The Words of the Dennis Family

An Important Mainline Cleric Reflects on the Israel Trip

Paulina Dennis
January 15, 2004

Reflections of a Congregationalist Minister on Israel and Rev. Moon I am ordained in the Congregational Way.

We are the successors to the Pilgrims and the Puritans, and we are the denomination that has most embodied the religious ethos of the United States of America. I was importuned to participate in this latest pilgrimage to Israel (December 16-23) because of my knowledge of and love for Judaism and the Jewish people, as well as my long history in ecumenical work.

Coming to know this movement and its people in the 1980s, I was impressed by their commitment to Christian ideals, their decency and kindliness, as well as what I viewed as their complete lack of any kind of racism.

From a persecuted minority religion, Unificationism has steadily gained the respectful attention of scholars of religion and noted American clerical leaders. Articles on the movement have appeared in Temple University's Journal of Ecumenical Studies and civil rights leaders such as Joseph Lowery, the late Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Wyatt T. Walker have expressed their approval of and deep sympathy for the overall ideals of the movement. I know of no one else in the world that is even attempting such a thing as uniting religions and people from everywhere to help bring peace to the world. It is all the more remarkable when you realize Rev. Moon's age-83! What other religious movement, outside of the Roman Catholic church and its severely ailing leader John Paul II, also 83, has this kind of world outreach and organization? America has no one now of the stature of Martin Luther King, Jr. and most denominational Christian leaders are still too interested in protecting their own religious turf to effectively issue such a call.

As a result, Unificationism has become much more than another denomination. It is, in some respects, a form of "meta-Christianity," even a form of "meta-religion" because of the scope and inclusiveness of its activities. The IIPC (International Interreligious Peace Council) is now instrumental in pushing for recognition as a worldwide religious leadership organization to be berthed at the United Nations. I hope and pray that people of the world-standing of the Right Rev. Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama will soon be part of this movement; bringing their influence as well as their own unique perspectives on religious freedom and co-prosperity to bear on the United Nations and all humanity.

Rev. Paulina Dennis
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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