The Words of the Burton Family
This is a photo of Unification Church Headquarters in Haiti after the earthquake.
Unificationists in the Headquarters of the Unification Church in Haiti escaped the tragic earthquake of Jan. 12 without fatal injuries, according to unofficial emails from church members in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
"Last night, we learned that all the members who lived in the HQ in Port au Prince survived the earthquake. Our HQ unfortunately was almost completely destroyed. During the earthquake the second and third story collapsed on each other. The members who stayed on the ground floor escaped into the open and jumped into the nearby swimming pool which contained no water," according to a German missionary in Santo Domingo. One child in Haiti was injured, according to the Unification Church HQ in New York, citing as the source one of the top missionaries to Haiti. According to the same source, at least three buildings belonging to members collapsed.
Two blessed families, the national director and his assistant, five second-generation and some members were in the headquarters at the time of the quake. The Japanese Embassy reportedly has assisted to transport the two families to Santo Domingo, since both the national leader and his assistant have wives who are Japanese citizens. They are expected to temporarily live in the church headquarters in Santo Domingo for the foreseeable future.
Unificationists in the United States quickly responded to the crisis by organizing fundraising drives. The Unification Church Headquarters announced on January 15: "Funds are needed to help the members rebuild their homes, to repair damage to the church center, and to give general support to the members and their families. We are currently accepting donations online, via credit card or PayPal that account, and checks mailed to the national headquarters office in New York. 100 percent of donations marked "Haiti Relief Fund" will be sent to the Haiti Unification Church headquarters. Once we have helped members in Haiti stand on their own two feet, they will be enabled to provide greater help for others in their communities."
The appeal requested that members send checks to the following address:
HSA-UWC Financial Office
481 8th Ave. 30th Floor
New York, NY 10001
The Unificationist-supported International Relief Friendship Foundation (IRFF) also set up an appeal for immediate help. According to an emailed announcement, "IRFF's immediate goal is to raise $7,500 to ship three container loads of already-donated food and medicine to the port city of St. Marks, not far from the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince. IRFF, founded in 1979 with the support of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, is a partner organization of the Global Disaster Response Network which has 12 non-profit organization members. The group already has representatives on the ground in Haiti, giving a daily assessment of the situation and the immediate needs there."
Another IRFF partner organization, Christian Disaster Response (CDR) with whom it has worked with for some twenty years, has secured donations of a 20-foot container of medical supplies and just yesterday [Jan. 14, 2010], a 40 foot trailer loaded with canned and packaged food from the Mormon Church.
The IRRF announcement continues: "Further plans to assist in relief efforts will be implemented later based on securing additional funding," says Richard Sapp, IRFF Director of Disaster Services, "but the immediate need of survivors is food and medical treatment, which, with your help, we can deliver right away." Supporters of IRRF were urged to donate through its website -- www.irff.org -- or by sending a check to IRFF Administrative Office: 880 Rt. 199, Red Hook, NY 12571, U.S.A.
On Monday, January 18, 21 pastors and community leaders affiliated with the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) chapter in New York held an extraordinary meeting of Haitian Pastors and their congregants at the Christian Times Building in Brooklyn to support the relief efforts for Haiti. Co-Chairman Bishop Cecil Riley and Pastor Dr. Dennis Dillon of Brooklyn Christian Center joined with key pastors in Brooklyn, New York to organize the event. An emailed announcement from ACLC reported an effort to gather funds, medical supplies and medical professionals.
In Washington, D.C., the ACLC and the Haitian Community held a relief rally on Monday night [January 18] at Union Temple Baptist Church Archbishop George A. Stallings and Rev. Willie Wilson were reported to be the hosts for this event.
Rev. Mike Lamson, the Unification Church regional director in Ohio, started a facebook page titled "Helping Unification Church in Haiti," www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=249591324177&ref=nf