meeting, Choon Keun Chang, Kuk Pae Eum, Sun Chul Yoon, and Hae Kun Lee as well as the four Japanese ladies, Kuboki, Oyamada, Furuta and Sakurai each form a trio with the Canadian leaders and be assigned to each region in an advisory role. This marked the introduction, in a major way, of Oriental leadership to the Canadian movement for the first time. Again using the Adam, Eve, Archangel typology, Rev. Moon stated that the Korean, Japanese, and Canadians were, respectively, in an Adam, Eve and Archangel role.

Through a similar draw system, Yoon and Oyamada, Lee and Sakurai, Chang and Kuboki, and Eum and Furuta, were assigned to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax, respectively. Furthermore, at breakfast, it was also announced that Helene Dumont, since she had actually scored fourth in the election, would be assigned as national itinerary worker for the entire country.41 Besides continuing activities in Quebec City, she was also given the task to travel to each region and conduct seminars and meetings with the membership.

Before leaving Rev. Moon again emphasized that each region should work autonomously, compete with each other in their outreach activities and find many members. The stage had been set. Four autonomous regions were now in place and marked a new beginning in the development and history of the Canadian Unification Church. It was almost precisely twenty-three years after Linna Miller Rapkins and Marie Leckrone Ang first began their missionary activities in Toronto.


1. Membership List of Unification Church of Canada. (The three members were Marie Claude Beaulieu, Daniel Heroux and Sylvain Morin. There were others but they did not remain for long.)

2. Among those that left were Jacques Blain and Anne Caze.

3. Reginald Bibby. Fragmented Gods: The Poverty and Potential of Religion in Canada. Toronto: Stoddart. p. 19-20.

4. Interview with Helene Dumont. March 17, 1994.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Source: 1986 Census of Canada. (As found in The Canadian World Almanac and Book of Facts 1991. Toronto. Global Press. 1990. p. 95.

8. See Reginald Bibby. Fragmented God's. pp. 88 - 94. (In Quebec belief in God is 90%, second only to Atlantic Canada, while in Quebec belief in life after death is 64%. There is also a relatively high interest in supernatural issues.)

9. Frederick Bird & William Reimer. "Participation Rates in New Religious Movements." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Vol. 21. March, 1982. p. 1-14. ( It is important to note that the study was conducted at Concordia University, a primarily English speaking institution in Montreal).

10. Irving Hexham. "New Religious Movements." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Vol. III. Min-Sta. Second Edition. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers. 1988. p. 1479.

11. See for example. Pierres Vallieres. Negres Blancs d'Amerique. English translation by Joan Pinkham. White Niggers of America. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. 1971.

12. Helene Dumont. Report from Quebec Center. 1988.

13. Holy Spirit Association Bulletin. (In house Unification Church of Canada newsletter) August 1988. p. 1.

14. Helene Dumont. Report from Quebec Center. 1988.

15. Summary of College Seminars Given. Internal Unification Church of Canada Report. June 1991.

16. Interview with Helene Dumont. March 17, 1994.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid.

19. Ibid. (According to Helene approximately 80% of the participants were women.)

20. Internal Unification Church of Canada Report. June 1991.

21. Interview with Helene Dumont. March 17, 1994.

22. Reverend Moon's party consisted of: his cousins, Young Sun Moon, Yong Ki Moon and wife, Yong Hyun Moon and wife; Dae Ooh Sun, vice-president of the daily Korean newspaper Sae Gae Ilbo, Han H. Jun, a doctor of Oriental medicine; and staff members Peter Kim, Mike McDevitt, Ki Byung Yoon, and Erwin Wackna.

23. Present at the table with Reverend Moon were the members of his party, Robert Duffy, Choon Keun Chang and Franco Famularo.

24. Michael Templeman served as skipper on the church's twenty five foot boat during all of Reverend Moon's fishing expeditions.

25. Those on the boat with Reverend Moon were Peter Kim, Mike Mcdevitt, Han H. Jun, Robert Duffy, Michael Templeman and Franco Famularo. (Prior to boarding the boat, Reverend Moon asked both Robert Duffy and Franco Famularo to attend the Unification Theological Seminary.)

26. Author's personal diary. Unfortunately, a transcript of Reverend Moon's words on the boat is not available.

27. All speeches Reverend Moon gave during this visit were video and audio taped and are stored in the Unification Church of Canada archives.

28. Conversation with Mike McDevitt, June 12, 1991 in New York City.

29. At the time Robert Duffy was national leader and Franco Famularo was his principal assistant.

30. Also Included in Reverend Moon's party were Peter Kim, Ki Byung Yoon, Mike and Wonju Mcdevitt, and Steve Tarbil.

31. From a report given by Tetsuko Kuboki to Michiko Wilding and Chizuru Famularo. June 14, 1991.

32. Beginning in September 1991, Mrs. Moon began public speaking tours in Japan, later in Korea, Japan and by 1993 she had spoken in more than forty countries. See Today's World. 1991-1993.

33. Interview with Helene Ramage. February 22, 1994.

34. Author's transcription of Reverend Moon's audio-taped talk. June 18, 1991. (Translated by Peter Kim)

35. A national referendum on the Canadian constitution took place on October 26, 1992. (As had often happened before, the issue of Canadian unity was a major story in Canadian news at the time.)

36. Reverend Moon's speech. June 18, 1991. Transcription of audiotape.

37. Ibid. (As mentioned earlier in June 1988 Reverend Moon began emphasizing the return of Unificationists to their Hometown, see "Day of All Things and Liberation." June 14, 1988. Today's World. August 1988. pp. 4-9. Although it had been mentioned earlier, beginning in 1989 Reverend Moon began emphasizing that all members should become "Tribal Messiahs". This basically means that the members should duplicate Reverend Moon "universal messiahship" role on the family, clan and tribal level. See for example. Sun Myung Moon. The Tribal Messiah. February 5, 1989. Seoul, Korea. "The End of the World and our Age." March 19, 1989. "Parallel Messiahship." April 8, 1989. The directive to return to hometown and become tribal messiahs was repeatedly given from 1989 onward.

38. Ibid.

39. See for example the proceedings of the December 20, 1988 leader's meeting with Reverend Moon. Reverend Moon has also recommended the use of a draw system for the national electoral process in Korea. See for example "Driving Out Election Corruption by Using a Direct-Indirect Draw System for Election." A statement by Reverend Moon which appeared in several Korean newspapers, including the Segye Ilbo, around the time of the December 1992 election in Korea. As it appeared in Tongil Saegye Monthly. December 1992. Vol. 263. pp. 74-77. (Translation provided by Young Dong Kim).

40. Bellavance, Duffy and Famularo were of French, Anglo/Irish and Italian heritages, respectively.

41. Although Helene Dumont scored fourth in the election, Reverend Moon recommended that a married couple be installed as regional directors instead. Douglas White was chosen since he had scored fifth.

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